Oprah Winfrey’s diet lets you eat pasta and bread — but you still may find it surprisingly annoying

  • I followed Oprah Winfrey’s daily meal plan, which adheres to Weight Watchers’ points program.
  • Her typical intake includes low-point foods like eggs, shrimp, fish, and greens: This allows her the freedom to indulge in things like rosé and bread.
  • The system frustrated me and left me hungrier than I would have liked.

Oprah Winfrey and I share a very singular passion: bread. When I was a child, my mom called me the “carb queen” and warned that if I kept eating so many bagels, I would turn into one. Similarly, despite many ups and downs with her weight over the years, Oprah refuses to abandon her commitment to starches.

—Oprah Winfrey (@Oprah) January 26, 2016

In addition to being a media mogul, businesswoman, movie star, and dream presidential candidate, Oprah is a longtime advocate for healthy weight loss. This may be why she is also a shareholder in Weight Watchers.

“I play those points like a game,” Oprah told People in 2017.

For those who are unfamiliar, Weight Watchers assigns points to food based on calorie, sugar, saturated fat, and protein totals. According to last year’s People interview, Oprah averages around 30 points of food a day, which is a number determined by her height, weight, gender, and age. However, this point total likely changed when she adopted the new Freestyle program, which allows her to indulge in rosé, pasta — and, yes, bread.

Although Oprah has famously struggled with her relationship to food, she has said that she is prepared to be dedicated to this program “for the rest of life.”

Just picked from my garden. purple potatoes and carrots. Gonna make potato soup and carrot juice. #harvestday

A post shared by Oprah (@oprah) on Jul 27, 2017 at 11:48am PDTJul 27, 2017 at 11:48am PDT

Aside from our carbohydrate addictions, Oprah and I don’t have too many similarities. But despite our differences in weight, age, race, cultural influence, and financial status, I figured I’d give her daily meal plan a try. After all, any diet that makes room for bread and wine is already a winner in my book.

In comparing two daily meal plans that Oprah has mapped out for People — the aforementioned 30-point plan from last year and her new Freestyle program — there’s plenty of overlap. For this experiment, I decided to adapt different aspects of the two diets, embrace Oprah’s favorite food habits, and adhere to her exact recipes as much as possible.

Oprah starts her day with what she calls “the usual” breakfast sandwich.

“I do an egg, toast, because I love bread, and maybe an eighth of an avocado,” she told People. “Instead of coffee, chai tea.”

I am an avid egg eater, so this meal was old hat for me. I do, however, find it slightly blasphemous to call it a “sandwich” with only one piece of bread and no cheese.

I know white bread is horrible but I hate whole wheat, so I chose rye bread as a compromise. Callie Ahlgrim/INSIDER

I also find it very difficult to eat anything without some kind of sauce. The runny yolk and avocado helped, but ultimately I found the prospect of eating this meal viciously boring.

I remedied the meal by adding some hot sauce. I don’t know much about Weight Watchers, but it had zero calories, so I think Oprah would have approved.

Doesn’t that look so much more appealing? Callie Ahlgrim/INSIDER

I opted for green tea with lemon instead of chai, which made me feel ungodly healthy for no reason at all. Within an hour though, my caffeine headache had me cursing my lack of coffee.

For a crunchy snack, Oprah opts for chips — but only a certain amount.

“I leave room for a hard pretzel, popcorn, or potato chips,” she told People. “I can have 11 chips. Anything that goes crunch.”

Yes, you read that right. 11 chips; no more, no less. It struck me as strangely specific, but I guess that’s what happens when you develop a fool-proof diet plan based on point totals.

Granted, in the more recent interview with People, Oprah said other snacks may include popcorn and kale chips or three cups of mixed berries. But I, much like Oprah, enjoy the satisfying “crunch” of a salty snack food. So I measured out 11 salt-and-vinegar chips and enjoyed them alongside my fourth cup of water that day (Oprah advises drinking four to six, but I usually manage around eight anyway).

I do love salt and crunch, but this wasn’t the most satisfying indulgence. Callie Ahlgrim/INSIDER

If you’re thinking to yourself, “that doesn’t look like very many chips,” then you’d be absolutely right. Maybe I didn’t eat them slowly enough to truly enjoy them, but when your entire snack can fit in the palm of your hand, I think you’re already off to a rocky start.

I could probably eat all of these in one bite. Callie Ahlgrim/INSIDER

Luckily, I tend to sleep in on Saturdays and the time between breakfast and lunch is relatively short. Because I decided to enjoy my snack within that time frame, I didn’t have to wait too long before eating again.

A typical Oprah lunch will have six or seven points, thanks to zero-point foods like shrimp and vegetables.

“I love soup. I have it every day,” she told People. “And salad with lots of zero-point greens and one teaspoon of oil.”

Although Oprah told People that her favorite lunch on the Freestyle program is spaghetti with Pecorino cheese and sautéed shrimp, I cannot eat shrimp lest I go into anaphylactic shock. So I opted for a low-sodium tomato soup and a salad with clementine, cranberries, a tiny bit of goat cheese, and a couple toasted almonds.

I was careful to measure the oil for my dressing — Oprah stresses that the difference between a teaspoon and a tablespoon is three whole points. I didn’t want that kind of excess hanging over my head.

The tomato soup was easily the best part of this meal. Callie Ahlgrim/INSIDER

A tablespoon would have made a world of difference, to be honest. The oil didn’t sufficiently cover the greens, which made me feel like a herbivorous animal chewing leaves. That paired with the dullness of the oil itself (again, I prefer a spicier condiment, something with a flavorful kick) made my salad wholly underwhelming.

