- On January 4, Oprah Winfrey launched her nine-city tour in collaboration with Weight Watchers, called “Oprah’s 2020 Vision: Your Life in Focus,” featuring celebrity guests like Lady Gaga, Michelle Obama, and Tina Fey.
- Oprah said the tour was designed to teach fans how to live in a way that’s healthy and fulfilling.
- Over the years, Oprah has doled out her fair share of health advice, some of it science-backed and some of it pseudoscience.
- Insider rounded up the best and worst health advice Oprah has discussed or aired on her talk show “The Oprah Winfrey Show.”
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
“How do you take this energy of inspiration and people feeling triumphant in their lives? How do you use that to something that’s a greater good than just my front porch?” Oprah asked guests at her first tour stop in Fort Lauderdale, Florida,Entertainment Tonight reported. “And that’s how this idea came about. I’ll try to spread that word around the country.”
The tour, which is in partnership with weight-loss program Weight Watchers (now known as WW), will also run in cities like Dallas, Texas; San Francisco, California; and Los Angeles, California, with guests including Michelle Obama, Jennifer Lopez, Gayle King, and Tina Fey.
Oprah’s mission to teach people how to live their best and healthiest lives is at the core of both her tour and personal brand, but this is hardly her first foray into the topic. The former talk show host has interviewed celebrities on everything from vaccines to youth-enhancing remedies, and discussed her own health practices like meditation and healthy eating.
Here are the best and worst health tips Oprah has talked about over the years.
The media mogul told fans to never deprive themselves of food, and nutritionists agree.
Oprah has been vocal about her own weight loss journey over the years, and has many times stressed that being healthy doesn’t require starving one’s self. Case in point: her love of bread.
At her first tour stop in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, the media mogul told fans that, when it comes to food, they should never deprive themselves.
“Healthy for me is the new skinny,” she said. “It’s more about eating anything you want, just not all at once.”
Experts have also said that a lifestyle change, rather than a quick-fix or fad diet, is the best way to create healthy changes for the long term.
That’s why so many dietitians are fans of the Mediterranean diet, which consists of eating plant-based foods like vegetables, fruits, beans, legumes, and whole grains.
“You can dine out, enjoy a happy hour and an occasional dessert, and socialise around food in ways that are considerably more difficult with other plans,” Samantha Cassetty, a dietitian and advisor to Performance Kitchen, previously told Insider of the diet.
Oprah said she never sets an alarm to wake up in the morning, and instead lets her body decide. Sleep doctors say you should do the same.
“I have never set an alarm, I don’t believe in them. They are … alarming! I put the number in my mind and I wake up before that, usually between 6:02 and 6:20, because the dogs are trained to go out around that time,” Oprah told The Hollywood Reporter in 2017.
Perhaps it’s her status that allows Oprah to live an alarm-free lifestyle, but according to psychologist and sleep expert Roxane Prichard, Oprah is onto something that the rest of us should follow.
Starting your day when your body naturally wakes up, rather than being jolted awake with an alarm, is how you can tell if you’ve gotten enough rest, Prichard told Insider.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, a person can work towards an alarm-free morning by setting a daily schedule where they consistently get up at the same time.
Getting at least seven hours of sleep every night, creating a bedtime ritual to wind down, and waking up to bright light can help a person wake up like Oprah, according to the National Sleep Foundation website.
Oprah tries to spend as much time in nature as she can, a practice with science-backed benefits.
In a 2018 interview with Harper’s Bazaar, Oprah said she tries to be in and around nature as much as possible, like when she’s meditating, exercising, or walking her dogs.
She also has a daily meditation practice.
Every morning, Oprah meditates from between 10 seconds and 20 minutes, according to a 2016 interview on the Oprah Winfrey Network.
Meditation, which can take many forms from sitting still in a quiet room to practicing yoga, has many health benefits if done regularly.
It can help build focus, reduce stress and negative feelings, improve memory, and increase empathy, Insider previously reported.
Relationship experts praised Oprah for saying she was “1,000%” supportive of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s decision to leave their roles in the monarchy.
When it comes to relationships, Oprah supports boundary setting.
In a recent interview with TMZ, Oprah said she is “1,000%” supportive of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s decision to do just that, amid news that the duo were resigning from their positions as senior members of the royal family.
