Archive for the ‘WEIGHT WATCHERS’ Category


On Thursday morning, April 30, I read the long obituary of Jean Nidetch who had died the night before. She was the founder of Weight Watchers, the most successful weight losing organization for over 50 years. I was lucky to have met and worked for/with her for over one of the most rewarding decades of my life.

It was a March night in 1967 that I can see in my head today as if it happened last night. I had left work at The Brass Rail on 47th Street and 7th Avenue and proceeded to get drunk. I stopped at the Stage Deli after leaving the bar and got a 3 decker sandwich called a ‘Hymie’s Special’. After finishing it I walked up to 74th street, stopped at a bar to have a few more drinks and then at an Italian restaurant and got a pizza to take home. Long story short by 1 AM, disgusted with myself and at the nadir of my life I was contemplating suicide. I ran out of the house, walked around Manhattan until the sun came up and eventually found myself to a hotel where an organization called Weight Watchers was having a meeting. I joined, lost my weight, went to work for them, met Bernie, meet Jean at the Forest Hills office, moved to Memphis to help Bernie start a franchise in Tennessee and Arkansas. In 1972 I went through Transactional Analysis which got my head together and helped me lead a great life, through the highs and lows, up to and including today.

Though I was never friends with Jean I did spend many times with her. There was the week she came to Memphis to celebrate our 5th year in business as one of the fastest growing franchisees in Weight Watchers International. We had breakfasts with her, took her sightseeing, held a full scale staff banquet in her honor and she and I talked about her younger son. I went to Madison Square Garden when WW celebrated their 10th anniversary to a sold out crowd and when she came down to visit the Little Rock, Arkansas franchise she and I had a 4 hour private talk that I have never forgotten. 

Jean Nidetch wrote a cookbook in 1966 that came out in 1967 just after I joined WW and I still have my original copy just as I have my original copy of her autobiography and story of Weight Watchers that wrote in 1970. I, also, have two letters that she wrote me and that I have kept all these years.

Jean was the equivalent of a rock star of the weight world with her picture on the covers of Life and Time magazine and featured stories in newspapers and magazines all over the world.

Jean Nidetch died at the age of 91 after many years of giving hope to millions of people and offering a way of life that fat people didn’t know. It was because of her meeting with 6 women in her apartment to help each other lose weight that Weight Watchers was there that night in March 1967 when I needed it. She is responsible for setting me on a road of life that has been a major adventure for me.



Posted May 2, 2015 by greatmartin in JEAN NIDETCH, WEIGHT WATCHERS

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