The smidgen of cheese was the salad’s only saving grace, but I wasn’t sure how many points it would accrue, so I was scared to add more.

Oprah saves enough points for dinner so she can indulge in wine or a cocktail.

Her entire philosophy seems to hinge on the idea that if she plays the game well throughout the day, she’s “free for dinner.”

“I am like, rolling into dinner with 15 points,” Oprah told People in 2017. “I usually have some kind of wine or cocktail that’s going to take me four points out.”

The success of Oprah’s plan also seems to rely on her obsession with seafood. She eats fattier fish like salmon more sparingly, but loves shrimp and zero-point fish like cod, according to TODAY.

I, on the other hand, typically stay far away from seafood. This is partly due to my aforementioned shellfish allergy, but also because I don’t like the taste and dislike peeling off the scaly skin even more.

Nevertheless, I am dedicated to my craft. With some help from Trader Joe’s and my mom, I enjoyed a Swai fish fillet in an olive oil marinade with tomatoes, green olives, onions, capers, peppers, carrots, and parsnips on a bed of quinoa.

The flavorful vegetable toppings were the MVPs of this meal. Callie Ahlgrim/INSIDER

To my surprise, the meal was delicious. The fish was mild enough that it didn’t taste too, you know, fishy. And the Vera Cruz topping was delightfully rich and tasteful without including anything other than vegetables. I washed it all down with a small glass of rosé.

At the end of the day, I wound up a hungrier than I would have hoped — and more frustrated than I expected.

I’m glad that Oprah gets to enjoy the occasional crunch and eat hoards of finned creatures, but I would prefer more than one slice of bread if I’m going to have a “sandwich.” And I’d rather have a bag of chips once a week than 11 per day.

It also struck me as strange that Oprah wouldn’t add another egg or two to her breakfast. She told People that she will occasionally add another egg white — but the “egg whites are healthier” trend has been widely discredited. Given Weight Watchers’ recent update that added eggs to its list of zero-point foods, an extra poach seems like a harmless way to eat more protein and stay fuller longer.

In fact, this qualm brings me to my main complaint about the meal plan: it lacked protein.

Many studies have demonstrated how high-protein foods curb your appetite. Perhaps I didn’t eat enough fish to fulfill my own personal protein quota, but I felt as though adding protein-rich foods earlier than dinner would have led to a more satisfying day overall.

Eating protein-rich foods — like steak, nuts, and eggs — is especially important if you want to build muscle.

On top of my morning egg deficiency, I avoided adding chicken to my afternoon salad because it made me genuinely nervous. The lean meat is famously an excellent source of protein — but in my cursory research, I found that three ounces of grilled chicken is three points on Weight Watchers.

I later discovered that the Freestyle program added skinless chicken to the zero-point list. Although I wish I had known that earlier, my apprehension speaks to the difficulties I experienced with Weight Watchers’ emphasis on a point total rather than a more nuanced look at nutritional value. It reminded me of my disordered eating habits in high school, when I was so obsessed with calorie-counting that I couldn’t focus on anything else.

It is important to note that Oprah advocates for the added flexibility of the Freestyle program — and for the purposes of this article, I ate according to a different person’s body and taste. Hypothetically, with my own Weight Watchers membership, I would have been able to understand the program better and tailor it to my own eating preferences.

I can certainly see how a point-driven system might work well for many people. The structure and simplicity are tantalizing, especially if you struggle understanding nutrition and gravitate towards routines.

For me, however, an intuitive eating plan — where no foods are labeled “good” or “bad,” and I can listen to the needs of my body — works far better. If I am actively avoiding pork because I know fish and chicken have lower point values, I’m just going to end up craving pork.

Note: An earlier version of this article incorrectly identified Oprah’s 2017 meal plan as her current meal plan. She now eats according to Weight Watchers Freestyle program, which allows for more zero-point foods.

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Oprah’s 7-Day Food Diary

When you read through Oprah’s food diary, you’ll notice right away that her diet is healthful but far from dull. She averages about 1,700 well-balanced calories daily, and her diet is about 20 percent protein, 30 percent fat (and rich in healthy fats), and 50 percent carbohydrates (good ones like whole grains, fruits, and vegetables). Thanks to all the yogurt and calcium-enriched soymilk she consumes, she’s getting an average of about 1,100 mg of calcium daily. Lots of fresh foods prepared simply help keep her sodium levels well within recommended levels. She’s a real fiber champion, too, averaging 34g a day.


Mix for 30 seconds in the blender: 4 ounces calcium-enriched orange juice, 1 cup mixed berries, 1 banana, 1/2 6-ounce container Yoplait Original Harvest Peach yogurt.
Serve with a handful almonds (about 12).
2 slices Wasa crispbread topped with: 1 tablespoon peanut butter, 1 teaspoon SaraBeth pineapple apricot jam
1 slice Ezekiel 4:9 Organic Sprouted Whole Grain Bread with 2 teaspoons light mayo, topped with: 3 ounces smoked turkey, sliced thin 1 slice pepper jack cheese, 1/2 cup grilled onions brushed with 1 teaspoon olive oil, 1 thin slice avocado, 1 slice tomato, Lettuce
8 ounces sugar-free iced tea
6 fresh-scooped watermelon balls
Remaining yogurt from breakfast
1 cup wild rice with 2 cups mixed vegetables (broccoli, green peas, or carrots) sautéed in 2 teaspoons olive oil
2 skinless, boneless chicken breast cutlets, 6 ounces total, grilled with a little olive oil
Next: Day 2 of Oprah’s food diary

(Photo: Weight Watchers)

Oprah knows how important snacking is for revving her metabolism and keeping her energy stable. When hunger hits, she turns to popcorn and roasted kale or naturally sweet fresh fruit sorbet. Popcorn is a whole grain packed full of fiber, and when lightly salted, it satisfied even the most serious salty snack cravings. Adding roasted kale boosts the nutrient content, providing Oprah with plenty of vitamin A to keep her skin supple and soft. Kale is also full of fiber, and when combined with popcorn, will keep Oprah satiated.

