Who doesn't know about my lifelong struggle with weight? One good thing to come out of it is that I can recognize when someone is having trouble. I know how it feels to implode on yourself. A year ago, I saw it happening to my friend, Lisa, a producer on my show. As I watched her become increasingly unhappy—with her weight and with her life—I knew I had to find a way to help.
A group of us at Harpo had been discussing our goals for living more healthfully, and we knew it was time to get serious. When the show went on hiatus last summer, I thought, Why not host a spa week for the group at my farm in Indiana? We could support Lisa in starting a fitness program, and the others would offer me much-needed encouragement, too. We'd spend the week exercising and eating light (but well) and, in the process, relax, rejuvenate and have some girlfriend-style fun, surrounded by people we trust.
After Dr. Phil McGraw said he would come and give inspirational talks, Art Smith my chef, offered to create some fabulous—and healthful-food and my personal trainer, Bob Greene, agreed to coach our workouts, everything fell into place: The Spa Girls were launched.
In late July, seven of us gathered at the farm, my favorite retreat from the noise of the world. I knew we had something powerful, but I wasn't prepared for what the Spa Girls were about to become. Frankly, I assumed the week would end up like all my visits to spas around the country: I'd go to kick off a new regimen, get inspired and have some fun. Then I'd return to my regular routine; and before long, it was all over. That was before I discovered the power of the group.
On one level, we simply hoped our little boot camp would be a fast way to drop a few pounds. But now the seven Spa girls are a dynamic band of friends who support one another in extraordinary ways. The results have been unbelievable. Lisa has lost 90 pounds, and her life has changed profoundly. Ellen, a senior producer who had just given birth to her second child, lost 30 pounds. All of us had weight-loss victories. But, more important, we all are feeling stronger and healthier.