I have been an active lifetime member of Weight Watchers since 2008. My employer embarked on educating its employees on how to eat smart, maintain a healthy lifestyle, and develop long lasting habits. Weight Watchers was chosen to come to our office to present their program and provide weekly meetings. Weight Watchers was founded in 1963 to help assist in weight loss and maintenance. According to Baldacchino et al. (2006), a self-help group is any group whose aim is to provide support, practical help, and care with a problem that is shared by all members.
Since my initial enrollment I have continued to participate in monthly meetings at the Westerville Community Church located at 770 County Line Road in Westerville Ohio. My last meeting attended was on October 27, 20012 at 9:30 am. They offer an array of open meetings throughout the week to accommodate their clients. Their open door policy allows new members to join at anytime. New members are obtained by referrals from family members or friends, physician recommendations, or by national and local advertisements.
The meeting is held in the main lobby of the church and offers multiple round and rectangular tables for seating as well as lined rows of chairs. The seating arrangement allows for personal and social distance between the attendees and the group leader. Approximately 75 people attended the meeting with 10% of those being male. The clients’ age ranged from 17 to 68 years old which consisted of a father and his teen-age son, new mothers, high school students, retirees, and professionals.
Francine Nolan is the formal leader for the Saturday morning meetings. She has been a participant of Weight Watchers since 1970 and has been in the leadership role for 37 of those years. Her wisdom of the program provides her with the appropriate personality to lead the session. She is exuberant, whimsical, and shares her many years of experiences. She engages the group by she walking around the room, initiates conversation, and asks questions. Her direction keeps the meeting focused and grounded. According to Yalom (1994), Altruism is assimilated by group members through mutual sharing and concern for each other. Providing assistance and support to others creates a positive self-image and promotes self-growth.
According to Yalom (1994), Universality allows individuals to come to realize they are not alone in the problems, thoughts, and feelings they are experiencing. Anxiety is relieved by the support and understanding of others in the group who share similar experiences. The purpose of this group allows the community to come together in a social setting to share experiences, reinforce self-help, provide support, and offer celebration. The meeting allows for establishment of interpersonal relationships and coping skills. The majority of the