Surprise! Oprah's normal

It’s all over the airwaves, newspapers, Internet, and magazines. After a widely celebrated weight loss of almost 80lbs. in 2004, Oprah has regained 40 of them. It’s not really news; most of us have noticed the icon gaining weight. But after much finger-pointing, Oprah comes forth on the cover of her magazine, humbly admitting that, yup, she’s back up to 200lbs.

Some scoff at all the hoopla over one woman’s weight gain. But, once again, Oprah is using her honesty, openness, and humanness to make the world a better place. How many of us beat ourselves up about not having the “will power” to stick to an eating plan or workout routine? Oprah struggles with it, too, and she is hands-down one of the most amazing women in the world.

In her magazine, Oprah says her weight gain was from thyroid issues, medications (for her thyroid, heart palpitations, and high blood pressure), too many responsibilities, an unbalanced life, and food addiction. She elaborates on all issues but food addiction.

I know food addiction all too well. Simply put, it’s when you’re powerless over food. (You can take a quiz to determine whether you’re a food addict here or here.) Food addiction thrives on low self-esteem, isolation, perfectionism, and self-induced pressure to achieve.

All of these problems can pretty much be wiped out by finding and forcing yourself into a support network. Food addicts love to isolate themselves, where no one can see what they consider to be their unattractive bodies. When alone, food addicts can binge in peace, smothering any unpleasant feelings with a grocery-cart-full of food.

Food addiction, whether mild or severe, is so much more common than most people think, and it’s nothing to be “embarrassed” or “mad” at yourself about like Oprah. Anonymous 12-step programs for compulsive overeaters hold thousands of meetings worldwide. If you think you’re a food addict, you’re certainly not alone.

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