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Winner of Bariatric Fitness Contest Shares her Excitement

So while this WLS Exercise enthusiast is laid up recovering from my most recent round of reconstructive plastic surgery I have to say that I am living a vicariously through Dawn Brell, the winner of the Desperately Seeking Slender “How do YOU Celebrate Success” contest that allowed one my blog readers to take on the adventure of heading to Anaheim CA with me in January of 2014 to take on our first official Half Marathon together at Disneyland for the Tinkerbell Half Marathon Weekend.

It was so exciting to announce the news and the winner of the contest, but unfortunately the timing came just a couple of days before my surgery and we haven’t had a lot of time to talk since then. I try to avoid blogging when I’m doped up on pain meds and muscle relaxers! LOL

I wanted to take a few moments today before I head off to my next post op appointment this afternoon and get my stitches out to share with you how excited Dawn is to be our winner. Dawn took the time last week to write a guest blog for Desperately Seeking Slender to talk a little about how how excited she is about having been chosen by the judges as our winner.

OMG!! I am so excited to have won this great contest. I think I am still in shock that I won. First let me thank the wonderful sponsors for making this once in a lifetime opportunity possible. Thank you so much to the wonderful people at Pace Setter Athletic, Celebrate Vitamins and Kay’s Naturals. I will do my best to make you all proud.  I am a little nervous but I have a great deal of time and I found that I have some support to make this happen.  I am determined to put in the effort to make my dream of finishing this race a reality.  I have some great people who have stood behind me in my journey to this day to make proud.  I am also blessed to have Pandora in my corner.  She has also been a great inspiration to me. She has made me see that anything is possible and that when I had doubts I could do this she showed me that I could.  She is a great role model.  I will be starting some basic training this week to strength up for this.  I invite you all to follow along and watch as I do all I can to prepare for the biggest moment of my life.  Thank you again to the amazing sponsors and to the judges who also saw something special in me 🙂 – Dawn

Since Dawn hasn’t been running or shall we say jogging just yet, I’m very proud to announce that in addition to taking on the 20-week training program that we will be beginning together at the end of August leading up to the event. Dawn has also decided to start early by starting early with a structured walking program leading up to the launch of our 20-week training program. Talk about being a good sport and being dedicated? This is just the type of person I was hoping would win, someone with the motivation and determination to make this big dream a reality. From the moment I did my own personal half marathon in honor of my Dad on Father’s day, I wanted to be able to give someone else just like Dawn this amazing experience.

We’ll be checking in with Dawn later this week to see how she is doing on her walking program and I’ll be asking her to write again soon. Later this week I will also be sharing some of the other essay entries that we received so that you all have an idea just how hard it was for the judges to make their selections.

I’ll also be working on some of the blogs that I need to write to catch you all up on some of the amazing events that have happened in my life since I have been in Dallas, but for now, it’s time for me to get back to resting and Dawn to get back to training.

Until later, I encourage you all to go get your fit on for me, since I’m laid up in this recliner living vicariously through all of you be sure to stop by the Desperately Seeking Slender Facebook Page and share your WLS Fitness fun with me!

Dawn thanked all of our sponsors in her little letter, but let me take a moment to remind you to go visit all their pages, show them Facebook love and take a moment to post a note on their page thanking them for all they do for the WLS Community.

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The “How Do YOU Celebrate Success” contest is sponsored by:

Kay's LogoKay’s Naturals
Like Kay’s Naturals on Facebook ]

Celebratecmyk
Celebrate Vitamins
Like Celebrate Vitamins on Facebook ]

PSA logo red from vector file
Pace Setter Athletic
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Please support our sponsors!

Lets Box Obesity Together at YMW2013 with the OAC

attendingconventionbadge2It is the beginning of June. ( Or it was when I started writing this blog ) The months ahead of me are full of adventure as I embark on the next part of my weight loss journey. June begins with me heading to Dallas to work on my studies to become a personal trainer, taking some courses at the Cooper Institute and make my final decision on what plastic surgeon I am going to use, ( Which I did already! ) and the reward at the end – a NKOTB Concert with my best friend.

My surgery will be on July 10th giving me time to heal, back in the gym and working out to my full potential by October, when I am now aiming for the soft launch of my Personal Trainer Business. Getting this last skin removal surgery is big for me, it sort of feels like winning the lottery or being on the sports team that just won the World Series or the Superbowl…

“Pandora Williams! You just finished a month of studying for your Personal Trainer Certification Test, You’ve had your last plastic surgery, you’re all recovered and ready to go, what are you going to do now?”

The answer isn’t “I’m going to Disneyland.” Though, I do love me some Disneyland, the answer is “I’m going to the OAC’s Second Annual Your Weight Matters Convention.” Yes, that is how much this event means to me. This event, being there with all my WLS Friends, is going to be my celebration of this part of my journey.

I had the pleasure of attending the Inaugural Your Weight Maters Convention that the OAC put on in Dallas in October of 2012 and the experience that I took away from that was life changing for me. I took more away from that event than I have from any other event or function I have ever attended.

