Oprah Winfrey was pre-diabetic before weight loss with WW: ‘The struggle has ended’

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Oprah Winfrey has been a spokesperson for WW, formerly Weight Watchers, for over three years, since she bought about 10% of the company in the fall of 2015. In January, 2017 she announced in a People Magazine cover story that she’d lost 42 pounds and that she’d made peace with food. It sounded a little premature at that point, especially for people who remember her big reveal on her TV show. (And for those of us, like me, who have yo-yoed too. We can definitely relate to Oprah.) Now, over two years later, Oprah has kept it off. In a new email to WW subscribers, Oprah writes that she’s no longer pre-diabetic and that “the struggle has ended.”* I think this is the first time she’s revealed that she was affected by diabetes.

Winfrey, 65, writes in a letter to WW members, shared exclusively with PEOPLE ahead for Global Wellness Day, that she had concerning blood sugar and blood pressure numbers.

“I haven’t shared with many, but I will share with you, that I was diagnosed with pre-diabetes before WW,” she says.

Winfrey adds that her blood pressure “is now stabilized and in a healthy range,” and as for her blood sugar — “I am proud to tell you those numbers are back to normal too!”

She also says that her mother Vernita, who passed away in November, “had type 2 diabetes and was dependent on insulin.”

But for Winfrey, WW “changed my life,” she says. Along with losing 42 lbs. in the four years since she became a WW shareholder, the program also helped her regain her health.

“Beyond the weight, WW has helped me make healthier choices and understand the real numbers that matter most,” she says.

[From People]

Oprah is 65?! I hope I look half as good (and am 1/100th as rich) as Oprah when I’m 65. I was so surprised to hear that Viola Davis was also pre-diabetic and that diabetes runs in her family too. You don’t realize how many people are affected by that. As for Oprah that’s excellent that WW has worked for her. Studies show that dieters who are able to keep weight off for two years are less likely to gain it back. She has the magic touch when she endorses something, and you can tell she absolutely loves WW. I think it works best for people who are very social and can benefit from the support and community.

*The quote “the struggle has ended” is from People Magazine’s article title and was not included in the piece. We were not able to find a copy of this email and are relying on People’s report.



photos credit: WENN

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32 Responses to “Oprah Winfrey was pre-diabetic before weight loss with WW: ‘The struggle has ended’”

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  1. SoWhatImFat says:

    I LOVE Oprah. I’m so happy for her.

  2. Mego says:

    My blood sugar was elevated and it goes down with exercise and healthy eating. If I lapse up goes the sugar.

    • Lucy2 says:

      Same with me. I’ve slacked off a little recently and need to get back on track with the exercise.
      Oprah is doing great!

  3. L84Tea says:

    I’m doing WW and have lost 38.5 lbs since February 16th. Hurray!

  4. GR says:

    So according to the Chicago Trib, “pre-diabetes” is a condition that’s not recognized anywhere in the world but the US – because it makes money for drug companies:

    • BabaBlacksheep says:

      Oprah hawking some pseudo medical BS for profit?! Never! /s

      • lara (the other) says:

        Pre-Diabetis is recognised in Europe as well.
        But the recommendation is exercise, weight loss and a healthy diet low in sugar instead of medication. My father got nutritional counseling and a membership in a fitness group especially for pre-diabetic elderly people as a prescription.

    • Goldie says:

      I don’t think the article was stating that pre-diabetes is not recognized worldwide, just that the U.S. has a much lower threshold for diagnosing it than other countries.
      From the article:
      “The United States has the lowest prediabetes cut-off points of high-income countries around the world, meaning that prediabetes gets diagnosed earlier and more frequently, leading to new patients and higher costs.”

      • GR says:

        Goldie – Sorry, you’re right!

