Health & Wellness

6 lessons we can learn from Oprah

Oprah's tips on making peace with food, ignoring the scale and putting yourself first.
Published 16 December 2015

1. Shift the way you see yourself

"The beautiful thing about WW is that it keeps you accountable if you follow the weight loss program long enough for the ultimate to happen. For me, the ultimate is the shift in the way you see yourself. It’s not in the way you see yourself fitting into that dress or pair of jeans. It’s in the way you see yourself fitting into your life. Embracing your life. Honouring your life. Having reverence and appreciation for your life."

Oprah doing yoga

2. Have a vision and a plan

"The bigger picture for everybody, regardless of what you’re trying to accomplish, is a vision of the whole and not the parts that you want to show off, to be cute, sexy, or whatever. It’s the whole. And if you are striving to lose weight for anything other than the whole, then you’ll eventually fall into a hole, because those parts aren’t enough to sustain you. Having a vision for what you want and a plan to make it happen is enough to sustain you. But losing weight to fit into a pair of jeans, as I’ve done, or getting yourself thin enough to attend a wedding (or be in your own wedding)? Not big enough."

“This is not a diet you go on or off. This is about making smart choices until healthy eating become a habit. It’s a way of living and being”

3. Know your intention

"Intention is the most powerful principle that rules my world. It’s the principle by which I rule my company and every action in my life. I do nothing without first thinking about why I’m doing it. When I first started to lose, I needed to get clear on my intention. I could lose weight to fit a dress size, or attend an event, or to make other people like me. But I couldn’t keep it off for those reasons. I always put the weight back on. This time I changed the intention to, “I want to be the healthiest I can be—physically, emotionally, spiritually.” So the process and purpose of losing shifted for me. And it was easier, because my intention was clearer."

Oprah picnic

4. Learn to prioritise yourself

"You’ve got to make your well-being and fitness a priority no matter what. Once I delay something, I get another reason to delay it, and then another reason, and son. You can’t allow yourself to use excuses. You are the priority. The greatness of taking care of yourself is that you have more of yourself to give everyone else. It’s the airplane metaphor:

“When you are on a plane that’s losing oxygen—and I’ve been in that situation—you see that if you try to give oxygen to your kids or friends first, you’ll run out of oxygen. Your mask has to go on first.”

5. Become more conscious

"What WW does is slow you down. It actually allows you to be more conscious. And not just about food, but about your surroundings, what you are eating, what you are doing, how you are taking care of yourself, how everyone else shows up in your life, and how you show up for everyone else. Look at the life you have, and if it’s not the life you want, you need to look at what you’re doing. Really become aware of it. Most people look at what everyone else is doing— what their husband is doing, what their children aren’t doing; what everybody else isn’t doing to make them happy. It has nothing to do with anyone except you. You have to get really clear on the energy you’re putting out into the world—and on the why."

Oprah cooking in the kitchen

6. Learn from your setbacks

"At this point, I’m wise enough to know that there’s no such thing as failure. It’s all here to teach me. I don’t look at this as a diet; I see it as a plan for life. Every time I go over my SmartPoints Budget, I don’t see it as failure, I see it as let’s do better tomorrow. The other day, I started counting the pretzels I was eating, but lost count. Before I knew it, half the bag was gone. I said okay, I need to do better tomorrow. I get great inspiration from people in the WW Connect. I love the philosophy of Julie Sexton, one of my favourite Connect Members. Her motto is “Persistence not perfection.”