Obesity Week 2014 Events Loom Large in Boston

HealthGal Health Guide
  • What do you get when you gather the top medical groups and societies in the world of obesity research, prevention, and care?  You get a cutting edge experience that covers every aspect of the disease called obesity.  Obesity Week 2014 is ongoing from Nov. 2-7 at the Convention Center at the Boston Waterfront.  The Obesity Society (TOS) and American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS), along with the Obesity Action Coalition (OAC) kicked off a week of “all things obesity and weight matters,” with the first OAC local event (YourWeightMatters Local ), highlighting the Your Weight Matters national campaign.  I was lucky enough to attend the beginning days of this conference and frankly, I am still processing all the information.  My next few shareposts cover just some of the events, sessions, education, products, and especially some of the new cutting research that was shared. 

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    YourWeightMatters Local


    Your weight does matter when it comes to health, so it seems intuitive to have a local event with community outreach, in order to share up-to-date weight education.  On Sunday, November 2nd, despite sudden plummeting temperatures and a bit of early winter snow, attendees came ready for a day-long event filled with sessions, a delicious healthy lunch, and an opportunity to connect with professionals who treat this chronic disease.  Of course, the “goody bag" handed out contained a number of excellent resources for individuals seeking information and support, and a metallic red pedometer.  Many of the attendees were post-bariatric surgery patients, and they welcomed the opportunity to hear professionals echo the challenges that individuals can face after surgery.  Speakers included Ted Kyle, RPh, MBA, OAC Chairman, Merrill Littleberry, LCSW, LCDC,CCM,CI-CPT, Cassie Story, RD, Kenya D. Palmer, MS, MSN, FNP-BC, CSCS, Robert Kushner, MD, and Stephen Cook, MD, MPH.


    Sessions covered topics including ways to get inspired and motivated so you start the weight-loss journey, current weight loss surgical options, ways to embrace cooking and better nutrition, understanding the different obesity treatment options currently available, a basic primer on exercise, and a session devoted to childhood obesity focusing on the discussion that should happen between parent and healthcare provider.


    The OAC (www.obesityaction.org) is 50,000 members strong, helping to empower and educate people who are struggling with obesity.  It aims to support more science-based treatments and supports the idea that “we need to be at a healthy weight for our health.”  Some profound and powerful anecdotes and statements offered during the sessions, included:


    • When you evaluate a thought (especially when related to weight), does it “help-hinder-heal-hurt?”
    • “Thoughts equal feelings; feelings equal actions; actions equal habits.”
    • When trying to manage your disease, obesity, think about a rider on a horse walking on a path.  When the rider sees a snake ahead, he pulls on the reigns and forces the horse off the path, to avoid the danger.  But the horse will naturally want to return to the path.  Similarly, when you change a habit that has been fueling your weight, you have to “pull hard” on feelings and cravings in order to adapt that new behavior.  More than likely, because old habits die hard, your mind may try to lure you back to the old habits.  You may even relapse and give in. Similar to falling off a horse, you get back on – after all, you’re the jockey (It’s a great analogy for managing cravings and relapses.)
    • Need to embrace one new healthy habit?  Add more produce – benefits include fiber, nutrients and feeling full.
    • Don’t eat anything that has ingredients you can’t pronounce (or recognize).
    • A balanced exercise plan should include aerobic and weight training components.
    • You cannot out-exercise over-eating.
    • Learn how to cook – your go to methods should include boil, chop, slice, sauté, bake, roast, and grill – and use YouTube and The Food Network as your “teachers” if you can’t access or afford cooking lessons.
    • Treatment of obesity includes: diet, exercise, behavioral modification, surgery, medications.  Find the personalized treatment plan that is right for you.
    • Obesity is a chronic disease and requires ongoing care and support.
    • As doctors and healthcare professionals we need to deliverer the diagnosis of obesity with better communication skills.  Instead of saying, “You are obese,” the information may be better received if you say, “You (or your child) has obesity.”

    You can check out the YourWeightMatters Challenge and learn about the first steps you can take to improving your health.  You’ll find tools to assess your current weight and health, more information about the campaign, future events and other helpful weight management tips.


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    Next up: Obesity Week Begins with Lessons in History, Calories and More


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Published On: November 06, 2014