by Mckinzie Step, OAC Creative Content and Outreach Coordinator
The OAC is still riding the wave of celebration that took place at this year’s 6th Annual Your Weight Matters National Convention this past August. Upwards of 550 individuals joined together in the heart of New Orleans for the nation’s best education, tools, resources and support to guide them along their weight management journeys. And, while the OAC’s National meeting has been coined as a premier event for the everyday individual to come and learn science-based strategies to manage their weight and health, there’s something else that has been building which becomes more alive each and every year.
This year’s attendees left with something remarkably contagious – a passion to engage deeper with their own health journeys, engage with the OAC and engage with one another as part of a powerful community.
Sure, each and every Convention hosted by the OAC has given individuals a place to join together, but this year was special – because never more did we feel the electrifying sense of community than at the 2017 Convention. It truly was a celebration! Through every educational session, exercise demonstration or simple conversation, feelings of unity and acceptance filled the room. And, while our attendees came from all different backgrounds and experiences, our differences did not divide us, but united us in one powerful community of voices!
If you didn’t have the opportunity to attend this year’s Convention in New Orleans, we wish you could have been there! But, we want you to take a look back with us at an incredible weekend you can still be a part of throughout the year, and hopefully will get to experience with us at our 2018 Convention in Denver – July 19-22!
It’s not an easy task to find education about weight and health that you can trust, especially when misconceptions about weight and obesity often cloud our ability to do so.
At YWM2017, experts from around the country engaged with our community to provide this kind of reliable education. Attendees took away practical, empowering tools and information to guide their weight management journeys now and in the future through popular educational topics and opportunities including:
When individuals have access to education and resources they can trust, we as a community can do more to inform ourselves and others about health and the understanding that obesity is a complicated disease. Science-based knowledge, free from bias and stigma, is instrumental to finding long-term support and success – and YWM2017 provided this essential platform.
There’s no room for silence when it comes to being proactive about weight, health and access to appropriate care. Advocacy requires a community of individuals who are willing to share their stories, use their voices and make an impact to affect future change for all who are on the journey with weight and health.
Many of our YWM2017 attendees were inspired to elevate the OAC’s mission of reaching local, state and national legislators and advance the future of obesity care. At YWM2017, we empowered attendees to recognize and raise their voices with special events such as:
There is always strength in numbers and in coming together, and YWM2017 offered attendees the opportunity to celebrate each other and our health! There’s no doubt that great education and hands-on instruction on various types of advocacy is important, but the Convention also allowed us to celebrate ourselves and one another through key events – which all had an element of “fun” attached! Here’s a look at the celebrations we got to have throughout the weekend:
Many often describe Your Weight Matters National Conventions as an extension of their home and family life, and as an organization dedicated to our community, the ability for attendees to engage with one another and celebrate our journeys is invaluable. YWM2017 was a place where barriers were broken down, walls were opened and transparency was possible. It was a place where attendees could be honest with each other, share their stories and honor the authentic presence and experiences of others alongside of them.
No matter where we are on our own weight and health journeys, we DO have a reason to celebrate because our community is our foundation! Together, we are empowered and stronger. Together, we can move forward with our journeys one step at a time.