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How YWM2020-VIRTUAL Helped OAC Redefine Education, Advocacy and Support

by Mckinzie Burrows, OAC Engagement Specialist

Fall 2020

Without a doubt, this year has dealt an interesting hand and has urged each one of us to navigate a challenging “new normal.” Our efforts at OAC also took a new spin this year, and this prompted us to do something we have never done before: host our Annual Your Weight Matters Convention on a virtual platform in 2020!

Growing Our Reach and Filling the Gaps

The OAC’s Annual Convention is highly-anticipated each year, and it is widely celebrated as the nation’s leading event for individuals seeking real answers about weight and health. Despite the unchartered waters of hosting our first virtual event of this magnitude, YWM2020-VIRTUAL was a groundbreaking success!

When OAC started planning YWM2020-VIRTUAL, we immediately recognized its promise. We knew that this year was different with the challenges our community has faced due to COVID-19. This prompted us to want a novel way to offer genuine support to our community and others who may be stumbling across OAC for the first time.

With this, we designed YWM2020-VIRTUAL to reach anyone around the world without barriers and deliver an immersive, energetic and supportive experience for people in their health journeys. It was also important to us that YWM2020-VIRTUAL held true to our values and reflected what our Convention has always provided: quality education.

By bringing in the country’s leading experts, YWM2020-VIRTUAL cut through the noise of the diet industry by:

  • Breaking down the science behind weight
  • Exploring weight management options and resources
  • Offering strategies in nutrition, exercise, behavior health, mental health and more
  • Encouraging and empowering attendees

Redefining Education, Advocacy and Support

While this was the first time we’ve ever hosted an OAC Convention virtually, YWM2020-VIRTUAL checked all the boxes. It was educational and informative, but it was also intimate and supportive.

With a live chat feed and weekly virtual support groups, YWM2020-VIRTUAL made it possible for attendees to connect one-on-one and talk about their experiences with weight and health. Our Q&A feature allowed viewers to directly ask questions for experts and get quality answers. The event series also helped OAC spread the word about our offerings, resources and advocacy opportunities to get involved and make a difference.

Most importantly, the ease of using a virtual platform helped make OAC’s education, advocacy and support available to thousands. The unique opportunity to do this ended up making OAC’s mission and momentum 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 make the world a better place for people struggling.

We REDEFINED SUPPORT by showing what a support system looks like – a space without judgement where you can be yourself, share openly, and lean on others.

Where Do We Go from Here?

The success of YWM2020-VIRTUAL taught us a lot about the virtual space and the needs of our community. With this, we encourage you to stay tuned for what’s to come, because this was just the start of what is on the horizon! In the meantime, we hope you will continue walking with OAC so we can support you in the ways you need – and we also need you on the frontlines with us as we continue to navigate this new normal together and be each other’s advocates.

YWM2020-VIRTUAL Takeaways:

If you are struggling with obesity or facing challenges with weight,

we encourage you to add these resources to your toolbox:

  • Genuine help from people who understand and are qualified to help you
  • An encouraging support system
  • A healthy inner monologue
  • What works best for YOU in this “new normal”
  • The answers to your weight and help that YOU need

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