Return to Transcripts main page


Encore: Travoltas Back At Home; Oprah's Personal Struggle

Aired January 10, 2009 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, Oprah goes public with her personal struggle -- angry, embarrassed, depressed. She's at war with her weight again. Team Oprah is here and ready to reveal how she's fighting back. Personal trainer Bob Greene, Dr. Mehmet Oz and "The Secret's" Michael Beckman tell us what Oprah is doing to help herself.
Can they help you?

But first, the latest on the Travolta family tragedy.

John, Kelly and Ella are at home in Florida preparing for their final goodbye to Jett. All right now on LARRY KING LIVE.

We'll be devoting most of the program tonight to weight loss and concentrating on what the up and down scales of Oprah Winfrey.

But, in the first segment, we'll get you up to date on the latest on the tragedy of the Travolta family.

Joining us here in Los Angeles is Carlos Diaz, who is a correspondent with "Extra."

And on the phone from Bahama is Obie Wilchcombe. He's a member of the Bahamian parliament. The Travoltas' vacation home in his constituency and he was with the Travoltas at the hospital last Friday -- the day their son Jett died.

Now, where -- what's the latest Carlos?

CARLOS DIAZ, CORRESPONDENT, "EXTRA": A lot of things going on today, Larry. First off, as we know from last night, Jett was cremated in the Bahamas. He was flown last night by John Travolta and Kelly Preston, as well as with Ella, back to Ocala, Florida.

You and I speculated earlier in the week that maybe he might be too emotionally distraught -- John Travolta, that is -- to fly the plane. But the reports are that he actually flew his private lain from the Bahamas to Ocala, Florida.

We're getting word today that there is going to be a memorial service -- a private memorial service Thursday at their house in Ocala, Florida.

And, finally, someone came forward to defend John Travolta's Scientology beliefs. Lisa Marie Presley came forth and wrote on her MySpace blog that John Travolta did everything he could to care for his son, Jett. KING: Were there questions that he didn't?

DIAZ: Well, I mean, you know, there's -- there was the rumors earlier this week -- the ludicrous rumors this week that, you know, because of his religion, that, you know, he wasn't giving Jett the proper medication and this and that. And Lisa Marie Presley says that Scientologists, if they're sick, they go to the doctor.

KING: Scientology sent us that yesterday, a statement that no Scientologists denied the use of any medicine.

DIAZ: Exactly. Yes. And I -- it's something where you would expect Lisa Marie Presley to come forward as a Scientologist. And you should expect more Scientologists to come forward, as well, to defend John Travolta and Kelly.

KING: Yes.

Obie Wilchcombe, did you have any contact with the Travoltas before they left?

OBIE WILCHCOMBE, MEMBER, BAHAMIAN PARLIAMENT: No, I didn't, Larry. I spoke directly with the hotel and plans were made to have them leave last night and they did so. Now they're back in Florida. But I didn't speak with them directly at all.

KING: Do you know what time they left?

WILCHCOMBE: You must remember that the cremation took place at the Rest View (ph). And then after that, the doctor who had sat in on the autopsy, he was at the mortuary. He received the urn with the ashes. And he was able to take them with him. And, of course, they were passed on to the Travoltas.

And then at 3:30 or thereabouts today in Ocala -- this morning, handed over to the funeral director there.

KING: And last night, you told us that there will be some sort of permanent memorial in the Bahamas, right?

WILCHCOMBE: Yes, absolutely, Larry. We're going to work on that during the course of this week. You know, we walked through this chapter with John Travolta and his wife and his daughter. One thing for sure is when John Travolta and his family returns, Jett will not be with them.

And what we want to do is just show our appreciation. And the fact that many of the hotel certainly remember him and know that Jett loved so much West End, loved so much the waters and loved the Bahamas. And we want to make sure that we show our appreciation and love for the Travolta family.

KING: Carlos, do we know of any celebrities, Hollywood types, attending Thursday?

DIAZ: Well, you know, Tom Cruise is a good friend of -- of John Travolta's, and also a fellow Scientologist. We've heard that might be there at the private memorial. We had heard Oprah was going to be there, but she is out of the country. And we hear through "Extra" that she's not going to be at the memorial because she's out of the country. But she sends her well wishes.

KING: Now, the Golden Globes are this Sunday. And Travolta's animated film, "Bolt," is up for two awards, including one for the song he performs with Miley Cyrus.

Would you say that it's now the favorite or have they voted already?

DIAZ: Well, they -- they voted already. But you have to assume the organizers of the Golden Globes are going to plan some kind of tribute to John Travolta and to Jett Travolta. And that's going to be the talk of the red carpet, Larry. I mean a lot of people -- a lot of stars already have shown their support for John Travolta, because he's a class act and one of the consummate actors of our time.

