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Obesity Action Coalition Convention Day 4

So it’s my last day in Dallas and I think I was easily out till 2am again last night socializing in the Media Bar at the Hilton Anatole that we are staying at for the OAC Convention. I know I’ve done a lot of late nights this weekend and I have no doubt my body is going to make me pay for it in the next couple of days. We’ll see. But this day was no different from normal, I woke up to the alarm clock screeching in my ear in a way that would make you completely homicidal if that noise came out of any human being as you were trying to wake up. Now it was time for the typical morning dialog.

Me: The alarm is going off, time to get up, no sense trying to go back to sleep it never works, time to get up and be productive.

Sleepy Me: Grrrr

Me: Seriously get up! You’re wasting time! You could be doing several productive things already

Sleepy Me: Grumble

I looked at my phone and saw a text from Rain Hampton, you all might know her better from her website AfterTheFat.com but she’s my Rain. Interestingly enough, and I don’t think I mentioned this to Rain, my first BFF growing up was a girl named Raina Halverson that I met in the third grade and stayed friends with all the way through high school. Perhaps I just needed more Rain in my life? That sounds funny coming from someone who lives in Oregon, but really, Rain and I just had this instant connection. I absolutely adore her and she’s someone who I look up to immensely in the weight loss surgery community. So my text from Rain said “Good morning…have fun at the OAC walk…” I gave Rain a quick response asking if she had decided not to go because it was freezing. Which it was! This Portland Oregon girl who is used to running in cold weather and rain started the morning with exercise clothes, a hoodie and a jacket on and I was wishing for my gloves and a skully. Of course once we started I warmed up and the layers started coming off.

Now if you follow my blog and have read my post “Things I want both Personal and Private” you will understand my excitement here. The bike rental vendor at the Walk From Obesity had an ElliptiGo on display! Not only was it on display but it was on a stationary stand that allowed you to get on it and try it. You KNOW I was all over this opportunity. Yes Sir-e-bob I was. And I can still say, I WANT! I WANT! I WANT! I really wish I could afford one but not anytime in my near future. My future is filled with paying off my credit card from attending this event. I had hoped that SWWMC would see the benefit of helping send me to this event and how much of an asset it would help make me for them and chip in, but they completely ignored my request and I never heard anything back from them after I contacted my Weight Loss Surgery Coordinator Cathy Geir. I love Cathy, adore her, would do anything she asked, but I’m pretty disappointed with SWWMC and their lack of interest in me. It’s ok, they’ll figure out sooner or later that I’m not your typical girl and that I’m going to be someone in this community. Regardless of that, and yeah I said that aloud and they will likely read it, but I’m honest and honestly, they dropped the ball. Regardless, it’s going to be awhile still before I can drop money on something like an ElliptiGo when it looks like I’m going to be dropping major cash to try to get to all these Conventions and Meets so that I can continue to meet and touch people the way I aspire too. I apologize to my Family ahead of time for the financial burden I’m about to put on us, but, this is important to me and being at this OAC Convention definitely taught me that this is what I NEED to be doing now, both for me, my career and the people who I am so desperately seeking to help.

Before the Walk From Obesity started I took the time to walk around and talk to the Vendors that had set up booths for the walk and collect a couple of Freebies along the way. Then it was time to get warmed up for the walk, or in my case, the run. Bobby Whisnand, the Personal Trainer that I’d had so much fun talking with the day before lead our little group in some exercise warm ups. Me being the fitness fanatic that I am, I was doing a lot of hooting and hollering cheering for exercise. I was pumped and ready. My new friend Joy Muller and I had decided to run the 5k instead of walking it, and we had a couple other girls doing the same including Lisa Tucker. I was so excited to have friends that wanted to run this 5k with me! It made my day!

So we had our runners in the front, and we started off the walk as we took off. Ok, let me just say that this was probably by far, the greatest running experience of my life thus far. My first official 5k run. I only stopped to walk three times, and there were so many people cheering me on! It was amazing, inspirational, motivating and, where do I sign up for another one?

 

Now this is where I have to pause and send a shout out to my Sponsor Pace Setter Athletics and thank them for sending me to the Walk From Obesity prepared. You see those beautiful, well-fitting, perfect for my feet Saucony Running shoes on my feet? Yup, I’ve got them to thank for it. And did I mention how excited they are to get involved in an Obesity Walk? I’m going to be doing everything I can to put one together in 2013 – The also told me that any of you who might find yourself in the Portland area, you know, like if you were attending some event that might bring you here in July 2013 – they’d be willing to give you a nice discount on running shoes. I wanted to take a picture that showed the spirit of what the donated these shoes to do, help me help others in the fight against obesity, so what better picture than this all shoes in photo. Anita, if you only knew who some of those feet belong too, you’d smile, such amazing women in the weight loss surgery community. I’ll hope that when I repost this picture on Facebook they will all shout out, say hi and tell you which foot belongs to them ( ad LIKE your Facebook Page too) Show my Sponsor some love folks! They’ve promised to keep me in running shoes so I can keep working on motivating you and that is quite a gift! Oh and don’t ask me WTH Beth was thinking with her sparkly flats, but she was out there warming up, and walking in them so I give her credit. I’m sure my Sponsor is wincing at those and those pretty pink flip-flops Sarah was wearing!

