Exercise Exercise Videos Richard Simmons Southwest Airlines

An Open Letter to Richard Simmons: Thank You

Dear Richard,

You don’t know me, but I want to thank you for helping me change my life – particularly my views on exercise.  I’ve lost over 120 pounds which puts me right in the middle of my weight-loss journey.

I’ve lost over 100 inches around my body so far…

When I weighed almost 400 pounds, I was nervous to go to the gym, but I went.  And after only a few minutes, I was approached by a mean-spirited girl who said that if she looked like me she would give up.  I held my head high even though I felt like crawling under a rock.  I finished a quick workout and knew that I’d have to try something different.  I tried several things then I bought “Party Off the Pounds” – my first and favorite of your workout DVD’s!

Demonstrating Angels, one of my favorite workout moves from 
“Party Off the Pounds” at a party with friends.  Yes, I did that..=)

Since then, I have also added the Sweatin’ to the Oldies collection to my fat-fighting arsenal, and through your videos I have literally been transformed!  I still have over 100 pounds to lose, but I have gained the confidence to walk into a gym and complete sweat-pouring workouts on the elliptical.  And I’m no longer embarrassed by my slow running pace!  Instead, I’m proud of the fact that I can complete daily 5k’s and swim over a mile without stopping.

And Richard, I have you to thank for this because it all started with you and your workouts – jumping jacks that I could do without hurting myself and dances that were fun, not painful.  I still “Party Off the Pounds” regularly, and last year, I made it my goal to fly to L.A. to workout with you in person.  I’m happy to say that I think that time is coming soon…

You see, Richard, the last couple of weeks have been some of the hardest since beginning my weight-loss journey.  I’ve been trying desperately to remind myself that I am not a failure and that I have come too far to allow mean-spirited people to sway me.  I was humiliated in front of more than 100 people at an airport during a layover for my flight from Denver to New Orleans with my mother (you met her when I was a little girl at the New Orleans airport!)

Anyway, during our layover, we were singled out by airline attendants who were disrespectful and incredibly mean due to our size,  telling us that we were too fat to fly home without paying for an additional seat. At 400 pounds, I purchased two seats, but after losing so much I’ve earned the right to purchase only one. I’ve lost enough that I do, in fact, fit in the seat Richard.  =)  But their cruelty took its toll on me last week.

It was as if my worst nightmare had come to life, and I have been working hard to get through it since it happened on Easter Sunday.  After reading about my experience here on my blog, someone from Southwest called me in an attempt to make it right even though they can’t undo the damage.

In short, Richard, I have a ticket that will allow me to fly wherever I want to fly so I’ve decided to turn one of my most horrific life experiences into something amazingI’m going to see you Richard!!!!! I called Slimmons today to see if it would be possible to pop in for a class, and it seems it will be possible! And that’s incredible!

I firmly believe that if I ever have the opportunity to meet you, that you’ll treat me with utter respect and see me as more than just an overweight girl.  You see the beauty in everyone Richard, and even if I’m never lucky enough to workout with you at Slimmons, I’m still thankful for you everyday.  Your videos have changed my life, and I will be forever grateful to you.

The denim jacket in the older pic was 12 sizes bigger than the one in the 
new pic.  The new pic buttons, but the old one did not!

I’ve come so far, and I have a long way to go.  But I want you to know that you have been an integral part of my journey, and you will continue to be a part of it.  I realize that you have changed the lives of so many!  Please just know that I’m so thankful that you’ve changed mine too


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  • Reply
    May 6, 2011 at 7:31 am

    this is truly inspiring! brought tears to my eyes! keep going strong!

  • Reply
    May 6, 2011 at 9:56 am

    OHHH Kenz I cannot tell you how stinking jealous I am that you will be going to see Richard…I LOVE RICHARD SIMMONS!!! When I lost my weight the last time (yes I am a repeat offender) I did Richard almost every day! My boys undid my VCR when they got their new gaming system and I have not been able to do my videos…I guess I have to buy them in DVD format now. I will look on eBay today for some…Have you seen his in-flight video from New Zealand airlines…it is so funny and cute:

    please give him a hug from me…

    I Love You Richard!!! (just in case he checks out your blog ;^) <3 <3 XxX

  • Reply
    May 6, 2011 at 9:57 am

    What a perfect use of that ticket! 🙂

  • Reply
    May 6, 2011 at 10:29 am

    I love Richard too and have many of his vhs and a few dvd's and he makes it fun!

