Richard Simmons Was Always With Us

Start your Wednesday with a Mother's Day essay from a woman who needs no introduction here at NeverSayDiet, Kim Brittingham from

"When I was growing up, my mom read a lot of women’s magazines -- Redbook, Family Circle, Woman’s Day.  And as a stay-at-home mom, she watched Donahue.  She was immersed in the popular culture of the day and so, like millions of other American women, she was exposed to the media onslaught of “thinner is better” messaging, both overt and covert.

I don’t ever remember my mother being fat, and yet I clearly remember her dieting.  There was this glossy two-page spread of diet tips by Richard Simmons that she’d cut from one of her magazines and taped to her bedroom door.  One of his suggestions was to use tiny children’s utensils for eating, because it would help one ingest less food.  Above the type was a photo of a hammy Richard in a red polo shirt with white collar, holding a goofy over-sized knife and fork, one in each hand, his mouth and eyes agape in comic exaggeration.

We moved around the country a lot, every couple of years or so.  And everywhere we went, my mother carefully folded and stowed away her Richard Simmons diet tips, only to unfold and re-tape them to the bedroom door at our new address.  The old tape grew brittle beneath the new, deepening to an unhealthy-looking, jaundice color and flaking away.

I can’t blame my mother for imbuing me with the “diet mentality,” because we co-existed in the same ugly culture.  There was already something wicked at work that was far bigger than either one of us – a rapidly burgeoning, manipulative and self-serving diet industry working from behind a mask of false benevolence.

But every day, something happens to make me believe the adhesive that holds that industry together is growing brittle.  Showing its true colors.  Sickly colors.  Breaking down from too much exposure to fresh air.  Aging, outmoded ideas, flaking and blowing away."

Also, be sure to check out Kim's mouthwatering video Big Life: I am a Chocoholic, in which she visits a chocolatier as a nutritionist to learn how to savor chocolate as part of a healthy lifestyle.

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