Lost 22 Pounds!
Before: 220 lbs.
After: 198 lbs.
Lost: 22 lbs.
Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Patricia Monte, and I`m 62 years young. I was born and raised in New Jersey. October 20, 1963, I married and lived 11 and a half years of my married life downstairs from my parents in their 2-family home. My husband at the time and I were in business. He was a teacher, and I had worked as an IBM keypunch operator. My background in school was bookkeeping, so consequently, I did the bookkeeping for all the businesses we were in.
"It takes persistence, motivation, belief in yourself, and belief in a Higher Power!"
Five years into our marriage, we decided to have a family. Being the only child, I felt very blessed to have had a son first and then a daughter. My son, Michael, a musician is now 36 years old, and my daughter, Tricia, a working actress, is 33.
In August of 1990 after 28 years of marriage, I literally left my home, my business, and my marriage without a penny because of the trust my husband had violated, both in our marriage and in our business. I felt that I had to leave, or I would have lost my sanity. My divorce was final in September of 1992, and I resumed my maiden name.
I returned to New Jersey with my mother to reunite myself with my family and friends. It was at that time my mother was diagnosed terminally ill. She had a radical mastectomy in 1970, and in 1980, another mastectomy. June of 1984, she had a quadruple bypass surgery. She died February of 1993, due to heart failure. Upon my mother`s death, I had taken a position as Jewelry Manager with one of our suppliers in the jewelry business, but he, too, died after I had worked for him for only 5 months.
That was the first time in my life that I wasn`t really working, and the little girl in me came out to play! I never gave myself the chance to grieve all the things I`d been through in such a short time. Instead, I started going out dancing 6 and 7 nights a week! My friends started saying, "Patricia, I think you need to start getting a job!"
It was during that time that I went out to California to visit my daughter and son. I was the company who came for 2 weeks and stayed for 2 months! My daughter said, "Mom, why don`t you move out here?" I kept thinking that everything looks good when you`re on vacation, and that might not necessarily be the way I felt about Los Angeles if I lived here. But my friends and family said, "What do you have to lose? If it doesn`t work out, you`ll move back here, and someone will put you up till you find a place again."
In November of `94, I moved out to California and found an apartment a block away from my daughter. I was very fortunate, because I also met some wonderful people and got a job. I had a temporary position as a relief person working the switchboard at Warner Music Group in addition to being loaned out to other departments needing help. During that time, a position became available in the Accounts Payable department, so I applied for it and got it. Then my boss moved to Paramount Pictures, and I was then hired there. I`ve been there now for over 7 years as Credit and Collections Analyst for Syndication Television Programs.
The last few years of my marriage, I had gained a lot of weight. After a period of time living in California, I started working out with a personal trainer, and I went down to 168 pounds. I felt great! I went back to New Jersey for my 40th class reunion and had a fabulous time. When I returned from my trip, things got very busy. There was so much going on, I missed my mammogram for that year, 2001. I was losing weight and still working out through Christmas, but I started to feel this unusual tiredness.
In September of 2002, my daughter and I were going back east to celebrate her birthday and show her boyfriend around the east coast, but I kept getting this sinking feeling that I couldn`t go with them. I encouraged them to go without me, but I still took the vacation time I`d planned. I thought, "Well, I`m here. I`m going to go to the doctor." I happened to be in the midst of changing gynecologists at that time.
I went to the doctor my first week of vacation. The second week, they called me back to the office where I had taken the mammogram. The mammogram was abnormal. My daughter went with me, and they did a sonogram. The interpreting radiologist said, "There`s something there." That same afternoon, I saw a surgeon. He said, "Patricia, I don`t want to be an alarmist, but I have to tell you with all my years of experience, I`m almost 99% sure you have cancer."
He made an appointment for me for September 24, and I had a lumpectomy. I had a 1.2 centimeter tumor. It was malignant (cancer), but all the surrounding area was clean, including the lymph nodes. However, because it was over 1 centimeter, that`s considered the first stage of cancer. He made a strong recommendation that I do chemo. Prior to that, I had already decided I wasn`t going to do chemo, but the way the doctor presented it to me, it was like, "Okay, they cannot tell you if you have any more free radicals in your body. They feel that by doing chemo, that will destroy anything that`s there."
I went against my better judgment and opted to do chemo. The oncologist told me that the combination of what they would give me would cause me to put on weight, and it did. By that time, I was up to 190. After I started chemo, I went up to 220.