KING: Would you gather, therefore, there will be something, as well, as the Academy Awards?

DIAZ: You would hope. You know, I mean, you know, John -- the nominations have not come out yet for the Academy Awards.

And John has not done a movie this year that would warrant an Academy Award. But you would hope there would be some kind of tribute to John.

And I wouldn't expect him to be at the Golden Globes this coming Sunday, but on February 22nd, when the Oscars air, you would expect maybe that he might be able to show up for that and, you know, maybe it might even be his first appearance.

KING: Obie, do you know if he'll return to the Bahamas in the future?

WILCHCOMBE: Oh, absolutely.

When he left this morning, I was told that he was very pleased with how things had gone during the last several days and the fact that the Bahamian people showed a tremendous amount of love and that he left knowing that he has been a very special guest to us, a very special member of our family.

So, yes, he's going to return. John Travolta and his family love the Bahamas they'd like to come back. And they're going to continue to come back. He still has a residence here and we look forward to seeing them more and more and more.

KING: Carlos, you told us last night he's in the process of doing a film.

Do you expect him to continue?

DIAZ: Well, I mean, it's got to be very tough for him. He's doing a movie right now called "From Paris with Love." They're shooting it in Paris. And you've got to understand, this is something that his friends have already said will change John Travolta's life forever. So I would expect a long grieving process.

And I -- the filming and the production schedule will definitely be affected by this tragedy in the Travolta household. And you can't expect him to go right back to work.

KING: But he would also, knowing him, think about all the other people involved in this film?

DIAZ: If there is one actor in Hollywood that would have other people on his mind, it would be John Travolta, because he does care about the people that are working on this film. And, you know, I mean, you make a great point.

And so, I mean it's got to, you know, tug at him both ways, because now, if he does leave and does go back to Paris to keep filming, you're leaving your wife and your daughter in Florida.

KING: Obie, is the autopsy now an open and shut case, reporting his death from -- the death certificate saying seizure?

WILCHCOMBE: I think so, Larry. The family has the report. They can disclose more of it if they wish. What the funeral director did last night was authorized by the family, as I said earlier. The doctor was at the funeral home at the time. That was authorized by the family. He was able to make that announcement because they allowed him to.

And whatever happens afterwards, the family has a right to disclose it if they wish.

If they do not, then it won't be. But as far as we're concerned, it's now in the family's hands and the family can make the next decision.

KING: Are you going to Ocala, Carlos?

DIAZ: No. I can tell you right now that the outpouring of support that John Travolta has gotten, both at "Extra," here at CNN -- your phone lines have been jammed, I understand. The outpouring of support is just so indicative of the people that John Travolta and Kelly Preston are as far as, you know, the people (INAUDIBLE)...

KING: They're very special people.

DIAZ: Yes. And people are just -- they're grieving along with them.

KING: Thank you, Obie.

Thank you, Carlos, as always.

DIAZ: Thank you.

Good to see you.

KING: Carlos Diaz, Obie Wilchcombe.

Bob Greene is here.

What did Oprah's personal trainer tell her that changed her life -- next.


KING: Welcome back.

This is Oprah's best week life on "The Oprah Winfrey Show."

And our guests are key parts of Oprah's efforts to make her own life the best it can be and to help her viewers do the same.

We start with Bob Greene. Bob is in New York. He is, of course, a key part of the whole factor of Oprah Winfrey. In fact, he's got two books out -- "Bob Greene

The Best Life Diet" and "Bob Greene

The Best Life Diet Cookbook." He's also on the -- he's the front cover feature of the new "Oprah" magazine -- Making Weight Loss Stick

Bob Greene's Simple Plan.

As any fan knows, she's packed on 40 unwanted pounds in recent years. She talked about it on yesterday's Oprah show to kick off that Best Life Week.

Let's watch and then Bob's comment.


OPRAH WINFREY, HOST: I feel the same way everybody else feels when you get up in the morning and you go to put on something and it doesn't fit.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And please welcome Tina Turner.

WINFREY: There I am doing the Tina and Cher show feeling like how in the world did I let this happen to myself again?

And I was embarrassed. And I wanted to be any place other than there.


KING: Now, Bob Greene, you consult on her on weight.

What happened?

BOB GREENE, OPRAH'S PERSONAL TRAINER: Well, the first thing with Oprah, most people misunderstand struggles with weight and how many people actually struggle. Most people have some weight that they want to lose. And Oprah is no different.

Most people think it's simply a matter of what you're eating or you're eating too much or you hate exercise and you lack the discipline to follow a plan long-term. What it really is tied to, for most people, is the rest of their life. If it's out of balance, if you're working too hard, if you're in relationships that need help or you're not satisfied with, it's always about the rest of your life. And for each person, it's different.

