At a recent KJLH health seminar held at the Los Angeles Convention Center and attended by 900 women, KJLH disc jockey, minister and motivational speaker Delores Thompson-Simon electrified the crowd as she recalled personal battles with her weight-a topic that touched a nerve with many attendees.
With obesity one of the biggest health problems facing African Americans today, scores of “amen’s” and supportive head nods rippled through the mostly female crowd.
Thompson-Simon, known as “The Early Morning Angel” on KJLH, revealed that her weight began to climb when her father died and she became pregnant with her daughter in 1996.
Thompson-Simon said she was also grappling with a volatile marriage, and she recounted that she turned to food for solace. “I didn’t know how to fix what was wrong in my marriage, so I ate through the pain,” Thompson-Simon revealed. “I just went home and filled up a bowl or a plate.”
“I was part of the Hollywood lifestyle and I played the game, but when the lights and cameras went off and I sat down and talked to these celebrities one-on-one, I discovered that their lives were as empty as mine. After a while, these celebrities realized that the money and the drugs didn’t help and the friendships turn out to be empty.
“Everything seemed fake and I was not able to find any solace,” Thompson-Simon said. “I started wondering, why was I here? I was disappointed in people because they just seemed to be obsessed with the physical appearance,” she recalled.
The stressful lifestyle soon took its toll on Thompson-Simon and the overeating continued. “When someone talked about me, I ate. When somebody lied or misused me, I ate.” Thompson-Simon said her weight soon ballooned from 130 to 210 pounds.
Eventually Thompson-Simon embarked on a no carbohydrates diet. She told the audience that the diet worked, whittling her weight from 210 to 130 pounds in 3 1/2 months. “But as soon as I started eating carbohydrates again, I started gaining the weight back,” she admitted, adding that she lost a lot of muscle mass on the carbohydrate diet.
The Early Morning Angel shared that her weight breakthrough finally occurred when she turned to God. “In 1996, I became an ordained minister. God took me on a journey through my spiritual house. Behind one door was where I hid all my hurt and pain and disappointments, my setbacks and my distractions,” Thompson-Simon revealed. “Once I allowed God in that room, I was able to look at my pain and do a self-examination and get rid of my problems. The real healing had to come from within and it had to start inside of me.”
With the help of God, once she started her self-examination, the weight began to peel off. “I tell everyone that they should try to eat a diet of fruits, grains, nuts and vegetables. There’s no secret to weight loss, it centers around eating healthy and exercise. So far, I’ve lost 15 pounds. I found out that if you want to lose weight and keep it off, it’s not a quick fix, it’s a gradual thing,” she said.
Another door opened when she joined KJLH. “The program director was calling and asking me to join the station, but I kept turning it down,” recalls Thompson-Simon. “I didn’t know if I belonged at the station because I didn’t think that is what God wanted for me. I thought I would be working in a church.”
Thompson-Simon finally joined KJLH in 1998. “The spirit of God said, ‘Delores, I am taking you to a place where people need to hear about me.’ As people began to call in, Thompson-Simon, who mans the airwaves from midnight to 4:30 a.m., began ministering to her listeners.
“The request line has become my ministry,” said Thompson-Simon, whose show features a special segment called ‘The Gospel Cafe.’ “I get calls from postal workers, longshoremen, and people getting out of clubs. I’ve talked to thousands of people. I’ve talked to people who’ve been sexually abused and those who have been battered.”
Pausing, Thompson-Simon added, “KJLH is a station that allows the DJs and the staff to be accessible to the listeners. Because our boss, Stevie Wonder, is a man of God, we’re able to lift up the name of our Lord and savior Jesus at a secular radio station.”
Thompson-Simon recalls one particular testimony that happened during one of her shifts. “I got a call from a 17-year-old gang-banger named Jerome who called me on the request line and he told me had got kicked out of school. I told him, I want you to come to the station so that I can talk to you. He said, ‘For what?’ He was suspicious. But two weeks later, he was sitting in the lobby of the radio station waiting for me.
“I made him my intern and he would watch me minister to my listeners,” recalls Thompson-Simon. “He started asking me about God. One day, he said he wanted to accept Jesus as his Lord and savior. After that, we started studying the Bible.”
Thompson-Simon said that Jerome’s mother had been praying for years that her son would get out of gang banging. We cried together, it was so awesome.”
A few weeks later, a “miracle” occurred. “Jerome was walking home and these guys pulled up in a car. They jumped out and pulled a gun on him. They asked him, ‘What set are you from?’ He said, ‘I don’t claim any set-I’m in God’s set.’”
Miraculously, the young men climbed back in their car and drove away.
“Jerome went back to school and enrolled in junior college… Now he works at the airport and he has a little girl. He’s doing well.”
“My ministry, which is called the SistahGirlNetwork, tries to uplift, edify, encourage, inspire and educate sisters and restore them to their God-given state through love.”
Thompson-Simon also co-hosts a relationship talk show called “Prepare for Love” with relationship coach Ryeal Sims on ustream.tv, which is broadcast on Saturdays at 2 p.m. on the Internet. It can be accessed on ustream.tv/prepare-for-love.
Thompson-Simon said that she is gratified that she is able to inspire women. “Women go through so much stress. I think God has blessed me to look at a woman and see a certain type of hurt in her eyes. I can see the hurt from a marriage or her career and I try to give them inspiration.”
For more information on the Sistah Girl Network, call (888) 275-8989 or log on to www.sistagirlnetwork.com.