Oprah Winfrey says being overweight was her "shield and shame" which she used as an excuse not to have to attend parties.
Talk show veteran Winfrey, 63, told Good Housekeeping she used to hide behind her weight issues to get out of social events.
She said: "(My weight) has been the go-to comfort for me.
"You use it as your coat and your shield, and it keeps you from doing things.
"You don't have to go to that party because you don't have a dress to wear and nothing is going to fit you.
"But the wonderful thing for me is that I reached a point where I no longer wanted to hide.
"I know that sounds strange for somebody who is in the public eye, but it was my shield and my shame."
The TV star recently lost three stones in weight and is promoting her new recipe book Food, Health And Happiness: 115 On-Point Recipes For Great Meals And A Better Life.
She added: "Now I feel liberated. It's the thing I have been looking for my whole life - to feel a sense of freedom.
"The taste of freedom, there is nothing better than that."
Winfrey also spoke about her Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy For Girls, a female-only boarding school that she set up in South Africa which also gives opportunities to its students to go to the US.
She said: "I have 172 girls, and 20 are in college in the United States and use my home as their home base.
"It is more rewarding than I would ever have imagined.
"I was doing this to help them, but it has brought a light to my life that I can't explain.
"When people were pressuring me to get married and have children, I knew I was not going to be a person that ever regretted not having them, because I feel like I am a mother to the world's children.
"Love knows no boundaries.
"It doesn't matter if a child came from your womb or if you found that person at age two, 10 or 20.
"If the love is real, the caring is pure and it comes from a good space, it works."
She went on: "For me it was perfect, because I didn't want babies. I wouldn't have been a good mom for babies. I don't have the patience.
"I have the patience for puppies, but that's a quick stage.
"But this is so rewarding."
Read the full Winfrey interview in the April 2017 95th birthday issue of Good Housekeeping, on sale March 1 and also available as a digital edition.