Fresh fruit sorbet is a great way to satisfy sweet cravings, as well as a sneaky way to get in an extra serving or two of fruit during the day. Oprah makes her sorbet using an at-home sorbet maker. Though sorbet is a healthy snack, if you’re planning to include it in your own snack routine, make sure to pair it with a slice of string cheese or a tablespoon of peanut butter; the fat and protein in these foods, combined with the carbohydrates in the sorbet, will keep you full longer than just the sorbet itself which, while tasty, isn’t particularly filling.

This Is What Oprah Winfrey Would Eat As Her Last Meal

Everyone knows that Oprah Winfrey loves comfort food. From her Weight Watchers commercials featuring the media mogul proclaiming, “I love bread!” to her specialty line of ready-to-make entrees and sides, Winfrey knows that good food can affect a person’s whole outlook on the day.

Recently, Winfrey sat down with People magazine and offered up her insights on healthy eating and her all-time favorite type of food.

Oprah Winfrey has been affiliated with Weight Watchers for years

VOprah Winfrey | Andrew Chin/Getty Images

For years, Winfrey has been in a tight partnership with the diet brand Weight Watchers. Winfrey has gone through a very public battle with weight loss and frequently spoke out about how difficult it was to stay at a healthy weight even before she joined forces with the company.

Many industry insiders claim that it is Winfrey’s transparency and honesty about her weight struggles that have made her such an excellent spokeswoman for the company.

Since her initial partnership with Weight Watchers, Winfrey has become a part of the company – in fact, she owns a share in Weight Watchers and is on their board of directors. It is easy to see that Winfrey is passionate about eating healthy, but more than that, she understands the importance of eating well.

Her magazine, O, regularly spotlights ways to make readers’ favorite foods just a bit lighter, so that her fans can still enjoy all of their comfort foods while working towards their fitness goals.

Of course, Winfrey still understands the value of indulgence. Her annual “favorite things” list always includes an incredible range of sweet treats such as cheesecake dippers, hot chocolate mixes, and decadent cakes.

Winfrey is launching healthy frozen meals

In late 2017, Oprah Winfrey partnered with Kraft Foods to launch, “O, That’s Good,” a collection of packaged foods like mashed potatoes with butternut squash, baked potato soup, and mac and cheese.

According to the brand’s website, the mission of “O, That’s Good” is to offer everyone’s favorite comfort foods with a more nutritious twist — foods that remind the consumer of home and hearth.

“O, That’s Good” has been a definite hit, and the line has since expanded to include frozen pizzas and even more entree options. Winfrey isn’t stopping there — she recently announced that the brand would be launching frozen skillet meals, which can be purchased wherever groceries are sold.

Some of the skillet meal options will include garlic chicken and potatoes, sausage and rigatoni, and chicken alfredo made with cauliflower. The meals are perfectly compatible with Weight Watchers and can be made in around ten minutes. Winfrey even makes the meals for herself and longtime boyfriend Stedman Graham, as she revealed in a recent social media post.

What is Winfrey’s favorite food?

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I loved the food and sense of community so much I invested in the company @true_food_kitchen . And tonight my garden took center stage! So proud of my beets and potatoes! #Truefood

A post shared by Oprah (@oprah) on Jan 17, 2019 at 9:29pm PST

When discussing her new line of skillet meals with People, Winfrey also chatted about her foodie credentials. She claims that she loves to “mix all of her food together,” and that she introduced the skillet meals because it’s the way she likes to eat and wants her line to have something for everybody.

When pressed to reveal her all-time favorite foods, Winfrey’s answer was instantaneous — pasta. “If I were going to choose my last week,” Winfrey stated, “they would all be pastas.”

With six total frozen skillets hitting shelves, Winfrey’s fans can choose to enjoy their favorite foods all throughout the week without any lingering guilt. Most of them have pasta included, so consumers can enjoy some of Winfrey’s choicest creations at any time, no matter how busy their schedule might be.

Stay tuned to Showbiz Cheat Sheet for all the latest Oprah Winfrey news!

What Oprah REALLY Eats in a Day — and Yes, Her Diet Includes Wine and Bread!

After 17 months on Weight Watchers, Oprah is a master at working her daily points.

“I play those points like a game!” Winfrey, 62, tells PEOPLE.

The media mogul and Weight Watchers stakeholder carefully follows the healthy eating program, which assigns points to food based on calorie, sugar, saturated fat and protein totals. Winfrey eats around 30 points of food a day, a number determined by her height, weight, gender and age.

And she saves most of those 30 for dinner, so she can have her usual glass of wine.

“Listen, I have had 12 points of wine and one shrimp for dinner. That was a really good dinner,” she says, laughing.

Image zoom

Oprah gets candid about her years of diet struggles & how she triumphed with Weight Watchers — without giving up bread, chips, or wine! Subscribe now for the superstar’s emotional interview — only in PEOPLE!

