Media mogul Oprah Winfrey is no stranger to battling with weight loss. She’s been famously up and down for years. But as recently, the OWN Network CEO is looking incredible–thanks to a new weight loss routine.
“It was public sport to make fun of me for 25 years,” Winfrey tells PEOPLE in their cover story. “I have been blamed and shamed, and I blamed and shamed myself.”
Winfrey said one of the more challenging moments came when her image was plastered on a magazine cover with the words “dumpy, frumpy and downright lumpy.” And she took the criticism as a personal failure.
“I didn’t feel angry,” she said. “I felt sad. I felt hurt. I swallowed the shame. I accepted that it was my fault.”
Over the past year, weight-loss drugs, such as Ozempic and Wegovy, have become the talk of the town in the weight-loss community, especially as more and more stars–the latest being Oprah–have shared their experiences with these medications.
Why Oprah Winfrey’s weight loss medication reveal matters
Oprah has previously said that she wanted to lose weight on her own, so why the change now?
Winfrey’s weight has long been the subject of intense scrutiny. In a People cover story, published this week, the media mogul, who turns 70 next month, said she’s been “blamed and shamed” constantly over her weight.
Winfrey said it wasn’t until this year, after her knee surgery, that she added weight-loss medication to her health regimen, which also includes hiking, eating her last meal at 4 p.m. and drinking a gallon of water a day. She also serves as an investor and board member for WW, formerly WeightWatchers, which announced in March it would add weight loss drugs like Wegovy to its program.
“I was actually recommending it to people long before I was on it myself,” Winfrey told People. “I had an awareness of medications, but felt I had to prove I had the willpower to do it. I now no longer feel that way.”
She added: “Obesity is a disease. It’s not about willpower — it’s about the brain.”
Ozempic, known generically as semaglutide, was approved in 2017 by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in adults with type 2 diabetes.
Ozempic is a weekly injection that helps lower blood sugar by helping the pancreas make more insulin. It is not approved for weight loss, but some physicians prescribe it to be used for weight loss.
How does Ozempic work?
Ozempic works by mimicking a naturally occurring hormone. As those hormone levels rise, the molecules go to your brain, telling it you’re full. It also slows digestion by increasing the time it takes for food to leave the body. This is similar to the effect of bariatric surgery.
When using Ozempic to treat diabetes, weight loss is a common side effect. It is designed to be taken long-term.
Does Ozempic work for weight loss purposes?
The active ingredient in Ozempic, semaglutide, does work for weight loss, according to research. It’s important that people continue to make lifestyle changes to help their weight loss, such as eating right and exercising.
Ozempic is not approved for weight loss. However, semaglutide is approved for weight loss under the name Wegovy. Ozempic has a smaller dose of semaglutide than Wegovy.
It’s important to note that if you start taking either of these drugs for weight loss, your body may