You know, you may not hear “self-described overweight housewife obsessed with eating cookies” & think here comes that motivation I needed today, but the story of this housewife may be the most inspirational weight loss story of all time.
It all started with a well-meaning compliment from a neighbor.
You look amazing!
When is your due date?
Only she wasn’t pregnant. She was a miserable 37-year-old with 70 extra pounds on board.
She had always struggled with food. As a child. As a teen. And an adult.
Known never to eat desserts in public, she hid baggies of chocolate covered marshmallows in the dirty laundry hamper so her family wouldn’t know about her favorite midnight snack.
Driven by the grocery store comment in a last-ditch attempt to regain control of her body – & her life – she tried a strict NYC Dept of Health diet & lost 20 pounds in weeks.
The only problem was she felt too uncomfortable to be herself at the Obesity Clinic counseling sessions.
So she invited a group of friends who she knew also struggled with weight to her home to talk about both her new found weight loss success, and the constant temptations to cheat & the guilt that came with it.
You see, as opposed to the sterile conversations at the clinic, at these meetings, women felt comfortable enough to share without fear of judgment.
They shared their stories of shame, hiding food, binge eating – nothing was off the table.
They held each other accountable, talked about their highs & lows, swapped recipes & found a key ingredient that had been missing in their diets: community.
In a matter of months, their numbers grew from 6 women to 40 & continued to grow.
Into mother flipping Weight Watchers.
See, the lady in the grocery store was Jean Nidetch & in 1961 she started a revolution – for men & women – that was founded in the belief that to lose weight you must change the way you think about food.
Jean incorporated Weight Watchers in 1963 & by 1968, over 5 million people joined.
Jean changed her life & millions of others by changing the way people thought about diet.
BTW: She went on to lose over 70 pounds, divorce her husband & move to California to become best friends with Maya Angelou & date Fred Astaire, but that’s not my point.
Jean was not a nutritionist nor a healthcare expert- she was a woman who knew what it was like to be the fattest person in the room.
I do too.
I’ve lost over 90 pounds – twice.
I know what it is like to emotionally eat – to only eat dessert at night because the only way you can deal with the shame that follows a gallon of ice cream is to sleep it off.
To use food as a coping mechanism when you’re sad – bored – or when you’re happy.
To live to eat not eat to live.
I need to tell you. For a while, I’ve felt guilty as a mom & as a woman for sharing my weight loss & various diet articles here because I worried that people would think my message is about being thin.
As in you have to be a size 6.
Like it’s a destination & once you get there, happiness ensues.
Now, let me tell you right now that if you are a big beautiful, confident, feel sexy in your skin size 16 skin, then you go on with your bad self.
Good for you.
But if you feel trapped inside your body & you lack the self-confidence you need to live your best life – then losing weight will change the freaking game.
It will empower you to speak out – speak up – & let your voice be heard.
It will give you the strength you need in a lousy marriage to say you know what – this ain’t happening anymore.
To tell that guy at work to stop touching you
To raise your hand at the meeting & take the credit back for the big idea Jake from accounting stole from you
To rise & take a stand against racism, sexism, ableism, heterosexism, religious imperialism, classism
All of the isms.
Losing weight will give you the ability to do crazy significant things for:
your friends & family
And to do whatever it is you were put on this earth to do.
You take away the handicap of obesity, and this person becomes someone else. -Jean Nidetch
Empowering women to take control of their bodies through diet, weight loss, & mindset is something that I will never be ashamed of again. Jean’s story is one of remarkable insight & courage & it is an inspiration to all of us.
The question is: what will your story be?
If you’re looking for weight loss plans – or recipes – you’ll find a ton on this site. No, really. There’s a lot of content here – because there is no one diet that works for every person. Here are a few: