Category Archives: Richard Simmons

Reader Question: Where Do I Start?

It’s been a while since I’ve answered a reader question on my blog so today seems like a good day for it.   I’ve received so many messages from people who want to know where to start, and I know that it can be overwhelming so I’m asking for your help in answering their questions.  Take a look at this message from a lovely lady in the area, and tell me what you would suggest to help her get started on her own journey.

Hi Kenlie! I’m local and saw an article about you in the newspaper. Congratulations on your weight loss journey and for taking a stand against discrimination of overweight people. I am 280 lbs and know I need to take control of my weight. How do I even start? Moneywise, it is so much more expensive to eat healthy. I dont have the money to go to a gym. Any suggestions on getting started are greatly appreciated! Good luck on your journey!



Hi A,

Thanks for the message. It’s nice to hear from someone local!

It sounds like we weigh almost the same right now, and I have to tell you that I’m not an expert.  With that said, I’m happy to tell you how I got started.

I lived in New York, and my first step was joining a Weight Watchers group.

Weight Watchers taught me what a serving of food should actually look like which was great because I seriously didn’t realize how much I was eating.  Seriously, even if I ate only half of my old favorite dish at Chili’s, Chicken Crispers, potatoes and corn on the cob, I’d still be eating almost an entire day’s worth of calories just in one meal.   And that’s not even including appetizers, drinks or dessert!  I could easily add another 1,000 calories to that just with chips and salsa!

Yeah, I knew I was eating more than the average woman, but Weight Watchers helped me understand just how much I was eating and how to make better choices that were still satisfying.

Add 590 calories for the loaded mashed potatoes and corn on the cob for a total of about 2,250 calories for one meal.

And speaking of empty calories I cut out soda cold turkey in 2009, and it’s by far the best thing I have ever done for my body.  It was really hard, and it sucked for months.  I told myself that I could drink one later if I really wanted to, but eventually it lost its appeal.  I remember a time in my life in which I couldn’t fathom giving up sodas, and now the thought of it is just gross.

But the eating part of healthy living is still much harder for me than the exercise part, but I’m trying to tackle it.  I started counting calories about seven weeks ago, but I still weigh-in at a local WW meeting once a month or so.  The support you receive at meetings is priceless.

And I love the gym now, but I didn’t always feel that way. When I started trying to turn things around I started walking. Seriously, I didn’t walk fast or long, but I did more than I had done previously. And as time passed it took more effort to get my heart pumping which reminded me that I was getting stronger!

In addition to walking I also bought my first Richard Simmons DVD.   I own several now, but Party Off the Pounds is still my favorite. I found my copy at Walgreens, but you can get it online here as well. And to this day it’s one of the best investments I’ve ever made in fitness. I didn’t have to worry about looking ridiculous (even though I’m sure I did at first.)  And it will definitely make you sweat!

And speaking of Richard, I was on Dr. Drew's show with him last week. And out of all of the pictures I've taken with him, this is the *only* one in which we're not smiling. Of course, we were discussing a very serious issue.

So in short A, I starting with walking and aerobics worked for me, and now I love to sweat!

In regards to food, try to replace something unhealthy that you’re eating with fresh veggies. I eat a 6 cup salad for lunch most days (romaine lettuce, 1 tbsp of light Caesar and 7g of mini croutons) with chicken or salmon (on the side) or some other form of protein like egg whites.

The most important thing is just starting somewhere right now instead of waiting until tomorrow or Monday or January,  then don’t stop.  Keep trying even when it feels like you’re messing up over and over.  Most people take a few steps forward and a few back.  Don’t get discouraged, and don’t quit.

Again, I’m no expert, but I’m surrounded by them.  In my experiencethe people here know what they’re doing, and they’re always willing to help so let’s ask them.

Thanks again for reaching out, and I hope you’ll do it again soon.




So friends…What advice can you give to someone who wants to change the way they live with food and exercise?  What’s the most important step in getting started?