“Who doesn’t feel what it takes to make that decision, to give up everything you’ve known in your whole life to say ‘I’m going to choose this new life and what I believe to be the truest vision for myself.’ Who are any of us to stand in judgment of that? That’s what I think about that,” Oprah told TMZ.
Experts agree that setting boundaries with family can positively influence a person’s mental and emotional health.
That’s because setting boundaries with your family is a natural part of growing into an adult, therapist Nedra Glover Tawwab previously told Insider.
According to Tawwab, boundary setting allows individuals to create lives they’re proud to live.
“A lot of family-boundary setting happens as a result of getting to know your own likes and preferences,” Tawwab said. “If you don’t negotiate your boundaries, it’s possible you’ll end up anxious, depressed, or resentful because you’re living a life you don’t want to live. To truly be happy, you have to step outside” family tradition, and setting boundaries allows that to happen.
Oprah has been widely criticised for hosting actress Jenny McCarthy, who said she believed a vaccine caused her son’s autism.
In addition to offering her own personal health advice, Oprah has highlighted the voices of celebrities on her former talk show “The Oprah Winfrey Show.”
One of those celebrities was actress and former Playboy model Jenny McCarthy, who suggested her son developed autism after getting a vaccine for measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) as a baby.
In 2009, McCarthy, in a statement to Newsweek, doubled down on her stance.
“I understand that vaccines are an important part of keeping us alive today. My problem is with the ingredients in some vaccines that can become toxic when introduced to children with vulnerable immune systems. I want those children to be able to delay vaccines that could cause them harm,” McCarthy said.
Nonetheless, Oprah’s conversation with McCarthy added fuel to a small but vocal group of anti-vaxxers who continue to spread misinformation about life-saving vaccines.
Oprah said soy milk and iodine supplements helped her manage her thyroid gland. Experts say they can actually be dangerous for people with thyroid conditions.
Oprah regularly had OB/GYN Dr. Christiane Northrup on her show as a medical guest, and in 2007 Northrup gave Oprah on-air advice about the talk show host’s thyroid.
On “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” Oprah said she “blew out” her thyroid due to stress and as a result felt tired and gained weight, Newsweek reported.
Northrup wrote a book that suggests thyroid problems in women are due in part to an “energy blockage” and is “the result of a lifetime of ‘swallowing’ words one is aching to say,” and the doctor reiterated this point on Oprah’s show despite there being no scientific evidence Northrup’s energy theory is true.
Northrup told Oprah, “This is the important part. It’s not – you’re not causing this deliberately … It’s your soul bringing it to your attention.”
To heal her thyroid, Oprah said she spent a month in Hawaii, where she consumed fresh foods and soy milk. In reality, if a person who has a thyroid condition drinks soy milk, it can be dangerous to their health.
If a person’s thyroid is underactive (meaning they have hypothyroidism) and doesn’t produce enough hormones, they’re typically prescribed medication to replace the missing hormones. Dr. David Cooper, a professor of endocrinology at Johns Hopkins medical school, told Newsweek that if that’s the case, “you do not want to be taking soy. It will block your body’s ability to absorb the medication.”
Northrup also told Oprah and her television audience that taking iodine supplements could help, but Cooper warned against that as well.
“If you have mild hypothyroidism, taking iodine will make it worse,” he told Newsweek.
Suzanne Somers told Oprah viewers she injected herself with human growth hormones to look more youthful. Doctors say the practice can be dangerous.
In January 2009, actress Somers, then 62, appeared on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” to talk about her secrets for looking young.
She talked about rubbing creams that contain the hormones estrogen and progesterone on her arms and injecting estrogen directly into her vagina daily. According to Somers, these habits tricked her body into believing it was 30 years old because she was restoring her hormones to have the same amount as that of a 30-something woman.
Somers also said she took 60 oral vitamins and a human growth hormone injection daily to maintain her youth.
“Many people write Suzanne off as a quackadoo, but she just might be a pioneer,” Oprah said during the episode.
Science, however, has not proven that these treatments can slow or decrease ageing.
Injecting human growth hormones into the body, if not prescribed by a doctor for FDA-approved purposes, can actually be dangerous because it can lead to nerve, muscle, and joint pain, high cholesterol, and swelling.
Additionally, most supplements are ineffective at promoting health unless a doctor prescribes them for a specific deficiency or health condition, Insider previously reported. For normal healthy people, a balanced diet is all that’s needed to sustain health.