The atomic clock on the OAC’s Your Weight Matters National Convention Web site is showing 75 days until YWM2017, and it is a reminder of how quickly time passes. In 75 days, summer will be close to over and as I write, my garden hasn’t bloomed yet.

While I look forward to attending the 2017 National Convention, I can’t help but look back at past Conventions.

Unfortunately, I missed the inaugural Convention in 2012 but resolved to attend the next annual event. However, I got busy and time passed, but then a friend asked if I was going to the Convention and dared me to go because she thought I was just making excuses. I am not motivated by dares, but I am prone to surprises – so I registered just a few weeks before the event. A week later, I found myself on a plane to Arizona (surprise!), knowing only one other person and arriving with no knowledge or expectation of what this Convention was about.

I knew there would be speakers, great education and vendors, but I never expected to “find myself.” From the moment I walked into the event space, I had a sense of homecoming. For the first time, I experienced an environment where I was not judged – but welcomed.

I experienced a lot of learning and education, but there was also time for fun. I arrived at that Convention knowing only one person, but I left feeling as if I knew everyone.

The opportunities to learn more about the disease of obesity and to rekindle these connections are what inspire me to attend this event each year. To be among people who are knowledgeable but also share your experiences, and whose purpose lies in educating and supporting those who are managing their weight, is truly priceless.

This is what motivates me to attend every year – because for me, like many others, coming to the Your Weight Matters National Convention is like coming home.

To learn more about the OAC’s Your Weight Matters National Convention and make your plans to attend this August 10-13 in New Orleans, please CLICK HERE.

Written by Debera Gau, OAC/Convention Welcoming Committee Member

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