And Oprah -- it's no secret -- puts in 16 hour days, she does multiple shows each day. She then logs in on her magazine. That's a very busy life. And that's not an excuse. It can unravel for her. And that's the key is finding what in your life is causing you to misuse food.

KING: Bob, one would think, though, with that kind of busy life, you would lose weight.

GREENE: Not true. When -- she admittedly, she'll be the first to tell you that if she's stressed, if she's bored, if something is bothering her or she's happy, food is a coping mechanism. And it was that way since childhood. And that's a very difficult thing to break.

In fact, when you look at any type of addiction -- and we can talk about food as an addiction. We didn't in the old days, but now we know the statistics are almost identical. If you want to break an addiction to alcohol, to drugs or any kind of behavior, the statistics are actually worse for weight loss because you have to look at food every day of your life, where you -- you don't have to be on drugs and you don't have to have alcohol in front of you.

KING: Someone told me today that it's not how much you eat, it's what you eat.


GREENE: It's actually a little bit of both. Obviously, total calories -- if you only burn so many calories in a day -- and we can estimate that -- and you consume over and above that, you're going to put on weight. And the opposite is true. You're just trying to go into a calorie deficit.

And that sounds so easy. But that tells you the problem out there. It's not about food. Trust me, I studied this. My graduate work was about diet and exercise and studying the two. Twenty-seven years I've been doing this and I've never found anyone where the problem was simply they love food or they hate exercise. It's always intertwined with their life. And they use food as a coping mechanism.

KING: Oprah and I have talked a lot about -- about a lot of topics on this show over the years, including her weight back in 2006.

And she had this to say about you.



WINFREY: I was 237 pounds. Yes, I was. And...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE) a heavyweight champion.

WINFREY: Yes, I weighed more than a heavyweight champion. I had gone to the Emmys. I couldn't even get out of my chair, I was so embarrassed to win. I was hoping that Donahue was going to win because I didn't want to get out of my chair.

And I left there and I went to a spa to try to -- one more time to try to start that weight loss thing. And I ran into Bob Greene.

And Bob Greene really changed my life. I would have to say, he's had an enormous influence on my life because he started asking me the questions.

He said to me, why are you fat?


KING: All right, Bob, is this, then, an embarrassment for you to have her this overweight, frankly?

GREENE: Not at all. You know what, I think -- first off, kudos to Oprah. She comes out and in a very public and candid way explained that she's struggling with this. And I can't tell you the outpouring on her Web site,, mine -- We're flooded with a positive response, because we hit a chord -- or she hit a chord with people out there.

People are struggling with this. And the irony of it is that people quickly forget that Oprah lost a total of 90 pounds and, for the most part, kept most of it off. Disregard the stories, there's slight fluctuations, like everyone has. She kept it off for close to 15 years.

KING: Yes.

GREENE: Now she put only 40 of that back and has since gotten back on the wagon. So, you know, I look at it as really a reflection of our society. And ironically, there's about a 5 percent to 12 percent success rate for people that need to lose 75 or more pounds.

KING: All right. We've got to get a break. Hold it.

GREENE: And she still kept most of it off. So I think I'd give her a lot of credit for coming forward.

KING: Oprah's Best Life Week is airing all this week on "The Oprah Winfrey Show." And viewers can register for next week's Best Life Web casts at

More with Bob after this. And we get on our blog right now -- you can, right now. Weigh in on fitness --

Back in 60 seconds.



Welcome back.

Let's take another look at Oprah's show from yesterday.


WINFREY: For a photo shoot, I have to do that in front of 20 people who are all now waiting to see what it looks like.

Let's try that or that doesn't fit or it's too tight in the arms, it's too tight in the arms, take that off. Let's try this pair of pants. And let's try that pair of pants. Oh, that size doesn't work. Oh, that -- you're not a 12 anymore, you're a 14. OK, now your a 14 is got to have some stretch in it.

It's embarrassing for me. And I would rather not do it.

So this year, you will notice we've had this cover, we've had this cover and we've had this cover and we've had this cover -- all because of my anxiety about having to put my body on display.


KING: Bob, why does she and so many others go up and down?

GREENE: Well, the irony is, if you follow a good plan -- obviously I have a plan out there that I think is fantastic and I would recommend people go on it.

But if you follow the plan, it works, for the most part. There are a lot of good ways to go about losing weight. You've got to be more active and you've got to eat in moderation. That's not rocket science.

The interesting thing -- and it's different for everybody -- is what is it about the rest of your life that causes you to run to food?

We were wired at a very young age. When someone goes through certain wiring from ages one to, say, 8, your behavior is pretty fixed. And it takes a lot to change some one that learned at an early age food is a comfort, food will get you past hard times and when you have it, that's good. So that's what it's all about is rewiring yourself. And, also, to say, hey, I want this life for myself. It's not about weight. This -- people need to start looking at weight as a symptom. It's not the problem.

