Jean Nidetch, Weight Watchers Queen, Dies At 91: Maintained 72-Pound Weight Loss For Decades, Inspired Jessica Simpson

Jean Nidetch is dead at 91 after changing lives and bodies with Weight Watchers. The diet queen appealed to her followers because she founded her weight loss company only after winning her own battle of the bulge, reported the New York Times.

When Jean began Weight Watchers, she weighed 214 pounds and was addicted to foods such as cookies. She had tried dieting before but struck gold while losing 72 pounds with her unique approach. Together with her husband and a couple of friends, Jean incorporated Weight Watchers in the early 1960s and turned it into an international success, complete with franchises, classes, summer camps, and magazines.

The weight loss program combines support from other dieters with flexible eating plans. In recent years, Weight Watchers also has expanded to include food products ranging from desserts to cookbooks. And at the top was Jean, who maintained her role as the Weight Watchers spokeswoman throughout her career.

Providing her own proof that her diet worked, Jean maintained her weight at 142 after losing more than 70 pounds in the 1960s. She shared her message that Weight Watchers was the way to lose weight on shows such as The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.

It was Jean’s son, David, who broke the news of the Weight Watchers queen’s death, reported MSN.

Beyond her business success, Nidetch took pride in guiding others to shed pounds and keep them off. Jean first got her inspiration for the Weight Watchers diet plan from an obesity clinic sponsored by the New York City Board of Health.

Although the guidelines were simple (don’t skip meals, eat more fruits and vegetables), the practical rules seemed to work. But Jean wanted more, so she persuaded some pals who also needed to shed pounds to join her in regular motivational meetings. Weight Watchers was born, and Jean achieved her own goal weight of 142 pounds on October 30, 1962.

Nidetch wasn’t the only celebrity touting the benefits of Weight Watchers. As the Inquisitr reported, Jessica Simpson fought a very public battle with her weight before succeeding by using the weight loss program.

Jessica used Weight Watchers’ jump-start program. The plan emphasizes unlimited non-starchy vegetables combined with lean protein. She also enjoys sugar-free desserts.

Simpson swears by the benefits of working out, both in terms of working out with celebrity trainer Harley Pasternak and walking four miles daily, which she tracks with a pedometer.

“I think 
staying active is the best thing you can do. Get a pedometer,” suggested Jessica.

[Photo By Kevin Winter/Getty Images]