Celebrities maintain a significant influence on how we live our lives—the presence that celebrities have in society is similar to how a younger sibling looks up to their older counterpart. Admittedly, some celebrities don’t set the greatest lifestyle examples. But when it comes to health and weight loss, it can be immeasurably reassuring to find that a star is going through or has gone through the same challenges as you. When somebody like Oprah Winfrey struggles with weight and rises to the challenge, we’re reassured that we can do the same.
Here we take a look at five veterans of obesity who can share their own successes with the battle of the bulge. What can you learn from their stories?
Meteorologist and multiple Emmy award winner Al Roker lost 115 pounds after his gastric bypass surgery. He had struggled with his weight since childhood and found dieting to be unsuccessful. After the procedure, however, he regained 40 pounds and had the realization that gastric bypass can take the weight away, but it takes hard work and personal growth to keep it gone for good. Roker expresses that a candidate for gastric bypass or any weight loss solution needs to address his or her psychological connection to food. In doing so, patients maintain successful and fulfilling results. A professional counselor can help with this aspect of a weight problem.
- His personal routine for staying slim involves portion control, regular exercise, and what he calls eating mindfully; meaning making a conscious choice to consume something delicious rather than mechanically munching on something unfulfilling.
Bassist, Grammy-winning producer, and American Idol judge Randy Jackson lost 100 pounds after being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in 2001. Two years later he underwent gastric bypass surgery to further weight loss. Like Roker and many others, Jackson found himself gaining weight again shortly afterward. He had to make a commitment to himself to create and stick to a fitness routine and learn to eat for health.
- His advice for weight loss success is surprising: it involves allowing yourself to sample what looks good, learn to cook, and to “never say never.” The takeaway is to eat what you enjoy, but in moderation.
Singer and television personality Carnie Wilson had gastric bypass in 1999 and lost 150 pounds. She gained two-thirds of the weight back, learned she was at risk for developing diabetes, and then had a gastric band surgery earlier this year. Since this second procedure, Wilson has stopped eating sugar and flour and reports losing 30 pounds so far. She wants people to know that weight loss surgery is a great kick start for a journey to weight loss and a healthy lifestyle, but it is not an instant solution to the problem of overeating and an unhealthy relationship with food.
- Her best piece of advice: don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Country music star and television actress Wynonna Judd lost 55 pounds by using a process called Brainwave Optimization, or brain state conditioning, which helps people find other coping methods for stress instead of turning to food. Judd understood that the weight gain was a symptom of a deeper disorder and not a problem in itself. Participants are encouraged to talk about their emotional issues while sensors map brain activity to locate areas of imbalance. The sensors are then placed over the unbalanced areas and brainwaves are played back. This is not traditionally a weight loss therapy, but often users find that their emotional attachments to eating disappear, resulting in better eating habits.
- As part of her new lifestyle, Judd has banished unhealthy food from her pantry and takes daily walks.
Media juggernaut Oprah Winfrey struggled with her weight very publicly for decades. She lost 67 pounds in 1988, gained it back, worked with a personal trainer after peaking at 237 pounds, and then the roller coaster continued. In 2005, she was at 160 pounds. Four years later, back to 200. In 2008, she was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism, and the medication to manage the condition caused further weight gain. Her current priority, she says, has to be herself.
- Her current weight loss strategy incorporates exercise and the ongoing effort to vanquish the food addiction.
What do these celebrities’ weight loss chronicles have in common? The acknowledgement that significant weight gain is not only a physical impairment, but a psychological one, and to fully address the problem of weight means to restructure our relationship with food and our idea of self worth. A careful study of the reasons behind the unhealthy habits, forgiveness and acceptance of one’s own imperfections, and a commitment to a better lifestyle are the steps that ultimately helped these stars take the weight off and stay on the road to health and wellness.
Weight loss surgery is absolutely a serious consideration for anyone facing unmanageable weight gain, obesity, and morbid obesity—in fact, weight loss surgery has helped to save the lives of people whose weight posed health risks like heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. The takeaway here is that your weight loss journey doesn’t end immediately after you have surgery-it becomes a healthy lifestyle that you can continue for years and years to come. There are multiple weight loss surgery options and you should consult with an experienced professional to determine what you are a candidate for.