Oprah's weight woes woo

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January 6th, 2009

I thought "Oprah's weight woes woo" would be difficult to say three times fast, but really it isn't. Nonetheless, the episode on Monday where Oprah waxed on how she felt about being a former fatty to getting skinny only to be fat again drew a 5.7/13 (household rating/share) and was the big O's third highest rated episode of the season according to Broadcasting & Cable.

I don't mean to seem insensitive here, but it may well be that episodes like this do so well precisely because we fatties and former fatties are too sensitive. I don't really want to veer off on a non-ratings tangent, but since all our regular Nielsen data is delayed due to data processing issues on Nielsen's end...

I've struggled with weight issues all my life, and I know it can be a struggle. But in almost all cases (including mine and Oprah's) it's a struggle only because we make it one. There's no need to feel all sappy and sensitive about it, the real need for people like me and Oprah is simply to quit our whining on the topic.

Though Oprah is probably distracting herself with all the junk about hyperthyroidism, through a bit of a circuitous route she more or less comes to that conclusion and reaches the absolute and precise, no doubt about it, it's the truth, when she writes:

The thyroid diagnosis felt like some kind of prison sentence. I was so frustrated that I started eating whatever I wanted -- and that's never good. My drug of choice is food. I use food for the same reasons an addict uses drugs: to comfort, to soothe, to ease stress.

The emphasis above is mine, but that is the thing that needs to be emphasized. Can weight issues be difficult? Sure, almost all of us have some demons and for those of us who have food as a demon -- it's a demon! But still, to put it in perspective, it isn't THAT big of a demon unless we allow it to be.

Think of it this way, if Plaxico Burress puts a gun to your head (sure, he'll probably miss and shoot his own thigh, but still) and says do not eat that cheeseburger, we wouldn't find it very difficult at all to comply. And if we had our own personal Plaxico following us around with a gun making sure we never ate more calories than we burned, we wouldn't ever gain any weight.

Now, if Plaxico points his gun at you and says "play golf as good as Tiger Woods!" that is difficult, and unless you are in fact Tiger Woods, you're completely screwed. Comparatively speaking, not eating that cheeseburger is a really, really easy thing to do, but almost nobody (so far as we know, nobody!) could play golf as well as Tiger even if they tried as hard as they could.

For most, trying to be as good as Tiger is truly an epic struggle. Not eating that cheeseburger? Not so much.

 
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