Archive for the ‘WEIGHT’ Tag


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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DON’T TALK ABOUT IT–JUST DO IT! PART 2   Leave a comment

I am just throwing out these ideas to help you get rid of weight. Did you see that difference?

1) When you lose something you look for it–don’t lose weight–get rid of it! Say I got rid of 2 pounds not I lost 2 pounds. Silly? It’s all in the head but unfortunately the fat is on the body.

2) Keep a food chart. Write down EVERYTHING you eat not ‘some nuts’ but exactly how many.

3) Regarding above get a good book to help you keep count such as “Food Counts” sold in drugstores. Yes you can get calories counts on the Internet but let’s go to step

4) Get a postage scale and weigh your foods when at home. Make a chart (or if you want one I will send you the one I made up a few years ago) and keep counts of: calories, cholesterol, sodium, protein, carbs, fiber, saturated fat, fat. Check any package, can or jar and make sure you get the amounts PER serving. (I never have figured out how a can of soup can serve 4 people!)

5) Weigh ONCE a week–same time–same scale–and NOT nude–same clothes. At the same time take your measurements, especially women as they will have weeks where they don’t lose weight but do lose inches.

6) You didn’t put the weight on overnight so don’t expect to take it off overnight. You don’t want to hear this but a weight loss of 1-1 ½ pounds week is great. 2015 will come to an end and you could be 52-78 pounds thinner or end the year fatter than you started it.

7) This is a tough one! Wear your tight clothes. Ladies, no kaftans, men stick your shirt in your trousers. No gimmicks trying to ‘hide’ your fat. You’re not but wearing the tight clothes, the tight belts, will feel better as you get rid of pounds.

8) There are lots of things you should do and maybe they will work for you–they didn’t/don’t work for me–like drink water before a meal, put your utensil down in-between bites (THAT IS A HARD ONE!), eat like a thin person, eat sitting down and don’t watch TV or read a book or be on the Internet when eating.

9) Be realistic–you know a medium apple from the apple you eat–always the biggest one. You won’t eat 10 nuts then don’t open the jar, don’t bring it home. You can eat out but stay away from buffets or all you can eat places.

Want more ideas? Hints? Let me know.

Posted January 4, 2015 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

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The votes were in: Joan, Addie, Ronnie, Flo, Joe, Albyn say “No’—Alex votes “Yes” I abstain–Perry remains Undecided. All say if I do decide to go to Memphis I should be sure that Bernie puts everything in writing .

Ironically though I am a letter saver I never did save the letters Bernie wrote me about his plans for us in Memphis! My bad!

I have a note in my diary for October 28, 1968 “Went to Great Neck office for interview about franchise job” and I have no recollection of it or what it was for — to buy a franchise? No way could I afford one. Did Bernie set it up so I could get some training? Was it to take a job in the franchise department? Don’t have a clue. I was doing a lot of work for WW including fill-ins.

There are lots of notes about Bernie doing a lot of traveling, going to many different restaurants with many different people, having a lot of sex and one note that I didn’t pay attention to until 13 years later: “Wild! Wild! Wild” Time for Martin to change–I got bombed AGAIN!” We were going to a lot of Broadway shows and, as always movies. I don’t know why but I sold 25 shares of WW stock that I was given as a full time employee, for $1,000 but the reason escapes and I didn’t write it down!

On October 2, 1968, Eleanor became the first 100 pound loser in one of my classes. She was ‘going with’ Vinnie another 100 pound loser who was married. She and I became very close friends and kept in touch for many years. She eventually married an ex-con who was gay and after that, for some reason, maybe my disapproval, we stopped writing. I did see her and Vinnie on one of my trips to NYC in the early ’80s but have no idea where she is now. Eleanor is another one I tried to seek through facebook without any luck!

Bernie’s father died on December 14, 1968 and as far as I can tell we didn’t discuss his taking  a franchise, or Memphis, though I do suspect his father left him some money and he used it for that reason.

