"I was really at my wits end," she revealed in a private Q&A session for Weight Watchers members Wednesday night. "I had tried everything."
Which is why she's fully embracing Weight Watchers, and the mindset that this is not a diet.
"Every other time I've ever gone on a diet, I've gone on a diet and then gone off the diet, because I had gotten to the weight I'd wanted to be," Winfrey says. "The difference is, I've made the shift and this is the way I'm going to live for the rest of my life."
Her willingness to change is what made Winfrey the ideal spokesperson for Weight Watchers, even when some people criticized her announcement video because, they argue, that with chefs and trainers at her disposal, she doesn't really understand the struggle of trying to lose weight.
"None of those people had stood in their closets with three different sizes to try on on the floor, where the waistline didn't fit and the arms didn't fit, and the hips didn't fit, and you can't get it zipped, and felt that shame and that humiliation of 'Wow, I can't believe I'm in this position again,' " she says. "Nobody who'd ever been at that point was offended by these commercials."
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"We're smart people who have done a lot of good things in our lives, and then there's this one thing, this one flaw, that we have that everyone can see," Winfrey says. "So if you're an alcoholic you can hide that, or you're a drug addict you can hide that, if you're a gambler you can hide that, if you're a shopping addict you can hide that, if you work too much you can hide that. But if you overeat, it's hard to hide that."
"The fact that you have the courage to come together in a community to give voice to it, and speak to the universe, I think that's brave and powerful and I think that's why Weight Watchers works."
She's thrilled now to have this success after years of attempting different diets.
"I'd start out on a Monday and say I'm going to do the protein shakes, and then by Tuesday I decided I'm not going to do the protein shakes, I'd try the grain drinks, and then by Tuesday afternoon, I'd say no, I think I'm going to do the no-carb thing," Winfrey recalled.
"I've actually I've done the vegan, the protein shakes and the green drinks all in one day. And then what would that add up to?"
Which is why Weight Watcher's points system was perfect for Winfrey, who was reluctant to give up her favorite foods (like her "grainiest, nuttiest seed bread, 7-grain, 9-grain, 12-grain bread I can find").
"At the end of a 17 lb. gain, I just thought, 'Wow, there has got to be a way that I can eat what I want and not feel obsessed with the idea of what I'm not getting,' " she says. "Because the moment you tell me that I'm not going to have carbs, that's all I can think about, is when I'm going to get a potato.
"So it's taken that obsession out of it for me. I know I'm going to manage it."