And the problem is we're a society that says oh, the weight is the problem. It's not. It's the symptom of something that needs to change in your life. And finding out what that is -- it's different for each person, but that's the key.

KING: Bob Greene.

And he'll be right back with us.

And Dr. Mehmet Oz will join us after the break, as well -- what he is telling Oprah about weight loss that can help you.

Don't go away.


KING: We're back.

And Bob Greene remains with us.

We're joined, as well, in New York by Dr. Mehmet Oz, part of Oprah's Best Life Week. Today, he gave her viewers the ultimate health checklist. He's a "New York Times" best-selling author. His latest book is "You Being Beautiful

The Owner's Manual to Inner and Outer Beauty." It's coauthored with Dr. Michael Roizen.

Oprah's latest weight gain has been a heavy emotional burden for her.

Here's how she sums up its effect on her sense of accomplishment and self-esteem.

And we'll ask Dr. Oz to comment.



WINFREY: All the money and all the fame and all of the attention and the glamorous life and the success and all of that doesn't mean one thing if you can't control your own being. It doesn't mean anything if you can't fit into your clothes.


KING: Dr. Oz, do you totally buy that, that all of that doesn't mean anything?

DR. MEHMET OZ, OPRAH'S MEDICAL ADVISER: She's on target. In fact, what I love about Oprah is that what really makes her extraordinary is that she is so ordinary. She's talking about the problems we all face. You know, we all draw spheres of influence around us -- circles that define what we pay attention to. And when those circles include money and other people and things, perhaps, we shouldn't be focused on and we avoid focusing on the inside issues that really should captivate our attention, we sometimes miss the boat. And in particularly Oprah's case -- and that's what we talked about on the show today a lot -- it was the fact that there were some medical issues happening, that she actually woke up to. And she was one who helped diagnose herself.

But, listen, she had Vitamin D deficiency.

Why would that be shocking for a darker skinned person who spends a lot of time in Chicago?

The number one vitamin deficiency in America.

If you're watching this show right now, if you live in a Northern state, you are probably Vitamin D deficient.

And then what does that cause?

It causes autoimmune problems. So for her, it takes your thyroid gland -- which is like your thermostat in your house and it shifts it off kilter, so you can't quite get the right temperature in your body.

And those things tend to lead to guess what -- changes in the metabolism and weight gain.

KING: Do you -- what do you think of what Bob Greene does?

OZ: I think Bob is right on target. You know, the same way you look as a fever as not the cause of your illness, but a symptom of an underlying infection, to me, weight gain -- especially when it's in the belly area -- is a reflection of stress.

Listen, Larry, a thousand years ago, when folks felt stress in their life, it wasn't about jobs or press releases or magazine deadlines. It was about famine. You didn't have food so your body said you know what, I'm going to release these hormones, you'd better store some fat, because when that famine hits you, you're going to need that storage.

Today, our bodies do the same thing. We're hard wired with a dozen redundant mechanisms to react to stress by storing fat in our belly. And that's what's happening not just to Oprah, but millions of our viewers.

KING: Bob, do you think you need an all encompassing approach, such as yourself and Dr. Oz and the guest we're meeting later from "The Book of Secrets?"

GREENE: Absolutely. I look at it as kind of a chain with three links. And if you don't address all three, the weak link will eventually cause your demise.

If you're not obviously exercising -- and all long-term studies are showing this -- if you're inactive, it's a tough road. You all most have to eat perfectly and no one can eat perfectly.

And if you first establish what's an appropriate amount of exercise for you, then and only then can you prescribe an appropriate diet. So then you move on and you just eat in moderation.

Then the last issue, which ironically is not one that I studied, but I studied it in the field, that's the emotional side to things. And for me, that's the key. I've been doing this so many years, I find that how you manage the rest of your life really dictates your success. And most people that are successful -- after five years they've kept most of their weight off -- are the ones that made a profound change in the way they view not only themselves, but their life.

KING: In 2007, Oprah was diagnosed with a thyroid problem. And on her show Monday, she talked about how she responded to the diagnosis.



WINFREY: It was almost like it was like some kind of sentence. You know, it was a fat sentence, because I thought well, now it doesn't matter, I've got a thyroid problem. If I don't embrace hunger, everything I eat is going to make me fat anyway and my metabolism isn't working, so I might as well just eat whatever I want. OK. Fat wins. That's what I thought. I felt completely defeated. And I think OK, that's it, I give. I give.


KING: Dr. Oz, Oprah says four doctors missed her thyroid problem.


OZ: Well, she had a very complex thyroid abnormality. She was, at the same time producing too much, because the thyroid gland was inflamed. And then, of course, once it burns out, it goes the other direction. And so the numbers that we look at in laboratory tests, which are quite challenging to review, especially for the hormones, were sort of in the middle when they should have been reflecting the extremes. And there are many Americans who have seen the show who should respond the same way she did -- to keep looking, because we don't always get the diagnosis the first time.

