Oprah Winfrey is getting candid about her struggle with her weight and eating, and believes being overweight was a disability in her case.
“I never ever felt a lack of confidence — I felt shame about not being able to conquer what I felt was a disability that I should have been able to control,” the media mogul, 63, told Good Housekeeping U.K.
Winfrey says she was self-conscious about her body, but that even at her highest weight she still felt confident when she was doing her job.
“At my most overweight I felt shame getting up [thinking], ‘Oh wow, they are looking at my butt, please don’t film me from behind.’ That sort of thing,” she said. “But once I got to the podium to speak, I lost that. I always felt a connection to the audience that left me feeling valued, respected and empowered because of it.”
She compared her feelings of shame with the same feelings many other men and women battle, just in a different context.
“My shame was no different than a mother having to show up at a wedding for her daughter or son and wishing she had lost weight and wasn’t in a size 16 but was in a size 12,” said Winfrey. “That same thing I felt was what other people feel every day. They are just not on a big stage in front of millions of people. But it did not correlate with confidence. It correlated with, ‘I wish I could do better.’ ”
Now that she’s lost 42.5 lbs. thanks to Weight Watchers, Winfrey feels “liberated.”
“[My weight] has been the go-to comfort for me,” she told the magazine. “You use it as your coat and your shield, and it keeps you from doing things. You don’t have to go to that party because you don’t have a dress to wear and nothing is going to fit you.”
“Now I feel liberated!” she continued. “It’s the thing I have been looking for my whole life — to feel a sense of freedom. The taste of freedom? There is nothing better than that!”
This article originally appeared on PEOPLE.com.
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