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Article from the Desk of Laura - Oprah Winfrey

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Posted 18th April 2009 at 08:46 PM by jeffreys

As many of you know, Oprah Winfrey recently “came clean” about her forty-pound weight gain and admitted that she was embarrassed to be over two hundred pounds again. I have so many feelings about this, but the strongest of all is camaraderie.

Our nation has now hit a point where MOST of us are overweight. Isn’t that an overwhelming thought? And even those of us who DO lose weight, like Oprah, will often reclaim” those pounds and put them back on. So the chances are far greater that Oprah is touching a lot of hearts right now – rather than letting us down.

I would like to say that I am one of the lucky ones – losing a hundred pounds twenty years ago and still being a hundred pounds less two decades later. But it isn’t luck – and don’t think I never reclaimed a pound or two. Surely I have.

But what I have been blessed to know – and what Oprah Winfrey is just discovering and proclaiming – is that PERMANENT change MUST be based and grown in self-care and self-love. There is NOTHING else that will offer you the inspiration, the tools, and the COURAGE to continue a different way of life.

Because that’s the other thing that I (and probably all of us) share with Oprah – a lot of people count on us. We have what seems like an endless list of family, friends, colleagues, and sometimes even strangers who look to us for an endless list of things. Add in the mundane reality of a job, a household, and laundry – well, it is not surprising that self-care is a SKILL that has to be taught and learned. (Teaching those skills is, in fact, my life’s work.)

Quite simply, weight loss means that you must put yourself FIRST on your list, and that isn’t instinctive to most of us. But by doing that you will be empowered to do everything else, and serve everyone else, in your world.

I have some areas where I disagree with Oprah, though; for one thing, her embarrassment.

Don’t get me wrong, I understand what she means. As a body image mentor, I hold the space for many, many clients who have shame around their weight – but I simply wish FOR Oprah that she could begin her journey of self-care and self-love RIGHT NOW – and that means loving herself 100% (no reservations) and owning that she is perfect right now, as she is. Needing to release the weight again actually makes her MORE accessible to the MILLIONS of men and women who face that same challenge over and over in life. Like I said, I often feel l was one of the lucky ones.
But you know what I know? I know that it wasn’t luck. I lost the weight, only to realize that I still hated my life. Can you IMAGINE how awful that was? I had been an overweight kid – then an overweight teen – then an overweight adult. I ALWAYS believed that when I lost the weight, my life would change. Newsflash! I lost the weight and then I had to CHANGE my life. So I did. That’s where the blessing was – I recognized it and started building a pathway to self-love and self-care – and I never stopped.

I truly believe that if this dialogue about self-care and what it really MEANS in our day-to-day lives becomes one-tenth as pervasive as the dialogue around shame and self-loathing around weight and dieting and body image – that one-tenth discussion will change the trajectory of obesity and low body image in our nation.

We have an opportunity here to create a different kind of conversation. Will you help me? Will you sit down with your overweight friends and tell them, “I love you and think you are perfect exactly as you are.” And then just LISTEN to their responses about their body and their weight.

You will be amazed. I am grateful and humbled to be part of this discussion. THAT is the part that I feel lucky about.

Laura Fenamore, Body Image Mastery Mentor
Would you like to feel the same way I do? Take my hand, come with me and learn to love what you see in the mirror every day. Sign up for my Body Image Mastery course and be one of the first people to join my new community here:

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