But let me pick up on something Oprah said that is so beautiful. For her, obesity became an excuse that she could hide behind. And there a lot of folks out there who are carrying extra weight around and use it as a shield to deal with the deeper challenges.

Because you know what, if you're heavy, that's the reason why things aren't going the right way for you. And Oprah took it one step deeper. She had -- she hid behind her hormones.

And Bob mentioned importance of physical activity. If your hormones are out of whack, especially if you're going through a change of life, you have a difficult time making muscle. And, Larry, if you don't have muscle, you can't burn calories, because when muscle is being used, it will burn a dozen times more calories than fat will. So you've got to have muscle mass to stay thin. That's why women going through menopause will often put on a lot of weight.

KING: Oprah's spiritual adviser has some words of wisdom. We'll hear the message that motivates Oprah, next.



WINFREY: I am embarrassed. I can't believe I am still talking about weight. I can't believe, of all the other things that I know how to do and all the other things I am so great at and all of the other accomplishments, I can't believe I'm still talking about weight.


KING: Bob Greene and Dr. Mehmet Oz remain with us. They're in New York. We're joined now here in Los Angeles by Michael Bernard Beckwith. Michael is the founder of the Agape International Spiritual Center in LA. He is the spiritual adviser to Oprah. He will be a guest on Oprah's Best Life week tomorrow. And he's the author of "Spiritual Liberation, Fulfilling your Soul's Potential." He has also got a disk -- a tape coming out, Spiritual Liberation as well, same title as the book.

How is Oprah fitting spirituality into all of this?

MICHAEL BERNARD BECKWITH, OPRAH'S SPIRITUAL ADVISER: First of all, let me say that I just commend her for having the courage to go public with her feelings, her anger and her desire to make a great shift in her life. Spirituality fits in this in that as she indicated to herself that, in terms of eating, she is looking for something to fulfill something within her.

So I would say there is something within her that is trying to emerge. There is a gift, a quality, there is something more about her that is trying to be released in her. It's not just more accomplishment. It's not just more doing. There is something else that is trying to happen. That is a spiritual quality.

KING: Michael, the average person can't have a spiritual adviser, a personal doctor and a personal trainer. So with the same problem, what do they do?

BECKWITH: What does Oprah do?

KING: No, what does the average person do? Oprah can have you, and she can have Bob Greene, and she can have Dr. Oz. Most people can't.

BECKWITH: The average person needs to stop and have a little self love and appreciation. They need to take a little time every day and get in tune with those emotions and those feelings, and ask them what are they trying to say to them. In other words, there are issues that people haven't dealt with, and they are covering up those issues with over-eating, over-drinking and over-doing.

KING: Anyone can deal with that?

BECKWITH: Anyone can handle that, if they're willing to stop.

KING: Last year, Bob Greene told Oprah he thought she might be suffering from depression. Here's what she says, or how she reacted to that? Watch.


GREENE: I really thought maybe she is depressed. I brought that up to her?

WINFREY: I said what, me, depressed? I can't be depressed. I know what depression is. I'm not depressed. He said, I don't know. I don't know. Something is off. Your movements are slower. Your responses are slower. There is something -- there is a dullness about you. He said, there is a dullness about you. If I were you, I would -- I would look into what that is. I think there is sort of like -- there is something going on that's -- that you are not -- you are not there.


KING: In that regard, we have an e-mail question from Kim in Los Angeles, saying "I am afraid my best friend is gaining weight because of depression. Every time I try to bring the topic up, she becomes very defensive. I think she is in denial. What can I do to help her?"

You take that, Bob?

GREENE: Yes, again, the key is to look at your entire life. And I like exercises, emotional exercises, that identify first the areas of your life that are going well. And praise yourself for that. And then look at those areas that aren't going well and break them down. How are your relationships, romantic relationships, Your friendships? Do you look what you do during the day, your career? Where are the areas that need change?

And then make a plan to change them. And then, the most important thing is to find gratification in those small steps towards changing those. And a lot of times, relationships for example -- you probably don't correct a relationship that is off overnight. But you should feel some gratification on taking those small steps. Each area of your life identify again what's going well, and second what's off and what needs attention. Find gratification in giving that area attention.

KING: Dr. Oz, why is this so hard?

OZ: It is so hard because we are biologically hard wired to gain weight. There is no survival value to not eating. That was never a problem historically for the human species. Today, to go hunting, we slide the milk carton out of the way. We lost the need to fulfill the physical tasks that historically kept us thin. We have access to food. We make about 3,500 calories per person in this country.

