Oprah Winfrey sent a post-Christmas message on Instagram, indulging on jalapeño cheese bagels. The media proprietor and talk show host documented her struggles with weight loss throughout most of her life, releasing a book about it. Her critics were (temporarily) silenced after she completed the marathon on a soggy morning. She would turn 63 next month, her personal fortune reaching the three-billion-dollar mark. She had nothing to prove, so she could be forgiven for carb heavy snacking.
Diet programs enlisted the help of celebrities to be their spokespeople for weight loss. Jennifer Hudson was the perfect spokesperson for Weight Watchers, although her fans would love to hear her singing (for customers) at Burger King. (The Oscar-winning actress used to work there before she auditioned for "American Idol".) Kirstie Alley's attempts to shed those unwanted pounds became the fodder of tabloid magazines until she got back on Jenny Craig. And Janet Jackson was grateful to Nutrisystem for her 50-pound weight loss. Could these stars inspire the American public? It was hard to tell, as Hollywood seemed to be sending mixed signals.
Morgan Spurlock was honored with an Academy Award nomination (for Best Documentary Film) in 2005, as "Super Size Me" documented his intake of McDonald's food for thirty days. It was no secret that fast food could be bad to anyone, and Spurlock almost paid the price. Some critics pointed out that the director didn't have a food log on the set, and he might not have really intended to send a public message about the perils of being overweight. It was still good publicity for McDonald's, but there might be a subtle message behind Spurlock's experiment. Could he be telling his viewers that Hollywood producers required their actors to be fit? It would be more evident in actresses, where most of them have limited offers once they reached the age of 40. McDonald's turned out to be comfort food for the moviegoers who were envious about the oh-so-perfect actors on the big screen. There might be a price for fame.
If Spurlock's documentary wasn't enough, then Eddie Murphy's remake of "The Nutty Professor" would poke fun at what was it like to be fat and black. Jerry Lewis, who starred and directed the original, intended it to be his version of "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde". (Some saw his Mr. Hyde as his way of shading Dean Martin after their unpleasant parting. It would be water under the bridge.) Murphy could be thinking of the state of the black populace, where many would still struggle to reach the American Dream. Then again, the Farrelly brothers made fun of an obese version of Gwyneth Paltrow in "Shallow Hal".
Oprah's bagels would remind (Instagram) users that it would be OK to indulge in fatty food during the holidays, but she didn't mention anything about leftovers. She is still the queen of gift giving, which says a lot. Forget about dieting, but not your neighbors. It's back to the treadmill next week. Happy holidays!