Health Worries Prompted Oprah's Fitness Plan

ByABC News via logo
December 18, 2002, 9:09 PM

Dec. 19 -- When Oprah Winfrey started having heart palpitations last year and doctors told her to lose weight, the talk show queen herself knew that this weight loss plan had to be for real.

Winfrey's see-sawing weight has been very much in the public view over the years. Winfrey, who turns 49 in January, has been struggling with her weight since she was 22.

Who could ever forget when she proudly showed off the brand new size 10 jeans that she could finally wear after losing 67 pounds on a crash course diet back in 1988?

Her weight problems are no secret. Winfrey has talked about how her weight has fluctuated over the years, hitting its peak at 237 pounds in 1992. But now with menopause approaching, and a recent health scare, Winfrey says it's time "for the battle to be over."

Winfrey, who recently lost 33 pounds, has adopted a strength training program, outlined in the current issue of her O magazine. O's News Director Liz Brody told Good Morning America that Winfrey began her latest diet with a real sense of life-and-death desperation.

"Her heart had begun racing so fast she couldn't sleep, and it scared her," Brody said. "She went to a number of doctors and found out that her blood pressure was very high."

Verdict From Doctors

Doctors concluded that Winfrey's high blood pressure was because of peri-menopause, setting in as she was about to turn 49. She needed to lose weight, doctors said.

After her extreme weight gain, back in the early 1990s, Winfrey enlisted personal trainer Bob Greene to help out. She and Greene worked together for a year. She ran a marathon, and, more or less, kept the weight off for four years.

Greene had quickly hit the nail on the head about why Winfrey kept gaining weight, saying the talk show guru had some personal issues to deal with.

"Bottom line, she didn't love herself as much as she loved her audience," Brody said. "She gave everything to them, but didn't love or respect herself enough to stay healthy, and the bottom line is you have to love yourself to stay healthy."