Check out the rest of Winfrey’s diet below, with recipes from her new cookbook, Food, Health and Happiness.

Hydration (0 points)

4-6 glasses of water a day

“I have to force myself to drink water,” she says. “I’m not as good as I should be. I never make it to eight glasses. I mostly do four to six.”

Breakfast (6-7 points)

Image zoom “The Usual” Sandwich Tina Rupp/Food, Health, and Happiness

“The Usual” breakfast sandwich and chai tea

“This sandwich is called The Usual,” Winfrey says. “I do an egg, toast, because I love bread, and maybe an eighth of an avocado. Instead of coffee, chai tea.”

  • Watch the full episode of People Cover Story: Oprah’s Weight Loss Journey now on the People/Entertainment Weekly Network (PEN) and Go to, or download the app for Apple TV, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Xumo, Chromecast, Xfinity, iOS and Android devices.

Snack (3 points)

“I leave room for a hard pretzel, popcorn or potato chips. I can have 11 chips. Anything that goes crunch.”

Lunch (6-7 points)

Image zoom Tomato soup Tina Rupp/Food, Health, and Happiness Image zoom Tuscan kale-and-apple salad Tina Rupp/Food, Health, and Happiness

Tomato soup and Tuscan kale-and-apple salad

“I love soup. I have it every day,” Winfrey says. “And salad with lots of zero-point greens and one teaspoon of oil.”

Dinner (13-15 points)

Image zoom Miso-glazed cod with sesame green beans Tina Rupp/Food, Health, and Happiness

Miso-glazed cod with sesame green beans

“I usually have some kind of wine or cocktail,” she says. “I’ll do a fish, vegetables and a starch.”

Oprah Winfrey hasn’t pulled her weight at WW: analysts

Oprah Winfrey hasn’t just slimmed down with Weight Watchers — she’s slimmed down her role as the company’s spokeswoman.

That’s the concern from Wall Street analysts, who fret that the billionaire media mogul has grown increasingly scarce in the weight-loss company’s marketing campaigns — despite her seat on the board and significant stake in the company.

Shares of the Big Apple-based firm, which recently rebranded itself as WW, have been slashed in half since their June 20 peak of $103. Last month, the stock plunged 29 percent in a single day after it revealed its second straight quarter of slowing revenue and subscriber growth. The shares on Thursday closed at $49.77.

One worry is that Winfrey has grown less interested in her role as pitchwoman for WW than she is in promoting other ventures, including her own line of healthy foods, called “O, That’s Good.” That’s despite the fact that Winfrey’s contract with WW expires at the end of 2020.

Winfrey’s sales of WW stock haven’t helped. In March, she netted $110 million by selling 2 million shares, 361,000 of which she donated to her charitable foundation. Recently, she still owned 5.4 million shares, according to filings.

“It’s been a rough go for the firm,” ISS-EVA analyst Anthony Campagna said of WW. “There have been rumblings in the market about what could happen to all the good will she’s built for the brand.”

Faced with growing investor anxiety, WW’s management nevertheless has not been “willing to be crystal clear” about Winfrey’s role, DA Davison analyst Linda Bolton Weiser told The Post. Management likewise has been tight-lipped about her contract, analysts say. The company declined to discuss it with The Post.

WW this year launched its first-ever summer marketing campaign to attract new members.

While Oprah appeared in WW’s winter campaign — and she posted a shout-out on Twitter to fellow WW ambassador DJ Khaled in January — she was not tapped for the summer promotion.

“The key thing about 2018 is that WW had a big summer campaign, spent more on advertising, and she was not in it,” Weiser said.

A WW spokeswoman countered that Winfrey “was never intended to be in every WW ad since the partnership was formed in 2015.”

In the early days of the tie-up, Winfrey could simply tweet about what she ate or how much weight she was losing on the plan and send WW’s shares soaring.

On Jan. 26, 2016, shares spiked 20 percent after she tweeted, “Eat bread. Lose weight. Whaaatttt? #ComeJoinMe,” and revealed that she’d lost 26 pounds on the WW points system.

But the last time she shared news about her weight loss was in January 2017, when she said she had lost 40 pounds, her spokeswoman Nicole Nichols confirmed.

“She has said that she’s is holding at her weight and happy with that because she has not done that before,” Nichols said.

Nichols declined to comment, however, on why Oprah was missing in WW’s summer campaign, and whether she plans to renew her contract when it expires at the end of 2020.

Sales and subscriptions began petering out in September, management said on the most recent earnings call. That month, in what looked like a bid to shore up momentum, Winfrey posted an Instagram video of herself eating egg whites, mushrooms and a piece of toast with jam.

“Weight Watchers is evolving,” she wrote.

WW is hoping to create new buzz when it announces two new brand ambassadors — one in the United Kingdom and one in the US — any day now. Oprah will also be part of the campaign, the company said.

Among the potential candidates are Serena Williams, Beyonce, Kylie Jenner and Khloe Kardashian, according to a list that Weiser compiled.

“Oprah can’t go on forever,” Weiser said. “She may want to still be involved but with lesser visibility and having a a more visible spokesperson may be a way to address that.”

Some severely obese kids should get weight loss surgery, American Academy of Pediatrics says

Some severely obese preteens and teens should be considered for weight loss surgery, according to new guidance from the American Academy of Pediatrics. Dr. Devi Nampiaparampil weighs in.

“More options” and “more freedom” are key aspects of Weight Watchers’ new customizable myWW program.