Thankfully, we don't eat that much per person. It doesn't take much more than 2,000 calories a day for us to put weight on. Bob mentioned depression. One of the things about depression is that it is a wake-up call. We do some of our most creative work when we are depressed. We have to get to the root issues behind which we are often hiding. If we don't deal with that in a forthwith way, we have to cover it up. One of the ways we do that is through food.

In this environment in particular, when we know that of the top ten stressers in life, five -- five of them are financial. You can see why this is becoming a recurrent theme for many Americans.

KING: The blog is busy tonight. We'll find out what you're saying right after this.


KING: If you have got questions, our guests have answers. Head to, fire away. We're monitoring your comments on both coasts tonight. Let's check in now with our own Sarah Schnare, right here, and David Theall. They'll be find outing what you're asking. Sarah, first question.

SARAH SCHNARE, LARRY KING LIVE PRODUCER: Well, Larry, diet does and don'ts is always a hot topic. Our first question from Lily tonight. She asks, "we always hear about the ineffectiveness and potential danger of diet pills. Are there any weight loss supplements or diet pills that you would recommend?"

KING: Any, Dr. Oz?

OZ: None. Stop wasting your money. The fact of the matter is that most of these products make false claims. Most recently on the web, there have been lots of pieces arguing that Oprah and I are actually endorsing some of these products. If there was a good product to help you lose weight, we would be advocating it for you. Believe me. The answer is no.

KING: Do you agree, Michael?

BECKWITH: Absolutely.

KING: You don't like any pills?

BECKWITH: No, unless their natural, herbal, food substance. I believe that you are dealing with an entire way of living, from the time you whack up to the time you go to bed.

KING: David, what is your next question?

DAVID THEALL, LARRY KING LIVE PRODUCER: Larry, Annie stopped by the blog and she asked this question of the panel. She says, "I have been on every diet there is, and always wind up where I started." She says "it seems so easy for some. Why is it so hard for me?" She tells us, she is 5'7, 49, and about 180 pounds. KING: Bob?

GREENE: Well, again, it's what we were talking about before, that we have to break that stigma that it's the actual diet. Now, you are talking to somebody that has a diet. And I'm telling you that as long as your plan is feasible and doable and reasonable and sound, you'll have success on it. The matter in this case is to find out why. There is something behind it. It's exactly what we are talking about. Look at the rest of your life, not just this one component.

Look at weight as a symptom, symptom of something else that is maybe off in your life. Go right down the list. How are your relationships? How is your career? What is it that you're dissatisfied with your life? Or another way to ask it: what would you change in your life if you could?

KING: Sarah, thanks so much. David, thanks again.

THEALL: My pleasure, Larry.

SCHNARE: You're welcome.

BECKWITH: Sarah, David, thank you very much. Michael, spiritual, when you say spiritual, you don't mean religious? Do you?

BECKWITH: No, we're talking spirituality, which is not religiosity. Spirituality deals with the fact that there is something about us that is life-enhancing. You're talking love. You are talking peace. You are talking spiritual qualities. An individual is here to grow in those qualities and allow those qualities to express themselves.

KING: Does medical science acknowledge that?

BECKWITH: Some medical doctors do. You have had Deepak Chopra on the air. You've had a lot of doctors that speak about the connection between the spirit, the mind and body, that all have to be in harmony. So, yes, I think we are entering into an age where people are understanding that a person's belief, their attitude, and their spirit does determine how they experience life.

KING: Dr. Oz, do you acknowledge it?

OZ: Absolutely. I think most clinicians who take care of people realize that it absolutely floats the posts of a lot of folks. The reality is that what really hurts us more than anything else is isolation. That actually breeds the depression we spoke of earlier.

If you don't see yourself like a drop of rain falling into the ocean of humanity, then you are isolated. You are separated. That -- ultimately what will manifest itself at some level in the way you behave physically.

BECKWITH: I agree with that. This is why fellowship -- people who are in fellowship have a tendency to live a little bit longer. KING: In January of 2005, Oprah showed off her trim and toned body in a O cover photo and seemed confident, maybe too confident. Watch.


WINFREY: When I look at this magazine cover from four years ago, I thought to myself, well, I conquered it. I did it. I did it. I thought, I finally did it. I have been struggling with this weight issue for years. Look at that. Oh, so happy with myself. I did it. I have conquered it. I got it down. It is a routine.

I don't look like I have come to work. do i?

would even say I was probably cocky about it.


KING: What happened to her, Michael?

BECKWITH: The ego got in there. She said I conquered it. We are not here to conquer weight. We are here to activate our potential. What she was talking about was a personal accomplishment, rather than a way of living. So when we have it as a personal accomplishment rather than a way of living, then it can sneak back up on you, and those things eating you up you start to eat them.

