The struggle with weight is often something that can pass through generations. An audience member who says her whole family has always been overweight says she's struggling to prevent her daughter from having similar problems. "I have a beautiful 11-year-old daughter, and she gets home exhausted at the end of her day with soccer and everything and we have a nice dinner and then some little thing gets clicked and she starts: 'Can I have ice cream? Can I have cupcakes?" she says. "I need some help to get her through this thing that I haven't dealt with myself and generations before me haven't figured out."

The best thing women can do for their children in terms of weight struggles, Geneen says, is to conquer their own issues. "Kids mimic what they see perfectly. They internalize it. If she senses, if she sees, if she understands from you that the way a person deals with boredom or, 'I don't really want to go to bed now, so the way I'll delay it is by eating,' she's going to want to do the same thing."

The audience member says she's been trying to zero in on what she herself is hungry for, and has realized she is usually looking for an escape. "'I don't want to be tired,' ' I don't want to be angry at my husband right now.' ... A cupcake can change the channel quickly. Suddenly, I'm at a party instead of angry and my husband or exhausted."

There's nothing wrong with being tired or angry, Geneen says. "To say, 'I don't want to be what I am and who I am,' what do you do with that? There's nothing to do at that point except, Okay, I'll go eat.' How about really respecting your body at that point?"

Oprah encourages women who need to start facing their true selves to do a single exercise. "Look in the mirror and just stand there, naked. Look yourself directly in the eye and see if looking in your own eyes you can't find something there worth bringing yourself back to," she says. "When you bring yourself back, you will also have done the work for your children, because you can't give to your children what you don't have to give them. So the real work for everybody who is a mother, as I see it, is to fill yourself up first so that you will be able to give that to your children."


Next Story