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For the first time, Oprah Winfrey-backed Weight Watchers, which rebranded in 2018 as WW, is offering its members the opportunity to choose a program tailored to a member’s weight loss plan — giving them “more flexibility” when it comes to the foods they eat.

The launch of myWW, however, comes days after shares of WW International Inc. fell sharply as the weight-management company reported a third consecutive quarter of lower revenue. The company’s revenue for the thee three months ending in September was $348.6 million, down from $365.8 million a year earlier.

“It is scientifically proven that customized approaches lead to greater engagement and more behavior change than generic approaches,” said Gary Foster, chief scientific officer of WW. “The new myWW program enables people to live their lives and still lose weight.”

Sydney, Australia – February 14, 2014: website on a digital tablet in a kitchen with cooking utensils and food, showing weight loss recipes with salad feature.

MyWW allows members to choose from three customized plans based on taste preferences, eating habits and goals. Members are first asked to complete a personal assessment then chose whether the Blue, Green or Purple plan is best for them.

“We inspire healthy habits for real life-and everyone is different,” said Mindy Grossman, president and CEO of WW. “We are constantly listening to our community, and we know they want a more customized approach to weight loss.”

The myWW plans all are based on the company’s SmartPoints rating system and ZeroPoint foods lists. ZeroPoint foods are foods that don’t need to be weighed, measured or tracked. According to WW, they help form the foundation for a healthy eating pattern. They are also much less likely to be overeaten.


With the Green Plan, members will be able to build meals and snacks around more than 100 ZeroPoint foods including fruits and vegetables. Green members also have the largest SmartPoints budget to spend on other foods.

The Blue Plan, which can be recognized by current members as WW Freestyle, allows members to build meals around more than 200 ZeroPoint foods including fruits, veggies and lean proteins with a smaller SmartPoints budget.

Members can have a breakfast of banana pancakes with a salmon and spinach salad for lunch and a lamb and black bean stir fry for dinner, aside from the additional snacks and desert.


Meanwhile, the new Purple plan offers more than 300 ZeroPoint foods and adds grains including whole wheat pasta and potatoes while also having a more modest SmartPoints budget.

The Ups and Downs of Oprah’s Weight Loss Journey, and What She Swears By

Oprah Winfrey’s struggles with weight have played out in the public eye for all to see. We’ve witnessed her trials and triumphs, as she has fought to maintain a healthy weight. Oprah has had success with weight loss only to experience defeat a few months later after regaining the weight. This pattern seemed to repeat itself every couple of years. After doing everything she could to lose weight, Oprah told her fans she is finally at a place of acceptance.

Here are some of the ups and downs of Oprah’s weight loss journey, and what she swears by.

The early years

Oprah’s weight loss journey has had many ups and downs. | GIPHY

Oprah first shared her ongoing struggle to lose weight when she began hosting The Oprah Winfrey Show in the 1980s. In 1988, she decided to try to lose the weight by going on a liquid diet called Optifast. Oprah was successful — she lost a whopping 67 pounds in just a couple of months. She celebrated the weight loss by going on her TV show and dragging a wagon-full of fat behind her to represent the 67 pounds she lost.

However, once Oprah began eating solid food, the weight came back quickly. She said she gained 10 pounds in two weeks. Unfortunately, the pounds continued to pile on. In 1992, Oprah said her weight had ballooned to 237 pounds, her heaviest.

Slimming down

Her curvy body has gone through many changes throughout the years. | Paras Griffin/Getty Images

In 2005, Oprah decided to try again to lose weight. This time, she was successful. She managed to slim down to 160 pounds. “I thought I was finished with the weight battle. I was done. I’d conquered it. I was so sure, I was even cocky. I had the nerve to say to friends who were struggling, ‘all you have to do is work out harder and eat less! Get your 10,000 steps in! None of that starchy stuff!’” said Oprah in her magazine.

Life happens

Oprah understands what it’s like to struggle with weight loss. | GIPHY

However, Oprah would later learn that keeping the weight off would require more than just eating right. She also had to address some health issues she had been unaware of.

In 2009, Oprah gained the weight back. She documented her weight loss journey in the January 2009 issue of O, The Oprah magazine. She placed a picture of her at her 2006 weight next to a picture of her at her weight in 2009. Below the pictures was the caption, “How did I let this happen again?” Oprah said a crazy work schedule and thyroid problems contributed to her weight creeping up to 200 pounds.

Weight Watchers

Oprah always goes back to Weight Watchers for getting back on track. | GIPHY

Oprah swears by Weight Watchers. She said the easy-to-follow plan has helped her lose the weight and keep it off. In fact, Oprah managed to lose more than 40 pounds by sticking to the Weight Watchers diet plan.

“This is easier than any other program I’ve been on, and the reason is because the world is your menu. You can go out for tacos and no one will even know you’re on the program — that’s the best part. That, and it works,” said Oprah on the Weight Watchers website.

Setting limits

Her busy lifestyle and changes have led to Oprah’s weight gain and loss. | Rob Kim/Getty Images

In an interview for The New York Times Magazine titled “Losing it in the Anti-Dieting Age,” Oprah said although she believes in self-acceptance, she can’t accept herself if she is over 200 pounds. For her, that is the most she can weigh before she feels it’s time to do something about her weight.

“For your heart to pump, pump, pump, pump, it needs the least amount of weight possible to do that,” she said. “So, all of the people who are saying, ‘Oh, I need to accept myself as I am’ — I can’t accept myself if I’m over 200 pounds, because it’s too much work on my heart. It causes high blood pressure for me. It puts me at risk for diabetes, because I have diabetes in my family,” Oprah told The New York Times.

