Star Jones Still Views Herself as 300-Lb. Woman
"I'm still 300 lbs. in my head some days," the lawyer and TV personality, 47, tells Oprah Winfrey on Wednesday's Oprah.
Sharing the stage with well-known dieters Marie Osmond, who dropped 46 pounds from her 5'5" frame, and bikinied PEOPLE cover girl Valerie Bertinelli, Jones for the first time discusses her controversial gastric-bypass surgery and her bumpy exit from The View.
Admitting that, even now, talking about her body with Winfrey leaves her "a little off kilter," Jones says, "I was a little late getting up [today], and I'm always up at 6:00 a.m. But I realized that we were gonna talk about this and it scared me a bit."
Pressed by Winfrey about what scared her, Jones responds, "Disappointing people. I was ashamed … That's the word that is actually the real word. I was ashamed that I couldn't control my weight, that I was an addict for all practical purposes, that I had never stuck to a real diet, that I'd never stuck to a real exercise program."
Jones says she was confronted by her own doctor and told, "If you don't make changes, you will die." Her reaction? "I had no choice," she admits. "When you hear people say, 'Oh, you took the easy way out,' I would have longed for an easy way. It was not an easy way."
She calls gastric-bypass surgery "the hardest struggle of my whole entire life, and I still struggle."
Jones says her weight-loss also indirectly contributed to her losing her job on The View: Barbara Walters listed Jones's decision not to come clean about her surgery as a contributing factor in ABC's move not to renew her contract. Jones tells Winfrey, "I was hurt and upset initially."
Now, however, she says, "I'm so sorry that I placed a burden on my colleagues. I never asked them to lie and don't know where the Pilates and portion control" – an explanation for her dramatic weight-loss that circulated at the time – "came from. I think a tabloid actually wrote that."