Thursday, February 18, 2010

Note to self: put it all in perspective

I will admit to the fact that I sometimes throw myself pity parties (sometimes even bashes) when I think about the hard work of staying on program.  I have SO many obstacles and SO many derailers to sticking with the program:  e.g., endless travel, lack of good food choices at Bob's Big Boy, etc.  Then I meet someone who helps me put it all in perspective, and I use it as an opportunity to shut up and quietly get back to living happily in a healthy way.

(Jean & I with her new book)

A couple of weeks ago, I went down to Boca Raton, FL to attend a book signing and joint interview with Jean Nidetch.  She's 86 now, and she still has the energy of 86 people.  I've had the chance to read her new book (available in meetings), and I recommend it HIGHLY to all who have the chance.  It is an excellent reminder as to why the soft stuff is what ultimately matters in successful and sustainable weight loss, and it is an excellent reminder as to why meetings rock.  Effectively all of the profits of the book sales go to Jean, so I have no ulterior motive in supporting it.

But I digress (as I often do).   The book signing event in Boca was attended by a bunch of local area Leaders and Receptionists from our meetings.  In many cases, they brought a member or two so they could meet Jean.  One of the Leaders, Vicki Thomas (on the left), brought a very special member by the name of Kimberly Marino (on the right).  Kimberly is special for a variety of reasons:  she's a joyful, kind, energetic, hard working and enthusiastic person.  At age 34, she also happens to have the developmental disability of Down syndrome.

I did not realize that people who have Down syndrome are statistically much more likely to suffer from an overweight or obese condition.  It seems that this is primarily due to the fact that people who have Down syndrome also tend to have a lower basal metabolic rate.  With this in mind, some of our local staff in the Palm Beach area worked with the local Goodwill to begin providing Weight Watchers for people who have developmental disabilities including Down syndrome.  The effort has been funded by the State of Florida, and 24 people have now gone through the program.

Kimberly was one of those people.  At a relatively young age, Kim had to have a total hip replacement which disallowed her from doing an exercise for a long period of time.  At only five feet tall, her weight jumped to 157 pounds.  To help with the recovery of her hip operation, Kim's mother had her enrolled in the Weight Watchers program so she could learn about better food choices and proper portions.  Kim attended regular Weight Watchers meetings and had the immediate support of all the members in her meeting.  During her first week, she lost 5 pounds to the wild cheers of her group.  She was hooked.  She has since gone on to lose 52 pounds and keep it off for two years.  She has done so despite having a second hip replacement operation.

Today, she loves to shop, and she is a regular exerciser.  She regularly puts in 10K steps EVERY day, reportedly while singing Celine Dion loudly.  She approaches her healthy life with joy and enthusiasm.

She is a reminder to me about why I love to work for Weight Watchers, and she is a reminder to me that a healthy life is a gift, not a punishment.

Kim.  You rock hard and successfully.




  1. Sorry I missed the book signing as I am a Boca Raton Weight Watcher member. And you are so very right, we are truly gifted if we have our health. Thanks, David, for an inspiring post.

  2. What an inspiring story! That is truly awesome. I am also wondering (since you mentioned it) if ya still have Bob's Big Boys down in FL? I know there is one in or around Los Angeles where I lived for 20 years but I haven't been there forever and there are hardly any left. I ate there all my childhood. What a blast from the past.

  3. WOW! to beautiful Jean. I can tell she has an awesome spirit. And WOW! to amazing-beautiful Kim. I love to read about success stories. Kim's is all the more special.

    And as for YOU and those doggone derailers, thank God for do-overs! It's wonderful to grant yourself and clean slate. :)

  4. That's a great program they have! Wonderful to hear about it.

  5. Kim is clearly a rock star...incredible.

    My WW leader placed a copy of Jean's new book in my seat before I arrived at my meeting a few weeks ago. She knew I'd want it because you had written the introduction. And she knew I'd be glad I read it when I learned more about Jean. She was right on both counts.

    Reading about Weight Watchers' humble beginnings and growth was inspiring to say the least. And now I know a bit more about the extraordinary founder than I did before I read it. What an incredible woman she is!! And she's so darn cute too.

    I couldn't be happier about working toward my weight-loss through Weight Watchers. And as I quickly approach 100 pounds, I'm thrilled/comforted that every person in the company understands (at least to some extent) how I feel doing it.

    It's a great book...I would recommend it to anyone who has big dreams...or needs to create some big dreams.

  6. Thanks for sharing this! Timely post for me as I was throwing myself a little pity party because I am UP a half pound this week despite religious (my hand to God) adherence to plan.

  7. Thanks for an inspiring post! It is my dream to one day meet Jean. I recently read her autobiography, and she has touched my life in so many ways. I truly believe that a part of Jean lives in the heart of every WW member and staff person. What a generous, positive, uplifting person! Love her!

  8. This story rocks! Thanks for kicking me out of my pity party and reminding me that my problems aren't really that bad.

  9. This was an awesome story. I also have a mentally challenged child, but by the Grace of God, has given him a very slender body. But because of this, he can eat absolutely anything and I have to learn will power. I have been struggling an awful lot lately, and this might have given me some perspective. If we can only be happy doing this job.... Thanks for sharing and I will look for that book in my great State of Idaho.

  10. What a testimony! I think sometimes we miss out on the little things in life. LIFE.....I have missed so much. i used to always say if I could go back in time i would never change a single thing. I changed my mind recently. If I could change one thing in my life it would be to have loved myself enough in my early twenties to have lost weight healthy and stayed on track with exercise. We were always told to brush our teeth...clean our room...take a bath etc. as kids. We should have been taught and then in turn taught our children to exercise, eat healthy and limit ourselves to the foods that we gorged on for so many years.

  11. This is a wonderful story and it will keep me motivated to keep pushing along.
    Thank you!!!

  12. Kim does rock! Thank you for this story!

  13. For those of us 'in the trenches' leading meetings week in and week out - it is refreshing to have such great leaders, past leadership with Jean who created this amazing company, and present with David who continues to meet the shareholders needs while still being real and understanding we REALLY are about the member. Thank you.

  14. This is so inspiring at this time for me, I told my Dr I am losing it, job, home emotional reck. Kim you go girl and thank you. And thank you ww. as well

  15. Truly inspiring......Lucky David to have a job so fulfilling and even luckier WW to have a leader as David.

  16. Hi David- I have been watching some of your interviews and reading your blof- seems WW is lucky to have you out in front.
    I have always wondered why doesn't WW put more research and dollars into creating healthier products to sell at meetings and on store shelves. It is the one issue I have with the company - can you explain? I know transporting, shelf life, etc all go into a product plus marketing but I think WW leads in so many areas that this one could really have an impact and speak to the integrity of the organization - why put ingredients into your WW products that might stall weight loss? Try getting all the trans fats, high fructose, cheap corn/sugar/soy by products out of your frozen foods and other foods you sell - what a way to lead. Just some thoughts - I know it may be hard but worthwhile. I still respect WW.

  17. What a wonderful post. I had no idea about this program in Florida. I hope that it spreads to other states, if it has not already. I am a WW for only 9 months and am like a litte evangelist because of the wonderful results and changes.

  18. I LOVED the Jean N book and am dismayed it is sold out already! Those copies disappeared in a flash. Please please please can it get reprinted? These books need to be on our shelves forever.