Thursday, May 13, 2010

Oprah Had an Epiphany

Oprah, probably the United States' most famous yo-yo dieter, has had an epiphany, and has declared that she "will never diet again." That is good news for me and, I'm guessing, thousands of other American women with negative body images. I have been thinking a lot recently about body image, and about where we learn the messages that we are not good enough as we are.

It is a lesson I am sure I learned at my mother's knee. With love in her heart, she put an eight year old child on a diet, and continually reinforced for that child that she was fat and didn't quite measure up. It was never enough to be smart or pretty or capable. As long as she remained overweight, she was not good enough.

I know my mother loved me. I know that now, at my age, being angry with her for my weight issues is inappropriate. I am old enough to make my own choices now, and have been for many years. I have no one else to blame but myself. I still console myself with food, and relieve boredom with food, and celebrate with food. Ironically, I find it simple not to smoke or drink, or do drugs -- other unhealthy practices.

I don't think I learned my negative body image from magazines or television or movies. I think I learned it from my mother and every doctor who ever told me (like I didn't know) I was overweight. Over the years of my life, plenty of people have kindly informed me that I am fat. Oprah helped me with that image. By publicly being so unhappy with her own weight, she influenced me to believe that weight is an issue. Oprah is a mighty agency. She is rich and powerful with or without a weight problem, and even her power and her millions could not make her feel ok about herself. If that is the case, what chance do I have? I can't afford a dietitian and a personal trainer. My doctor refuses to discuss weight loss surgery with me, so I can't even resort to Star Jones' cure. (Star, by the way, was much more attractive when she had a little meat on her bones and didn't look so angry all the time.)

Oprah's announcement this week is liable to set the American multi-million dollar weight-loss industry on its ear.

Oprah's announcement has set me thinking. I think I can no longer feel sorry for myself or make excuses about my weight. What I can do is live a healthier lifestyle. "Healthy" to include appropriate food choices and physical exercise. I'm tired of not liking myself.


blueladie said...

You are such a wonderful writer. I always so enjoy reading your blog. I think any woman who says she doesn't diet or have weight issues or image issues is a liar. Our culture does that to us. Love you bunches hope and pray you are successful by leaps and bounds in whatever makes you happy.
love, hugs and prayers,

HLiza said...

I'm one of those who never feels happy with my's like a disease and I hate myself for it. It's good to feel happy about yourself..I'm trying that too.