Richard Simmons on Anorexia: "I Started Picturing Food as an Enemy"

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Fitness guru Richard Simmons has always spoken candidly about his struggles with obesity throughout his adolescence, and continues to be an inspiration and advocate for those facing their own body image issues.

On The Oprah Winfrey Show, Richard explained how able-bodied individuals ought to respect those who are physically challenged. At his heaviest, Richard weighed 268 pounds, but when he had first started losing weight, he told Oprah, he had had trouble stopping. Society, he said, equated thinness with success. Richard revealed that at age 20, his weight had dropped to 119 pounds and he had been hospitalized.

"At a certain point, I was very afraid to eat because I was very afraid to die," Richard said. "Like, when I saw spaghetti, I saw worms. I mean, I started picturing food as an enemy."

Over time, Richard had learned to love food again without letting his eating habits become compulsive, and he continued to champion tolerance and self-acceptance through his beloved fitness programs.