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Oprah and Bread

January 31, 2016

Have you seen Oprah's tweet or commercial about how she's lost weight while eating bread every day? Or maybe the one where she talks about her favorite breakfast being toast with some very specific toppings?

 

When I saw these, my heart sank, even though on the surface, there are some good things. For instance, she talks about eating what she loves, not depriving herself, and savoring the food. I certainly have no argument with any of that.

 

But other things definitely bother me. Demonizing bread, for one. The way Oprah talks about this makes it clear that bread is a "bad" food - why else would it be so exciting to it and still lose weight? She wouldn't talk this way about "good" foods. Imagine her saying instead: "I ate kale every day, and I still lost weight!" How likely is that?

 

And then there are the points. In her breakfast video, she emphasizes that she has very specific amounts of food to meet certain points. A certain percentage of an avocado, super thin slices of toppings, etc. While she's eating what she loves, and enjoying it, to me it seems like she's still in a restrictive mindset.

 

My biggest concern, though, is the emphasis on weight itself. I fully recognize that some people get to a point where they want to lose weight because of medical conditions, or to be able to do more physical activities, and more. I was one of those people.

 

That being said, there's a world of difference between focusing on the weight and focusing on your ultimate goal. If you emphasize the goal – be healthier or more active – it can help clarify it is not necessarily tied to your weight. You might be able to achieve some of those things without shedding pounds, or not as many as you think you need to.

 

If you focus on the weight, though, that becomes the way to define your self-worth, if you're good or bad, and what you want people to notice about you. It saddens me that Oraph is making this her focal point, rather than everything she has accomplished and overcome.

 

It especially saddens me because I used to believe this, too, that only my weight mattered, and it was incredibly damaging. I keep thinking of others out there, young and old, of any gender, who see these updates and think the emphasis on weight is the way things have to be. But it is possible to have a gentler relationship to food and your body, and enjoy your life, even if don’t achieve a certain dress size or shape.

 

So to all of you watching Oprah’s journey, I hope you will be able to remember that what is truly important for all of us – her, others, and yourself – is not our weight, but how we live our lives and treat one another. For me, at least, that matters far more than our size or numbers on the scale.

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