      • Goldie says:

        Haha. No problem:)

      • LadyT says:

        Not a great article. Of course medication should not be started because of a single high glucose level, possibly a one-time fluke. That’s just silly. But the A1C test shows the blood sugar levels of a THREE MONTH period. Not a fluke. Needs treatment. Exercise, weight loss and nutritional counseling. Possibly medication next. Treating pre-diabetes is soooo much LESS expensive than treating diabetes and all the MAJOR health issues that often accompany it. If diagnosing pre-diabetes gets the patient on the right path that’s a good thing.

  5. lizbik2001 says:

    I’ve lost 65 pounds on WW. It works, and I still eat pizza and drink beer (just not as much as I used to.)

  6. Lightpurple says:

    The struggle is not over! The struggle is never over! She may have put her numbers into a healthy zone, which is wonderful, but this means maintaining a healthy lifestyle for the rest of her life or those numbers will go right back up. And that’s the message she, as WW spokesperson, should be promoting. Maintenance for good health.

    • Wilady says:

      She may mean that yes, she has to now maintain, but maintaining is no longer a struggle for her. And that’s entirely possible. She may have found something that feels low effort, and instead of daily just trying her hardest not to binge, and having a guilt/shame/repeat cycle, she can just “be”, without struggle. I fully believe that.

    • Juju says:

      Maybe she’s found a way to manage without it being a “struggle”. I think it is her way of saying that she has found an approach that works for her and has become a habit / lifestyle that she can consistently maintain.

  7. lassie says:

    I lost 56 lbs with WW. I guess I’m Liz Lemon, because I pretty much do whatever Oprah tells me to.

    • ravynrobyn says:

      I just watched that 30 Rock ep, what a jewel. Sweater capes, saltwater taffy, calypso music…I miss the writing and fast-paced delivery of that show!

  8. LindaS says:

    What is she wearing. I used to like her but she has become annoying to me. She has become so full of herself. Weight loss has to be worked at every day. I know because I lost 80 lbs 11 years ago. I still gain weight back easy if I am not careful. WW is too expensive for a lot of people. I know because I did the program years ago but did not keep off the weight then. I was finally able to have so far successful weight loss and keeping it off by just good old common sense. Eat properly and move your body. I am also 65 years old

    • Nikki says:

      WW is not expensive: I recently joined the digital only plan, and on a special (that expires today I think!) . it’s about $3 a week! They have free joining several times a year, and I specifically waited until a special to join. With that I get the free app, which is AMAZING!! (I’m not a WW salesperson; I joined a week ago and am LOVING it though!) The app tells you almost instantly how many points each food is, includes the option of simply scanning barcodes at the grocery store, it calculates and keeps track of your progress for you, and emails you encouraging messages and hints. There’s even a 24 hour email “coach” available. The plan is also very healthy, and I am already learning some new eating habits. I thought it would be hard to keep track of every bite I eat, but I just enter it on my phone lickety split before digging in! Best wishes to all who struggle with weight; I hope you each find something that works for you…

  9. Jb says:

    My brother was recently diagnosed as Type 2 diabetic and I was so upset as I’m a Type 1 (since I was 11) as he saw how I struggled growing up, what a terrible disease it is and how it can destroy you from the inside out. [Btw Type I and 2 are completely different diseases however the effects on the body are similar when it’s uncontrolled.] I’m hoping he takes control of it and makes healthier choices for himself as he has a wife and child he needs to be around for. Happy for Oprah as changing a lifestyle for the better and making choices everyday isn’t always easy. Life’s too short to waste the years you have not living your best healthiest life!

  10. Lila says:

    Good for Oprah. For her sake, I truly hope this is the long term solution she’s seeking. Struggling with weight is always hard, but doing it publicly (and especially when she’s declared publicly before that she’d ‘never going back’) has to be incredibly tough. I can imagine entangling her financials must be a strong incentive.