  • Reply
    Marie Meier
    May 6, 2011 at 10:39 am

    Great job !!! I discover your nice blog via Bitchcake. And i love your way to think weightloss. I'm french and i fond only inspiring blog outside France. Thanks for sharing your experience.

  • Reply
    This Old Woman
    May 6, 2011 at 10:44 am

    Awesome Kenz… you truly are.

  • Reply
    May 6, 2011 at 11:09 am

    You brought tears to my eyes. How amazing to turn something so horrific in to an incredible experience.

  • Reply
    May 6, 2011 at 11:19 am

    Kenz, the progress you have made is amazing and you know it, too. Reading your post about not feeling that you have done enough in your weight loss made me sad; your progress is awe-inspiring (the two pictures above SHOW that). I know that Southwest tried to take something away from you and make you feel badly about yourself, but you have responded with strength and determination and spoken out publicly against their discrimination. A good friend of mine once told me, "You're better than you think you are." For what it is worth, I couldn't be prouder.

  • Reply
    May 6, 2011 at 11:33 am

    Wow. Just wow. 🙂

  • Reply
    May 6, 2011 at 11:52 am

    Beautiful letter! You have so much to be proud of!


  • Reply
    Pretty Pauline
    May 6, 2011 at 12:18 pm

    This is SO GOOD! See, once upon a time I got really, really fit with FIRM vids. You could see the muscles in my stomach! But today I am around 250, and for some reason I keep wanting to walk/run interval train. My body can't handle it! My feet hurt SO BAD! And yet I keep trying, because I remember what I was, and I should be able to do that, right? Anyway, I'm going to take a cue from you and lighten up a bit for a while. It will most definitely keep me exercising more regularly, and I actually have a Simmons workout in my arsenal that I've never done… *THANK YOU!* for sharing so openly and honestly!!!!

  • Reply
    KCLAnderson (Karen)
    May 6, 2011 at 12:32 pm

    Thank you Kenz for being such an inspiration on so many different levels…YOU have also changed the lives of so many, and I am not just counting the fact that you've lost more than 100 pounds. That you are willing to stand up for yourself (and others); that you share the good, the bad, and the ugly…you are a leader.

  • Reply
    May 6, 2011 at 12:52 pm

    Loved your letter to Richard! I'm so glad that he changed your life and I'm so glad you told him! You are such a beautiful human being, keep going strong and I promise, you're going to finish FIRST!!!


  • Reply
    May 6, 2011 at 1:02 pm

    Do go to Slimmons . . . you will have the time of your life . . . and having met Richard myself, I'm sure you'll find him to be everything you've hoped he'd be and more!!!! . . . keep up the struggle you're worth it!

  • Reply
    May 6, 2011 at 1:15 pm

    Well done, Kenz — and what a fabulous way to use the compensation you received from Southwest!!!

  • Reply
    May 6, 2011 at 1:35 pm

    That's absolutely fabulous, Kenz! I've done Richard Simmons workouts from years ago. Sweatin' to the Oldies! I know you'll have a great time. Wish I could go! Give him a big hug from me!

  • Reply
    May 6, 2011 at 1:45 pm

    HELP, HELP I need help for my 47 year old nephew who weighs over 700 pounds. Bobbie from Charlotte NC 704 612-9339 –

  • Reply
    May 6, 2011 at 2:12 pm

    Oh how sweet and thoughtful was that! Good for you. What a fun adventure that will be to go to Slimmons (I'm green with envy). And maybe you'll get to meet David of Keep It Up David?!! The posts from that will be so inspiring and fun. I'm going to do my Richard Sweatin tot he Oldies DVD today!! Thanks for the inspiration.

  • Reply
    May 6, 2011 at 3:00 pm

    Kenz, I'm so excited! Please let us know when you decide to come. My husband and I are at Richard's Slimmons classes, every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.

    And if you need any info about healthy eating or exploring LA, by all means let me know! I have lots of great ideas for you.

    Would you like me to forward your letter to Richard?

  • Reply
    May 6, 2011 at 5:46 pm

    Good for you! That's honestly what kept me out of a gym for a long time– the feeling that I was too fat to be there. But I know how ridiculous that is. And I'm inspired by other people there who are clearly trying to better themselves– like you. Have a GREAT trip! 🙂

  • Reply
    May 6, 2011 at 8:18 pm

    I love this letter. I really hope you get to meet Richard!!!

    It's so cool that you're coming to LA! When are you coming?

  • Reply
    May 6, 2011 at 8:36 pm

    I wanna forward your letter to Richard, TOO! 🙂

  • Reply
    May 6, 2011 at 8:55 pm

    yay! SO PROUD OF YOU!!!!!!!! love you!

