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Oprah recalls the traumatic night she was sent to live with her mother in Wisconsin - and forced to sleep outside on a porch because her skin was 'too dark'
Oprah Winfrey has spoken about what motivates her to keep control of her weight.
The TV mogul, whose yo-yo weight is as famous as her business acumen and media prowess, explained to the NY Times Magazine that it's all about maintaining her health.
'For your heart to pump, pump, pump, pump, it needs the least amount of weight possible to do that,' the 63-year-old said. 'I can’t accept myself if I’m over 200 pounds, because it’s too much work on my heart.'
Watching her weight: Oprah Winfrey, pictured in April, tells NY Times Magazine she focuses on weight loss due to concerns over heart health and diabetes rather than a desire to be skinny
Oprah says she no longer 'diets'; rather, she focuses on 'mindful eating.'
And the reason she cannot accept herself when she is too heavy is because she can't allow herself to put her health in jeopardy.
Being overweight 'causes high blood pressure for me. It puts me at risk for diabetes, because I have diabetes in my family,' The Color Purple Oscar nominee said.
Yo-yo: Oprah is as famous for her fluctuating body size as she is for her business acumen, TV shows and acting talent as she has publicly shared her battles with weight gain with her fans
Accepting and sensible: The media mogul, 63, who shared this snap to Instagram last week, says she is focused on 'mindful eating' rather than 'dieting' as she sticks to a healthy lifestyles
She makes a distinction between accepting yourself - which she says people 'should, 100 percent' - and accepting an unhealthy way of life.
Oprah spoke to the NY Times Magazine as part of an article about obesity and Weight Watchers, a company Oprah purchased a ten percent stake in back in 2015.
She also is the pitch woman for the dieting program appearing in commercials and promotions.
She says she follows the company's weight-loss plan, that assigns points to different foods. And in January she revealed she has shed 42 pounds since joining the program.
'It’s a mechanism to keep myself on track that brings a level of consciousness and awareness to my eating. It actually is, for me, mindful eating, because the points are so ingrained now,' she revealed.
Success story: In 2015, Oprah bought a 10 percent stake in Weight Watchers and became the company's spokesperson. In January she revealed she's shed 42 pounds on the program
Decades before she became the queen of daytime TV, a media mogul and an Oscar-nominated producer, a young Oprah Winfrey was forced to sleep on a porch because her mother's light-skinned roommate didn't like the child's dark complexion.
The 61-year-old founder of Oprah Winfrey Network currently has a net worth of $3billion, but she has never forgotten her hardscrabble childhood marked by crushing poverty, physical abuse, rape at age nine and an early pregnancy.
Winfrey spent the first years of her life in rural Mississippi with her grandmother, Hattie Mae Lee, who taught her how to read before the age of three and introduced her to religion.
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Bleak past: Oprah Winfrey, 61, recalls the night she was separated from her grandmother at age six and sent to live with her mother, whose roommate wouldn't let her sleep indoors because she was too dark-skinne
Mother-daughter bond: Vernita Lee (pictured right in 1994) had Oprah when she was still a teenager and sent her to live with her mother in rural Mississippi
Full of potential: The 61-year-old founder of Oprah Winfrey Network, pictured here as an 8th-grader in 1967, currently has a net worth of $3billion, but she has never forgotten her hardscrabble childhood
Victimized: Oprah, pictured left as a freshman and right as a sophomore at Nicolet High School in Wisconsin, was raped at age nine and became pregnant when she was 14 years old
At age six, Oprah was separated from her tough but encouraging grandmother and sent to live with her mother, Vernita Lee, in Wisconsin.
‘I suddenly land in a place that's completely foreign to me. I don't know anybody. I don't really even know my mother,’ Oprah told HuffPost OWN. ‘I walked into that space feeling completely alone and abandoned.’
Vernita, who had Oprah as an unwed teenage, was working as a housemaid in Milwaukee and sharing a house with another woman.
Oprah Winfrey is pictured coming out of CBS studios Wednesday morning in New York
Making them green with envy: The queen of daytime opted for a green long-sleeved wrap dress for her outing. She took time to sign some autographs for her fans lined up outside
‘I remember the first night entering into that house and being told that I wouldn't be able to sleep with my mother and I wouldn't be able to sleep inside the house,’ Oprah says. ‘There was a little foyer/porch before you actually got inside the house. I was put outside to sleep there.’
Winfrey recalled initially being confused by her banishment, but she then realized that it had to do with her complexion.
‘My mother was boarding with this very light-skinned black woman who could have passed for white... I could tell instantly when I walked in the room that she didn't like me. It was because of the color of my skin.’
Winfrey also evoked the porch episode in Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr’s 2007 biography Finding Oprah's Roots, revealing that her mother's housemate, a Miss Miller, loved her light-skinned half-sister, Patricia, but didn't like her because 'I was nappy-headed colored child,' she was quoted in the book as saying of herself.
Banished: Oprah, pictured left with Stedman Graham at an Oscar party in February and right with Barbara Walters, and Gayle King at Lincoln Center in New York in September, said her mother's roommate in Wisconsin deemed her complexion too dark to let her sleep indoors
Rags to riches: Oprah Winfrey receives the 2013 Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama at the White House on November 20, 2013 in Washington, DC
As she slept outside, Oprah, who as a toddler got the nickname the Preacher for her uncanny ability to recite Bible verses, said she was comforted by her faith.
‘I remember praying on my knees the very first night I had been removed from my grandmother,’ she says. ‘I don't remember ever shedding a tear about it because I knew that God was my father, Jesus was my brother, and they were with me.’
This Sunday at 8pm Eastern Time, Oprah presents on OWN a new seven-part documentary series titled Belief that explores the origins of various faiths around the world.