  11. Ashipper says:

    WW never worked for me. The only way I keep my weight under control is by avoiding sugar and simple carbs (not all carbs). It’s been a long time but I found counting points really annoying and there was too much sugar allowed so my appetite never went down the way it does when I don’t eat sugar and the things that turn into sugar in my body.

  12. Mash says:

    oprah’s wiggies are something else…that’s all i got.

  13. Ash says:

    I had rapidly lost 20 pounds for no real reason in March. My doctor sent me for a colonoscopy since I have Crohn’s and my bloodwork showed my A1C was 13.9. I was literally dying and going blind. My sugars were in the 300-400s and I had no clue. I was in diabetic ketoacidosis and thus the weight loss.

    I vowed for myself and my kids I would work my ass off. I started walking again, I lost 48 pounds, I cut out all sugar and counted carbs.

    I got my A1C results today: I brought it down to a 6.7! It can be done through hard work and discipline. My doctor is about to take me off my blood pressure and cholesterol medicine and taper me off my 18 units of insulin. The hope is I can get off it altogether in the future or just switch to a once daily Metaformin.

    • Betsy says:

      Holy mackerel! That’s terrible and good job!

    • ravynrobyn says:

      MY GOD! 13.9 to 6.7?!?! I hope you’re giving yourself proper pats on the back and realizing what you did/are doing is quite miraculous.

      Your post reminding me “it can be done through hard work and discipline” is exactly what I needed to hear.


      I’ve been type 2 for 30 years-on insulin for 20 of those years and on oral medication the whole time-currently on Metformin. Although my diabetes was “well controlled”, I weighed 318 lbs, could hardly stand and had these weird boils that kept appearing on my stomach. I felt so close to death. The second dr I went to about my boils (when they reappeared after having to go to the burn/wound unit 2-3/x week for 6 weeks), she explained they kept coming back due to my long-term diabetes’ effect on my body. She suggested gastric bypass surgery and I went to the orientation the following week. Last July I had the surgery to help my diabetes go into remission; losing weight would be a nice benefit but I was TERRIFIED about dying from diabetic complications.

      Fast forward to 10.5 months later and by all accounts the surgery was a smashing success-I lost 120 lbs, I literally feel 5,000% better AND I’m still a type 2 diabetic, still on two kinds of insulin and Metformin. I’m only taking 5% the amount of insulin that I took pre-surgery, so not remission, but SO much better. What I didn’t realize is how much work balancing eating/exercise with my blood sugars would still be. As long as I am mindful and record my intake on both my phone’s bariatric surgery app and paper diabetic “Smart Charts”, weigh/measure my food, make sure there is 4-5 hours between meals , drink enough water…then I’m fine and my bs’ are great. The key for me is the discipline to be mindful in recording EVERYTHING I eat and drink, but most importantly throughout the day reviewing both logs, my blood sugars and making adjustments throughout the day.

      By doing this I am helping the TOOL OF GB SURGERY do its job!

      Your words hit me hard because lately I’ve been slacking off on my recording and eating way too many sweets; I’ve been trying to justify my current behavior by telling myself that a sweet here and there is ‘ok”, everybody does it and NOBODY ELSE logs their intake as thoroughly as I do, so I “deserve to slack off” every once in awhile (?!?!!). So now my bs’ are too high, my weight loss has stopped, I feel awful…and I have nobody to blame but myself.

      So I want to give you 1,000 THANK YOU!!! for knocking the cobwebs out and getting me back on the reality train and off the river of denial, lol 💕

  14. Che says:

    I learned I was prediabetic earlier this year. I decided to not diet and instead focus on lifestyle changes—changes that I could actually keep up. I cut back on my beloved sodas, cookies, and sodas and sodas and I now I exercise some too (water aerobics with the seniors). It’s a slow process but so far so good.

  15. Ferdinand says:

    Pre-diabetes it is also recognized as a “stage” more that a disease itself in Latin America too. And it is said that once you are predisposed to diabetes, you need to start changing your routine in order to avoid being diabetic .