The Walk From Obesity was held on the running trail in the outside area of the Hotel. The path was .25 miles all the way around and, to help people keep track of how far they had to go volunteers handed out Mardi Gras beads every time you looped the path. We needed to collect 13 to end up with 3.25 miles which is .15 over a 5k but if you only did 12 laps you’d only get 3.0 which would be .10 miles short. I found it so interesting, that after listening to Merrill Littleberry’s session the day before, by far the best educational session of the entire Seminar in my opinion, all I could think about every time those beads shook around my neck and made that cha-ching sound was that every time I was handed one someone was putting a deposit in my emotional bank account. As I thought more and more about it when I ran I realized that for me, running is a multiple deposit payout. For me running makes a deposit in my Spiritual account as it makes me feel so close to my father while another is, it makes a deposit in my Physical account because it’s great exercise, and it makes deposits in my emotional account, especially when surrounded by a ton of super supportive people encouraging you and helping motivate you as you encourage and help motivate them. It was amazing, and I felt on top of the world.

When the run was finished I had a few really important people to hug. Heather, Joy, and Merrill herself. In fact, Joy and I both took advantage of the photo button souvenirs that one of the Vendors was handing and got our picture taken together with Merrill to commemorate the event. That button is going to become a magnet on my refrigerator that will always remind me of two of the people who touched me the most at this event. I got one done with Heather as well of course, because that woman is my own personal cheerleader. I wish I had gotten one with Rain but she stayed up to late the night before and was being a typical CA girl and avoiding the too cold weather. 😀 I love picking on you Rain <3

Now that the Walk from Obesity was over. I had one more little thing I needed to make sure I took care of while I was in Dallas. Some of you may recall a certain confessional episode on Desperately Seeking Slender Episode X where I made a promise to swallow my fears of spoiling a very special memory I have of my Father and try to ride a bike again in honor of my Father while I was in great state of Texas, a place my Father loved with all his heart. My original plan had been to try to squeeze a bike rental in on our first day there, but that just wasn’t doable considering what time we got in and how much was on the agenda and truthfully, there was so much to do, and I had promised Heather we’d go to Six Flags after the Walk on Sunday, so I was running out of time. But I headed back over to the bike rental booth and explained my story to the woman who was running the booth. With tears in my eyes as she helped me get on that bike, I rode it around the same little track that I had just ran around 13 times. A victory lap with my Father, on a bike. I faced my fear, the memory is still as special as it ever was to me, if not more. As I finished my little lap, and let me just say thank goodness there were not many people on it because if I was ever going to ride a bike seriously again I’d need some practice, I almost hit a few things and I totally forgot how the brakes worked. As I came back, tears falling down my cheeks, and knowing that my Father was with me in spirit and armed with the knowledge that Dr. Kushner had given me that allowed me to realize that I don’t need to achieve an “ideal weight” to achieve my dreams I felt, for the first time in all of this, like I had reached my goals, that I had successfully lost the weight and I knew, without any doubt, that my Father had been there to see me do it.

This feeling, this mental mindset, this emotional breakthrough, is the most rewarding thing that I took away from the Inaugural Your Weight Matters Convention 2012 and to be perfectly honest, the money it cost me to get there was well worth what I got out of it. In fact, I don’t think years of therapy would have provided me the emotional payout that this did.

It is hard to explain some times, the impact my Father’s death and on me and how terribly I needed to know that he saw me reach my goals and that he knew that I would have a happy, healthy and long life. And I know that if he was here today to see me starting a new career as a personal trainer, getting actively involved with the OAC, the WLSFA, enjoying exercise and making all these new friends, that he would smile and tell me this is exactly what he wanted for me.

This Convention, gave me something I don’t think anything else ever could, a chance to be in Texas, run with my Father, ride a bike with my Father, and know beyond a shadow of a doubt that my Father knows what I have accomplished. I cannot thank enough the people who attended this event, the friends that accepted me, the professionals that helped validate me, and those that see in me the potential that my Father did and are holding their hand out to me to help me get my foot in the door and get involved. I’ve proven to my Father that I don’t disappoint, and I’ll be proving the same to you as I seek to help others in their weight loss journey.

 

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Author: Pandora Williams

Author of Desperately Seeking Slender

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