I went through 6 months of chemo, 1 treatment every 3 weeks. In the beginning, I would have to have bed rest for 3 days after the treatment, and toward the end of the treatment, I would need to rest for 5 days. My bosses were very understanding. They modified my hours so that I could work from 9:00-3:00. Then I`d go home, eat, and just rest so that I had the energy to get up and go back to work the next day. I worked through all of this.
With the chemo, you need to eat. They tell you not to wait until you start to feel sick, but to have stuff available and eat throughout the day, whether it`s chips or crackers or other junk food. Because I`m a good eater, I don`t eat the junk food, but I am a dessert eater.
After the chemo was finished at the end of April 2003, I had to go through two and a half months of radiation. That was 34 treatments of radiation. I was extremely tired, but I worked through all those treatments, too. I have always been a very positive person. They said that if you could keep your life as normal as possible, it would help you get through all that.
When I had gone to the personal trainer before, my goal weight had been 130. The doctors told me, "Patricia, we really feel that you`ve gone through this as well as you have because of the weight. The weight was what saved you." But once I got through all my treatments, it was then time to get all the weight off.
I`d had such good results working with the private trainer before, I thought if anyone could turn me around and help me move on, it would be this personal trainer. I`d gotten a tax refund, so I went to the trainer and said, "I have this money, but once it`s gone, I can`t continue the workouts, because I won`t have any money left to do it."
We started doing the regimen 3 times a week - Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday - but I wasn`t losing anything. I was physically working out very hard, and I was strict with the food regimen. He even commented on it. "Patricia, I`ve never seen anyone working so hard and not losing anything." In order to get more cardio in, he wanted me to go walking or running on the weekends. He sat down and redid my menu, but it was the same one he`d given me before. I went through 15 weeks of doing this training and lost only 8 pounds!
I happened to be talking to an acquaintance, and she was very familiar with Richard Simmons. We had talked about that a year or two prior to my illness. She got on the phone and called down to Richard`s studio. Judy Hurt, the manager of Slimmons, faxed me the information, and my friend said, "I think you should take a look at this. It`s not that expensive." Another friend said, "We`re going!"
For years, I had had this man`s videos, and I used to work out with them when I lived in New Jersey! I had his Deal-a-Meal, plus I had and still have his "Take a Walk"! I love walking to his tape. In fact, I used to think to myself, "If this tape breaks, how am I ever going to replace it?" Every time I go walking by myself, even today, I do his 30-minute "Take a Walk." In my wildest dreams, I never thought I would meet this man, let alone work out with him, let alone become his friend! Plus now, I`m in his new videos!
My friend, Pat, and I went to Richard`s class for the first time on a Tuesday night after work. It was August 3, 2004. I was about 212 at that point. We walk into his class, he stands up, and he says, "I know you both are new. Welcome!" He greets us with a big hug and a kiss on our cheeks, like we were some big celebrities in his class. He asks my name, and the next thing I know, he`s telling me about making pasta with meatballs! We got into this whole thing.
My girlfriend and I were in heaven! We loved his classes. We loved the music. Music and dancing for me is therapy. I don`t think of anything but the music. We did 40 minutes of aerobics, 6 minutes with hand weights, and 6 minutes of floor exercises, and then he gave us a few minutes of inspiration. He was so positive and encouraging! It was like, "Oh, God, this man was sent to me!" I believe I was supposed to meet Richard. From the first day on, I felt a bond with him.
My girlfriend and I started working out with him Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. Everyone there has been great. It`s like a family! It`s all shapes, sizes, ages, and ethnic backgrounds, but it doesn`t matter. We all come together. Everyone accepted me and welcomed me in so well. I`ve made very lovely friendships there. Everyone is supportive. It doesn`t matter what your size is. It`s about the individual.
I was going regularly, and then I got sick again. It was like, "Oh, my God." In October 2004, one Saturday morning, I went for my mammogram again, and they saw something in my other breast. They told me there was something there, and I had to come back. I took all that in, and I said, "I have to go to Richard`s class. I can`t miss this class."
I got to Slimmons, and I`m exercising, and everything`s running through my mind. I must not have been exercising as hard as usual, because Richard called me up front to exercise next to him to show me the proper way to do it. All of a sudden, I started crying. He had been teasing me, so when he saw me crying, he said, "Did I say something wrong? Did I hurt you?" We were still exercising all of this time! I turned towards him and said, "No, no. It`s not you. I had a mammogram, and they found something."
