Oprah Winfrey Reveals She Was Pre-Diabetic Before Losing 42 Pounds With Weight Watchers

Nicol Natale
Photo credit: Jean Baptiste Lacroix - Getty Images

From Prevention

  • Oprah Winfrey, 65, recently revealed that she was pre-diabetic due to high levels of blood sugar and blood pressure.
  • Winfrey re-dedicated herself to a healthier lifestyle and lost 42 pounds, which she credits to joining WW.
  • Today, Winfrey has re-stabilized her blood sugar and blood pressure and is no longer pre-diabetic.

When it comes to spiritual wellbeing, no one works harder to inspire others than Oprah Winfrey. She has been open about her own journey in overcoming depression and lots of ups and downs with her weight.

In a letter to WW (formerly Weight Watchers) members, shared with People for Global Wellness Day, Winfrey admitted that she was also pre-diabetic, due to high blood sugar and blood pressure levels. "I haven’t shared with many, but I will share with you, that I was diagnosed with pre-diabetes before WW," she said.

Prediabetes is a condition where blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to receive a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes. Some 84 million Americans have prediabetes, and about 90 percent don't even know that they have it.

How to tell if you're at risk for prediabetes

Prediabetes is a precursor to type 2 diabetes. Winfrey's mother Vernita, who passed away in November, "had type 2 diabetes and was dependent on insulin," she said. Those with prediabetes will show no clear symptoms, though some may experience signs of type 2 diabetes, such as intense thirst.

If left untreated, up to one-third of people with prediabetes could develop diabetes within five years, according to the American Medical Association. But the condition is reversible by making lifestyle changes, such as losing excess weight, exercising, eating healthy foods, and quitting smoking.

The American Diabetes Association says that nonpregnant adults should have an A1C less than 7% and a blood sugar level of 80-130 mg/dl before a meal and a level less than 180 mg/dl 1-2 hours after starting a meal.

Back to health

Winfrey said that WW changed her life and helped her regain her health. In the four years that she was a WW shareholder, she lost 42 pounds. "Beyond the weight, WW has helped me make healthier choices and understand the real numbers that matter most," she said.

As a result of her weight loss, her blood pressure "is now stabilized and in a healthy range," and her blood sugar "numbers are back to normal too." Now, staying healthy and living the best version of herself are her goals. "Gone, for me, are the days of wanting to be thin to fit into anything other than my best body and best life," Winfrey revealed in the April issue of O, The Oprah Magazine, as reported by Today.

"The struggle has ended," she wrote in her letter.

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