Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Women Weigh in on Oprah's "Embarrassment" Comments...

Weighing in on Oprah: 4 Oklahoma women size up scrutiny on added pounds


"How did I let this happen again?”

This quote from Oprah Winfrey is splashed across the January issue of O, The Oprah Magazine over photos of Oprah at her current weight and in 2005 at a more svelte weight.
"I’m mad at myself. I’m embarrassed. I can’t believe that after all these years, I’m still talking about my weight,” she said in the article.

Her recent revelation that she is back up to 200 pounds elicited many responses from Oklahoma women. Some identify with Oprah’s dismay because they are going through similar struggles. Some think women suffer from unattainable expectations of how they should look. And others think Oprah should be embarrassed for losing her battle to maintain her weight.

I met with four of these women to discuss their weight issues and Oprah’s struggle.

Glenda Mumford, 51, said her New Year’s resolution is to lose weight. She and her co-workers have started a "Biggest Loser”-type contest. Each person paid $20 to enter, and whoever loses the most weight at the end of the contest wins all the money.

"I’m not a pretty girl. I want to be a pretty girl in my pretty things,” said Mumford, who wants to lose 80 pounds. She said she suffers most from lack of motivation and love of cooking. "I think there are some ladies, Oprah included, that are gorgeous being heavy. Me, myself, I don’t feel that way.”

Motivation is also a challenge for Teresa Asbury, who has trouble finding time to exercise. She has lost weight using Weight Watchers but can’t seem to maintain her weight losses. For her, weight loss is a health concern.

"I’ve gotten high blood pressure, and my doctor says it’s because I’m overweight. If I were to lose that extra 20 pounds, I would probably be able to get off the blood pressure medicine,” she said.

For Asbury, who turns 60 next week, it all comes down to self-worth.

"I just think we need to love ourselves more to take care of our bodies and our health,” she said. "I’m trying to love myself more. I think when you do that, you’ll eat better, get into portion control. I think we all know what we’re supposed to be doing; it’s just doing it that’s the hardest thing to do.”

Jane Maytubby, 63, knows what she needs to do, and she does it. Motivation is no problem for her. Since 2005, she has lost 62 pounds and kept it off. She calls her journey "Jane’s Lifestyle Change” and said changing her eating habits and running or walking up to 10 miles every day have changed her life.

"One of the things I’ve noticed since coming back to Oklahoma is the number of hugely obese people that I see around,” Maytubby said. She recently moved to Oklahoma from Hartford, Conn. "To me, it’s not about image necessarily; it’s about looking your best. And I’m sorry, obese women, obese men do not look their best, and from a health standpoint, it can’t be healthy.”

Maytubby said Oprah should set a better example for the millions of people who look up to her.

Joann Yeager, 57, strongly disagrees with Maytubby. She believes too much importance is placed on women’s bodies.

"I think the words ‘ashamed’ or ‘embarrassed’ have no place. Why do women need another adjective to describe them that is derogatory?” Yeager said. "Oprah is beautiful. I don’t care which side of 200 pounds she’s on. That woman is a knockout no matter what she weighs.”

For many years, Yeager struggled with her weight and battled depression that came along with her weight gain.

"I watched the weight creep up. I just keep getting fatter and fatter.”

She knew something was wrong. Finally, a doctor confirmed her suspicion: She was diabetic. When she started taking medicine to control her disease, she lost much of the weight she had gained.

"If you feel in your gut that something’s wrong, it probably is. If it isn’t just the matter that you’re sucking down banana splits and all these desserts all day long, there probably is a reason.”
"A person places themselves on a level with the ones they praise."
- Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

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