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Saturday, January 18, 2014

Jean Nidetch

Jean Nidetch

Jeans background certainly didnt indicate tremendous success for the future. Born in New York, she graduated from high school with a partial college scholarship but couldnt attend because her family couldnt pay the rest. She decided to attend a business school but had barely begun when her father died forcing her to quit and take a fulltime job.

She moved from one low paying job to another, eventually marrying and becoming a homemaker and mother of two. She left the work place but devoted a lot of time to working with various organizations and charities.

And she kept gaining weight. She had been overweight as a child. She was overweight as an adult. She tried everything to conquer her problem diets, doctors, medications. Nothing worked longterm.

She was desperate to find a way to conquer her problem so she headed for the New York Health Obesity Clinic. She was given a diet to follow but she fell right back into the cheating that always defeated her. She kept her failures to herself. The woman running the clinic had never been overweight.

How could she understand the cheating of an overweight housewife, Jean asked.

Desperate for someone to talk to, she invited 6 overweight friends to her house. The first meeting was so helpful they decided to meet weekly to share their success and struggles.

The meeting kept growing as more women joined them. Soon she was organizing meetings for hundreds of women charging just 25 cents a week to cover costs. And her weight kept coming off. When she reached her personal goal she reached out to help her family. Her husband lost 70 pounds. Her mother shed 57.

From her victory, and the victories of those she reached out to help, she began to realize this was bigger than just her original desire to lose weight.

On May 15, 1963, Weight Watchers was born.

From the living room of her small New York home, Weight Watchers grew to an international business worth millions that helped millions. Jean Nidetch remained slim and became the spokeswoman for her exploding company, traveling all around the world helping others change their lives the same way she did.

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