The year is 1923. The skirts are short and the music’s hot— and on October 12, Jean Nidetch is born. Forty years later, she’ll found the internationally known weight-loss program known as Weight Watchers.

In many ways, Weight Watchers revolutionized the weight-loss scene. Before support groups became popular in the health and fitness world, Nidetch— then an overweight housewife— got together a group of gal pals to help keep each other motivated while losing weight. In 1963 Nidetch incorporated and expanded beyond her Queens apartment. Since then, the company has grown across the world, on the Internet, and through product branding with special cookbooks and food items.

Nidetch originally adapted a strict diet plan created by the New York City Board of Health. Over the years, this plan grew to become the now-famous point system, and in 2010 it became the PointsPlus system. PointsPlus currently focuses on more than just achieving a caloric deficit (the old plan’s primary mode of action), and considers foods’ carbohydrate, protein, fiber, and fat contents, too.

The Weight Watchers formula uses motivation, inspiration, and permanent lifestyle changes to achieve weight loss. In honor of Jean’s big day (she turned 88!), take the opportunity to team up with a friend to accomplish those personal fitness and health goals.

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