  • Reply
    May 6, 2011 at 9:47 pm

    I just had to add…I MADE my sons (there not kids anymore) 20 + 25, put my VCR back to working order!!! Mama was not happy spending the money on new DVD when I have probably every Richard VCR tape!! I'm starting tomorrow Kenz, thank you for getting me shakin and a movin…very touching letter…

    Richard come to fitBloggin 11 weekend with us…Baltimore Maryland May 18th-20th…
    you would have soooo much fun!!!

  • Reply
    May 6, 2011 at 9:51 pm

    He's so awesome & so are you.

  • Reply
    Tiffany @ Turbo Fire
    May 6, 2011 at 10:21 pm

    I just came across your site and have to say how inspiring you are. I definitely think you will accomplish your goal and lose all the weight. That's awesome that you get to meet Richard Simmons now… a perfect way to use that ticket!

  • Reply
    Dizzy Girl
    May 6, 2011 at 10:30 pm

    Kenz you are the cutest thing ever. Your smile is infectious. Can we please play when you're out here? CALL ME! Love you- xoxoxo-


  • Reply
    May 6, 2011 at 11:40 pm

    What a great way to use that ticket! I love when something negative opens the door to something positive! Can't wait to see pictures!

  • Reply
    May 7, 2011 at 12:13 am

    I love this! I also love Richard Simmons. I think he is awesome and I have spent many nights Sweatin' to the Oldies in my living room. I used to feel silly doing it, but I love every minute of his DVDs!


  • Reply
    May 7, 2011 at 2:31 am

    This has me crying….please please please stay encouraged….you are right where you should be. Let me know how I can help…..and please know that you are VERY INSPIRING!!!

  • Reply
    Diet Chic ~ Jury
    May 7, 2011 at 3:49 am

    What a GREAT way to turn that bad experience to good use! THis is why you've come so far and I have no doubt that you will keep going and get there. You're truly inspriring, it's too bad that you were disrespected and hurt during that flight ordearl. But know for every 2 people who disrepected you, you have 800+ rooting for you!! HOpe you do get to meet Mr. Simmons 🙂

  • Reply
    May 7, 2011 at 6:05 am

    Oh em gee! Does this mean you might get to meet keep it up david! If so, you are a lucky girl. So much blog goodness in one room will be amazing!

  • Reply
    gastric bypass surgery Los Angeles
    May 7, 2011 at 5:39 pm

    The change looks wonderful on you and it is going to be the most healthy decision in your life.It is going to keep all diseases away from you.

  • Reply
    May 8, 2011 at 6:32 am

    I just wanted to say that this post/letter spoke to me for a number of reasons but the #1 is this…when I first started this weight loss endeavor forever ago, Party Off The Pounds is the workout video I chose. I wanted a workout that showed heavy people doing the movements and I knew that Richard Simmons would be the way to go. Keep inspiring and keep up the good work.

  • Reply
    May 8, 2011 at 6:33 am

    I just wanted to say that this post/letter spoke to me for a number of reasons but the #1 is this…when I first started this weight loss endeavor forever ago, Party Off The Pounds is the workout video I chose. I wanted a workout that showed heavy people doing the movements and I knew that Richard Simmons would be the way to go. Keep inspiring and keep up the good work.

  • Reply
    Jenny Dahl
    May 9, 2011 at 8:30 pm

    Followed a link from KeepItUpDavid to your blog… you're an inspiration! I'm in it to lose 150 pounds myself… just hit the 38 pounds gone mark last Saturday. You keep it up, too! I'll definitely be back to follow your adventures.

  • Reply
    May 19, 2011 at 2:04 am

    Hi! I just watched your clip on CNN and that turned into me having to hunt down your blog!!! I am soo very sorry you had to go thru that! Nobody should have to go thru that! My hubby and I both are fluffy people and always have been but we are working hard to not be skinny people but to be healthy people! We are doing it for ourselves and for our children and grand children! We only have one life to live and are not promised tomorrow so we must live each and every day to its fullest! From reading your blog I can see how you have grabbed a hold of life and said enough is enough and I must say how very proud I am of you for taking that step! Even though I do not know you I am proud of you!! I know how you feel. I have heard comments and have been treated differently.
    Anyways, soooo glad to have found your blog and looking forward to keeping up with your success!! I just started a linky party on Wednesdays called Weigh In Wednesdays. I would love for you to stop by and say hi sometime!!
    P.s. Simmons rocks!!

  • Reply
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  • Reply
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