KING: We'll be back with more Bob Greene, Dr. Mehmet Oz and Michael Bernard Beckwith. When we come back, Oprah and me. She's made some candid admissions during our talks over the years. That's after the break.


KING: Is weight loss one of your New Year's Resolutions? Take our quick vote now at Oprah has been a guest on our show several times over the years. The conversation has frequently turned to weight. Watch.


KING: This weight thing --

WINFREY: What about it, Lar?

KING: What's with this gyration?

WINFREY: I'm kind of over it.

KING: You're a skinny person now?

WINFREY: Well, I wouldn't say I'm a skinny person now. I still work every day very hard. I ran five miles this morning. Like I said, the guy on the track doesn't know he helped me out. And every day I have to renew myself. Every --

KING: So it's a job every day?

WINFREY: It's a job every day.

KING: Or you would be fat?

WINFREY: Or I would be fat.

I now understand that it is so connected to emotions. It's almost like an addict, in that, you know, I don't have a lot of bad habits. I used to think that I don't have a lot of bad habits because I eat them all away. I used to think it was all just about whether you exercised or not, or whether or not you liked potato chips or fatty foods. But it really is -- you can tell when I am not balanced myself well enough. Because it is all -- you know my weight shoots, shoots right up.

KING: Are you happy?

WINFREY: On a scale of -- I just did a happiness show. I'm off the charts. I'm off the charts.

KING: You are off the charts?

WINFREY: I'm off the charts happy.

KING: Scale of 10, you are an 11. Are you an 11 on a scale of 10?

WINFREY: Probably 15. I am off the charts.

KING: You're off the charts.



KING: Oprah's self-help gurus are staying with us. Up and down fluctuation and overly confident there. Don't go away.



KING: Back with our panel. By the way, I want to remind you, Oprah's Best Life Week is airing all this week on the "Oprah Winfrey Show." Viewers can register for next week's Best Life webcast at You can also check in on Bob Greene's website, And Bob has also written something for our website, And you go to our blog and you will find comments by Bob Greene.

By the way, Bob, a compliment for you from the other guest. Michael Beckwith said during one of the breaks about your book, "The Best Life Diet," it is not a diet, it is a way of living. How would you elaborate? GREENE: That is the first line after Oprah wrote the forward. My first line is this really isn't a diet. I use the word diet because I wanted it to mean simply the foods you eat. That's traditionally what diet used to mean. It is about a life style.

What I loved about one of Michael's answers when he was talking about Oprah conquering something, he hit that right on the head. You don't conquer this. You have to wake up each day and renew your commitments to yourself. This is a daily thing. It's how you live your life. And the successful people that beat this over time are the ones that each day, maybe not every day, but consistently wake up and renew this beauty within themselves, and renew their commitment to live the life they were meant to live.

KING: Dr. Oz, is this something that someone can approach confidently?

OZ: Without question. I think we've all sort of said the same thing, which is this is not a wind sprint. It's a marathon. You want to make small changes and keep doing them every single day. I'll give you an example: the last time I was with you, I was with Bob, actually, on the way out to California. He said Mehmet, start doing pull-ups. So I started doing pull-ups. He told me to do them because they'd exercise my whole body and, if I focused on them, I'd get better at them. I'd build muscle mass. I'd lose a little bit more weight.

He's absolutely right. If I don't do them, it doesn't work. It's the same for every other lessons that all of us are trying to share with America. Oprah this week has hammered this lesson home. Find out what you're good at. Take sleep as an example. If you don't normally at night, you have to figure it out why you're not. Whether you're depressed, you have aches or pains. But something is holding you back from the inner beauty that lets you sleep.

Why is that important? You have four craving centers in the brain. You crave food. You crave water. You crave sex. And you crave sleep. If you don't get sleep -- I'll leave sex to your discussion later on -- you are going to want more drink and food, especially food. People who don't sleep eat more, because they crave carbohydrates and they don't generate growth hormone, which you only generate really through sleep and exercise. So they don't build muscle mass.

KING: Oprah says that as her weight went up, her self-esteem went down. Her lowest point, she said, may have been a show she did with Tina Turner and Cher in Las Vegas. Watch.


WINFREY: Tina said, Oprah come on out here. I thought, god help me now. How can I put myself between them? Can I put half of my body behind Cher's? Cher's body is half of my body. How can I hide myself here on this stage, and not have to be up here? It is just awful. I felt awful. I wanted to just disappear.


KING: That had to be awful tough, Michael.

BECKWITH: Yes, she was doing an extremely good acting job, because she is saying she hated being out there, but she was smiling.

KING: She knows how she looks.

BECKWITH: She knows how she looks. She was twice the size of the other individual. Again, this is a moment of motivation for her, and I think that as -- what we're saying here is that it's a way of life and that you have to approach this by doing something every single day for the rest of your life, and then you celebrate the triumphs along the way. When you can begin at the end of the every day to celebrate something you've done well, and that energy motivates you to continue to do it.

