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Star Jones Food Addiction Demons

On April 1, 2009 Oprah Winfrey, who has publicly struggled with her weight in the public, dedicated an entire show to losing weight in the public eye.

She invited three well-known celebrities, Valerie Bertinelli (from 172 lost 47 pounds), Marie Osmond (from 165 lost 45) and the controversial Star Jones (from 300+ lost 160) onto her hour long talk show to visit with them about their journeys.

(Image of Star Jones - DailyCeleb.com - All Rights Reserved).

Valerie is known for being on Jenny Craig, Marie on NutriSystem and Star has has always said she had "medical intervention" but refused to talk about her surgery in the past when she was on The View.

While I enjoyed seeing what Valerie and Marie had to say about their weight loss I was most intrigued about Star Jones, whom I have always liked and admired. I remember watching the transformation of the obese Star to the super thin Star. Yes, you may find her obnoxious and not at all likable, but I think I always liked her because I could see she had a lot of personal angst.

I also remember reading the tabloids about what she was doing to lose weight (pilates and portion control).  Oprah pointed out this was the first time she had talked with Star since she had lost her weight.  Oprah devoted the most time of her hour show, almost 40 minutes.

As a woman who has battled weight issues since my teens, the time Oprah spent with Star Jones was astounding to me.  I also saw that my original impression of her as a sad, lonely and angst filled woman was right on the money.  My heart went out to her for the pain she has experienced and while Star is not perfect, she is trying to wrestle her demons.  That takes a lot of courage.

Big, Bold, Outspoken Star Jones

Before Oprah introduced the "Big, Bold and Outpoken" Star Jones, she gave a narrative about Star.  Oprah said Star Jones made the switch from assistant district attorney to court TV in 1991joining The View in 1997.  Oprah said although The View fans loved her quick wit and in-charge attitude, her weight was spiraling out of control. By 2003 Star's weight had spiraled to 307 pounds and was considered morbidly obese. Star made the secret decision to undergo gastric bypass surgery.  As her weight began to melt off Star never addressed it with her fans.

Losing 160 Pounds In Three Years

In three years Star dropped 160 pounds.  But as her waistline shrunk so did her popularity with the viewers.  In 2006 Star was let go from The View.

Oprah noted that "Star Jones is here for the first time since she lost all of her weight."  Star appeared on stage in a skintight black pencil skirt and a midnight blue satin style long sleeved blouse with black stilleto shoes.  Her hair was in a bone straight sleek bob with beautiful highlights.  She looked lovely.

Oprah started by saying "You look great.  You look terrific. Just own it.  We're talking about losing weight in the public eye.  I don't think anyone has had a more visible more public or more traumatic experience than you."

Star Lost An Entire Extra Person

Star said "at my thinnest I had lost 165 pounds."  Oprah said "you lost another whole person."  Star agreed "yes. I used to carry you around on my back and a couple of your friends."

Oprah said "you know what Star, what always used to amaze me I watched you on The View, you always seemed so really genuinely confident and so happy about it.  What I couldn't understand having struggled with my weight all my life I would think 'I wonder if I could ever get to that place?' Where you seemed so happy even at 307.  Was that real or was that something else?"

Star said "there's a difference between being happy when you're full figured and being happy when you're morbidly obese.  And I had given the audience full figured Star full blast and when it changed to morbidly obese Star I didn't have the courage to let that mask down.  I didn't have the courage to say 'ya'll I'm not happy anymore.  I'm scared."

From 210-220 To Gaining 75 Pounds In One Year

Oprah said "so you started out, didn't you gain like 75 pounds in one year?"  Star "when I first started on television I was between 210 and 220 (pounds).  By the time I had the gastric bypass I was 307.  I know the number for that day.  I bet I was a little bit heavier at some point.  Because you start a process of losing weight but..."  Oprah "do you start before you do gastric bypass?"

Star's Last Mean Food - Double Whoopers With Cheese

Star "you do sorta start to think about food differently because for the first eight weeks you're going to be in a liquid diet and so you want to make sure that you're not eating my favorite thing, double Whoppers, beforehand, even though you want to have a last meal."  Oprah "I'd read that you loved Double Whoppers.  Is that Double Whoppers really?"

Star "Double Whoppers with Cheese, extra ketchup, extra mayonnaise and no pickles.  I just dream of it. Oprah "really"  Star "I do, I dream of it."

Oprah "OK so you had reached a point, that's really candid to say, you didn't have the courage to say, I've gone from 210 to now...  Were you watching yourself, would you look at yourself on camera?"

Star "I stopped watching.  And I stopped listening. When I first got on the show, people would send notes, and some would be cruel but for the most part people would be supportive.  They would say 'you're my girl'.  I was a girl's girl and a guy's best friend.  So it was OK.  And then as I got bigger and bigger the mail turned nastier or concerned."

She said a lot of the mail said 'we can hear you breathe' my crew was so kind, that they would try to put the microphone as far away so that you wouldn't hear me, do that" she demonstrated gasping for breath and Oprah said "gasping for breath?" Star echoed "gasping for the next breath."

