The Legacy Jean Nidetch Is Leaving Behind

Very few people get to say they are leaving a legacy behind, but that is definitely not the case for Jean Nidetch. Two days ago, she died in her Florida home at the age of 91, but her name will live forever. During a time when women were really only supposed to be housewives, Jean created a business that has gone on to become a lifestyle for the masses.

Nidetch started Weight Watchers International. It was more of a happy accident, after she had struggled with her weight for so long. From her teens, she found herself getting more and more obese, eventually reaching reaching 214 pounds, according to The New York Times. Needing to do something, she turned to the health professionals.

Getting a diet plan was no problem. There were plenty of tips out there, but they did not seem to work. It turned out that one important thing was missing, and that was support.

Jean got a group of her friends together in her Queens living room, and they all talked about their food sins, habits and triumphs. Most importantly, they all talked about losing weight. According to the BBC, she lost 72 pounds, getting down to 142lbs in total. Her goal was to never go above 150lbs, and she said that she managed to meet that goal all her life.

Jean Nidetch is certainly leaving a legacy behind her. Since her first meeting in 1961, the Weight Watchers brand has grown. While Weight Watchers International was bought by Heinz, the plan has still focused on creating a calorie deficit and offering a safe space for members to talk about their weight loss, their struggles and their successes. Many plans have followed since, but Weight Watchers remains as one of the most popular and successful plans out there.

Members rave about how it is so much easier to fit into a lifestyle, especially since the change four years ago. They can have a life and still drop the dress sizes, changing their food habits and increasing the amount of exercise they do.

Jean has left many inspirational quotes, too. One that she is most famous for is “drop the damn fork!” However, she also made it clear that destiny was about choice and not chance. There was nobody to blame but herself for her overweight lifestyle, but she made a choice to chance that and lost 72lbs. Now many others can follow in Jean Nidetch’s footsteps and lose weight while making new friends.

[Photo by Craig Barritt/Getty Images]