Until we meet again…
The news is out that I am leaving Weight Watchers (as employee), yet I am absolutely not leaving Weight Watchers in the way that matters most (as a member). From a professional point of view, it’s time for me to pass the steering wheel of the business to a person for whom I have tremendous respect, Jim Chambers. He’s a great guy, who happens to be wicked smart and a top-flight executive. He has crazy good experience, and he can (and will) make great things happen. Weight Watchers has huge opportunities in front of it, and I am very much looking forward to cheering Jim and his team on as they realize all of their aspirations.
From my point of view, I’m going to spend some time thinking about my next chapter (Wait! A new book?! – one never knows). I first joined the Weight Watchers organization in January of 2000, nearly 14 years ago. I’ve been CEO for six and a half years, and I’ve got all the newly grey hair to show for it — either that or I really am turning 47 years old. I haven’t had more than two weeks off of work since 1994, and I’m looking forward to thinking fresh about what might be next. I know it’s a bit trite to say, but I’m also looking forward to being an overly present nuisance to my family for a little while.
But that’s work stuff. When I started writing this blog in March of 2009 (over four years and 180+ posts ago), I made the decision to write as a Weight Watchers member not as the CEO. Before I joined WW, I was a BMI 30+ guy with total cholesterol of 270. I slouched a bit, and I wore mom jeans. I walked into my first Weight Watchers meeting in February of 2000, and I became an official lifetime member in March of 2009 (as I’ve said, I’m a slow learner). I’ve been at goal weight ever since. I’m the healthiest I’ve ever been, AND I wear skinny(ish) jeans.
Throughout these 4+ years writing this blog, I’ve learned a lot about myself and a lot about my health and my weight. I’ve had more than my fair share of ups and downs, many of which I’ve chronicled on this blog. Today, I feel more relaxed about my weight and my ability to manage it than I ever could have imagined. In my 14 years at Weight Watchers, I’ve become vastly healthier, stronger, more energetic, and (I’d like to think) prettier than I ever could have hoped for.
I’d like to take credit for doing all of this on my own, but that would be a giant fib. I have absolutely no doubt that I would not be where I am, either professionally or personally, without Weight Watchers. I’ve officially had two WW Leaders (Mike Filan and Liz Josefsberg), but frankly I’ve been to so many WW meetings that I’ve had 100’s of WW Leaders. I am who I now am because of them. Period. I can never say thank you enough for all the ways that they and this company have enriched my life.
During my 14 years at Weight Watchers, I’ve seen so many people change their lives that I’ve lost track. I’ve had the pleasure of watching people accomplish what they never would have thought possible. I’ve seen the unfettered joy and pride on their faces when they reached their goal weight. I’ve seen the way that they make everyone around them rise up in their own self-belief. Weight Watchers truly is an incredible and special organization, with one of the most important missions on Earth: helping people get healthy by helping them live healthy. That mission was happening long before I ever got to Weight Watchers, and it will be happening long into the future. And for Weight Watchers, I believe the future is bright indeed.
For each of you who have had the kindness to read this blog as well as to contribute to it with your thoughts and comments, I say thank you. Your warmth and support, particularly during some of my spectacular crashes, were appreciated more than you could ever know.
As I look to the future, I am now (predictably) already worrying about how I will manage to not gain 3,785 pounds. Did I need the CEO job to keep me honest? The answer is no. I love my health and I like the way I look, and that’s all the incentive I need to stay healthy. I’ve got 14 years of learning and experience that I can use to stay on the healthy path. I may no longer be the CEO, but I will always be a WW member. I’m just a civilian now, but WW has made me a confident one. Just like many/most of you.
For all of you out there, regardless of where you are on your journey, please never forget the power and strength that lies inside you. I cannot tell you how many people I have met who came close to giving up and ultimately found their spark and made their life different. They aren’t just like you. They are you. Every one of you has everything you need to get to where you want to go. All you need to do is work that WW program like there’s no tomorrow.
As this is my last blog post, I want to thank you once again for coming with me on this journey. You will be missed on these pages, but you can still find me on Twitter.
See you in the future.
p.s., after all the news came out last night, you might be wondering what I ate after dinner. Did he eat a huge bowl of ice cream? No! He had his “fake” ice cream (0% fat Greek yogurt w/ frozen berries and Fiber One). And a spoonful of ice cream.