An unexpected roadblock

Oprah has been very honest about her emotional eating. | Mike Windle/Getty Images

Oprah was determined to lose 20 pounds during the summer of 2015, but an ankle injury derailed those plans. Instead of losing weight, the talk show host packed on 17 pounds. She told People that she was out of commission for one month, so she started eating jalapeno bagels out of frustration. “You are doing some serious eating and not moving. I was in yet another funk about my weight,” said Oprah.

Making peace with food

Oprah doesn’t fight her urges anymore | GIPHY

Oprah told People that she is now at peace with food. This is evident in the fact that she recently lost almost 43 pounds. Part of the reason is because of the Weight Watchers plan. Oprah said she can eat real food and never feel deprived.

Oprah said in an earlier article in O, The Oprah magazine that another key to staying healthy is having a balanced life. She became aware that exercising and eating well only keep you healthy if the rest of your life is balanced. “What I’ve learned this year is that my weight issue isn’t about eating less or working out harder, or even about a malfunctioning thyroid. It’s about my life being out of balance, with too much work and not enough play, not enough time to calm down. I let the well run dry,” said Oprah.

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WW, formerly Weight Watchers, unveils new plan with more choice, less hunger and, yes, pasta

More options and less hunger are central to Weight Watchers’ new color-coded myWW program.

For the first time, the preeminent weight-loss company, which rebranded as WW in 2018, is rolling out three customized plans simultaneously, officials shared exclusively with USA TODAY.

The Oprah Winfrey-backed company’s new plan includes whole wheat pasta, brown rice and potatoes – which have cost points in past WW programs – as “ZeroPoint” foods, meaning they don’t have to be measured or tracked.

“There’s no foods off limits on any of our programs, and it’s going to be sustainable,” said Mindy Grossman, WW president and CEO, in an interview with USA TODAY. “It’s easy, it’s simple and I think that’s what people are craving for – something they can really live with.”

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More options result in less hunger

The company’s latest program and plans arrive Monday, more than seven weeks before people traditionally make New Year’s resolutions that often include losing weight. Grossman said it’s the earliest the company has launched a new program.

Gary Foster, WW chief scientific officer, said the new plan took about two years to develop and it builds on science and behavioral data.

“The science is very clear on this issue,” he said. “Personalized plans get people to be more engaged and they’re more likely to make behavior changes than if they’re not personalized.”

New members will take an assessment to figure out the best plan for them while current members can choose any of the plans. The blue plan is the same as the most recent WW Freestyle plan.

There’s also the green plan with a smaller list of “ZeroPoint” foods and the new purple plan’s list has whole wheat pasta, brown rice and oatmeal.

“Balance is important. We don’t want people to just eat from a list,” Foster said. “That’s diet talk and we don’t want that.”

Not one of the plans is considered better or healthier, he said. A clinical trial found a 24% decrease in hunger overall.

“I’ve never seen a 24% reduction in hunger,” Foster said, adding they also are encouraged by other stats like 90% of people saying it’s easier to stick with. “We think there’s something great happening here.”

Keri Gans, a New York-based registered dietitian and author of “The Small Change Diet,” thinks the new program is going to appeal to more people and are a better option than fad diets that teach restriction and are not sustainable.

“There really is no one size fits all so I think by offering three new plans it’s really getting more to what would fit best for the consumer,” Gans said. “The beauty of the program to begin with is it doesn’t want you to feel stuck at all. It wants you to feel that you have freedom to choose.”

And what does Winfrey, who bought about 10% of the company in October 2015 and has since sold some of her shares, think of the new plan?

“She’s been on the plan and she’s been having fun,” Grossman said. “She’s been thrilled.”

Plan options

The three plans in the myWW program all are based on the company’s SmartPoints rating system and ZeroPoint foods lists, which differ by plan. ZeroPoint foods are considered to more filling and less likely to be overeaten.

Green: With this plan, there are more than 100 ZeroPoint foods, which are fruits and vegetables. Green members get a larger SmartPoints budget and will need to track more of their meals.

Blue: Current members will recognize this plan as WW Freestyle. There are more than 200 ZeroPoint foods, which include fruits and veggies along with lean proteins, eggs, beans and nonfat yogurt.

Purple: The new plan has more than 300 ZeroPoint foods and adds grains including whole wheat pasta, potatoes to the category. Purple has a more modest SmartPoints budget.

Follow USA TODAY reporter Kelly Tyko on Twitter: @KellyTyko

Oprah Winfrey’s my smothered chicken


  1. To roast chicken: Preheat the oven to 500°F. Put the chicken in a large bowl and toss with the Tbsp oil. In a small bowl, combine the Tbsp celery seed, Tbsp coriander, Tbsp red pepper flakes, Tbsp salt, and Tbsp black pepper. Add to the chicken and toss to coat. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, turning once, until the legs are starting to brown. Remove the chicken from the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 300°F.
  2. While the chicken is roasting, make the braising liquid: Pour the chicken stock into a medium saucepan. Place over medium heat, and heat until hot, but don’t let it come to a boil. Heat the tsp oil in a medium sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the remaining ingredients and sauté until the vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes. Remove the bay leaves and transfer the vegetables to a blender. Add the hot chicken stock and blend until smooth.
  3. To smother the chicken: Transfer the legs to a large roasting dish. Pour the braising liquid over the chicken legs, cover with aluminum foil, and bake for 60 to 75 minutes, until the sauce is bubbling and thick enough to coat a spoon. Remove the chicken from the oven, let rest for 10 minutes, and serve, over brown ice if you like. The chicken will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
  4. Serving size: 2 drumsticks

When Oprah Winfrey announced her partnership and decision to invest in Weight Watchers, the company saw a 20 percent increase in shares. She’s since lost 26 pounds — all while continuing to (gasp) eat bread.

