Oprah’s not the only one packing on the pounds

Oprah’s not the only one packing on the pounds

By Lisa Earle McLeod

Oprah’s fat again, and – ahem – not to mention any names – but a few of the rest of us have porked up right along with her. America’s favorite yo-yo dieter has fallen off the wagon again. But instead of wrapping herself in a mu-mu and ignoring it (which she could certainly do because – let’s be honest here – who’s going to call Oprah out?) she’s gone public herself and is inviting us to join her as she works to reclaim her health. At fifteen – OK twenty – pounds over myself, you better believe I’ve got the Tivo set for those shows. However, aside from the much-needed, and always quickly forgotten, guidance in self-care and nutrition, I think Oprah’s weight issues hold some important lessons for everyone struggling with their own Achilles heels. I’m not talking about the fact that brown fat looks better than white fat. Or that skilled stylists and tailored clothes flatter a full figure, while those of us trying to cram our blubber into cheap polyester are only making things worse. Those things are certainly true. But I think the larger lesson we can learn from Oprah’s weight challenges is that everybody struggles with something and maybe it’s OK to cut yourself some slack. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a global icon or a middle-aged actuarial clerk; nobody is perfect at everything. The brilliant scientist hasn’t mastered interpersonal communication skills; the fun-loving mom can’t keep the kids on a schedule; the strategic thinker forgets to pick up the laundry, and the queen of talk succumbs to the siren call of jelly donuts. Such is the dichotomy of the human condition. We are both flawed and fabulous, at the same time. Oprah’s weight issues show us that you can be an empowering thought-leader, a life-changing philanthropist, and propel the entire planet towards the greater good, yet still struggle with your own internal junk. Sure, she could come up with all kinds of excuses. She’s busy, no time for exercise, all those high-cal galas and banquets. But the bottom line is, she’s just like the rest of us, a human being who is a work in progress. Which is great news for all the overweight, time-challenged, procrastinating slobs out there (speaking just for myself of course). Oprah is living proof that your flaws don’t have to detract from your fabulousness. You’re fat? So what? You can still be creative, brilliant and loving. Terrified of public speaking? Who cares? You can still make the best Halloween costumes on the planet. Awful at time management? It doesn’t mean you can’t be an empathetic boss. Sure, your flaws may trip you up. After all, if you gain too much weight you won’t be able to leave the house. But you don’t have to let your flaws define you. How often have we held ourselves back because we felt like we were fakers, somehow not good enough to go out there and make things happen? We’re deathly afraid that the world is going to discover our shortcomings, as if somehow we’re the only person who has any. So, heavy sigh, once again, I’m gearing up to join Oprah on the road to better health. But in the meantime, I’m not going to let my ab flab, or any of my other many flaws, keep me from liking myself.

Lisa Earle McLeod is a syndicated columnist, author, keynote speaker and business consultant who specializes in helping individuals and organizations create happiness and success. Her latest book is Finding Grace When You Can’t Even Find Clean Underwear – For more info – <>

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