Not Really Sure What I’m Doing

Yesterday was a fun day for me. Cal came over late afternoon, and he accompanied me to the gym before heading back to my place to help me make dinner.  He grilled steak for fajitas and I chopped and sauteed vegetables.  And we even made salsa with my KitchenAid blender.  Have I ever mentioned that I love fresh cilantro?  It’s true.  Our dinner was amazing, and I was so ready to eat it that I forgot to take a picture…Can you believe that? 😉

After dinner we watched the Presidential debate on Bloomberg (which is so much fun when I can watch with someone who understands what’s going on in my head!) But I have to admit that I was pretty self-conscious before that  (when we arrived at the gym.)   He’s never really seen me sweat (apart from a slight glisten when we took a walk near the Mississippi River) until yesterday, but it’s a big part of who I am so I didn’t hold back.  I tore up the elliptical for a few minutes before working my upper body, and I felt great at the end.

My workouts have been pretty solid since I joined Anytime Fitness.  And while I know I’ll experience a gain on the scale this week (after how I ate last week when Uncle W was in the hospital,)  I’m still pleased with the direction I’m moving in now.  And I know that the scale will start reflecting my efforts soon.  I’ve been killing it at the gym this week, but I worry that I may not be making the most of my time at the gym. I did managed to climb the height of the Empire State Building 2.89 times before hitting the weights.  (Thanks for calculating it Ron and for pointing it out, Anne!)

On the elliptical....

I’m trying to get comfortable with the weight machines at my new gym, and while I have pretty good form, I am trying to utilize machines that I haven’t used up this point.  And now that I’m comfortable with how, I really need to know how much.  I’d like to hire a trainer soon, but I’m not sure where to start with that so I’ve been taking notes and using google to figure out what I should be doing.  I’ve also been keeping a journal of my workouts.  (Yes, I carry a little notebook to the gym so I can remember what I did.)  I write in it after every set.  But there’s no rhyme or reason to my weight training, and I need to change that.  I’ve been feeling sore over the last few days, but not overly sore so I wonder if I’m doing too much or not enough.  I really don’t know.  If you click on the picture below, you’ll see that I’m putting in effort.  But you’ll also see that I’m making it up as I go along.

There's a bicycle on the front of my book, and it says "Life's a Journey." Just saying...


Richard Simmons, while famous for his cardio workouts, teaches the importance of weight training in his classes.  Did you know that he makes toning videos too?   He ends every class with weight training and floor exercises,  And though I’m not at Slimmons every week anymore, I strive to do the kind of workouts that would make Richard proud.  And it’s important to me to make the most out of the time I spend at the gym so it’s my goal to make a better plan.

Uh, for the record, I'm not usually looking up and smiling while I do leg curls.

I’m doing my best right now, but if anyone has advice to offer, I’m willing to listen.  Until then, I’ll just keep doing what I think is right and hoping that I can start seeing the reflection of my efforts on the scale and in the mirror.  Is weight training part of your routine?  Are you nervous to try it because you’re not sure where to start?  Do you have any advice to offer yours truly? 🙂

Slimmons Friends

I talk about Slimmons a lot because I’ve had so many incredible experiences there!   I have had some amazing workouts, and I’ve also met some incredible people.  And one of those people is Paul.  Aside from the fact that he’s seriously handsome, he also has an incredible story to share.  And last night he shared it with me so I’m sharing it with you.

Paul was one of the first people I noticed at Slimmons when I was there in May because he seriously knows his stuff!  He makes the entire workout look effortless which is awesome for me because I typically stand right behind him.

He began his journey that started at Slimmons in January.  He had reached a point in which he knew he wanted to change his body and habits so he went to Slimmons after a friend suggested it.  And he had so much fun that he just kept going back.  He also changed his food habits replacing snacks (often times quality chocolate) with homemade fruit salads and adding turkey to his personal menu. And he lost 25 pounds.

It’s obvious when you’re talking to Paul or watching him workout that he feels fantastic.  He’s a great example of someone who has changed his habits and his life.  And while I have a long way to go, it’s much more fun to exercise with others who have embraced healthy living.

Do you find motivation in people you meet at the gym?  Are you driven or in any way affected by what the people around you are doing when you’re working out?


