He's well known for his passion for weight loss, his Deal a Meal cards, his Sweating to the Oldies videos, his little bitty afro and too-short-shorts, amongst other accomplishments and fashion faux pas. Back when I was 18 or 19 he was this big girls weight loss hope when nobody else seemed to understand. He always had an encouraging message. He knew I could do it. He had faith in me. He made me feel like I could really be a weight loss success story.
I sweated to the oldies in my old apartment that I shared with my friend Pam. I loved that even though I was so over weight and so out of shape that I could keep up with his tapes. I loved that other unthin people were on his videos. I loved the part at the end where they all told how much weight they had lost. I loved it all.
Of course I wasn't dealing with my emotional eating issues at the time I was dealing myself a meal and sweating to the oldies so I was never one of Richards prodigies. I did lose some weight just from the exercise but once I got tired of "Build me up buttercup" playing over and over in my living room the tapes took their final resting place in the cupboard to gather dust.
Today I was browsing my cd collection looking for some music to do my "naked free dance" to (I'm still too sore to jump rope) and ran across a cd named "Richard Simmons 101". It was a cd my friend Louis burned for when we were about 23 or 24 years old. I hadn't listened to the cd in years but I remember when he made it for me. Once again I was trying to lose weight. We were frequenting many-a-dance-club in those days and this CD was filled with songs from that time in our lives.
I popped it in, set the timer for 45 minutes and began free dancing all over my living room. The more I danced the happier I became. The songs that I was shaking and shimmying too had positive lyrics and were upbeat and my attitude followed right along. Listening to those songs took me back to the fun times I used to have with my friends in those clubs.
I like to incorporate some moves from the old videos into my "free dance" workouts to make sure I'm working out my muscles and not just my heart. As I remembered step-ball-changing and cha-chaing with Richard I started thinking about how much fun I was having.
As I shoulder-shook and shimmied through Unspeakable Joy (great positive song, you should download it) I started thinking about all the blogs I read and how so many people out there are so self conscious about their weight to the point that it hinders their ability to exercise. It's such a shame. Here I am, 230 pounds of woman, half naked (sports bra and boy shorts only) in my living room dancing around like a total yahoo, thrilled to death, having a blast and there are some people who would love to lose weight but are too ashamed to take those first few steps to do it, even if it is with the shades closed in their living room and nobody else can see them.
So of course that led me to think, why in the world aren't there more video's like that out there? I don't want to sweat to the oldies. I'm only 31 for pete's sake. But why isn't there something out there for people who are out of shape, who love to dance or just want to start moving? Why aren't their big people videos out there for us big people MADE by big people? Why isn't there a fun, up to date dvd with fun up to date music for fun people who just don't know where to start? I'm not talking about an hour long totally choreographed dvd that you should take dance lessons for but why isn't there a "Naked Free Dance" video out there for people who are really just beginning? I started as 301 pound women and even those beginners dvds with modified moves were sometimes too much not to mention I don't want to look at thin women in their leotards while I'm sweating like mad in my over sized workout clothes.
Mr. Simmons had (has) some really good ideas and I think he really did (does) touch a lot of people's lives but I think we need somebody fresh, young and new that connects with today's younger generation. Any volunteers? Anybody? Any one? Bueller? So I guess what I'm asking is where is OUR generation's Richard Simmons hiding? Can't somebody make us "sweat to the current tunes"? Am I going to have to make a video of myself free dancing and post it on here to only end up on youtube as the joke of the week before somebody will stand up and take action (please don't make me do that, it would be u-g-l-y).
Surely there is a need/want for this in the diet industry? Where is our knight in shining short-shorts who will take us by the hand, let us know that we're ok, we're worth it, we can do it and that he/she is there for us? Will the new Richard Simmons please stand up?