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Oprah Tackles Weighty Matters in New Video


Oprah Winfrey hopes to motivate the overweight with her video "Oprah: Make the Connection" (Buena Vista, $23), which hits stores Tuesday.

"I'm not interested in telling people how many sit-ups to do," says the Emmy-winning TV talk show personality, actress and producer. "I am interested in people connecting."

It took Winfrey, 43, most of her adult life to "connect"--to find a weight loss program that works for her.

"I had done everything," Winfrey says. "I've done the Diet Center, NutriSystem. I did Weight Watchers. I had exercised before, but I hadn't done it for more than a week. After three days, I would quit. I had been on every diet known to womankind and I would always fail."

She turned her life around when she met exercise physiologist Bob Greene. The two teamed up to write the best-selling fitness book "Make the Connection: Ten Steps to a Better Body and a Better Life" (Hyperion, 1996).

"What Bob Greene provided me, more than anything else, was information that I believed," says Winfrey, who has gone from a size 24 to a size 8.

"That was the difference. I believed what he told me--if you do this amount of work and you cut back on the food, I guarantee you will lose weight. I love the word 'guarantee.' For the first time, I was able to follow through on a plan because I believed the plan."

She decided to do the video, which features the emotional stories of several women with weight problems, because it is a "way to get into people's homes. You could let me be the coach."

Throughout the video, Winfrey candidly discusses her 20-year battle of the bulge. Shot over the course of several months, the video crew followed her daily routine, recording her early-morning work-outs, low-fat sensible meals and preparation for her TV talk show.

"I think even with everything going on in my life, in my most loneliest moments and most frustrating moments, I felt I was the only person who had it this bad with weight," Winfrey acknowledges.

"I felt like everyone else had been able to control their weight, but not me. There was something wrong with me. I think the video will be really helpful for people to see--everybody [overweight] feels the same way."

Proceeds from the videotape will go toward A Better Chance, a Boston-based program that provides mostly inner-city children with the opportunity to attend college preparatory and public schools.

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