Oprah Reveals How She Achieved Dramatic Weight Loss: "It's Not One Thing"

The star's recent body transformation has fans talking.

Oprah Winfrey has spoken openly about her weight throughout her during her decades-long career in entertainment, including addressing it in interviews, publishing a book on the topic, and being a spokesperson for WeightWatchers. Recent appearances have gotten fans talking about changes in Winfrey's body, and now, the 69-year-old star has revealed what she has—and hasn't—done to lose weight.

RELATED: Anjelica Huston Says Oprah Winfrey Has Been Giving Her the Silent Treatment Since the '80s.

"It's not one thing, it's everything," Winfrey told Entertainment Tonight at The Color Purple premiere on Dec. 6 when asked how she achieved her recent loss. The outlet noted that she "emphasized just how much she's had to change and do to look fantastic." The star added, "I intend to keep it that way."

Winfrey also said that she "was on that treadmill" earlier that day.

The star is an executive producer of the new movie musical version of The Color Purple and also produced the Broadway show on which it's based. But her connection to the material goes back much further than that. Winfrey was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for playing Sofia in the 1985 non-musical film adaptation of the 1982 Alice Walker novel.

She's addressed her physical transformation a few times in recent months. In September, Winfrey hosted a panel called "The State of Weight" as part of her "The Life You Want" series. As reported by The Independent, during the panel, Winfrey said that she decided against taking Ozempic—or a similar drug—for weight loss, because it felt like the "easy way out."

Oprah Winfrey at the premiere of "The Color Purple" in December 2023
Kayla Oaddams/WireImage via Getty Images

Ozempic, which is a brand name of the drug semaglutide, has become increasingly popular for weight loss over the past couple of years, particularly in Hollywood. The prescription medication was initially intended for those with type 2 diabetes but is also prescribed to patients with obesity. Some celebrities have been candid about using the drug for weight loss purposes, while others have been accused of lying about not using it.

"Shouldn't we all just be more accepting of whatever body you choose to be in? That should be your choice," Winfrey said during the panel. "Even when I first started hearing about the weight loss drugs, at the same time I was going through knee surgery, and I felt, 'I've got to do this on my own.' Because if I take the drug, that's the easy way out." She added that she is someone who has been "shamed in the tabloids every week about for 25 years" for "not having the willpower."

Winfrey was joined on the panel by several doctors. One of them, obesity specialist Fatima Cody Stanford, MD, said that she doesn't use the word "willpower" when it comes to weight. "It's hard to see you ostracized in the way that you've been. Because this isn't about willpower. It's not your fault," Dr. Stanford said. "It's how our bodies regulate weight and each of us is different, each of us is unique, not one is superior to another."

The Independent reports that during another panel in 2022, which was focused on gratitude, Winfrey talked about making a change in her life after she underwent two knee surgeries in 2021. "I had knee surgery in August, and then I had another knee surgery in November," she said. "When I came home the first time, I literally could not lift my leg. I couldn't lift my heel off of the bed, and I vowed if I was ever able to get up, walk around, and move again—that I would take advantage of movement, exercise, and of being able to be fully in my body." She said that this included hiking everyday. "My appreciation for every organ and every limb has expanded exponentially," Winfrey said.

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Lia Beck
Lia Beck is a writer living in Richmond, Virginia. In addition to Best Life, she has written for Refinery29, Bustle, Hello Giggles, InStyle, and more. Read more
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