Erik Chopin and Oprah

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After welcoming a new class of 7th graders to the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa, Oprah's back for another round of life-changing Best Life Week shows and webcasts! Take control of your weight, health, spirit, money and sex life in a week of interactive webcasts lead by Oprah and her experts. Watch the webcasts now.

Oprah's weight loss confession—it was the conversation that inspired Best Life Week. "I shared how I just didn't fall off the wagon last year—I let the wagon fall on me," Oprah says. "I can't believe after all these years I'm still talking about weight, but by the response on our message boards, a lot of you can relate."

Oprah's conversation especially resonated with Erik Chopin, the winner of NBC's third season of The Biggest Loser. When the New York deli owner got the call to appear on the show in 2006, his weight was a dangerous 407 pounds. At 36, Erik had diabetes, sleep apnea and sky-high cholesterol. "I've got two little girls at home. When they get a little older, I want to be able to walk them down the aisle," he said at the time. In eight months, Erik lost 214 pounds—and became the biggest loser to date!

Now, this fan favorite is ready to admit that he's been lying to his friends, family and his fans. In the three years since his victory, Erik has gained back half the weight he lost and says he now weighs 315 pounds. As he gained, he continued to use older photos on his MySpace and Facebook pages and even turned down an offer to appear on The Oprah Show with past Biggest Loser contestants. "People, they don't see me. I can hide," he says. "I inspired so many people; so many people reach out to me. I feel like I let them down."
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FROM: Falling Off the Wagon Follow-Up
Published on January 12, 2009

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