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Posted: 8/18/2004 10:20:37 AM EDT
Oddly enough, if what he's saying is on the level, he does make some good points....

Morbid obesity tragic to fitness guru
By Jose Lambiet

Sunday, August 15, 2004

STUART — There may be millions of Americans who weigh almost 500 pounds and never leave their couches.

They are out there, hidden away. Just like Gayle Grinds, the 480-pound Stuart woman who died early Wednesday morning after firefighters worked for six hours to extract her from her squalid house.

So says Richard Simmons, the fitness guru who parlayed a successful exercise and talk show on television in the mid-1980s into a personal crusade against obesity. In addition to his www.richardsimmons.com Web site, Simmons still runs exercise classes, diet programs, slim-down boat-cruises and, at times, one-on-one counseling.

Related Content
• Audio: Listen to 911 call

"Hearing about this Florida lady (39-year-old Grinds) makes me very sad," Simmons said Thursday from his Los Angeles home. "This is someone I probably could have saved if I had known about her.

"But what is also sad is that there are literally several million people like her in this country. How many exactly? Hard to tell. They may be your neighbors, friends or family members, but most of us don't know they exist. Obese folks are often too ashamed to seek help or leave their homes."

Simmons is known for his clownish antics and trademark short shorts, but he turns sullen when he talks about morbid obesity.

"I receive 1,000 e-mails and letters a week from obese people or their family members," he said. "I try to call more than 100 of them to offer support and advice. Unfortunately, there is very little help out there for them."

Sufferers usually go without medical attention until they have an emergency, Simmons says, because many people who are overweight by 100 pounds or more don't have much money, and treating life-threatening obesity is expensive.

Grinds, who had not left her couch for six years, had difficulty breathing about 10 p.m. Tuesday. Family members called 911.

"Hospitals often refuse to treat obesity," he says. "First and foremost, someone who is obese needs rehab, just like an alcoholic. There are just a handful of such centers for obese people, where they are re-taught to eat. They learn about portions, food types, exercise and physical fitness.

"You can contemplate weight-loss surgery only after rehab," Simmons said.

How can someone become so overweight that, like Grinds, she can no longer get up? How can someone's body become fused to a sofa, as Grinds' was?

Simmons said he has seen many cases like Grinds', or worse. He once acted as an adviser for a 1,000-pound man, he said, whose T-shirt was so stretched on his body for so long that his skin attached itself to the fabric. Firefighters in Stuart could not separate Grinds' back from her couch for the same reason. She was taken to Martin Memorial Hospital South and died before surgeons could separate her from the couch.

"Many of these people give up on life," he said.

The origins of obesity are in the mind, said Simmons, who knows the pain firsthand. When he graduated from high school, the 5-foot-6 Simmons tipped the scales at nearly 300 pounds. He regained his trademark figure through exercise and diet.

"Depression is a huge factor," the 56-year-old Simmons said. "It paralyzes. There is an event, or a series of events, that cause a person to get on a couch or bed and decide never to get up again. It becomes a vicious circle. The more you eat, the more you get depressed, the more you eat. Food, the television and the couch become your only friends."

Family members, Simmons added, unknowingly become "enablers."

"It's hard to say no when someone keeps begging you to get more food," he said.

In the end, Simmons said, it's the lack of exercise that kills.

"It takes an intake of 3,500 calories a day to add 1 pound of body-weight," he said. "And it takes more than 90 minutes of aerobics to burn just 600 calories. I've seen people gaining 150 pounds in one year. Their lives disintegrate around them. They can't go to work. They can't shower. They can't cook. They can't clean the house. Believe me, it's not the kind of life these people set out to have."


Link Posted: 8/18/2004 10:28:36 AM EDT

But what is also sad is that there are literally several million people like her in this country.


DARWIN LIVES!
Link Posted: 8/18/2004 10:34:48 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Airwolf:

But what is also sad is that there are literally several million people like her in this country.


DARWIN LIVES!



Listening to the audio of the 911 call (see above) especially confirms that. Stooooopid people.....
Link Posted: 8/18/2004 10:37:58 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/18/2004 10:47:32 AM EDT by lvgunner777]

He once acted as an adviser for a 1,000-pound man, he said, whose T-shirt was so stretched on his body for so long that his skin attached itself to the fabric. Firefighters in Stuart could not separate Grinds' back from her couch for the same reason.




WTF?? She sat on the couch so long her skin attached to the sofa?? So where was she going to the restroom?? Sounds like she was just sitting in it.


Link Posted: 8/18/2004 10:41:10 AM EDT
lvgunner777, that's exactly what was going on. The place was so bad the firefighters/EMT's had to ventilate the place before going in. Even then they had to use Scott packs.
Link Posted: 8/18/2004 10:48:53 AM EDT
This is wrong on more than one level, that's for sure.
Link Posted: 8/18/2004 1:15:17 PM EDT
Freak of nature
Link Posted: 8/18/2004 1:17:08 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/18/2004 1:17:21 PM EDT by MillerSHO]
Link Posted: 8/18/2004 1:19:27 PM EDT
I'd listen to what Richie has to say. He kicked some cage fighters ass earlier in the year
Link Posted: 8/18/2004 1:21:24 PM EDT
How does this happen in America?

Someone sits on a couch for so long it literally becomes part of them.

How could you possibly be so lazy?

How could you as a family member sit by and allow this to happen?

She literally sat in her own waste for YEARS! I don't even want to think about what her home smelled like.

Sick......

Link Posted: 8/18/2004 1:29:27 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/18/2004 1:30:21 PM EDT by Jame_Retief]
How could she have talked anyone with an ounce of compassion into getting food for her when she refused to get up for herself? It was at this point, not the point where her body stopped working, that she died. The person/s who fed her participated in her suicide. Espcially if she was sitting in her own waste . . .


Jame Retief
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