My Richard Simmons Moment

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So, this upcoming Saturday is Richard Simmons’ birthday. I know what you’re probably thinking … why do you know this? (I get that a lot) Well, the answer to that is kind of simple … I am addicted to Wikipedia, he shares a birthday with my Grandma and I have this uncanny ability to remember irrelevant dates. If I was a superhero, I am sure that would be my superpower.

I can just picture it now … the townspeople would call for my help to save the city from a destructive villain and my reply would be, “I don’t know how to defeat him, but did you that on this day in history Wyoming became the 44th state?”

Thank goodness superheroes like Superman exist.

But, back to Richard Simmons.

I have a deep respect for Richard. I always have. He has this ability to reach people who struggle with weight issue better than anyone I know. Mainly because he doesn’t look at the weight as the sole issue. The weight is a byproduct of other issues. The journey to change your body begins with changing your inner self and how you respect and love yourself.

The other day as I was roaming the vastness of YouTube I came across an interview of Richard Simmons on ShayLoss. This is the essence of Richard in my opinion. Funny, hilarious, thoughtful, inspiring and genuine. Just take a look …

This reminded me of the time that I got to have a little one-on-one time with Richard Simmons about four years. I was a year into my weight-loss journey and had just reached my 100lbs. goal a couple weeks beforehand.

Our family took a road trip to Las Vegas and Disneyland for one of my brother’s basketball tournaments. The tournament was in Vegas, but you know when you’re that close to Disneyland you go, right? Since my older brother lives in Southern California we spent time with him, other family members, at the beach, Disneyland and then at Slimmons Studio.

Slimmons is Richard Simmons’ studio in Beverly Hills. Throughout the week and on Saturdays Richard holds aerobic classes for not just bigger people, but whoever wants to party with Richard (which is pretty much everyone). It doesn’t cost an arm or a leg either (about $12 when I went for an hour and half session).

My brother had gone to Slimmons a few times before and actually friended Richard (I mean, how can you NOT friend Richard? Then again everybody probably feels like they’ve friended Richard after one of his classes) and wanted the whole family to meet him. So on the second to last day of being in California the whole family headed for Beverly Hills to workout with Richard. It was literally an experience none of us would forget.

My Mom and Aunt came along with us, along with my pregnant sister-in-law, brothers and sister. I was kind of shocked to see my Mom and Aunt participating in the aerobics class, but she was right there doing all of the exercises and you could tell that she was having a riot.

Throughout the class Richard was very engaging, off the wall and … well … Richard. He would come up to people and blow spit bubbles in their face as they worked out. Or he would come up and “yell” at you if you were out of sync. His tangents were just as colorful and fun as the above video. That one and a half hours was worth every minute.

After the class, Richard took a few minutes to leave all of us with an uplifting message. It was basically the need to love ourselves and remind us daily that we are worth it. He then singled me out and asked how much I had lost. I told the class 100lbs. I’ll never forget Richard standing there slow clapping and crying.

I made Richard Simmons cry? (I’m kind of proud of that if you couldn’t tell).

He asked me what I did to make the change and I replied basically that I had to learn to love myself and remind myself that I am worth the change. He and the class applauded. And, I’ll be honest I was a bit bashfully red in the face because I hated, and still do to an extent, talking about my weight. And, I didn’t want to volunteer that information during the class, I just wanted to go and experience Richard Simmons in person.

But, it was actually my Aunt who took Richard aside and told him how much I lost … KNOWING … that I wouldn’t. She wanted to make sure I got that spotlight, that moment and quite honestly I am thankful she did for a couple reasons. One, it made me realize what kind of impact I can have on people seeking a similar change and two, you’re biggest fans will always be the most vocal of your achievements.

My Aunt has since passed, but you couldn’t have found a person on earth that was more proud of my accomplishment. She didn’t just see Josh physically changing, she saw the inner-Josh changing just as much. I loved the moments she would take me aside and remind me how much happier I am now and how proud she was of me. I miss those moments.

She was always proud of everything I did, especially when I started running. She was able to only attend one of my races, but she and my Mom followed me in a car during a half marathon for a mile or so. I will never forget that support. Well, I know that support will always be there, even though she’s not here physically.

But, that moment with Richard changed me and it made me realize the power that my story had to help others. Even after the class Richard took the time to get pictures and give autographs to those that wanted them. It’s so evident that he just loves people and would give the world to help anyone. I respect that very much of him.

Even took pictures with our family and was just hilarious as you can see here …

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The whole family with Richard!
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My Mom with Richard. If didn’t know better this could very well be an engagement picture. DADDY IS THAT YOU?!
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Not that most flattering picture of my Aunt (drunk face), but I love it nonetheless because of what she did that day for me.
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More engagement pictures with Richard. I am now assuming he’s not just my Dad, but my brother-in-law? I’m so confused.
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Um?

This is how Richard acts around children …

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Gosh, I love these pictures!

I doubt Richard will read this, but I do want to thank him for being that spark and inspiration to so many who struggle with their weight. He is able to see a bigger picture then what just people are in the moment. I love that. I want to emulate that.

Anyways, Happy Birthday Richard! I’m feeling the need for another road trip to California soon!

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