Jean Nidetch, founder of the well-known Weight Watchers, was born Jean Slutsky in October of 1923 in New York. Weighing only 7 pounds and 3 ounces when she was born her weight quickly soared. An overweight child, she states that not fully remembering, but she thinks that whenever she was sad, she was given food to comfort her. Not without friends, she had an outgoing personality. Her friends were also overweight, however. Intending to finish college her plans were halted in 1942 when her father passed away. She went to work for the Internal Revenue Service instead and remained there until 1947. She then fell in love and married Martin Nidetch.
Jean traveled around with her husband, moving first to Oklahoma, then Pennsylvania, and then back to New York in 1952. Jean worked at that time, first in a store, then at Sylvania Electric. Giving birth in 1949, her first child died not long after being born. She went on to have David in 1952 and her other son, Richard in 1956. A stay-at-home mom, Jean was involved in many organizations. She was a born leader and usually ended up in charge.
Jean, still a compulsive eater, weighed in at 214 pounds on her 5-foot, 7-inch frame. She had tried many, many diets, as well as appetite suppressants. She found herself unable to diet with success. In 1961, she reached out for help at a clinic for obesity. Her goal weight was 142 pounds. She was on the diet given to her for approximately 10 weeks, but binging was a major problem for her. Jean knew that she needed support if she was going to reach her goal weight so she had her overweight friends over and a group was started in her apartment. In the year 1962, she finally was successful and reached her goal weight of 142 pounds.
Jean was soon helping others, starting with her own family members. Her group grew and the meetings had to be moved to an apartment building basement. Jean, as well, made visits to shut-ins struggling to lose weight and helped them too. She was encouraged to start her own business. She and another couple started Weight Watchers in 1963.
The Weight Watchers meetings were held weekly and a vast amount of support was given. Jean used the same diet that she was given from the obesity clinic. Weight Watchers became a corporation in 1968. This program has helped millions to lose weight and is still popular today thanks to a woman named Jean Nidetch.
Angel Lynn writes in weight loss, single parenting, and health