Last night on a live Web-call exclusively for Weight Watchers members, the 62-year-old revealed some of her greatest tricks for staying on track, most of which start with making simple lifestyle changes.

RELATED: Oprah unveils her weight-loss transformation

1. Go with seafood as often as possible.

“Seafood is your friend!” said Winfrey. On a recent trip to Australia, she discovered her new favorite fish: barramundi. Also known as Asian sea bass, the sustainable fish can be a little hard to find at times in the U.S., so she often opts for cod.

She’s also a fan of Chilean sea bass and salmon but doesn’t have them as often as she used to because they’re fattier fish that have higher points values on the program. Her biggest seafood epiphany: She just found out that 77 large shrimp (yes, 77 pieces of shrimp) is only six points on the program (that’s equivalent to about 3/8 pound of wild salmon).

Trending stories,celebrity news and all the best of TODAY.

2. Satisfy your craving for a savory and crunchy snack with this one vegetable.

“I love jicama because you get a crunch,” she said. Often overlooked at the market, this large, bulbous root vegetable has an inedible thin brown skin that may make it seem unappealing.

RELATED: A ‘message of hope’: Can Oprah’s Weight Watchers investment help us lose weight?

But peel it back and the juicy flesh has a sweet, nutty flavor and a satisfying crunch. If you’re like Winfrey and find that a bag of crispy chips can be a trigger food to overeat, jicama is a great replacement option.

My @weightwatchers #wwsmartpoints sexy breakfast. #ComeJoinMe

— Oprah Winfrey (@Oprah) January 5, 2016

3. Make spaghetti squash taste more like real spaghetti.

Let’s get real. On it’s own, spaghetti squash may resemble spaghetti. But honestly, it doesn’t really taste like or have the chewy and satisfying mouthfeel of al dente pasta.

RELATED: Oprah talks struggle in new Weight Watchers ad: ‘It’s not just about the weight’

A true foodie, Winfrey gets this and adds about 3/8 of a cup (or two points worth) of real noodles for a game-changing solution.

4. The secret to making mashed cauliflower just as good as mashed potatoes.

Instead of traditional mashed potatoes, Winfrey opts for cauliflower mash because it has a lower points value. But when she has six to eight guests over for dinner, Winfrey mashes a whole head of cauliflower and adds just one potato.

This simple addition adds so much of a rich and creamy texture that her guests don’t even realizes that they’re eating mostly cauliflower.

5. Drink more water!

Winfrey admittedly “doesn’t really like water” even though she knows she should have more. She’s tried sipping on fruit-infused water (she’s not into it) and is currently trying to trick herself into drinking more by adding ginger and a hint of vanilla to her H20 — but not very enthusiastically.

RELATED: Study offers more evidence that drinking water can help cut calories

Ever on the road to self-improvement, this is one hurdle she’s still working on to help her get to her weight-loss goal.

Oprah shows off weight loss on latest O magazine cover

March 11, 201602:51

Oprah’s Favorite Food Is Coming To Your Grocery Store

Oh, Lady O has done it again. From owning OWN to being a Weight Watcher spokesperson, Oprah Winfrey has her hands in just about every industry. And usually what she touches turns to gold. Next on the list; her own brand of food. Winfrey has joined hands with Kraft Heinz to launch “O, That’s Good!” — a line of health-conscious comfort foods without any artificial flavors and dyes. We all know Oprah loves bread, but for this venture she partnered with a team of chefs to cook up new ways of creating her favorite foods.

Are you a Weight Watcher, too? Try one of our favorite Weight Watchers recipes!

You can expect to find these new products in the grocery store aisles across the country this fall with ads starting to run October 2.

While you’re waiting for Oprah’s food to hit the shelves, grab a coupon for your other favorite foods!

Here’s what I love about this line: you get comfort food but there is a healthy twist. For example, I love mashed potatoes. One of the sides is mashed potatoes, but with a twist of cauliflower. There are four refrigerated soups to serve up: Baked Potato, Broccoli Cheddar, Creamy Butternut Squash and Creamy Potato Basil. As for refrigerated sides, Mashed Potatoes, Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Three Cheese Pasta and Creamy Parmesan Pasta. All products will cost under $5 with sides at a suggested retail price of $4.49 and soups at $4.99.

Ten percent of profits will be equally shared among the charitable organizations Rise Against Hunger and Feeding America. Both of these charities work to fight hunger. Oprah says, “In 2018, a donation of at least $100,000 will be contributed to these organizations.”

On the “O, That’s Good!” website, Oprah explains that she has a passion for wanting to share delicious, flavorful and convenient food with people all over the world. I, for one, am looking forward to trying these new soups and sides…especially the mashed potatoes!

What I Learned from Eating Like Oprah for a Week

Oprah has never shied away from the topic of weight, and more specifically the struggles around losing weight. It all famously started back in 1988 when she walked onto her talk show stage after her 60-pound weight loss, toting a wagon full of the fat she juice-fasted off for four months. (Of course, she later regretted the all-liquid diet!) After years of trial and error, these days she’s taking a much healthier, balanced approach to dieting.

