Born on this day in New York, Weight Watcher founder Jean Nidetch (1923-) once described herself as an "overweight housewife obsessed with eating cookies." In struggling with her weight problem, she discovered that staying on a diet was tough to do alone.
As Sigmund Freud put it, "When we share -- that is poetry in the prose of life." Or as Hindu teacher Maitreya philosophized, "Share and save the world."
Nidetch did share.
She decided to change her life by changing her habits. For support, she picked up the phone and called friends over to meet every week to lose weight together. She designed a weight plan for herself and for them. Together, empowered, they "took the weight off and kept it off." In one year Nidetch lost 70 of her 200 pounds.
From that group of friends who met forty years ago, Weight Watchers International was born. Nidetch explained, "to bring together people with a need — a need to discover how capable they are, to inspire, to encourage, to stimulate, to teach, and to help people realize their dreams."
"Compulsive eating is an emotional problem and we use an emotional approach to its solution. To me, this is just plain common sense," she explained.
For almost 40 years, with the spirit of encouragement and praise, the company has taught more than 25 million members worldwide how to lose weight gradually and sensibly.
Offering each other support and motivation, members learn about exercise and healthy dieting with meal plans and special recipes. Today it is the largest weight control company in the world and serves over 1 million members who meet each week in 29 countries.
"It's choice - not chance - that determines your destiny," Nidetch believed.
Decide, then watch the magic.