The Biggest Takeaways From Oprah’s Ozempic Special

Photo: Eric McCandless/Disney

On Monday night, Oprah Winfrey aired her latest prime-time special, Shame, Blame and the Weight Loss Revolution. The special focused on the recent wave of weight-loss drugs like Ozempic and Wegovy and saw Oprah talk candidly about her own experience trying to lose weight.

“For 25 years, making fun of my weight was national sport,” Oprah said in the special’s introduction. She recalled a TV Guide cover that referred to her as “lumpy, bumpy, and downright dumpy” along with several other tabloid headlines about her weight. The theme of the night was shame, specifically shame felt by people who find that the only way they can lose weight and keep it off is through medication.

“In an effort to combat all the shame, I starved myself for nearly five months and then wheeled out that wagon of fat that the internet will never let me forget,” Oprah said, referring to a famous 1988 episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show. “And after losing 67 pounds on a liquid diet, the next day, y’all, the very next day I started to gain it back.”

Back in December, Oprah revealed that she had been taking weight-loss medication. She has not named which medication she’s taking, but she spoke about the experience as nothing short of revelatory. “All these years, I thought all of the people who never had to diet were just using their willpower, and they were for some reason stronger than me,” the media mogul said. “And now I realize, y’all weren’t even thinking about the food! It’s not that you had the willpower; you weren’t obsessing about it!”

Winfrey — who said last week that she left the board of Weight Watchers just so she could do this special without a “conflict of interest” — was not the only one who gave their perspective in the special. She spoke to a mother who lost 160 pounds on Mounjaro and who shared a startling anecdote about people being nicer to her children now that she’s thin. She spoke to Maggie Ervie, the teenage subject of a story in the Cut last year, and her mother about adolescents using these weight-loss drugs. The tenor of the special was mostly positive, save for one woman who said she had to stop taking her medication after she vomited blood and had to go to the emergency room.

Oprah chose not to speak to doctors who might be skeptical of these weight-loss drugs, instead featuring two doctors who serve as consultants to the drug companies. One of them, Dr. Amanda Velazquez, said that she thought the side effects of these drugs — which include a battery of gastrointestinal issues and the aforementioned vomiting of blood — were “overhyped.”

Winfrey ended the special speaking directly to the camera, encouraging everyone to do what works best for them. “For people who feel happy and healthy in celebrating life in a bigger body and don’t want the medications, I say, ‘Bless you.’ And for all the people who believe diet and exercise is the best and only way to lose excess weight, bless you too if that works for you,” she said.

“And for the people who think that this could be the relief and support and freedom … that you’ve been looking for your whole life, bless you because there is space for all points of view.”

The Biggest Takeaways From Oprah’s Ozempic Special