Oprah Winfrey is a fine actress, a wonderful humanitarian and an all-around fine person. What she is not, however, is a convincing spokeswoman for weight loss.

Not because she hasn't been honest and above board about her struggles with her weight, and not because she doesn't sincerely seem to want to help people.

It's because she steals hope.

She's Oprah freaking Winfrey, a powerful woman who is largely responsible for bringing Barack Obama into the public eye, who built an empire from nothing, who runs an international corporation and is admired by millions. If she still struggles with her weight, what chance do I have?

I know women who hang on every word Oprah says and dream of someday meeting her. I'm not one of those women.

Oprah Winfrey has taken on the role of Weight Watchers’ spokeswoman, but is she right for the job?
Oprah Winfrey has taken on the role of Weight Watchers' spokeswoman, but is she right for the job? (Greg Allen/AP Photo)

I like Oprah. The few times I was able to see her show, I thought she did a great job of interviewing and keeping things under control. I respect her and admire her courage and compassion.

Like the rest of the country, if not the world, my jaw dropped when she did her big weight loss reveal years ago, ripping off the fat dress to show off the skinny jeans beneath. And like most others, I wanted to know how she had done it.

What diet had she used? What had motivated her? I was anxious to copy her successful weight-loss model.

Except I couldn't. Oprah had a personal nutritionist, a private chef, a trainer, and a huge staff of people who made dieting much easier for her than for us mere mortals.


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That's not to say it was easy for her, I'm sure. The weight loss demons are extremely personal and can be fought only by the individual who has conjured them.

Still, Oprah never had to come home from work, so exhausted and unmotivated to cook for herself that she headed to the fast food drive-thru in order to put something in her growling belly.

She may have had to find the motivation to exercise, but with a personal trainer and an in-home gym, it just wasn't quite the same.

As I struggle to keep my weight-loss plan going, however, I dream of one day being Oprah and having lots of helping hands. In a strange way, it gives me incentive to keep trying.

But now here she is, still battling her weight, and telling us that Weight Watchers, not a private chef, personal trainer and staff of dozens, is what she's going to be using this time.

I already was feeling skeptical, but then she told us that "Inside every overweight woman is a woman she knows she can be."

Oprah: You already are the woman you know you can be. How could you be any more Oprah than you already are? If you think your inside woman needs to be wearing a size 4 to be relevant, then what the heck is my inside woman supposed to think?

Weight loss needs to be about health and what makes us happy, not about size and pounds and appearance.

In the end, Oprah's message is sounding just like all the others making millions selling weight loss promises -- that the good life must wait until you've reached your weight loss goal, and that you don't matter until you're an acceptable size.

Add in the extreme twist that Oprah hasn't mastered losing weight and keeping it off, and my determination gets shaky.

Oprah, girlfriend, we need to talk. If I had people, they would be calling your people.

Follow Joan Morris at Twitter.com/AskJoanMorris.