Jean Nidetch, the founder of Weight Watchers, has died at the age of 91. Many Weight Watchers members, leaders and employees around the world have been saddened by the news. Social media posts yesterday included many of her famous quotes about weight loss and changing habits.
Nidetch was an inspirational woman. Born in 1923, as she was growing up she often called herself a fat housewife. It was during the 1960s that she decided to take matters into her own hands. After getting support from her doctor for a diet plan, she realized that support from others losing weight would help her lose it and keep it off. Her first Weight Watchers meeting was just a bunch of her friends in her living room, almost like a book club.
She had tried diets in the past, and never really had success until getting this extra support. One of Nidetch’s most famous quotes was about how helping others succeed at weight loss was more rewarding than succeeding herself, and that is something Weight Watchers leaders around the world enjoy.
There are now more than 30,000 meetings around the world within the Weight Watchers brand. Two years after starting her own meeting, she became a millionaire and went on to inspire millions of others. At the age of 91, the Weight Watchers founder, Nidetch, has died.
Weight Watchers has certainly changed over the years. At first, Nidetch focused on the recommendations from the health professionals of the 1960s. These including eating more vegetables and fruit, not skipping any meals, having fish five times a week and having two glasses of skimmed milk every day. When people complained about being overweight and having no success, she told them to “drop the damn fork!”
The plan developed into what is known today as the Points Plus or Pro Points plan in the U.S.A. and U.K. respectively. Every member has a specific number of daily points and all food has a value. Members who stick within their allowances and make healthy food choices will lose weight. Those who stick to the classes and get the support from leaders and members are more likely to be successful.
At 214lbs when she started, Nidetch set her goal weight as 142lbs. She reached that and said that she never went over 150lbs after that. She retired in Florida in 1978 after her company was sold to Heinz. However, the Weight Watchers brand is famous around the world and has been rated as one of the most successful diets.
Nidetch died in her home, but there has been no confirmation how as of yet. Jim Chambers, Weight Watchers International’s CEO and president released a statement about her death. He said, “Jean was an inspiration and an innovator who leaves behind a legacy and program that has positively impacted the health and well-being of millions of people around the world.”
It is unclear whether Weight Watchers will do anything in meetings to mark the passing of the legendary woman, after the founder Nidetch passed away at 91.
By Alexandria Ingham