Richard Simmons -- America's unofficial weight loss "guru" for decades -- is criticizing NBC's popular show The Biggest Loser for using "terrible" tactics to get contestants to shed pounds.
While in an interview with MensHealth.com Simmons does admit that The Biggest Loser has "some merit," he believes that in general it takes the wrong approach to helping people reach their weight loss goals. "I'm not into any show that makes people compete when they lose weight."
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Simmons adds his opinion that material incentives aren't good long-term solutions. "Voting off people every week because they didn't lose enough weight, or giving somebody a car or money because they did lose weight? That's terrible…Who are you competing against? It's you. You need to be doing this for you and only you."
Simmons, 63, also opens up in the interview about crying every time he's interviewed by Howard Stern. "I can't believe some of the things he asks...I've been doing his show for 22 years. I've always loved him, but he just likes to rile me up. I'm just an emotional kind of person. I sit there and bawl."
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In addition, the fitness icon reveals that whenever he goes on Late Night with David Letterman, the staff completely isolates him from the talk show host, who Simmons says is "standoffish" off-camera. "Everybody on his show is so kind; it's like a party fest. And then they take me upstairs and lock me in a room. I'm not kidding! It makes me feel like Patty Hearst."
Simmons even says he sometimes considers not going back on Letterman's show. "The last time I was on, we went to commercial and I was like, 'I'd love to meet your wife!' He was like, 'You never will.' And then I was like, 'And see your son!' And he was like You'll never see him.' And then we come back from the commercial break and he's all friendly with me again."
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Go to MensHealth.com to check out the full interview, in which Simmons talks about his huge collection of trademark Dolfin shorts and hundreds of dolls and reveals why he has no immediate plans to retire.