Winfrey said that when she first heard about the growing popularity of drugs used for weight loss, which came at a time she was undergoing knee surgery, she thought for herself, "I've got to do this on my own. I've got to do this on my own. Because if I take the drug, that's the easy way out."
The media mogul also spoke though about the shame she said she has experienced over the years as a public figure dealing with weight struggles, saying, "I don't know if there is another public person whose weight struggle has been exploited as much as mine over the years."
"This is a world that has shamed people being overweight forever," Winfrey said. "All of us who have lived it just know that people treat you differently. They just do."
The panel discussion, released Wednesday, includes doctors and experts weighing in alongside Winfrey on the antiquated theory that weight loss is all about willpower.
"One of the things that I've ... shamed myself about and was shamed [for] in the tabloids every week for about 25 years is not having the willpower," Winfrey said. "And I think, you know, there is a distinction between mindset, which we're now hearing the brain tells you a certain thing about how you process food, versus the willpower. Can we talk about that?"
One of the panelists, Dr. Fatima Cody Stanford, a Boston-based obesity medicine specialist, noted that what experts now know is that obesity is less about willpower and more a result of genetics and each person's individual makeup.
"It hurts to see you ostracized in the way that you've been," Stanford said to Winfrey. "Because this isn't about willpower … It's how our bodies regulate weight. Each of us is different, each of us is unique, not one is superior to another."
Obesity is a medical condition that affects nearly 42% of people in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
With obesity on the rise, drugs like Ozempic and Mounjaro, both designed for people with Type 2 diabetes, have surged in popularity over the past year thanks to their success in helping people lose weight.
The drugs work by helping the pancreas release insulin to move sugar from the blood into body tissues. They also slow down the movement of food through the stomach and curb appetite, thereby causing weight loss.
Medical specialists point out using medication to lose weight also requires cardio and strength training and changing your diet to one that includes proteins and less processed foods with added sugars.
Both Ozempic and Mounjaro are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat Type 2 diabetes, but some doctors prescribe the medication "off-label" for weight loss, as is permissible by the FDA. Wegovy, which contains the same main ingredient as Ozempic, is FDA-approved for weight loss.
Along with the medications' success and popularity, however, has come some public shaming of people who use drugs for weight loss.
"Real Housewives of Orange County" star Emily Simpson spoke out to "Good Morning America" in August about the shaming she said she received on social media after revealing she had lost 40 pounds thanks to a combination of diet, exercise, liposuction and the use of a medication for weight loss.
"I just don't understand why we feel the need to shame someone because they did something differently than someone else would," Simpson said. "It doesn't make sense to me because, ultimately, we all just want to be our healthiest and our fittest for ourselves and our families."
Winfrey said at the conclusion of the Oprah Daily panel she hopes the conversation she led begins the process of easing the stigma around weight and weight loss.
"Whatever your choice is for your body and your weight health, it should be yours to own and not to be shamed about it," Winfrey said." "I'm just sick of it, and I hope this conversation begins the un-shaming of it."