After class, Richard said, "Patricia, do you want me to go with you? I`ll go with you to the doctor." I thanked him and said, "It`s okay. I have my daughter. I have to make an appointment with the surgeon."
On October 13, I had to go back and do a core biopsy. They go in with these needles, and it`s more invasive. That was when they determined that I had a cluster of calcium. Because of my previous history with breast cancer, they determined it to be precancerous. The doctors advised me to go get another lumpectomy. They caught it early, and they took the surrounding area away, and it wasn`t malignant, so I didn`t have to go through chemo or radiation.
I was slowly coming back from that, and I had just gone back to class. The weekend of Thanksgiving, we had our family dinner at my apartment, and the next day, I started to get sick. One of my coworkers called me on Monday, and I said, "I`m just not feeling well." She insisted on taking me to the internist, who referred me to an ear, nose, and throat specialist. I had contracted an airborne virus, leaving me with sores throughout my mouth and throat.
I was highly contagious, and I had to stay in confined areas. I wasn`t allowed to talk or whisper, and I couldn`t have anything cold. Everything had to be hot to warm. I had to go on a leave of absence from Thanksgiving through the whole month of January. I couldn`t lie down, because I couldn`t breathe. I slept in an upright position in my Lazy Boy chair throughout that time. Anyone who came over had to wear a mask. I was so confined, I started to get claustrophobic.
Finally, in March 2005, I was able to go back out again, and I went back to Slimmons. It was a slow process, because I didn`t have any energy, but Richard`s classes made me feel better!
Richard soon started working on the choreography for the new videos, and tryouts for cast members were announced. I had danced all my life, so I tried out. I had been on and off and on and off since I had started working out with Richard. I was running a temperature the day of the tryouts, and Richard came over to me during the audition and said, "You`re not feeling well, are you?" He put his hand on my forehead, and then after the auditions, he said, "You`re running a fever." I had to be very careful at that time. I wasn`t supposed to push myself too much.
Despite all this, I was chosen to be in the videos! Richard first told me I would be in the toning video. One Sunday afternoon, I showed up for rehearsals, and it was only supposed to be for the aerobic group, but Richard said, "Since you`re here, you`d might as well jump in and do it with us." I was fine! In fact, I met some friends later that evening, and we went dancing!
A few days later, I got a phone call stating that Richard wanted me to be in the aerobic video. I thought they had made a mistake, so when I went in to class, I told them, and they said, "No, Richard knows what he wants!" I was chosen to be in both videos!
We started rehearsals in July, and there were 23 days of rehearsing! I would do the regular class and then rehearsals. I think the combination of doing classes and doing rehearsals kind of snapped my body into a jump start, and I think that was the best thing. At one point, Richard had said to everyone, "Doing the video, you`re going to lose 10-15 pounds." And then knowing how hard it had been for me to lose weight, he teasingly said, "Except Patricia. She`s not going to lose anything!" But I didn`t care about that. My attitude was, "My passion was to be a dancer, and now I`m going to be in your videos! How much better could that be? I am truly blessed!"
The videos were a Godsend to me. They made me break the 200-pound mark! I`m now at 198! My energy level is finally starting to come back! These videos are tools. Richard always made a point of saying, "The video is not about me; it`s about you! We hope that people on the other side of the camera are going to relate to you." I really feel truly blessed and appreciative that I was selected to be part of these wonderful videos!
I feel Richard is truly a humanitarian. He is the most positive, energetic human being I`ve ever known. I can`t always keep up with him, so I modify. Richard always has the individual at heart, and he`s there for you. I love this man, and I could not have done this by myself. This man is the inspiration. At the same time, the bottom line is that he could do all of this, but it still lies within the individual. It`s the person`s attitude!
It takes persistence, motivation, belief in yourself, and belief in a Higher Power! Richard gives us the tools, but we have to do it for ourselves. Believe in yourself! When you fall, that`s okay. Have a good cry, then pick yourself up and move forward. I know things happen for a reason. I feel truly blessed that this man is in my life!
PATRICIA`S 3 TIPS FOR SUCCESS!
1. You have to be consistent!
2. You have to persevere!
3. Believe in yourself! Richard gives us the tools, but we have to do it for ourselves!