A few days ago, I saw news reports that in the January issue of O Magazine, Oprah reveals that she has gained forty pounds and now weighs 200 pounds.
The article isn’t out yet, but apparently she says she’s mad at herself. “I’m embarrassed. I can’t believe that after all these years, all the things I know how to do, I’m still talking about my weight. I look at my thinner self and think, ‘How did I let this happen again?’” she wrote.
Hearing that made me feel sad. Oprah is so fabulous, I’m sorry she can’t let go of this issue and just enjoy being herself. But weight is such a tough issue.
The relationship between happiness and weight is complicated and under-studied, I think. It’s an issue to which I want to give more consideration. I just read a fascinating book by Abby Ellin, Teenage Waistland: A Former Fat-Camper Weighs in on Living Large, Losing Weight, And How Parents Can (And Can’t) Help, that gave me a lot to think about. A lot of people say that weight shouldn’t matter for happiness, but the fact is, for a lot of people, it does matter.
In his book What You Can Change . . . and What You Can’t (p. 190), Martin Seligman points out: “All thin-ideal cultures…have roughly twice as much depression in women as men. (Women diet twice as much as men…) [In] cultures without the thin ideal…the amount of depression in women and men in these cultures is the same. This suggests that around the world, the thin ideal and dieting not only cause eating disorders but also cause women to be more depressed than men.” Two root causes of depression are failure and helplessness; dieting makes you feel both. (Note: I can’t find my copy of the book to double-check the quotation.)
I also can’t help but think that there’s some major aspect of eating, nutrition, exercise, and metabolism that we don’t understand and that is playing a significant role in the obesity problem. If OPRAH has trouble with her weight, with all the massive support and motivation she has…
What a combination. Alex Fayle, of the terrific blog Someday Syndrome, wrote a guest post on Leo Babauta’s fantastic blog, Zen Habits. I was thrilled to be included in this post on 11 Ways to Cure Someday Syndrome.
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