Why Oprah Needs to Dump Bob GreenePosted: May 2, 2011
OK, so here it is finally. The obligatory “open letter to Oprah” that it seems every fat blogger feels compelled to write. I thought I could avoid it, but I feel compelled. Judging from her ever re-expanding size, I feel like I have a lot in common with her. I can’t count the times I have fluctuated in size, up to a size 22W (see photos). I also know how much pain is involved in the process. It feels so hopeless. And judging from the self-flagellating I have seen her do on this subject (i.e. “falling off the wagon”), she no doubt thinks that she can’t stay on Bob Greene’s program because of her weak will. This too makes me sad for her.
I think Oprah needs to hear that she can’t follow Greene’s plan (heavy exercise, relatively low fat) and have successful long term weight loss, because her cravings for carbohydrates will always make that impossible for her. She will always have that “itchy tongue” (aka that “I am not hungry but I just need to eat, anything, ANYTHING!, maybe I could whip up a quick batch of french toast?, who cares if it is midnight! I just need to eat, why can’t I stop eating, I am a horrible, horrible human being” feeling; also the feeling that food is watching you and beckoning you to eat it from across the room) as long as she is trying to eat/live this way. Her cravings are a jailer for her, just as they were for me. (Read Why We Get Fat, by Kara Carper, LN, from Nutritional Weight and Wellness for more)
So, weight loss and healthy living success, for people with bodies like Oprah’s and mine, is all about cravings management. That is, eating enough protein and healthy fat, including saturated fat, to feel satisfied and nourished. It is also about being gentle on ourselves when we do “fall off the wagon” or relapses. Relapses of poor eating are a necessary part of losing the weight. They give us a chance to practice. Practice getting back on the wagon. Practice what works to manage cravings. Rather than throwing in the towel after a bad eating week, I now know how to get back on. What I have learned from this is the impact of a week of bad eating is usually very minimal over time. For example, I had 2 weeks over Easter that were less than perfect. OK, it was the diet equivalent of Hiroshima (see my post about this). I was so afraid to weigh myself. After a week of being back on the wagon, I weighed myself. I lost 1 pound. I would never have gained this knowledge had I not relapsed into poor eating. So, Oprah should go easy on herself when she relapses. These are just part of the journey!
Another reason Oprah will never succeed with Bob Greene’s advice, is that he has a vested, monetary interest in selling foods that will sabotage her best efforts. His Best Life approved foods are a parade of highly processed foods that would adversely affect Oprah’s metabolism and thyroid function, all keys to effective weight loss. Is it any wonder that she has a very publicly acknowledged thyroid condition? Following Greene’s advice of heavy exercise and low fat eating over the years has caused her thyroid gland to resemble a burnt walnut. Not to mention that he perpetuates the pesky recommendation I hear so many experts give for obese people to eat a bunch of whole grains. Yikes! Whole grains for people like Oprah and me are the keys to packing on pounds. I have heard Dr. Oz and Bob Greene, among other Oprah experts, preach this gospel. When you gain weight easily, this is the WORST advice you can get. I followed it for years and gained 100 extra pounds in the process. (Read Gary Taubes’ blog for why this is so). So, why do people continue to buy Best Life products and Bob Greene’s books no matter how big Oprah gets with his advice over the years? Why do they listen to his rap even though she is clearly not a healthy woman, aside from her weight? Ladies and Gentlemen, this fitness emperor is wearing no clothes.
Last Saturday, I was strolling around Nordstrom’s at Mall of America cosmetics counter looking for a new eyeshadow when I came upon a group of people that didn’t look like they “were from around here.” They were a mix of people from the cosmetics industry promoting a series of books about how to look 20 years younger. Bob Greene was among them, promoting his book 20 Years Younger with Lancer skin care (created by Dr. Harold Lancer, also an Oprah expert) at Nordstrom’s. Both Lancer and Greene looked so old themselves (deep wrinkles in Greene’s case and what looked like a very tight face lift in Lancer’s case). TV does a good job of camouflaging the truth about these experts, which is that they don’t look as healthy and vibrant in person as they do on TV. I was shocked to see both Greene’s book and Lancer’s skin care flying off the shelves despite the clear evidence that neither of these men were the picture of health. Why do people buy this stuff? Where are the people yelling, “your not wearing any clothes,” to these modern day emperors?
Interestingly enough, one of the women in the Lancer/Greene entourage (it was clear who they were because they all had that look like they were being stabbed by invisible people from too much botox) commented on how beautiful my skin was, asking what I did for it. I told her, “I wash it with soap” before she was distracted away. I wanted to call out after her that I eat lots of “evil” saturated fats and borage oil (a healing omega 6 that works wonders for skin). Unlike her boss’s skincare line, I FEED my skin from the inside out and save money on expensive skincare products. Of course, this message makes nobody any money.
Oprah, if you are reading, I send this message to you: Your fat is not your fault. You just need better nutritional and healing advice. Oprah, leave a comment here so I can get in touch with you!