I Met Richard Simmons Five Years Ago This Month…

…so some sort of celebration is in order, right?

Left: Richard and me in January, 2010. I was 402 pounds. Right: Richard with me weighing well over 10 pounds less.

Left: Richard and me in January, 2010. I was 402 pounds. Right: Richard with me weighing well over 100 pounds less.

I don’t really feel like celebrating, though. I don’t know what I’m feeling, to be quite honest, and, to paraphrase a song lyric, I don’t know how I feel about that.

There’s a lot to celebrate, and muddled emotions aside, I am still very proud of myself and what I’ve accomplished. I weighed 402 pounds in January, 2010. Since then, I’ve lost and kept off 160 pounds, and that’s no small feat. There are studies out there that say that 95% of people who lose weight gain it back. So far, I’ve beaten those odds.

david-double-stairway

Me, 1/17/15.

Those feelings of pride, though, go hand-in-hand with memories of Richard Simmons. It was Richard who got me started on this process. Richard who offered to help me, at a time when I thought weight loss was a lost cause. Richard who held me accountable and cheered me on and reinforced, over and over again, that I was worth it. Richard who sat next to me on national television when I was a guest on Ellen. It’s hard to acknowledge my weight loss anniversary without also acknowledging the anniversary of the first time I met Richard.

Hence, the mixed emotions, because Richard still hasn’t emerged. It’s been a year since his last public appearance. February will mark a year since he last taught at Slimmons. Apart from a very short statement released through his publicist in November, when his disappearance finally hit the media, he hasn’t said a peep to the press, or talked to anyone that I know. His social media accounts are still active, but posting old photos.

I first wrote about Richard’s disappearance in June, and I’ve barely mentioned it since then, because there was nothing to say. Nothing had changed. Sadly, that’s still the case. I still email Richard regularly to wish him the best and share what’s going on. I still go to Slimmons a couple times a month, to take a class taught by Anne (one of the other instructors).

Slimmons-front-doors

Oh, how I wish I had more of an update. I wish I could say I’m not worried about him, but I still am. I wish I could say I knew what was going on, but I still don’t. I wish I could predict if and when he’s going to start teaching again, or at least make an appearance somewhere, but I still can’t.

A few days ago, I pulled out “Sweatin’ to the Oldies 5.” This had just come out when I met Richard five years ago. I used to travel with this DVD, so I had a workout ready to go wherever I was. I’ve done this workout in four different states.

sweatin-to-the-oldies-5-on-table

I had the thought that I could celebrate my anniversary with Richard by doing the DVD, and it would kinda sorta be like we were in the same room again. But I haven’t touched the DVD, because seeing him on the cover makes me sad.

Sometimes I have horrible, scary thoughts about Richard being gravely ill and alone, and it’s terrifying. So I cheer myself up by imagining him relaxing on a beach somewhere, drinking a cocktail out of a hollowed-out coconut, the crystals on his tank top catching the sunlight and reflecting it all over the sand.

Sometimes I catch myself thinking about Richard in the past tense, like I’m never going to see him again, and that makes me the saddest.

So I remain confident that, eventually, I’ll see Richard again. I’m excited for that day. And in the meantime, I’ll continue embracing the changes that this past year has brought, because ultimately change is going to happen, whether I want it to or not.

Back when I was first losing the weight, I would occasionally wonder if I could keep going with the weight loss if I didn’t have Richard’s help. And I didn’t have a good answer, because this was when I was leaning on Richard as a mentor the most: emailing back and forth on a weekly basis, and taking his class every weekend.

My relationship with him had evolved long before he went into hiding. It’s been years since I’ve emailed him food logs, and while I still value his friendship and support, I’m not relying on him on an ongoing basis.

What this past year has reinforced is that my success is mine. I was lucky to have a world-famous fitness icon guide me when I started, but he hasn’t been around lately, and I’m almost exactly the same weight I was a year ago. I haven’t gained it all back. Wanna know why? Because I work hard. I make smart choices. I challenge myself. I stay focused. I’m responsible for my health and wellbeing, and I’m kicking ass.

I’m also reminding myself that the change will continue to happen, even after he reappears. Chances are things won’t go back to how they were, and I can’t expect that.

The most I can hope for is the same thing that I’ve been hoping for all along: That Richard is happy and healthy. He deserves it. He’s done so much so for many people. He’s done so much for me.

And it all began five years ago this month.

Happy Anniversary, Richard!

Now it’s time to tackle year six.

Keep it up, David!

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16 Responses to I Met Richard Simmons Five Years Ago This Month…

  1. Jeff Dinkin says:

    Excellent acknowledgment of Richard, but also of your own dedication and hard work! He guided you on the path – but YOU did it!

  2. carey says:

    Richard was the first guy I turned to at the age of 16 when I needed to lose weight..I’m 37 now… I hope he’s alright, even to just email you to say what’s going on or not to worry. Unfortunately I’m in that 95% my highest weight was 280 my lowest 147…. Of course I slacked got into the bad habits the easy way and I’m back up to 199lb starting the weight loss train again…feeling discouraged often. Although Jan 2 I was 205 .. I was devastated I had to get down to onederland again so I did lose 6 lbs.. I’m eating alot better and moving more but haven’t lost anymore..so that frustrates me. Congrats on keeping your weight off I know how hard it is!

  3. Kristin says:

    Congratulations on all your accomplishments! Amazing! And I sincerely hope you hear from Richard soon. He is like a ray of sunshine.

  4. Val Scott says:

    You are bursting with pride and that is how you should be.

  5. rosypip@aol.com says:

    Good for you! I know you will keep it up! I too have been sad over his disappearance. He helped me lose 120 lbs and encouraged me on. I am also happy I have been able to maintain my weight loss! I too worry that I will not see him again. I hope and pray he is OK. Rosy

  6. Kenlie says:

    I adore you, and I adore Richard. What he offered you five years ago was incredible, and what you did with it was life changing!

    Happy anniversary, and thank you for being my friend. I feel so lucky to know a man like you. Keep it up…

  7. Dana says:

    Happy Anniversary and Congrats on all your incredible accomplishments! Thanks for being such a great inspiration!

  8. Betsy LaBass says:

    So proud of you David! Keep up the good work.
    Happy Anniversary to you and Richard. Saying prayers for him right now. Love, Betsy

  9. Lisa says:

    OMG….I FEEL EXACTLY THE SAME FEELINGS ABOUT THIS AS YOU !!!! I am in the 60’s Blast Off tape and Richard also took me under his wonderful, sparkly wing and encouraged me, scolded me and loved me. I miss him so much. I just wish we all knew he was okay and I pray that he will come back to us one day. 😪

  10. Pat says:

    What Betsy said.

  11. David says:

    THANK YOU everyone, for sharing, and saying such nice things. Let’s all continue to send positive energy Richard’s way… and also continue to take care of ourselves the best we can!

  12. Debbie Vance says:

    I am proud of you David! I met you at Slimmons when I visited my friend Joanne but I had already been following you since I saw you on Ellen. I have kept Richard in prayer since I learned of his disappearance. He also was a mentor to me and since my visit there I have lost 3 clothing sizes. Keep up the good work, I know Richard is proud of you.

  13. Sandra says:

    What is Richard Simmons email address? Please email him your blog…. We are all so concerned…

  14. Dean Forburger says:

    Perhaps he’s well but can’t really be Richard Simmons as he was. Just a thought. Dean F.

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