“I can’t believe after all these years I’m still talking about weight, but by the response on our message boards, a lot of you can relate.”
Oprah’s recent announcement that she now weighs 200 pounds after a bout of medical and emotional issues both shocked and resonated with viewers. Her determination to “be the weight that my body can hold and be healthy and strong and fit and be itself” inspired millions to speak out about their own weight problems and the never-ending pressure to be thin.
Now Oprah’s not the only one telling the truth about her weight. Former winner of the reality show The Biggest Loser, Erik Chopin, came on the show to announce that though he dropped 214 pounds from his 407 pound frame three years ago, he now weighs 315 pounds.
Chopin was 36 years old and 407 pounds in 2006 when he got the call to compete on the NBC show The Biggest Loser. At the time, the New York deli owner had diabetes, sleep apnea and high cholesterol. In eight months, he became the winner of Season 3 by losing 214 pounds.
Chopin finally came forward after seeing Oprah stand up in front of everyone and share her weight struggles. In his interview, he announced that he had been lying to his friends, family and fans in the three years since Loser. Though he gained back half the weight he lost, he continued to use older photos on MySpace and Facebook and turned down an offer to appear on The Oprah Show with other Biggest Loser contestants.
He told Oprah, “I inspired so many people; so many people reach out to me. I feel like I let them down.”
He admitted that with Biggest Loser things were easier because there was a finish line. To him, maintaining that weight loss is the most difficult aspect of the journey.
Although the situation for people like Oprah and Erik Chopin is difficult, it’s definitely something people can understand. At the beginning of the new year, undoubtedly hundreds of thousands of people pledged to lose weight or to be better about nutrition and exercise, only to feel horrible when they don’t do as well as they had hoped.
In the end, Chopin is right. Maintaining weight loss is the hardest part of the battle. It’s easier when you first start out, especially if it’s a New Years resolution or if you have an impending event that calls for a little black dress. But as time wears on, disillusionment sets in, the early winter darkness begins to wear on you and working out isn’t as fun as you first made it out to be.
The fact is, seeing people like Oprah and Chopin coming forward with their struggles is reassuring. Both of them had huge personal triumphs that the whole world witnessed and envied. Speaking out about their troubles helped the rest of us see that we’re far from alone in our weight-loss balancing act.
Best Life Week Follow-Ups, Oprah.com