It is hard for most to understand in 2010. He is a joke. A flamboyant man running around in hot pants screaming and throwing his hands around. He dances to old Ray Charles songs and I believe he might be the only person alive who makes VHS workout tapes.

Yet, he was my hero as a kid. More than you know.

In 1989 there were no blogs. Weight Watchers was for old women. In fact, none of my friends were fat. Just me. At least that is what it seemed like.

I was a television watcher. I watched all the talk shows then, which were Oprah, Sally Jesse Rafael, and Phil Donahue.

Richard Simmons gave me hope.

He would run on the stage, but unlike most teenagers, I listened to him. I listened to him when he told me to believe in myself. That I could do it. That losing weight was possible.

He always cried. Every person he brought on stage cried. I guess looking back, I should have felt sorry for those people. But I did not. I was envious that my guru was helping them.

He made workout videos that a 200 pound boy could do. There were people in his videos that looked like me. Even guys. You think male weight loss bloggers are rare now, you should have seen it then. Weight loss was for women. Guys worked out. Guys needed to handle their food. Guys didn’t have problems.

I remember my first diet at 14. 700 calories a day that I made up. I had a paperback calorie counter book. I would look up everything I could and guesstimate. I never ate school food. I really tried to eat food that I knew the nutritional information on. By that, I mean the calories. This was before Pizza Hut and McDonald’s were in all schools.

I wrote to Richard Simmons many times. He wrote me back. It was the coolest thing ever. It amazed me how much he truly cared about overweight people. how much he still does to this day. Some people he helped gained back the weight. Wow though, what a magnificent life.

Richard Simmons is a little outdated now. He still wears those pants. He never changed with the times.

But he still cares about weight loss. More than the gurus today.

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