Why Oprah Needs to Dump Bob Greene

Bob and Oprah

Oprah and Bob

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!

Oprah Winfrey at the Oscar's

Oprah Winfrey at the Oscars. She looks lovely I think. But who can ignore how big she has gotten with Bob Greene's help.

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?

Dr. Harold Lancer

Dr. Harold Lancer on Oprah

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!


12 Comments on “Why Oprah Needs to Dump Bob Greene”

  1. Hi Nell- Catching up on twitter on this rainy day!

    I loved your twitter link to Gary Taubes’ cholesterol results!

    I have been following the Weight and Wellness Way for 2++ years; am gluten free and eating a high percentage of saturated fat and balancing my meals- well, you know …!

    When I got my cholesterol results back I was so surprised!

    Total 212; Ratio 2.10; Tirglycerides 60 (off all pop); LDL99; HDL 101!

    Hello … HDL 101/ LDL 99 on a HIGH FAT DIET! TAKE THAT DOCTOR OZ !

    And yes I have lost weight to boot!

    And the funny (sad) thing was my doctor still told me my cholesterol was too high. Hello?

    I KNOW better > Thank you Dar, Wendy et al.

    PS I know someone who saw Dr. Oz IN PERSON and they said he looked TERRIBLE and not healthy at all.

    Keep on keeping on Nell! Yes, this is a journey and it is made up of stumbles and opportunities to learn!

  2. Nancy DeSteno says:

    Thank you Nell for writing all of this. You came to the Nutrition 4 Wt Loss class in Andover and talked to us. One of the main things that you said that stuck with me is that over-exercising did not help you lose wt anymore. So I am continuing to do just do the exercises that are comfortable for me, following 2 knee replacements.
    Also – your comment in your blog about skin….after just a month or so of eating the Nutritional Wt and Wellness way, I noticed my skin was softer and mentioned that to the class. Nice side effect as well as the wt loss.
    Nancy D.

    • So nice to hear from you Nancy! I am glad your skin is awesome. Yes, over exercising is yet another punishment the weight loss industry loves to give out to overweight people. Read Gary Taubes’s chapter on it. Very interesting!

  3. Kate smith says:

    Thank you for having to nerve to address Oprah. She is lovely and we all love and respect her.
    I saw the show on skin products and did not think that, even with makeup, her skin looked
    that good. I know that sounds petty.

    Hopefully she will someday be exposed to weight and wellness way. For those of us that
    like to eat and enjoy good food it is the way to go.


  4. patijo says:

    Thanks, Nell. I’ll follow-up on both. You look terrific. Again, thank you for inspiring. patijo

  5. patijo says:

    Hi Nell,

    I’ve only started reading your blog. I see you’re referenced insulin resistance and thyroid. Do you (or, did you) have problems with both? If so, did you work on one first and then the other? I know I have low thyroid, and someone mentioned once that she thought I have insulin resistance. I’ve definitely been stuck and want to work on the right thing. Thanks, much, for sharing. p

    • I have had problems with both. They are on the mend now though! I recommend the book Schwarzbein Principle if you are having trouble. I also can’t recommend seeing/talking with a nutritionist to diagnose and treat your problems. That is what I had to do. I had to eat the right foods to support both and do some supplementation. I recommend these people: weightandwellness.com I hope this helps!

  6. Jennie says:

    What a great post! And you are right on…I’ve wished for years that Oprah would have this information.

  7. Maureen Webster says:

    Well said, and very encouraging to hear. Thanks for posting. I especially like your view of relapses as practice. That’s a much better perspective than being hard on myself. I love your blog!

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