Oprah Winfrey taps into the emotional side of weight loss

Oprah Winfrey taps into the emotional side of weight loss

Oprah Winfrey is the influential face of a new Weight Watchers program that encourages a more active lifestyle rather than focusing on weight loss alone.

A part owner of Weight Watchers, the media mogul is using her famous personal connection with people to promote the weight loss company’s “Beyond the Scale” initiative. She’s also participating in the program.

“Staying fit and healthy” and “losing weight” are the most popular resolutions to start the new year right, according to a 2015 Nielsen survey. With the weather changing to cold and dark winter months, people tend to emotionally eat comfort food to help fill a void or an empty feeling inside.

“There are times where we can be pre-occupied or stressed,” says Marie Mauter, employee assistance program counselor at Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital in Barrington, Ill. “As a result, we may be unaware of what or how much we are eating.”

With Winfrey’s motivation and a renewed focus on health and wellness in the new year, Mauter recommends the following eight tips to develop a healthy lifestyle:

  1. Pay attention to your thoughts and feelings when you want to grab that snack. Be mindful and present. Try to feel that your mind and body are “on the same page.”
  2. Journal or make a list of what is stressing or upsetting you. Make a plan to take control of the situation.
  3. Recognize when you eat emotionally and learn what triggers this behavior in you. Remember, you can control the way you think.
  4. Provide yourself with a delay between the urge to eat and actually eating. Also, keep in mind that it takes about 20 minutes for your brain to get the “I’m full” signal from your stomach.
  5. Even a quick burst of activity refreshes you and can take your mind off of unhealthy eating.
  6. Have other “treats.” Find healthy food to use as your comfort food. Find enjoyable activities, things to look forward to at the end of the day. Finding other ways to soothe yourself or help tolerate difficult feelings will provide satisfaction.
  7. Practice good self-care. Don’t let yourself get to a place of being too hungry or too tired. At times, strong messages to eat are sent to your brain and you are not well equipped to fight off cravings or urges.
  8. Have greater self-compassion. Be kind to yourself.

“Of course, there are times when it’s fine to celebrate or commiserate with food,” Mauter says. “The key is that it happens occasionally, in moderation.”

Mauter says if it still proves problematic, or out of control, seek professional help from a medical or behavioral health specialist.

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  1. It takes discipline. There is no other way around it. There is no magic pill, no magic food, no magic workout. Just plain-old-discipline.
    If you take a look at our society on the whole, you will see that discipline is an ancient virtue.

    • Amen, thank you Fred! We are a society of instant gratification and overindulgence that I struggle with. So true, discipline is a key component.

  2. What really bothers me about this campaign is that she only put out this ad after she bought shares of Weight Watchers, thus exploiting her fame for financial gain. Bad Oprah. (http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2015/10/19/oprah-winfrey-weight-watchers/74206132/)

  3. Doesn’t she have enough money? Trainers, cooks and stock in the company. Bad spokesperson for weight watchers. Lost respect for company.

  4. Agree with Mary…..Oprah is fabulously rich, powerful, has had personal trainers, chefs, everything that money can buy ..still she remains overweight This is NOT the person to show us how to lose weight We all know how to lose weight Eat less Exercise NO late sugary snacks ! Doing it & keeping weight off is the hard part. Would have been nice if Oprah offered her weight loss ‘advice’ for FREE….God knows she can afford it.

  5. I agree with both BellaQ and Mary. Perhaps Oprah should have kept her investment private or published the details of her investment completely to the public. Either way it appears self serving.

  6. Stop hating on Oprah!!!! She is doing this to help others who have a weight problem. Yes, she does have a lot of money, not looking to take anything from anyone. She doesn’t need your pennies from Weight Watchers.

  7. Everything that I have seen or heard from Oprah is positive.

  8. Everyone is missing the whole issue of this article. It’s about emotional eating and how to deal with it. Yes, Oprah has money and can afford her own chef & trainer, but money is not going to buy her discipline. She is just like you & I trying to get control of our eating habits. Money cannot buy that.

  9. HELP! I need help. My 12 year old granddaughter is reaching 250 lbs. and I don’t know how to help her or who to turn to. I’ve tried my own plans but it’s not working. I’m scared she’s going to be diabetic . I’ve tried to reach out to people like Oprah but I can’t seem to get through. Please help.

  10. Thanks for reaching out Samara. Please consult with your family physician.

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health enews Staff
health enews Staff

health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.