I couldn’t think of a better way to start 2020 than with 15,000 strangers united by one thing: our love of all things Oprah. To help kick off a seminal year (or decade for that matter) Oprah teamed up with WW (formerly Weight Watchers)—of which she is a spokesperson, board member and advisor—to bring balance to thousands of people across the country with a tour in nine major cities. At the kick-off in Fort Lauderdale, FL, I got to see firsthand how the church of Oprah has an enormous impact on the minds, bodies and souls of the masses. As a longtime fan (consider me the masses) I was there to soak it all in. Here’s what makes this wellness event a must for a transformative 2020:
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1. Resolutions are so passé—this year we’re doing contracts.
In addition to dancing, laughing and having all 15,000 participants on the edge of our seats, Oprah had the crowd complete a series of tests throughout the day to identify areas in our lives where we needed balance. I scored the lowest on my nutrition, movement and relationship sections. As a self-professed stress eater and people pleaser, I wasn’t surprised. The workbook made it easy to create actionable items to see improvement in each area, and it is written in a way that makes it easy to avoid making grandiose goals that are impossible to achieve. By the end of the day I had written myself a contract of the small steps I was going to make to make positive, impactful changes. As Oprah says, “you have to name it to claim it,” and that was what we did. 15,000 contracts were signed and dated!
2. Take your moments of silence, even if you’re at your own magazine cover shoot and the entire room is waiting on you.
Throughout the day Oprah shared tips and tricks on how to be more centered. My favorite was a trick you can do anywhere, and Oprah says she does it everywhere. Including on cover shoots, with a whole team of people watching, waiting and wondering what she’s doing. As she stood on stage in front of a photo of herself looking deeply in thought on set, I imagined myself taking a moment in the middle of a meeting with colleagues or in the carpool line. You can do it anywhere, and she says to do it every single day. If we have time to constantly check our phones, we have time to check in with ourselves. Smart!
3. I will never have Julianne Hough’s sick body, but mine can move just as much as hers.
A bonus on the tour is having Julianne Hough lead the entire crowd in a Kinrgy Dance Cardio method that is so fun, it shouldn’t even be called a workout. It’s an organic way of moving the body that incorporates nature and our senses, and I’d rather dance myself crazy for 45 minutes than jump on the treadmill. The biggest takeaway for me is that movement doesn’t have to be as strict and intense as we think it should to make a major impact on our bodies. When Hough is ready to take Kinrgy global, I’ll be the first to sign up.
4. “Healthy Is the New Skinny!”
Because this OprahCon is sponsored by WW, of course there were moments of celebration and inspiration from members who have made significant achievements on their wellness journeys. When gospel music star Tamela Mann came on stage after a 50-pound weight loss, it was nothing like Oprah’s famous wagon wheel of fat moment from her most watched Oprah Winfrey Show episode of all time. Mann is halfway through her journey and is happy with her healthier body. As Oprah said that day, “Healthy is the new skinny!” The days of aspiring to be skinny or having a weight loss goal that we cannot maintain are over. 2020 is all about health and balance, and that includes our expectations of ourselves.
5. Lady Gaga’s “Radical Acceptance” is my new mantra.
Lady Gaga, the first special guest on the tour, is making headlines for her raw honesty during her talk with Oprah. As she bravely revealed her past trauma as a rape survivor and chronicled her PTSD, fibromyalgia and the chronic pain she has been experiencing for the last five years, she talked to the crowd about what she calls “radical acceptance.”
“I remember sitting with my doctor, his name is Andy,” said Gaga. “He said, ‘you need to radically accept you’re going to be in pain every day.’ And I was like, ‘are you kidding me? That’s how I’m going to heal? By just accepting that I’m going to feel awful all of the time. I’m to be in head-to-toe pain constantly?’ And he said, ‘you have to radically accept it.’ And guess what, it took a little while, but I did. You know what else happened after that? Slowly the pain dissipated, slower and slower and slower, and all of a sudden, I could function…radical acceptance was key, also being open to taking medicine and being open to talk about my trauma.”
As Gaga spoke to us about the importance of mental health, the mind-body-soul connection of the entire day became clear. We’re not in balance unless we’re tending to all three aspects of our lives. It was a day-long journey of introspection, celebration, laughter and education that gave me my Oprah fix and put me on a clear path for 2020.
To get your own head start on a balanced 2020 and beyond, check out Oprah’s 2020 Vision: Your Life in Focus tour at a city near you:
January 11—St. Paul, Minnesota with Tina Fey
January 18—Charlotte, North Carolina with Amy Schumer
January 25—Atlanta, Georgia with Dwayne Johnson
February 8—Brooklyn, New York with Michelle Obama
February 15—Dallas, Texas with Tracee Ellis Ross
February 22—San Francisco, CA with Kate Hudson
February 29—Los Angeles, CA with Jennifer Lopez
March 7—Denver, Colorado with Gayle King
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