Thursday, April 30, 2015

Remembering the Woman Who Had Her Cake and Ate It, Too

Do yourself a favor and read Weight Watchers founder Jean Nidetch's New York Times obit. With bits like this, you'll be smiling all day long!
She ate compulsively. She tried pills, hypnosis and fad diets, but cycles of weight loss and gain went on. In 1961, after encountering the woman who thought she was pregnant, she went to a city obesity clinic. For 10 weeks, she pretended to follow its diet. But she was obsessed with Mallomars, chocolate-coated marshmallow cookies. She hid them in the hamper and at night gorged on them in the bathroom.  
Trapped in a gluttonous secret life, she decided she had to confide in someone. She invited six friends, all overweight women, to her home for what turned into a group confessional, an exorcism of caloric demons that was the informal beginning of Weight Watchers. They all went on a diet, pledging mutual help through the abysses of anxiety, doubt and gnawing hunger. It worked. They soon brought more overweight friends to the meetings. Within two months, 40 women were attending.
In 1973, 16,000 Weight Watchers jammed Madison Square Garden for the group’s 10th anniversary. It was like a revival. Bob Hope, Pearl Bailey and Roberta Peters were there, but the star, in a drift of white chiffon, was Mrs. Nidetch, a combination Cinderella and Aimee Semple McPherson with her own evangelical message: Overeating is an emotional problem with an emotional solution. Crowds surged for her autograph, to touch her or even to make eye contact. She looked as if she had never had a cookie in her life. 
“I just shake my head when I see someone eating cake and saying, ‘Oh, I wish I wasn’t heavy.’ But they keep eating the cake!”
Read HERE.

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