There is Progress When it Comes to Helping Those Living With Obesity

Wednesday, October 8, 2014
At the Your Weight Matters Convention Talking with the Hard Working Staff

I recently attended the Obesity Action Coalition’s “Your Weight Matters” convention in Orlando, Florida.  I attended the same conference last year. It was encouraging to see the breadth of presenters as well as the number of attendees increase.

It has been a year since Obesity has been officially labeled a disease.  I am not big on labels but in this case it has helped frame the conversation around what it means to be obese, what the health consequences can be and, most importantly, what are the various options available to help navigate in the world of obesity.

The keynote speaker, Dr. Sharma spoke to the audience about how there is not one size fits all when it comes to obesity and our health. He confirmed using BMI as a measurement for health is basically worthless and not an indicator of a person’s potential health risks. It really has to do with where you store your fat. Accumulating fat is actually a natural and healthy phenomenon. If we keep the fat on the outside of our bodies it does not pose a health risk. However, if the fat exists on the inside and around our internal organs that becomes a big problem and more of a predictor of health problems.

Dr. James O. Hill talked to the group about the National Weight Loss Registry and the lessons learned from those who are part of the registry, particularly those who have kept their weight off.  He told us some of their secrets of success. For instance, they exercise regularly, mostly an hour a day-- come rain or shine. They also weigh themselves regularly to keep on top of how they are doing and to stay within range of their target weight. And they have a limited range of weight gain before it triggers behaviors to get the weight off immediately.  More than food, those who have successfully kept their weight off have done so by boosting their on going activity and exercise…permanently.

I heard about many approaches to losing weight. Bariatric surgery is certainly on the rise but it is not the answer for everyone.  It does force a dramatic lifestyle change, which is incredibly important for many. In reality all of us engaged in weight management have to embrace a healthy lifestyle for the long term.

To live a healthy lifestyle takes deliberate steps. We have to create a positive food environment filled with healthy foods, mindful eating and thoughtful planning.  We need to surround ourselves with people who support our new lifestyle. It is a lifestyle that is equally about exercising as it is about eating well. And, yes, we need to face our demons. We have to let the rays of sunshine come in. We have to name our demons and share them. We also have to realize we are not alone.

That is what is so wonderful about the Obesity Action Coalition. They are our advocates. They convene experts, share information and resources. They bring together people who get it, are at various stages of the journey and are willing to open up about it and help others.  It is a growing community of friends as well as long-term supporters.

I can’t tell you how wonderful it was to be there talking about Livliga and my own personal journey that prompted me to create this elegant portion control tableware because of my own need and experience. It felt great to be part of an environment committed to positive, constructive solutions. There is indeed progress when it comes to helping those living with obesity. 

Live Vibrant!

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