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The Fat Lady Sings

Just when you thought you could suck down candy canes, gingerbread men and that Christmas ham without a second thought, the most famous fat chick of all has to come forward and share with the world that, once again, she has chunked up.

Of course, since she is our supreme symbol of female power, when Oprah talks, we have to listen. And put down our second plate of ham.

In the January 2009 issue of O Magazine, Oprah shares with 16.6 million of her closest friends that she has "fallen off the wagon" of healthy living and is officially fat again, having ballooned to 200 pounds.

Since her livinâ™ large confession, every female blogger I know has weighed in about how Oprahâ™s well-publicized weight struggles have:

1. Helped the rest of us identify with her

2. Highlighted how sexist the media is to dwell on her girth

3. Made us all realize how Oprah is really a much bigger person (double entendre intended) than we ever imagined to humiliate herself and make this kind of public statement

Let me clarify that I like Oprah. Her book club has made a nation read again and her support of Barack Obama had just the right touch. But before sheâ™s a book lover or a political groupie, Oprah is first and foremost a businesswoman. The economy may be down, but when Oprahâ™s scale goes up, up, up, so does the buzz about her TV show, magazine and the rest of her Harpo empire, which pulls in $345 million.

Where would her talk show and magazine be if it weren't for her starvation diets, nutritionists, exercise gurus and medical doctors? Let me point out that it wasnâ™t the sexist media that first wrote this story; Oprah "broke" it herself. It seems that every time she runs out of a theme for a story or show, all Oprah has to do is dig into another gallon of Double Chocolate Chunk Fudge Brownie ice cream.

Dare I suggest that Oprahâ™s "confession" is nothing more than a well-calculated business decision? Could the secret to Oprahâ™s success be something as simple as her continued weight struggle?

The rest of her life - famous friends, mansions, movies and awards - has become so alien to most of her fans that her yo-yo dieting is the only thing left that makes her human and vulnerable. Would we even like Oprah if she was skinny, too?