Another Day

Richard Simmons has a way of pushing me to do more than I think I can do, and that works both physically and mentally.  And tonight, he knew I was upset/tired/frustrated, but he helped me burn major calories and even put a smile on my face when I felt like crying.  (I cried too, but let’s talk about the smile first.)

He wore an awesome outfit today which featured a pink tutu, and he made me wear it for the pic.  I was so nervous that I’d ruffle the tutu beyond repair, but urged me to put it on and go from there. Obviously, I don’t look as cute in the tutu as Richard, but I feel great about the fact that he encouraged me to wear it.  I also feel great about the fact that I was able to give it back to him in one piece. 🙂

When I’m working out Slimmons (even on nights like tonight when I’m not bouncing off the walls with energy) I’m reminded of the reasons I came to L.A.  and the reasons I think I should be here right now. I’m facing a temporary yet immediate struggle, and I don’t know how to fix it.  I do know that I need to give it my best effort because we only truly fail when we stop trying.

I don’t have all the answers, but I do have the support of my friends and family.  I have a good head on my shoulders and a loving heart.  And I’m working to do my best with what I have…and tonight, that’s enough.


Slimmons and More…

Yesterday was lovely from start to finish!  I started the day with a workout – Richard Simmons’ Party Off the Pounds.  Then I met up with Gail from Shrinking Sisters and her lovely family.  They came to Beverly Hills to look around and enjoy lunch with me before heading to Slimmons.

I ate a chicken panini with fruit salad, and Gail and I took pictures of our food, of course.  She even took a picture of me taking a picture of our food.  Being friends with Gail is easy because I never have to explain that I want to take a picture for my blog. 😉

And after an afternoon of walking around, my aunts and I made our way to Slimmons along with Gail where we saw Heidi, Patty, Michelle and other awesome people like Richard Simmons. =0) He’s just as fabulous as he was last time I was with him, and I can’t wait to see him again this weekend.

I started my day with a workout, walked a few extra miles and finished with an awesome workout with Richard.  And on the way home, I loaded up on lean meats, produce and healthy snacks.   I exercised like a champ, and now it’s time to refocus on making healthy food choices (again.)

How are you workouts this week?  What’s for dinner?

What Works For Me

I’ve received so  many e-mails lately! And there are a couple of recurring questions so I’m going to answer the first one today. People have been asking what I’m doing to get healthy so I’m going to break it down for those of you who may be newbies to my blog.

I joined Weight Watchers in 2009 to learn what and how much I could eat.  What I didn’t know when I walked into my first meeting was that nothing would be off-limits.  I still eat cupcakes! I just do my best to make good decisions most of the time. And Weight Watchers is awesome because it works in real life so I’m not doing anything that I can’t do for the rest of my life. 

I am currently down 127 thanks to Weight Watchers. And while I was hesitant to try the new PointsPlus program, I can say that it rocks. 

I also workout regularly.  In the beginning, that meant a few times a week.  Now I aim for 1,000 minutes per month.  When I started, I walked a little, but I also purchased “Party Off the Pounds” my favorite workout DVD by Richard Simmons.

Dancing with Richard was so much fun, and after a few weeks I started feeling coordinated and athletic so it was perfect for me. And now I have the Sweatin’ to the Oldies box set, but ‘Party Off the Pounds’ will probably always be my favorite. =)

I also do strength training and run a couple times per week.  My running coach, Brad Gansberg, is a wizard!  When I met Brad I couldn’t run 0.1 miles without feeling like I might die.  Through interval training, Brad customized a running plan for me so I could get started without hurting myself.  Now I can run about 2.28 miles without feeling like I need to stop.  I hope to run an entire 5k by the summer before my first triathlon!

If you’re interested in learning to run – or if you’re intimidated by it, contact Brad.  In addition to being a fantastic friend to have, he’ll help you change your life.  He’s currently looking for a few more folks to add to his free Run a 5k in 100 Days program.  I’ll be a part of it so don’t be shy!

