This Is Big: How the Founder of Weight Watchers Changed the World—and Me

Marisa Meltzer. Little, Brown, $28 (304p) ISBN 978-0-316-41400-5
Journalist Meltzer (Girl Power) delivers an insightful look at the business of weight loss, illustrated by her own attempts at it, and by those of late Weight Watchers founder Jean Nidetch. Meltzer begins by describing her relationship to the ubiquitous weight loss company, which, she once felt, existed only to torment her—Meltzer was a Weight Watchers dropout by the age of nine. After coming across Nidetch’s obituary in 2015, however, Meltzer was surprised to find her longtime bête noir both relatable and inspirational—a woman who lost 70 pounds, and kept it off, and confronted 1960s sexism to found a now-global company. Meltzer explores how Nidetch and Weight Watchers changed with the times, in the ’70s moving into creating exercise plans, nutrition educational campaigns, and other offerings outside of its originally single-minded focus on dieting. One especially intriguing point Meltzer raises is the innate narcissism in dieting—both her own and that of the celebrities she regularly interviews for magazine profiles. The result is a thoughtful exploration of how to make diet choices on one’s own terms, rather than in “fear of the final weigh in.” Agent: Jen Aevitas Marshall, Creative Management. (Apr.)
Reviewed on : 02/03/2020
Release date: 04/14/2020
Genre: Nonfiction
Compact Disc - 978-1-5491-0521-0
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