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Unless you stopped checking your email or mailbox, you’ve likely seen all of those words/phrases listed above at least a dozen times (if not more). This past August, the OAC hosted its 2nd Annual Your Weight Matters National Convention to continue its momentum of providing evidence-based weight management strategies for individuals concerned about weight and health. We were proud to welcome 370 individuals from all across the country and host an amazing crowd of passionate attendees, eager to learn and take back hands-on tools to help along their journey to better weight and health.
The OAC’s 2013 Convention set out to encourage individuals to Rise to the Challenge – their personal challenge. Regardless of where an individual is in their weight-loss journey, whether they’re just starting their journey or have been on it for quite some time, YWM2013 welcomed one and all with open arms. For some, YWM2013 was a place to recharge batteries, reinvigorate internal drives and take back control of weight and health. For others, YWM2013 was a step – a first step. It was a world – a safe world – where individuals could learn and be free from judgment.
For three full days in Phoenix, our record-breaking crowd from more than 32 states throughout the U.S. learned first-hand through evidence-based information, presented by 37 speakers, why their weight matters to their health, but they also received a lot more.
As the music rose during the kickoff on Friday morning, you could feel the energy. You could feel the excitement. It was time to learn, connect and Rise to the Challenge.
From sessions on food addiction to presentations on weight bias, you could see lives already changing. You could see the “light bulbs” going off – so-to-speak. All around the conference center, attendees’ lives were quickly beginning to change and messages were resonating with all. With each session, attendees were rising to a new understanding of weight, health, nutrition, emotions and more.
In between sessions while in the Exhibit Hall, which welcomed 30 exhibitors, you could hear the chatter:
“I never realized that about people affected by obesity portrayed in media without heads.”
“That was a great session. I always saw exercise as more of a task. Now I realize it should just be part of my daily routine.”
“He was a great speaker. To me, I always measured my success by the number on the scale, but now I see there is much more to success than a number.”
It was happening. People were learning, changing and connecting. YWM2013 changed lives by connecting individuals. One-by-one attendees were connecting with each other. They were identifying with each other’s struggles, plateaus and triumphs. While the education presented at YWM2013 was paramount to anything else out there, people were learning from the most valuable resource – each other.
Regardless of the path taken with weight-loss, the important part is the journey toward better health. Attendees were realizing that they shared so much with each other in this journey and they started to realize, “I am not alone.” During one of the Convention Special Events on Thursday evening, attendees heard from NFL Alumni James Thornton and Corey Louchiey for the “Teaming up to Tackle Obesity” Program. James and Corey talked about their battles with weight and how each of them chose different paths to weight-loss and improved health. Attendees were seeing first-hand that obesity does not discriminate. Obesity does not have any boundaries. It doesn’t care about how much money you have or how smart you are. This is a disease that affects millions without prejudice. But together, with the strength of each other and the knowledge to change, it can be managed. It can be controlled.
YWM2013 represented more than a convention focused on weight and health. YWM2013 was a safe place where the healthy choice was the easy choice. It was a place where we all learned and connected with each other. It was a place where people changed for the better. YWM2013 was a place where 370 individuals rose…to the challenge of life.
The OAC thanks the hundreds of individuals, our guest speakers, exhibitors, volunteers and others that attended YWM2013. We know travelling to an event of this kind takes a lot of planning, saving and preparation. We are very proud to officially announce our plans for 2014, where we will bring this same event that you just read about to Orlando, Fla., September 25 – 28, 2014. There is plenty of time to plan, save and get ready for next year’s OAC Convention – it’s an event that you won’t want to miss!