Gastric Bypass Because Star Was Dying From Obesity

Oprah asked "so the big decision then to the do the gastric bypass came because of your health?"  Star "I was dying."  Star explained "for my 40th birthday I had a group of friends, and we celebrated together and then... Oprah asked "didn't you all go to an island?"  Star "we did, 40 friends, 40 people."

Star "at 41 I had gained an addition 75 pounds, in one year.  Oprah asked "what was going on?"

Shame, Depression, Loneliness, Emotionally Bankrupt

Star "I now know I was very depressed.  I was lonely and I didn't know how to say I'm lonely.  It's one thing I have learned in doing a bunch of research and self analysis.  We in our community are ashamed sometimes to admit that our emotional health needs some help. And I think that was the biggest thing.  I was by myself and it was my most successful year, but my loneliest year and I found myself eating alone after the big party or after the evening...

Oprah "but you were everywhere...you at every party.  You were at every opening.  You were on the show every day.  You seemed to be sooooo alive."

Powerless To Control Her Eating Or Her Weight

Star "I was faking it. I was completely faking it. And it took me a long time to admit it to myself and it's probably what scared me the most, why I didn't talk about it.  I was really ashamed that I didn't have the courage that I'd always said that I did.  I mean I could stand a murder down in a courtroom, but I thought to myself, I should be able to control this.  And I couldn't.  Then to top it off, everybody was talking about it."

Although at the time she didn't act like it bothered her she confessed to Oprah "It was a big ole lie.  I read everything that everybody said about me. Every mean thing."

If Only You Would Be Able To Lose A Little Weight

I noticed what it felt like when people said oh you're so pretty, gosh if you're only be able to lose a little weight.  I used to pretend that it didn't matter to me.  I think that's the boisterous, loud, overcompensating Star that some people came to know and love and some people came to say, oh please get out of my way.

The Hair Got Bigger As Weight Increased

Oprah asked Star "did you do this because this happened to me when I was at my heaviest and my heaviest was in 1992 at 237 and what I realized now is the jewelry got bigger."  Star "the hair"  Oprah "the hair got bigger, the eyelashes got longer and the nails...everything."

Star told Oprah "do you know this is the first time that I've been doing television with my natural nails and I feel confident not to need my big long acrylics.  And I did it for the first time this past week.  This is the first time."

Oprah said "wow.  So still now.  Are you growing into or absorbing what it means to be your real thin self?"

Still 300 Pounds In My Head

Star "I'm still 300 pounds in my head some days. This morning I was a little off kilter.  I was a little late getting up and I'm always up at 6 AM but I realized that we were going to talk about this and it scared me a bit.  Even though you and I privately had a conversation before, this scared me."

Oprah "so what scared you about it?  What scares you about just opening up.  What scares you about it?"  Star said "disappointing people.  You know when I was a little kid and I would get chastised by my parents, I longed for a whopping.  Instead of hearing my mother say 'you have disappointed me'.  And if I disappoint you I feel like a failure."

Oprah "but how can you disappoint us if you tell us the truth? Because your truth that sets you free sets so many other people free too.  How could you disappoint us?

Why Star Didn't Talk About Gastric Bypass

Star  "I learned that.  But I would not be telling you the truth if I didn't tell you it still scared me." Oprah "is that why you didn't tell the truth in the beginning about the gastric bypass?"

Star "that's why I didn't talk about it.  The people who were in my life, they all knew.  I went to them individually and told them what I was doing.  A lot of people were scared because the surgery is a drastic step, but publicly I had refused to talk about it.  And I mean refused to talk about it.  People who loved me and I knew they loved me and had my best interests at heart would say 'Star it's not a bad thing.  You can admit it.'

Star Was In Denial With Head In The Sand

She continued "And I couldn't.  I just put my head in the sand, I was defiant.  I actually had friends, one groups of friends "advisers" in a room with me when I was writing a book said 'you should say it here.  This is a great opportunity.'  And these are the people who loved me and wanted the best for me.  And I said "I'm not talking about this, and if you bring it up again I will fire everybody.  That's how in pain I was."

Oprah said "that's how to get people to shut up (threaten to fire them).  Nobody's going to tell you anything after you say that.

Isolation - Pushing People Away - Shame

Star said and that's the worst part, and that's what I did pushing people away.  And I think the audience felt that. That they were being pushed away also.  But it wasn't, I didn't need to hide and I really felt I did.  I was ashamed."

"I was ashamed, that's the word, that's actually the real word.  I was ashamed that I couldn't control my weight, that I was an addict for all practical purposes, that I had never stuck to a real diet, that I'd never suck to a real exercise program and that when confronted by my doctor, and the doctor said 'if you don't make changes you will die.'  I had no choice.  When you hear people say oh you took the easy way out.  I would have longed for an easy way."

Star said "it was not an easy way, it was the hardest struggle of my whole entire life and I still struggle."

At this point in the show Oprah cut and showed an interview with Barbara Walters and her take on Star and her weight loss and secret keeping.  That information will be included in a future blog.

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