Changing our bodies – making them healthier – requires time, patience and consistency. Sometimes I breeze through it, and sometimes I find myself hanging on by a thread.  I’m no expert so I can’t say what will work for you…I can only share my own experience and wish you luck in yours! 

I can tell you that by starting and not giving up, we’re better today than we were yesterday.

Does anyone have advice for those who are trying to get started? What works for you?

A Simple Solution to a Major Problem

I’m back in New York, and I’ve been a bit quiet about this topic lately because I needed a little time to think on everything that has been happening as a result of my story that has been featured on MSNBC, The Huffington Post, The Boston Globe, and several other major networks.

Several major news organizations have picked up my story, and since then, I have received hundreds of e-mails, comments and tweets – many of which have been supportive. Of course, I’ve also been on the receiving end of thousands comments by people who have simply missed the point completely so it’s time for me to address this…again.

As I said, I am back in New York to discuss this issue on The Today Show this morning. The first part of my interview took place place Saturday morning in Beverly Hills with Richard Simmons before our workout. You can see me on The Today Show during the 7 o’clock hour before I do interviews with CNN and other news programs.

I’ve spent the last two years blogging about anything and everything pertaining to my weight-loss, but right now, there’s a much bigger issue than how Kenz was treated at the airport. And there seems to be some major misunderstandings about this issue that affects millions of people across the nation.

Let me start by addressing those of you who do not have a weight problem. This is not about me asserting that I have the right to encroach on your space. This is a problem with the design of airline seating that can, in fact, be fixed.

It is a matter of equal rights to equal access. Equal rights to equal access.

Our society has come to accept what the airlines deem as the correct size of a human being without regard to the actual size of human beings. One third of Americans are obese.

We are, historically, a nation that evolves and addresses its shortcomings so it is time to consider that the airlines could change the size of some of the seats to accommodate its passengers.

At 400 pounds (and at 300 pounds) I purchased two tickets. And it never occurred to me that I could do anything other than purchase those tickets. I had to fly so I did it.

But in the last week, I have received hundreds of e-mails, tweets and comments from people who refuse to fly because they are afraid to face the same experience that I faced when I was singled out and openly criticized. I have also spoken with those who dread flying because of the agonizing discomfort as well as those who stay at home because they simply cannot afford to buy two tickets.

One reader commented that she regrettably passed up a weeklong, all expenses paid vacation by her employer because of her uncertainty and fear of public humiliation.

Another shared his story in which he missed his daughter’s wedding that was across the country because he simply could not afford to purchase two seats.

And I have heard from people this week that opt to drive 20 or more hours rather than board an airplane. If these people are driving over 20 hours then that means that they can afford to fly and the airlines have just lost a sale.

I am a free market capitalist. I understand that the airlines’ goals are to make money, but it has become blatantly obvious through this, that the airline industry would make considerably more money if they could accommodate all passengers. And it would not require a major restructuring. It’s as simple as changing out a few seats.

The fact is that airlines are simply not required to accommodate all members of the public. Instead, they fail to recognize that as a nation, we are bigger than we were 50 years ago. They cram us into small seats and offer us snacks and drinks that are loaded with fat and calories and preservatives. Does that really make sense?

If they became more aware of their passengers, we would not be discussing this. We would not be worried about encountering public humiliation, and no one would be asking me to appear on a news program.

It is in the interest of airlines to accommodate every guest. Americans who have the money to pay for flights are waiting for someone to create a solution to this problem, and the solution is simple. The airline industry, which is a public service, should provide that public service by providing equal rights to equal access to those who are currently excluded. It would relieve passengers of size and increase sales while relieving those passengers who are smaller in stature, easing the potential discomfort of being encroached upon.

It’s time to address this problem, which can be a win-win situation. It’s time to fix what is broken in the airline industry, and as consumers, it is our responsibility to express desire for change.

Update: Click here to see my appearance on the Today Show.  Please note that Southwest Airlines did not provide “monetary compensation” to my mother or myself apart from refunding the cost of the tickets we purchased for that flight which I stated in a previous post.  Again, this is not about monetary compensation.  It’s about equal rights to equal access.