Oprah Winfrey regrets her contribution to 'diet culture,' admits she set unrealistic standards

Winfrey was on WeightWatchers' board of directors and was a spokesperson for nearly a decade

Oprah Winfrey is condemning her previous methods for weight loss.

During WeightWatchers' three-hour "Making the Shift" live event on Thursday, the former television host admitted she was "a steadfast participant in this diet culture" over the past few decades.

"Through my platforms, through the magazine, through the talk show for 25 years and online," she continued. "I’ve been a major contributor to it. I cannot tell you how many weight-loss shows and makeovers I have done, and they have been a staple since I’ve been working in television."

Oprah Winfrey showcasing slim figure on The Color Purple red carpet

Oprah Winfrey admitted to being a "steadfast participant" in "diet culture" over the last 25 years. (Christopher Polk/Variety via Getty Images / Getty Images)

Winfrey, who sat on WeightWatchers' board of directors for nearly a decade and was an avid spokesperson for the brand, was one of many guest speakers during the show. Others included Rebel Wilson, Busy Phillips, Amber Riley and WeightWatchers CEO Sima Sistani.

OPRAH WINFREY ADMITS TO USING WEIGHT LOSS MEDICATION: ‘IT FELT LIKE REDEMPTION’

During the live event, Winfrey recalled a moment on her famed talk show that bothers her to this day — when she wheeled out a red Radio Flyer wagon filled with 67 pounds of fat.

Oprah Winfrey posing

Oprah Winfrey was a speaker at WeightWatchers' "Making the Shift" event on Thursday. (Vera Anderson/WireImage / Getty Images)

The presentation was meant for her viewers to visualize how much weight she had lost since "starving" herself for months during a liquid-only fast.

"I’ve shared how that famous wagon of fat moment on the ‘Oprah’ show is one of my biggest regrets," she explained. "It sent a message that starving yourself with a liquid diet — it set a standard for people watching that I nor anybody else could uphold."

She continued, "The very next day, the next day, I began to gain the weight back. Maya Angelou always said, ‘When you know better, you do better.’ So, these conversations, for me, are an effort to do better. I own what I've done, and I now want to do better."

Oprah Winfrey in 2007

"The Oprah Winfrey Show" was on air for 25 seasons between 1987 and 2011. (Munawar ?Hosain / Fotos International / Getty Images / Getty Images)

Winfrey noted that she struggled for years with her "yo-yo diet moments," ultimately becoming a "national joke."

The women speaking during the WeightWatchers event touched on the company's transition from promoting diet culture to supporting members, including those using weight-loss-stimulating drugs, such as Ozempic and Wegovy. 

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In December, Winfrey revealed — after previously refusing to share — that she turned to weight-loss medication "as a tool" to obtain a slimmer figure.

Oprah Winfrey young

Oprah Winfrey noted that her "yo-yo diet" became a "national joke." (Bob Riha, Jr./Getty Images / Getty Images)

The former talk show host has long been gossiped about for her weight, and Winfrey told People that when she would see those kinds of remarks, "I didn’t feel angry. I felt sad. I felt hurt. I swallowed the shame. I accepted that it was my fault."

She said, "It was public sport to make fun of me for 25 years. I have been blamed and shamed, and I blamed and shamed myself."

Winfrey's weight, she revealed, "occupied five decades of space in my brain, yo-yoing and feeling like ‘why can’t I just conquer this thing,’ believing willpower was my failing."

Oprah Winfrey onstage

Oprah Winfrey was on the board of directors for WeightWatchers for nearly a decade. (Paras Griffin/Getty Images for BET / Getty Images)

It was during a panel discussing weight that she did for her website, Oprah Daily, over the summer that she came to the belief that she shouldn't have been shaming herself so harshly.

During that panel, which was released in September, Winfrey said, "When I first started hearing about the weight loss drugs, at the same time, I was going through knee surgery, and I felt, ‘I’ve got to do this on my own.' Because if I take the drug, that’s the easy way out."

"I realized I’d been blaming myself all these years for being overweight, and I have a predisposition that no amount of willpower is going to control," she explained to People. "Obesity is a disease. It’s not about willpower — it's about the brain."

After that, her doctor prescribed a medication (she wouldn't name the specific prescription she takes).

Oprah Winfrey posing with hand on hip on red carpet

Oprah Winfrey revealed in December that she used medication as "a tool" for her weight loss. (Taylor Hill/WireImage / Getty Images)

"The fact that there's a medically approved prescription for managing weight and staying healthier, in my lifetime, feels like relief, like redemption, like a gift, and not something to hide behind and once again be ridiculed for," Winfrey said. "I’m absolutely done with the shaming from other people and particularly myself."

After Winfrey announced that she was using medication to aid her weight loss, she stepped down from the board of directors for WeightWatchers after almost a decade.

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Jillian Michaels

Fitness guru Jillian Michaels previously claimed that Oprah Winfrey had "financial incentive with Ozempic." (Paul Archuleta/Getty Images / Getty Images)

Jillian Michaels slammed Winfrey for having a "financial incentive with Ozempic." During an interview with Page Six in January, the fitness guru said, "Oprah, I believe, is one of the biggest shareholders of WeightWatchers, and WeightWatchers is now in the Ozempic business."

She continued, "I believe [WeightWatchers] bought a company that provides access to these drugs, now there is a financial interest in these drugs. I think it’s important to put that out there right off the bat."

Oprah Winfrey and Jimmy Kimmel

Oprah Winfrey appears as a guest on "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" on March 14. (Randy Holmes / Disney via Getty Images / Getty Images)

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Winfrey revealed to Jimmy Kimmel in March that she donated all of her shares to the National Museum of African American History and Culture.

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