"I was body positive then, and I'm body positive now."

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Adele and Oprah
Credit: Joe Pugliese

Adele may have lost close to 100 pounds in the past two years, but she didn't set out to drop any weight.

"I was body positive then, and I'm body positive now," she told Oprah Winfrey during Sunday's CBS special Adele One Night Only, which interspersed their sit-down conversation with clips of her "comeback" concert in front of the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles.

The pop singer said she started hitting the gym every day when she realized that working out with her trainer helped control her anxiety following the end of her marriage.

"It became my time," she said. "Having these sort of pins in my day helped me keep myself together."

Adele, 33, said she's aware of the public discourse surrounding her new appearance — "my body has been objectified my entire career" — but that she's never held up anyone as a role model based on how they looked.

"It's not my job to validate how people feel about their bodies," she said. "I'm trying to sort my own life out."

Now that she's back to performing and away from last year's gym routine, she's aware that her size could fluctuate, but it doesn't worry her as long as she retains her muscle memory for lifting weights, her favorite exercise. She told Oprah her deadlift topped out around 170 pounds last year.

"I should've been an athlete," she said, gesturing to her body. "If only at school I hadn't discovered boys and someone had told me to go and do a bit more PE."

Adele says she's also a good boxer. "I've got a left hook that could kill ya."

The singer told Oprah that the deepest wound from her past centers around her father, Mark Evans, who struggled with alcoholism and was absent for most of her life.

"My main goal in life is to be loved and to love," Adele said, pointing to the void he left as the reason she's struggled with her personal relationships.

Adele and Evans reconciled before his death earlier this year, and she was able to play her music for him over Zoom. She told Oprah that this helped heal the wound she'd been carrying for years.

What Adele most wants, she says, is the peace of mind and stability that comes from loving herself.

"I don't have to expect someone else to give me stability," she said. "I can also be stable for myself. Be a solid house that doesn't blow over in a storm."

In the final section of the interview, Oprah asked a question that may be on many fans' minds: Can Adele write from a happy space rather than a sad one?

Her answer was optimistic: "I hope so."

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