Ever since I was a kid back in New Orleans, I've been a dreamer. And I'm so thankful, having been able to make so many my dreams come true. Of course, losing weight and keeping it off tops my dreams-come-true list. Thank you, dear Lord, for giving me the wisdom and strength to make that one come true.
But here, in my adult years, (and yes, I do act like an adult sometimes), I'm often haunted by a dream that I just can't seem to shake. (Actually, it's more like a nightmare.) It always begins the same way.
I'm sitting at a table in a big hotel ballroom. You know the type. It's one of those giant rooms you'd see at a big convention hotel. (And with all of my travels, I've seen a lot of rooms like this.) Oh, it's adorned with fancy, gold-embroidered drapes. There's a big crystal chandelier hanging from the ceiling and the floor is filled with lots of tables and chairs. Hmmm, looks like someone has set the room up for a big dinner.
Suddenly, all of the chairs at my table are filled with people. In fact, as I look around, I see lots of familiar faces at this big event.
Oh, look, there's Rose! I remember her. She wrote me a 10-page letter back in 1982 when I was still doing The Richard Simmons Show. Rose was morbidly obese. She wrote and told me how she'd become like a prisoner in her own home. You see, Rose's weight had gotten so out of control that she was now house bound. Bless her heart, she was barely able to even get out of bed. I even flew to Rose's hometown to visit her a couple of times and, sadly, on one of those trips I had to visit her in a rehabilitation hospital. Hi Rose, it's really good to see you again, sweetie!
And oh my goodness, there's another familiar face. It's my old friend, Tommy! I met Tommy's wife, Angela, years ago. She'd come out to see me at a big mall show I did in Ohio, back in the 90s. She waited in line to meet me and get my autograph. As I was signing the photo, Angela began telling me about her husband, Tommy. She told me he was at least 250 pounds overweight, could no longer work and was on disability. Angela told me that Tommy was very distraught about his weight. He wasn't house bound, like Rose, but he'd stopped socializing with family and friends. Tommy had begun cutting himself off from the world, simply because getting up and out of the house was so taxing for his body. I even visited him while I was in town to offer him the encouragement he needed to tackle losing the weight. Tommy was so appreciative that I'd taken time out of my day to visit him. In fact, he was so touched that he even began crying. I told him to dry those tears and get ready to turn his life around by losing the weight. Oh, what a nice man he was.
Oh, my. This evening is turning into a little "family reunion." I spot my friend Sarah. Sarah was only in her 20s when I first met her. But she'd been gaining weight since she was in her teens. By the time I met her, she was already in the 300+ pounds range. In an effort to help Sarah get motivated to lose weight, her parents had actually flown her out to Los Angeles to take one of my workout classes at Slimmons. Her parents told me that Sarah just loved me and the trip was a surprise birthday present for her. That class was tough for Sarah and she even had to do most of the workout from a seated position in a chair. But she worked hard and I was so proud of her. I spotted Sarah's parents, weeping as they watched their daughter giving that workout her all. I'm telling you, I was as proud of Sarah as they were!
My story doesn't sound much like a nightmare, does it? Well, keep reading. Because as I kept looking around the table, I saw more and more people I knew. What is this anyway? Some sort of surprise party for me? Just what is the occasion? And, believe me, this is where the dream turns into a nightmare because all at once, it dawns on me...
With the exception of myself, everyone attending at my table was...dead. A party for me? No, not exactly. Instead, I was surrounded by people I'd done my best to help lose weight over the nearly 40 years I've been doing what I do.
They were the people I'd reached out to over the years. They were the people I'd called. The people I'd visited in their homes. I'd written them letters years ago, and here in the 21st century, I'd sent e-mails to them, too! My nightmare always end the same way, with me waking up in a cold sweat.
I sit there in bed and wonder to myself...what else could I have done? What more could I have said? Did I fail them? Oh, the thoughts that go through my head. But I have to calm myself down. I have to remind myself that in spite of all I do to help a person turn their lives around by losing weight, the desire, the determination, the want has to come from inside them.
Instead of dwelling on the negative, I think about the thousands of people who've had success losing weight and keeping it off. And yes, there are thousands of them.
You see, I can't let that nightmare stop me from doing what I know God has put me on this earth to do. Yes, I am terribly saddened by those people who did not heed my advice. But on the next page, I'm uplifted by those people who cared enough about themselves and the ones they love to finally do something about their weight.
What about you? Are you someone who knows how much you really need to lose your extra weight? Or is there someone you love that you need to talk to about their weight? Well, let me tell you something: it's never to late to get started. And it's never too late to have that talk with your loved one. Won't you have that talk with your loved one today. And if you're reading these words and know you need to lose the weight, won't you make the decision to get started on that incredible journey that will turn your life around?
Yes, dreams do come true. But I'm telling you, there's no more room at that dinner table in my dream.
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