New Book by Weight Watchers Founder Is a Hit with Members: The Skinny on Jean Nidetch

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A new autobiography by the founder of Weight Watchers, “The Story of Jean Nidetch,” has been enthusiastically received by Weight Watchers members and other readers lucky enough to find copies of the limited edition book.

I was incredibly inspired by her story

“The Story of Jean Nidetch: An Autobiography” was published by Weight Watchers and made available to members for purchase early this year. Jean Nidetch founded the company in 1963 and served as a high profile, globe-trotting spokesperson for many years, until she retired in 1994.

Copies of Jean’s book quickly sold out in the meeting locations where they were available, but it can still be purchased on Amazon.com (priced at $12.95). Though not easy to find and not in stores, the book is quickly becoming an underground WW cult classic. Bloggers, chat rooms and discussion groups are bubbling with praise for the 86-year-old’s memoir. “I am now on my 3rd read of her autobiography,” writes one poster on the official WW Web site. “I was incredibly inspired by her story,” writes another. “Jean lost over 70 pounds and continues to maintain her weight loss 45 years later.” “I wish Oprah would have her on! THAT would be gold!” enthuses a third. One anonymous fan has even dedicated a Facebook page to Nidetch.

The book has a Foreword by Nidetch’s old friend, Maya Angelou and an Introduction by Weight Watchers President David Kirchhoff. Kirchhoff himself attended the kick-off book signing in Boca Raton, Florida in February. A March 22 USA Today article about that event went viral as it was picked up, linked, blogged and tweeted all over the U.S. and at least as far as the U.K. and Australia, where Jean is still well-known and revered.

A favorite Jean Nidetch quote from the book: “I was on a panel once at which everyone else had a card in front of them with initials like PhD., M.D., M.S.N….I felt funny that I had no initials after my name, so I picked up my name card and wrote ‘F.F.H.’ When asked what it stood for, I said, ‘Formerly Fat Housewife’.”

Another Weight Watchers member raves: “I picked [the book] up at a WW meeting last month, and I just finished reading it. I couldn’t put it down. This amazing woman went from self-proclaimed ‘fat housewife’ to the world-renowned founder of Weight Watchers. Her struggle and ultimate victory over her weight problem, combined with the vision and positive attitude she…had to start such a revolutionary concept back in the Sixties is just so inspiring…” She went on to say that reading Jean’s book made her feel a deeper connection to Weight Watchers and “It really makes me appreciate meetings more.”

Weight Watchers has had several spokespersons since Nidetch retired, including Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York. The newest is Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson. Still, it’s hard to see how Weight Watchers could ever find anyone better than their own founder.

Amazon:
http://www.amazon.com/Jean-Nidetch-Story-Autobiography/dp/B0039O49SI/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1271699918&sr=1-1

USA Today:
http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/weightloss/2010-03-23-jeannidetch23_ST_N.htm

See also:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2008/jan/13/healthandwellbeing.features2

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D.J. Rink

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