Rather than Oprah beating herself up or anyone out here who is having some kind of struggle beating yourself up every single day, find some area where you are succeeding, celebrate that, and then that particular energy will help you not conquer, but to reveal the potential that's within you.

KING: Let me come back and ask our panel. Let's say Oprah goes down to 128 pounds is back fit again. What's to prevent going up again? Don't go away.



WINFREY: So my engine was run down, and when my engine runs down, my drug of choice is food. My drug of choice used to be potato chips. Now, this year, it was organic multi-grain blue chips, but a bag of them. Eat a bag of those a day and see what happens if you're not working out.


KING: Let's check in, once more, to find out what you're blogging and e-mailing our guests. Sarah, another question?

SCHNARE: Our next question has to do with the Aci Berry. A lot of you probably refer to it as the Aci Berry. Valerie asks, "I'm over 50 and have a difficult time losing weight. I've recently started taking Aci Berry supplements. Does this really aid in increasing metabolism and weight loss? And are there any precautions?"

KING: Dr. Oz?

OZ: There's to data that I'm aware of that Aci Berries or any of the other great flavorful and colored berries are useful in weight loss, except that they might replace other calories, empty calories, that your brain can't respond to. Here's the big story on fruit: eat the nutritious foods first, the colorful foods, five to seven servings a day. Then you eat the junk food. If you do it that way, your brain doesn't get a schizophrenic message. It doesn't see empty calories coming in that confuse it. It wants nutrition.

KING: Bob, I asked going into the break, let's say she goes down to 128 pounds. How do we know she doesn't go up again?

GREENE: First off, 128 isn't realistic for her. If you know anything about her, she's actually very strong, very muscular. And her ideal weight is somewhere a little higher. Let's say she reaches her ideal weight. And I guess the question is, what's to stop her from going -- there's only one thing that will stop her, and that's Oprah. Every day she needs to wake up and commit to the things that add vitality and health to her life. Any day she wakes up and decides not to, that's not a good day. It's all in her hands.

KING: And to you, are you confident, Michael, she'll do it?

BECKWITH: She has a lot of power within her. As he was saying, you know, there are people that do tasks, goals, and higher purpose. When Oprah really taps back into her higher purpose for living, she will do the tasks and the goals. But the health, the vitality, the vigor, the happiness will begin to drive her, rather than her eating to cover up something.

KING: On another note -- and we'll come back to Oprah for one or two more questions. I wonder if Dr. Oz has a comment on Sanjay Gupta, our own Dr. Gupta, being selected today by the president-elect to be the next surgeon general.

OZ: I'm absolutely thrilled. I love Sanjay. We've been good friends for years. He's done a wonderful job on CNN, teaching America about the important issues in the health field. He served this nation in Washington in the past. He was in Iraq, actually operated on about half a dozen people in Iraq as a neuro-surgeon. I think his selection by President Elect Obama is a very wise one. I certainly look forward to supporting him in every way they can.

I am just hoping that he finally decides to take the job, because he's still thinking about it.

KING: He hasn't said yes?

OZ: Not to my knowledge. I think he'll take the job. He's just such a great person to become surgeon general for this country.

KING: Bob Greene, we asked Michael, do you think Oprah will make it?

GREENE: Well, obviously, I've been with her. She's very encouraged. It's so funny, I get that asked that question a lot. I've been working with her for 14 years. And never on an interview, and I won't start tonight, will I say the words she beat it. You don't beat this. It's, again, this daily thing, where you are recommitting to the life that you're meant to live every day of your life.

So it's in her hands, and right now it's very encouraging. She's in really good spirits and she's gone after that weight and the scale is coming down. Again, it's not about the weight. It's really about the rest of her life and how she manages it. And every day she has to wake up and decide to put the good foods in her system, to work out and not to over-work.

KING: Michael, quickly, it's not an overnight process either?

BECKWITH: It's a way of living every single day of your life. You take a chunk a day and you begin to see the results. It's a way of life. It's a commitment to what she's about.

KING: Thank you for an outstanding program. Bob Greene, Oprah's personal trainer, Dr. Mehmet Oz, he was on the show yesterday with Oprah, and Michael Bernard Beckwith -- Michael will be on tomorrow. And tomorrow, Mega-Pastor Bishop T.D. Jakes is here. Thursday, Priscilla Presley is our guest. She will show us some of Elvis' personal affects, never publicly seen before. It would have been his 74th birthday. Elvis would have been 74. Hard to believe.

Go to for updates on all of our shows. Let us know what you're thinking. Our blog is open 24/seven. Right now, here's Anderson Cooper in the Israeli border, at the Gaza, and "AC 360." Anderson?