Last year, she became a spokesperson for-and investor in-Weight Watchers, and this fall, her O That’s Good! food line of soups, pastas, and mashed potatoes will hit supermarkets. She also recently published Food, Health, and Happiness, a cookbook/memoir that delves into her new food philosophy.

Being the curious food editor that I am, I decided to follow in O’s footsteps, mixing recipes from her book with products in her food line-all in pursuit of living my best life for a week. Here’s what I discovered:

Oprah starts her day the way we all wish we could.

Surprise! O’s morning routine doesn’t involve slamming a smoothie while running into work 10 minutes behind schedule, only to discover she made it into the office with two different earrings on. (What? Just me?)

She revealed in FHH that she spends her first five to 20 minutes awake in silence, then prays, meditates, walks her pups, and exercises for 45 minutes. Then she digs into some of her breakfast cookies or my personal favorite, “The Usual,” a piece of toast piled high with avocado, tomato, turkey, and egg.

Since I struggle to get enough shut-eye as it is, I tried a truncated version of her meditation routine by spending my first 60 seconds awake simply lying in silence-and not checking my phone immediately for once. It was a surprisingly rejuvenating habit that I’ve kept up since.

Note to self: Set alarm two hours earlier and get a dog. Or five. That appears to be working for Oprah.

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Soup has a soft spot in her heart.

Chapter one of O’s book is dedicated to all things soup. When Oprah was a kid, her mom’s salary as a maid meant they couldn’t afford the Campbell’s soup her favorite TV show’s characters scooped up during family dinners. (The show was Lassie, for those who are interested. You know you are.) Now that Oprah has some extra change for groceries, she opts to make Basic Tomato Soup from scratch, and on special occasions, she garnishes it with garlic croutons or sautéed mushrooms and goat cheese.

In fact, Oprah is so into soup, she included four multi-veggie varieties in her new food line!

There’s baked potato and cauliflower (creamy and made for cold winter days); broccoli-cheddar and butternut squash (surprisingly cheesy); tomato-basil, celery, and carrot (thick and bisque-like rather than brothy); and butternut squash, sweet potato, and carrot (I found this one to be my favorite of the bunch-sweet yet satisfying, although a bit high in calories for dieters at 190 per cup).

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Personally, I associate premade soup with the “diet” sodium-bomb versions I forced down while trying to drop a few pounds before my high school prom. But with all the added veggies and fairly decent nutrition stats among Oprah’s line, I wouldn’t feel bad about grabbing one if I didn’t have time to stir together a batch of soup from scratch.

Oprah prefers her food sexy, aka spicy.

Oprah dug through her recipe collection and teamed up with a handful of chefs for the meals featured in her new tome. One of the six spotlighted chefs, Eduardo Chavez, taught her how to add more “sexy” to her recipes with some additional spice. Oprah notes her preference for all things h-o-t several times throughout the pages, including next to the recipe she actually calls “Sexy Breakfast,” which involves scrambled eggs topped with a homemade roasted salsa made with jalapeños and serranos. All those peppers certainly woke me up in the morning, but half a serrano and half a jalapeño before 9 a.m. sounds like a recipe for heartburn to me.

What sounded sexiest after that was a big glass of milk. But my metabolism was happy, I guess?

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Oprah must have a refrigerator that’s almost as big as her bank account.

My Oprah eats week coincided with our in-state football rivalry. Rather than indulging in copious amounts of greasy chips and sour cream dip or cupcakes, I decided to whip up her Heirloom Tomato and Corn Salad to share. A drizzle of homemade summery tarragon vinaigrette and crumbles of goat cheese really made this veggie-forward recipe taste like a treat, but the $30 price tag for all of the ingredients made it slightly tough to swallow. I’m all for fresh ingredients and layers of flavor, but when the tab for a side dish costs more than a complete dinner at a restaurant, I have a tough time talking myself into cooking.

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Oprah’s new moderate mindset comes with a healthy dose of universal lessons.

Oprah’s latest version of healthy doesn’t come cheap, although it does come with some wise words that extend beyond the dining room table. Even after the official experiment wrapped up, I did keep some of Oprah’s lessons top of mind:

1. “If what you eat is mediocre, it will always leave you wanting.”

Translation: Skip the diet food. Also, replace “eat” with pretty much any verb and this is a true statement about nearly everything.

Oprah’s advice in action: When faced with dozens of choices at the artisan cheese shop, I opted for a decadent triple cream brie for a cocktail party I was hosting rather than the reduced-fat goat cheese that used to be my go-to. Rather than nibbling on reduced-fat cheese all night, I felt satisfied with splurging on three bites.

2. “Now that I’ve finally internalized the rules of clean eating, I let myself break the rules. I don’t do it often, and I never do it mindlessly; the goal is to make my indulgence intentional. I aim for deliberate. I plan for decadence.”

Translation: Is it your birthday? Eat that slice of cake without one crumb of guilt.

Oprah’s advice in action: At a one-time-only five-course tasting menu that I sat down to with pals after a strong hour-long rowing circuit, I nearly licked the plate the apple tart once sat on. Now that’s balance I can live with.

3. “Food is supposed to be about joy, not suffering.”

Translation: Fuel your body with food that makes you feel good, inside and out.

Oprah’s advice in action: The protein-topped salad lunch I snagged from the deli today makes me feel like I can take on the world. That mountain of fries I tried to climb last week (and depriving diet food, on the other end of the spectrum)? Not so much.

That final point is the one that makes me think that Oprah may have finally found her happy weight and her happy (sexy, soup-filled) place. Turns out, it isn’t impossible to do the same.

  • By By Karla Walsh

Oprah weight watchers recipes

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