Posted on 05/5/2009
I don’t watch television very much, but last week when I learned that Kirstie Alley and Oprah Winfrey were going to discuss weight loss and weight gain on Oprah’s television show, I tuned in. Kelly just shook his head, anticipating, I think, what might happen.
Sure enough, what I heard disturbed me deeply. Kelly cautioned me to keep cool, and I did the best I could. But what I heard from two people who have willingly accepted role model status cannot, in my sincere and heart-felt opinion, be ignored.
And so once again I find myself in the position of having to counter-act what I consider to be extremely bad advice and negative thinking from someone I generally admire—Oprah.
I know this blog will trigger a barrage of angry comments—some of them shameful—from a few fanatics who believe that Oprah can do no wrong. As I have indicated elsewhere, I believe she often provides sound advice and has a good and loving heart.
But when it comes to eating healthy, losing weight, and maintaining a healthy weight, Oprah (and Kirstie) are simply making excuses. By so doing, they are misusing their role model status and dispensing bad information to millions of people who deserve better. They—and especially Oprah—are supposed to be leading, but in fact all they’re doing is sanctifying their own failures, and by so doing, discouraging people who need to learn to eat healthy, portion-controlled meals.
I suppose I am most offended and discouraged by Oprah’s bogus claim that “diets don’t work.” What she means is that her diets haven’t worked. I can point her to tens of thousands of people who have changed their eating habits, reclaimed a healthy weight, and moved forward through their lives.
What does Oprah mean by diet? Does she mean “eat less than I want to for as short a time as I can stand?” Well, that’s way too narrow a definition.
Everyone who eats and drinks has a diet, because the word diet means what you eat and drink. If you aren’t on a diet, you will die. That’s a dictionary fact. So it’s ridiculous for Oprah to say that diets don’t work. Her claim that people on diets lose weight only to gain it back is one of the excuses I referenced. What she means is that “gimmick diets” don’t work. I agree with that.
The idea that one can keep a healthy weight by self-inflicting a strict and temporary artificial eating regimen, followed by a resumption of previous levels of intake, is absolutely false. The point is to learn to eat the proper portions of healthy food, break the bad habits, and genuinely learn to appreciate the benefits and enjoy the pleasures of calorie-controlled healthy eating.
Oprah is also wrong if she says that the sole answer is exercise. Exercise is helpful, but it is not enough. Any claim otherwise would be silly if it weren’t so desperate. Some studies show that almost 80% of maintaining a healthy weight level is a result of what and how much one eats. This is science, not talk show voodoo.
At Seattle Sutton’s Healthy Eating, we tell our customers they need to pay attention to what they’re eating, to notice the portions, to savor the food. Over the nearly 24 years we’ve been in business, we’ve noticed that the people who understand that our approach is the right way—and a great way—to eat for the rest of their lives—well, they’re the ones who prove Oprah wrong.
Oprah, I’m doing you a favor by calling you out. Just the facts, dear. You need to lose weight. Sorry to have to say it so plainly. You are a public figure and people are watching you, trusting you, learning from you.
You need to lose weight for reasons of health and mental comfort. Then you can go back to helping people again. Here’s my challenge to you. Seattle Sutton’s Healthy Eating is not a gimmick diet. You can learn to eat—and enjoy what you’re eating—and get (and keep) your weight right. Real food, healthy meals, calorie-controlled.
Let me help you, please.
She made healthy eating her mission in life long before anyone else did, in hopes of helping her own obese father. A registered nurse by training and entrepreneur at heart, she lives, eats and breathes everything about healthy eating and helping to improve people’s eating habits and overall health. She enjoys never having to bother with grocery shopping, cooking and counting calories. Her favorite SSHE meal, although it’s hard to pick just one, is the Potato Gnocchi with Basil Pesto Sauce.