Barrington Health: Oprah Winfrey Taps into the Emotional Side of Weight Loss

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Oprah Winfrey is the influential face of a new Weight Watchers program that encourages a more active lifestyle rather than focusing on weight loss alone.

Oprah Weight Watchers New Year

A part owner of Weight Watchers, the media mogul is using her famous personal connection with people to promote the weight loss company’s “Beyond the Scale” initiative. She’s also participating in the program.

“Staying fit and healthy” and “losing weight” are the most popular resolutions to start the new year right, according to a 2015 Nielsen survey. With the weather changing to cold and dark winter months, people tend to emotionally eat comfort food to help fill a void or an empty feeling inside.

“There are times where we can be pre-occupied or stressed,” says Marie Mauter, employee assistance program counselor at Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital in Barrington, Illinois. “As a result, we may be unaware of what or how much we are eating.”

With Winfrey’s motivation and a renewed focus on health and wellness in the new year, Mauter recommends the following eight tips to develop a healthy lifestyle:

  1. Pay attention to your thoughts and feelings when you want to grab that snack. Be mindful and present. Try to feel that your mind and body are “on the same page.”
  2. Journal or make a list of what is stressing or upsetting you. Make a plan to take control of the situation.
  3. Recognize when you eat emotionally and learn what triggers this behavior in you. Remember, you can control the way you think.
  4. Provide yourself with a delay between the urge to eat and actually eating. Also, keep in mind that it takes about 20 minutes for your brain to get the “I’m full” signal from your stomach.
  5. Even a quick burst of activity refreshes you and can take your mind off of unhealthy eating.
  6. Have other “treats.” Find healthy food to use as your comfort food. Find enjoyable activities, things to look forward to at the end of the day. Finding other ways to soothe yourself or help tolerate difficult feelings will provide satisfaction.
  7. Practice good self-care. Don’t let yourself get to a place of being too hungry or too tired. At times, strong messages to eat are sent to your brain and you are not well equipped to fight off cravings or urges.
  8. Have greater self-compassion. Be kind to yourself.

“Of course, there are times when it’s fine to celebrate or commiserate with food,” Mauter says. “The key is that it happens occasionally, in moderation.”

Mauter says if it still proves problematic, or out of control, seek professional help from a medical or behavioral health specialist.

* Article originally published here at

Located at 450 W. Highway 22 in Barrington, Illinois, Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital is an acute care facility with more than 700 physicians representing 50 medical specialties. With a nationally-recognized cancer program, renowned cardiac care and an extensive range of outpatient services, Good Shepherd Hospital is part of Advocate Health Care, named one of the Top Ten hospital systems in the U.S. by Thomson-Reuters. For more about Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital, visit

Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital at 450 W. Highway 22 in Barrington

About the Author

Lisa O'NeilLisa O’Neil serves as director of public affairs and marketing at Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital in Barrington.

CLICK HERE to read the latest articles Lisa has written for Advocate Health’s Enews platform at

Lisa also contributes to our Barrington Health series at focused on advice from area physicians, the latest medical news and trends toward better health in and around Barrington, Illinois.

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