Kirstie and Oprah! Big Fat Cheaters?

I’m not good about waiting in lines. I hate it, especially when I’m waiting to give too much of my money to a store for a couple of products that probably cost a lot less somewhere else. So if the line is more than a few people, I pick up one of the magazines that are by the checkout. I don’t buy them; I read them while I wait to pay.

Today it was the National Enquirer that caught my eye. The cover story was, as you’d expect, a shocking exposé! Oh My!

Battle of the BULGE!



Enquirer charges that Oprah fakes her success with lipo and pills. Kirstie, so says the yellow rag, has undergone stomach stapling. Before I address the claims that may or may not be true, I want to say a word about celebrity weight loss spokespeople.

Why do diet companies hire celebrities? They’re rich and have every advantage available to make it impossible to fail. They have private chefs, and personal trainers. They have full-time personal assistants to shield them from high-calorie, diet-busting temptations! And as if that isn’t enough to guarantee success, they will get paid millions of dollars when they reach goal. Heck! Who wouldn’t lose weight with all of that?

For the people who think that celebrities have it easy when it comes to weight loss, I say you’re kidding yourself. I’m not saying that they don’t have advantages, but they also have to be responsible for their actions. Chefs cooking good food and personal trainers help, but whose job is it to tell Oprah she can’t have that piece of cake when she feels like it? Who’s going to tell Kirstie it’s time to put down the fork and move away from the table? I’ll tell you who – nobody who wants to keep their job, that’s who!

As for a source of motivation? I can’t say celebrity spokespeople matter to me whatsoever. I do get how they can be good for a commercial weight loss company. When a “regular person” loses weight with Weight Watchers, it’s not going to be interesting to the Today Show. When Oprah loses weight and promotes Weight Watchers it’s going to be interesting to the Today Show and a whole lot more high profile media outlets.

The “cheater claims” made by Enquirer are without merit.

Lipo (liposuction) can sculpt a body silhouette. It’s not effective for weight loss. It may result in a very small weight loss. Liposuction exposes the patient to risks that increase with the total amount of fat removed.

65 pounds can't be sucked away with lipo, but the belly bulge on the left could be trimmed to look like the belly on the right.

65 pounds can’t be sucked away with lipo, but the belly bulge on the left could be trimmed to look like the belly on the right.

Weight loss pills can help somebody adhere to a weight loss program, but the difference they make in overall weight loss is a few pounds. In clinical trials, patients taking the prescription weight loss drug, Belviq, lost slightly better than people who were taking a placebo. Weight loss for both groups wasn’t impressive – 5% of their starting weight, on average about 12 pounds in a year. Prescription and over-the-counter weight loss pills are not without unpleasant side effects for some users.

Oprah can’t lose a noticeable amount of weight unless she actually works a weight loss program. Lipo and weight loss drugs alone won’t do the job. I have no doubt that the program she’s working is Weight Watchers.

Kirstie is accused of losing weight because she had a form of obesity surgery called stomach stapling. Like pills, it also helps a dieter stick to a weight loss plan, but it doesn’t do all the work. Indeed, if the patient doesn’t follow the specific directions from the bariatric surgeon there will be unpleasant, even painful repercussions. Many patients lose weight after the procedure, but soon return to old habits and the weight is regained.

If a bariatric surgeon determined that Kristie's health would benefit by surgery, that wouldn't be cheating. It would be addressing a medical condition.

If a bariatric surgeon determined that Kristie’s health would benefit by surgery, that wouldn’t be cheating. It would be addressing a medical condition.

The Enquirer has no reliable sources to support their cover story. The doctors quoted have not treated Kirstie or Oprah as patients.

Both women are going to need to do more than just the “cheats” they’re accused of using by the Enquirer. They’ll need a way to monitor their food. It could be sticking to eating only Jenny’s meals or it could be counting Weight Watchers SmartPoints.

Both of them will have their demons to fight. Celebrities aren’t immune from damages caused by negative self-talk. Just like anybody struggling with weight, they’ll have times when they are too hard on themselves because progress seems slow. They may be dissatisfied with their appearance. A tabloid may run an entire spread of them looking fat and unlovely. If that’s not pressure, I don’t know what is.

Whether Kirstie and Oprah are using additional means to assist with their weight loss success doesn’t matter. Medical intervention such as surgery or prescription weight loss medication is not cheating.

If only there really were a way to “fake your way to slim!”

Jackie Conn

About Jackie Conn

Jackie Conn is married and has four grown daughters and four grandchildren. She is a Weight Watchers success story. She's a weight loss expert with 25 years of experience guiding women and men to their weight-related goals. Her articles on weight management have been published in health, family and women's magazines. She has been a regular guest on Channel 5 WABI news, FOX network morning program Good Day Maine and 207 on WCSH.