So far, 2020 has dealt an interesting hand. We didn’t expect the year to play out as it has, requiring us to navigate a challenging “new normal.” But through it all, there have also been opportunities in disguise! For OAC, the perfect example was hosting the 2020 Your Weight Matters Convention on a virtual platform for the very first time (YWM2020-VIRTUAL).
When we set out to host YWM2020-VIRTUAL, we knew it would give us the opportunity to reach more people and meet YOUR needs during these uncertain times. Like all past YWM Conventions, we wanted to cut through the noise of the diet industry with quality, science-based education about weight and health as well as real support for managing them. So, we designed this virtual event series to be an immersive experience that was easily accessible, energetic and supportive.
And yet, despite the uncharted waters of a virtual event, it all came together! Here are some of the event series highlights that blew us away:
- More than 2,000 registrants and viewers
- 47 U.S. states and 59 countries represented
- More than 2,000 first-time Convention attendees
- More than 900 people brand new to OAC!
Those numbers are groundbreaking! We could never have anticipated YWM2020-VIRTUAL’s success, but it stands to show that there is a true need for the quality of education and support that the Convention provided, and that OAC is committed to sharing.
On that note, YWM2020-VIRTUAL welcomed some of the nation’s leading health experts to bring their knowledge to the screen. It featured a lineup of renowned obesity medicine specialists, health psychologists, research scientists, dietitians and more. There was education about the science behind weight and metabolism; exploring treatment approaches; major events and personal factors that impact weight; owning and enjoying a healthy relationship with food; mental health tips; strategies for navigating a “new normal,” and more!
Redefining What Education, Advocacy and Support Really Mean
The success of YWM2020-VIRTUAL was exciting and humbling, but it also meant something greater. It allowed us to really connect with our community and better understand their needs and challenges. It let us listen closely to their experiences. Given the toughness of this year with COVID-19, this meant a lot to our community.
But that’s not all! YWM2020-VIRTUAL also brought more people to OAC and OAC to more people. The ease of using a virtual platform helped us make quality education, advocacy and support available to thousands. The ability to do this ended up with redefining what these things mean, which made OAC’s mission even stronger. We REDEFINED EDUCATION by showing what quality, science-based information about weight and obesity should look like. We REDEFINED ADVOCACY by showing how easy it is to be an advocate and take action to make the world a better place for people struggling. We REDEFINED SUPPORT by showing what it should look like – a space without judgement where people can be themselves, learn from each other and feel empowered.
A Message to Our Supporters
Reflecting on YWM2020-VIRTUAL has been overwhelming in the best way, but there are some takeaways we want to emphasize. If you are struggling with obesity or you’re facing challenges with weight, there are things you deserve that are important to find:
- Real help from people who understand and are qualified to help you
- Encouraging and supportive people around you
- A healthy inner monologue
- What works best for YOU in this “new normal”
- The answers YOU need
Moving forward, we hope you will continue walking with OAC so we can support you in the ways you need. We also encourage you to stay tuned for what’s to come, because YWM2020-VIRTUAL was just the start of what’s on the horizon! In the meantime, we hope you’ll be on the front lines with us as we continue to navigate this new normal and look out for each other.