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February 14th, 2013
12:13 PM ET

Fitness guru Richard Simmons offers health, optimism, passion, energy with Project: HOPE

For close to 40 years, fitness guru Richard Simmons has been telling Americans to keep moving to help millions lose weight. Now Simmons has launched a new program called "Project HOPE" which stands for health, optimism, passion and energy. Simmons sits with CNN’s Soledad O’Brien to discuss the project and why he's so passionate about it.

Simmons says one of the reasons he started this program is because he believes “our world has no hope and without hope you can’t cope.” He adds that besides instilling hope his program shows you how to “love yourself, move your body and watch your portions.”

Simmons says the high obesity rate across the nation is because “we have low self worth.” He adds “I call and email thousands of people every week even if I’ve known them 20 years and they’re not doing well. I always think that maybe after a phone call when I sing them a song that maybe they’ll turn it around.”

He says he doesn’t know why he takes other people’s struggles so personally but he says “I see my head on their bodies and I suffer their pain.”

Through his program Simmons says people will feel inspired because they’re going to see real people who have lost weight. He adds, “People come in all shapes and sizes and there’s no scales at the gates of heaven but on this earth it’s not just about you and your health but its about being a good example to your children.”

Filed under: Celebrity • Fitness