Richard Simmons Has Beef With Quick Weight Loss Shows, Ready to Do His Own

Richard Simmons

Fitness guru Richard Simmons reports he has 12 appointments set up this week with prospective buyers of his in-the-works reality show. “That’s 12 possible apostles to preach this to,” says the preternaturally buoyant personality. And we can tell you, he’s definitely got his gospel of weight loss all primed and ready to go.

“You know what, if we don’t get a handle on this weight thing, it’s going to be worse than a major earthquake in terms of stress, financial woes and medical problems,” he says. “I call people every day who are afraid to exercise. As you get more overweight, more fears set in. I’m just trying to get people to try again. One more try. All the people who’ve given up, give it one more try. Give it to me. Let me try to turn this around for you.”

Simmons is not a big fan of weight loss reality series on the air now.  “Shows where contestants lose enormous amounts of weight each week send the wrong message to America. Then you have people feeling like failures because they don’t lose weight as fast,” believes the 63-year-old, who has devoted the better part of four decades to his quest to help people get into healthy shape — including books, videos, fitness classes, teaching and speaking engagements, 200 days of traveling a year, and lots of non-televised visits to work with morbidly obese and otherwise infirm individuals.

“Now more than ever, people want weight loss to be fast. More human beings are getting their stomachs cut into smaller pouches, or lap-banding it. And I get hundreds of letters saying, ‘It didn’t work.’ It’s not like it’s fool-proof. What’s the big hurry?

“Losing weight is not just about getting to a number. It’s about liking yourself and respecting yourself,” he goes on. “You can lose a great deal of weight, and not starve, and not over-exercise.” And have fun doing it, he stresses. “We’ve forgotten to have fun. Where’s the clown?”

He says he was inspired all over again by attending the memorial of his pal of 30 years, Jack LaLanne — and wants to stay in as great a shape as the fitness pioneer was well into his nineties.

Simmons also says he sent out some 50,000 questionnaires in an effort to get a handle on people’s feelings about being overweight and what to do about it in the current climate. That work informed the show he wants to get in front of viewers’ eyes. It would feature the goings-on at his Beverly Hills Slimmons flagship, where classes have a spectrum of all shapes, sizes, colors and ages, and of course, they have fun.

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This entry was posted in The Hollywood Exclusive by Marilyn Beck and Stacy Jenel Smith and tagged on by .

About Stacy Jenel Smith

I grew up in the San Fernando Valley when it was a kids' Shangri La in the 60s and we had Fabulous Eddie's miniature golf and trampolines on Ventura Boulevard. My big brother frequented The Third Eye psychedelic shop back in the day, but he wound up turning out anyway. Dad was an NBC video man who worked on "Laugh-In," Dean Martin's show, and specials by everyone from Sinatra to Fred Astaire. Mom was a first class home maker and PTA and GCA volunteer. They're still doing great. Anxious to get going in life, I quit college and jumped into journalism when I was still a teenager, and was writing for the New York Times syndicate and People magazine before turning 20. But that was a long time, many adventures, lots of traveling around the world and thousands of interviews ago. I go back to the very last days of hot type and getting to talk to Henry Fonda and Bette Davis, and Sammy Davis at the old Brown Derby...What a ride. That's in no small part thanks to my amazing writing partner, Marilyn Beck, one of the grand old-school Hollywood columnist stars -- a true star -- who knows how to do it right. I'm lucky, for sure. Now is fun, too. I love going out to events with my 17-year-old daughter (Jonas Brothers!). Seeing everything fresh through her eyes renews my excitement about the game. In-between I went back and finished school -- University of Redlands -- married, divorced, and at long last found my true love. My favorite things outside of the show business realm are being with my family, my faith and spiritual growth, learning new things (from doing Qigong to uploading stuff on Facebook), and running. See you on the trail.

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