ObesityHelp Conference - My Session

This past weekend, I was a speaker at the ObesityHelp 10th Anniversary Conference in Anaheim, CA #OH2013 I was approached back in April to be involved in the event in some form. I agreed but it was important to me that my session was a very different type of session than ObesityHelp had ever done in the past. Generally, conference sessions have someone from the community sharing their story, maybe a video or slideshow, or a motivational speech. It's lovely to hear one person's journey but you all know if you've been with me awhile or can read back in the 7+ years of blog posts about my journey (grab some Tylenol) and I've presented at OH events in the past and done cooking demonstrations in Los Angeles, Northern California, and Philadelphia they were fun but this time I wanted to do something different. I was thankful OH was open to it.

Some of the best and most meaningful exchanges at these conferences occur between a few patients making friends and connecting in the hotel lobby, around the table at breakfast, walking to our rooms, heck even in the ladies room. I wanted to somehow turn those awesome conversations into a session. I wanted people to look at each other, I wanted people to feel like I had invited them over and we were hanging out in my living room chatting. Last year, I saw the perfect room set up at a Fitbloggin session I attended, the room seats were set-up like a theater in the round where new friends and old were looking at right at each other. It was perfect for what I had in mind for my session.

I introduced myself and the topic: "What was your A-ha moment? That something in your life that triggered your wanting to make some healthy changes." I got the sharing starting and then what I hoped (and knew) would happen, happened. The connections began. Lots of laughs and tears as your amazing stories were shared. Thank you to those who attended my session. Hope you enjoyed it as much as I did. I'm so thankful to be on this lifelong journey with you all!

The takeaway message which I put on a bracelet that I gave to those in the room: Remember why you started. When times get tough, when life gets crazy and it will... work, divorces, deaths, moves, illness, money, stress with kids, relationships, the day to day "stuff" and you want to turn to your old pals... Sausalito cookies, Snickers or a bowl of Pasta or three. Remember why you started on this road.

Oh and remove "Weight Loss Failure or Success" from your vocabulary. There is no such thing. There is no finish-line. The day after you hit that magic goal weight number it's just more of the same so just keep moving forward. We are on a road... like any road their will be bumps, twists, curves, good days, bad days, you may have problems that require some assistance, get back on the road and keep moving forward. Find support and strength by staying connected to those that "get it" for you and for them.

I also took part in a more traditional Question and Answers Post-op Panel later in the day.

Lots more weekend stories to share. I'm gathering pictures and will post more about the other sessions, Dr. Sharma's sessions were amazing, the exhibitors (a couple of my favs were in attendance) and of course some fun from the costume party and fashion show probably later today.

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