01/12/2009 05:12 am ET Updated Nov 17, 2011

An Open Letter to Oprah Winfrey

Dear Oprah,

First of all, let me say thank you for being such a verbal spokesperson for people who battle their weight. Yours has been a public battle for a very long time. Some of the time you are winning and some of the time, like right now, you are not. This is the story for so many of us with weight issues.

I am writing to you because I believe that once you "get it" and learn to control your weight permanently, you can help so many of the people who follow you religiously. I am hoping you see this letter and want to refer you to my previous blog entitled, "The Secret to Permanent Weight Control". In it, I outline exactly what you need to do to be the weight you want to be and stay there. It is not magic, it is not easy, but it is simple and straight forward.

I myself used to be heavy and have lost over 50 pounds and kept it off for over 18 years. I too went on a medically supervised liquid diet and lost a lot of weight only to put most of it back on and have had to work it back down again. Since then, I have not only learned how to control my weight but I have become a licensed psychotherapist with a specialty in eating disorders. In addition to my private practice, I now run the support group at the obesity clinic at UCLA, where I was a patient in l990. Full circle, so to speak.

You do not need a personal trainer, a personal chef, a diet program, a cleanse, or anything of the kind. You can eat fried food, grits, gravy and even French fries. You do need to keep track of what you eat, your weight and how much you burn with exercise. Don't take my word for it, there is now much research to back up what I have learned and have been teaching people for years. There is the recent study of over 1700 people on the benefits of keeping a food log, where those who did lost twice as much weight as those who did not. There is the National Weight Control Registry where they have been tracking over 5,000 weight loss masters (people who have lost over 30 lbs. and kept it off for at least a year) since 1994. The Registry has been releasing their information as it comes in and so far it backs up everything I teach and practice.

Your body counts calories. That is how it determines what you weigh. Yes, it can be affected by your thyroid (I take synthroid myself), which I assume you have addressed and gotten under control. Beyond that, in order to lose weight you need to take in less calories than you burn. If you understand that and can keep track, learn the calories and portion sizes of the foods you eat, you can do this Oprah.

Good luck!

If you would like to participate in the research for Irene's new book about the process of weight loss, please visit take the survey.