Again, as I go through my notes I am amazed at the many shows we saw from beloved flops like Angela Lansbury in “Dear World” to hits like “Promises, “Promises” where I saw Donna McKechnie for the first time in a 4 day snowstorm, plus some names that I don’t recall if we saw the movie or the stage show but can find out if I go to wikipedia! We also saw the first legit gay show with nudity called “And Puppy Dog Tails” and the straight gay review “Oh Calcutta”, and neither were good though the latter broke records for being one of the longest shows on Broadway. Along with the good there was, as usual, the bad. Dan Dowd’s closed for good on Christmas Day. Bernie went into the hospital for a hernia but did okay and came out a week later–today he probably would have been discharged the next day! I do have a note ‘got hurt–nose, eyes, etc.’ and I have no idea if that was about me! Also a lot of notes about eating out with Joan, Addie, Ronnie, Alexandpeople I don’t remember like Phillip, Ray, Art, Chuck Manny not to mention having sex with a lot of nameless and/or forgotten names people.

In April Vinnie got his 100 pound pin as did Rose Marie while Bernie was still doing a lot of traveling including going to Miami Beach. I have a note tat I sold the rest of my WW stock for $1,577.75 which means I got over $2,500 in stock as part of my ‘salary’. I went to Suffern and spent the day May 18 and Flo married Ritchie on May 20th. Ronnie and I went to Miami Beach on May 29th and met Joan, Addie and Joe the Greek and we all went out wining and dining while Flo and Addie, who got along like a house on fire, and I went to Jordan Marsh on Saturday. We came back on June 2. Is that why I cashed the stock in–for the trip?

Bernie’s birthday was June 19 and I threw a big dinner party at the Spain Restaurant (Barbra Streisand sat two tables away from us) inviting Joan, Addie, Dick Hershey, Alex, Monty, John and Art. Dick Hershey is another one I wonder what happened to?

The first note I have about Memphis was made on July 1, 1968, and all it said was “Bernie to Memphis”. I am sure someway along the way we discussed it, talked about my moving there, how it would affect Alex and the apartment lease, my actually moving there and what that would involve, but except for the ‘vote’ that I started this chapter off with, the next two entries are  July 3, 1969, went to Memphis and stayed at the Benbow Inn”  and July 6, “Came back from Memphis and Bernie told me today that his wife and kids would be moving to Memphis with him as cover and would be handsomely  reimbursed”. At that point I should have said I wouldn’t be coming to Memphis but I did fall in love with the city and figured I had nothing to lose!




Posted July 2, 2012 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

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It was Wednesday evening, March 29, 1967, and I was sitting in my apartment on West 75th street in New York City contemplating ways of committing suicide. I had just spent an 6 hours on an eating binge  going from having a Hymie’s Special 3-decker sandwich at the Stage deli then going up to 72nd Street and getting  a large pizza with everything on it plus stopping at a store to get a tuna fish sandwich and a half a dozen donuts, all this after having dinner!

I looked out the bay window on my second floor apartment and knew I had to get out  and do something but what do you do at 2 AM in NYC that doesn’t include food if you are fat?  I went into a phone booth, called info, got the telephone number of Weight Watchers only to get a recording saying that they opened at 9 AM. I stayed in that phone booth on 72nd Street and Broadway until I finally reached someone. They told me the next meeting was at a hotel on 57th street and I was there. I met Mary who registered and weighed me in and then met Marilyn who was a fill in lecturer that day. On Thursday, March 30, 1967, at 1 PM my life would change forever and send me in directions I never knew or would have experienced otherwise.

I can, and have written, many blogs about what happened in my life over the next 12 years from the massive physical change to the transactional analysis therapy that changed a angry, hostile, negative 31 year old into a positive, happy, goal oriented mature man who was able to deal with the adversity he would face over the next 29 years without fear or worry. Today, 45 years later, he still retains much he had learned from those 12 years in the world of Weight Watchers and, even after I celebrated my 19th Leap Year birthday and winding up fatter than when I started I didn’t panic. Only those who went through what I went through will understand when I say I have been back on the “5 fish, 3 beef, 1 liver, 5 fruit, 2 glasses of milk, 4 ounces of a #4 vegetable, all the #3s I want, etc.,” for 30 days and have lost 7 and 1/2 pounds and will continue until I reach my goal. Back then I lost 75 pounds in 16 weeks, got my WW pin with its ‘diamonds’, and went on to lose the rest but I am far from having to lose that much, will get the job done with little effort as after 4 and 1/2 decades I know when and how to do it, so excuse me while I go off and make those cauliflower ‘mashed poatoes’.


Posted March 30, 2012 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

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