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.