Recently, Oprah Winfrey and WeightWatchers presented Making the Shift: A new way to think about weight. The event covered shedding the weight of shame, the science of weight health, and creating a new health culture together, topics OAC has long championed. 

During the event, longtime OAC member and licensed psychologist Dr. Rachel Goldman made an appearance to talk about how to move past shame about our bodies. Dr. Rachel says we need to acknowledge and understand any shame we’ve felt about our bodies so we can begin to move forward. She also reminded us that everybody has their own stories, so we have to be kind and stop making assumptions or judgments. On that note, Oprah said, “Everyone has their own stories, and everyone has their own bodies, so we can’t judge.”  

Later in the event, endocrinologist Ania Jastreboff, MD, PhD, who OAC members may remember from last year’s Your Weight Matters Virtual Convention, spoke with Oprah about the biology behind the disease of obesity. “We need to let biology set us free,” Dr. Jastreboff said. “We need to know that it’s not our fault, it’s not anything that anybody chose, its biology.” 

OAC President and CEO Joe Nadglowski, along with Board Chair Kristal Hartman and Chief Operating Officer James Zervios, had the honor of attending the event, offering these messages as their key takeaways:   

Joe Nadglowski, OAC President & CEO: “Self-awareness is crucial in combating weight-based stigma. You have to start with yourself, reflecting on your own potential contributions to bias and stigma. Whether it’s directed towards yourself or others, recognizing and addressing these behaviors is a vital first step.” 

Kristal Hartman, OAC Board Chair: “We must share our stories and personal experiences. It can be difficult to open up and be vulnerable, but the more people who understand what living with obesity is truly like, the more empathetic society will be. In turn, policies will start changing to end weight-based discrimination and improve access to care.” 

James Zervios, OAC Chief Operating Officer: “In the past several years, I’ve seen a shift in explicit weight bias – a person shaming another person about their weight. But I still see a lot of implicit bias – shaming ourselves for our weight. Oftentimes, we’re harder on ourselves than other people are. We must grant ourselves grace and be just as compassionate to ourselves as we are to others.” 

Conversations like this one with such influential figures like Oprah Winfrey help to amplify the message, reaching broader audiences and fostering a deeper understanding of the impact of stigma. We thank Oprah and WeightWatchers for shifting the narrative around the disease of obesity and the way we all think about weight. 

The Obesity Action Coalition exists to serve the needs of people affected by obesity. Since our inception in 2005, we’ve worked hard to eliminate weight bias and create a kinder, more inclusive world for people living with obesity. Our Stop Weight Bias Campaign is a public awareness initiative committed to raising awareness, putting a stop to weight bias and pushing equality forward. You can join the movement to stop weight bias at