  • I met the women that I know refer to as my WLS Mammas Laura Van Tuyl, Sandi Henderson and Yvonne McCarthy.
  • I met a woman who I know, I am somehow spiritually bonded with my sister from another ma’am and mister – Joy Muller.
  • I met the women that have become part of my support system and made friendships that I know will hold against the test of time.
  • I met the women (and a couple of men) of this community, who motivate and inspire me to continue my journey through helping others with theirs.
  • I met Bobby Whisnand who is like a guardian angel and my Mentor in the intimidating journey I am taking to become a personal trainer.
  • I met the people who encouraged me to select the Cooper Institute as the school from whom I wanted to get my education.
  • I met the people who wrote my letters of recommendation and made the Scholarship I got to attend the Cooper Institute a possibility. ( Thank you Joy Muller and Pam Davis )

Convention-Details-Main-Photo1I met an amazing woman who taught me to appreciate the value of the transactions in my emotional accounts, to be myself, to fight the automatic negative thoughts that creep into my head and helped me understand that I’m not alone in my struggle with body image issues. (Thank you Merril Littleberry)

I got the opportunity to meet the amazing Bloggers that helped get me from Pre-Op to Post Op Success with their honesty, recipes and positive reinforcement. Eggface, Waning Woeman and Bariatric Girl. – ( That sounds like a Super Hero team and truthfully, it is. )

I had the opportunity to sit next to a Doctor Robert Kushner who specializes in Obesity during the Lunch with the Experts “Is your Ideal Weight Ideal for you?” table talk and have him help me understand that I didn’t NEED a normal BMI to be happy and healthy or to be worthy of moving forward with my dream of being a personal trainer.

Attending this event opened more doors for me than have ever been opened before.

I could go on and on – but these are the ones that stand out in the forefront of my mind. So when you ask me, what I want to do to celebrate at the end of this new journey, that is my answer “I’m going to the OAC’s Second Annual Your Weight Matters Convention.” and guess what? I can’t wait. Last year’s YWM2012 Event was amazing and I expect GREAT THINGS this year!

This years topics are so amazing that I’m having a hard time deciding which ones I want to go to.

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The Lunch with the Experts that provided my “Wow Moment” last year, has so many amazing topics this year that I could hardly select which ones to do.

I am incredibly excited to attend some of the fitness classes ( Even if that means standing on the sidelines and cheer others on because my surgeon hasn’t released me to exercise again yet! )

I’m elated by the opportunity to hang out with my friends, enjoy their company and even more so by the opportunity to meet new people, make new friends, and open my arms to hug and welcome those that might feel new and out-of-place the way others did for me last year.

But most of all I am honored to be a part of this event. I am honored to be a Post-Op Speaker on the panel led by a Pioneer in Reconstructive Surgery after massive weight loss, Dr. Al Aly, to be chosen to sit in the company of such esteemed professionals and bring you the Patient Perspective on this topic is flattering and rewarding in and of itself.

It is rare for me, to stand up and ask anything of my blog readers, followers and friends other than emotional support in the form of a “Like” on Facebook or a “Retweet” on Twitter; I feel like it is my job to give to you, it’s my mission to pay it forward and to help anyone that I can, to try to empower and try motivate and inspire others in their weight loss journey. But this my friends is one of those rare times when I am going to ask you for something.

IMG_5258Please, if you have even considered attending a Weight Loss oriented event, make it this convention. No matter where you are in your weight loss journey and no matter where you are in the social climate of our community, I invite you to “Rise to the Challenge” and take advantage of this opportunity to come together for evidence-based education, and gain some of the helpful tools with weight an empowerment that I was able to gain from attending last year and attend the YWM2013 Convention.

Attending this event last year was life changing for me. ( And others just check out Last year’s Testimonials ) It empowered me in so many ways, not only did it lend to me finding some of the most important people in my support system, but it taught me that I didn’t have anything to prove and that I didn’t need to reach the “normal BMI” I was chasing to pursue the career I wanted as a Trainer. That my story, and my journey from a BMI of 69.9 to a BMI of 26.6 is enough to make me successful and to inspire the clients I want to work with. It empowered me in my desire to advocate for others…

That said … I have a message for you .. if you want to fight weight bias, if you want to fight fat shaming, if you want to fight weight prejudice, if you want to fight bullying, if you want to fight obesity, then set EVERYTHING else aside and join me at YWM2013 and let’s crane kick obesity together!

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The OAC is currently running a contest where one Blogger will win an all expense paid trip to the event and if I win, I will be using it as an opportunity to make sure that the woman that welcomed me with open arms and made sure that I felt included and has been there to support me through some very emotionally trying times in the last eight months (Waning Woman) is also able to attend this event. So if you are already registered and you did so with some inspiration or motivation that came from yours truly, please let the OAC know by sending an email to convention@obesityaction.org and telling them that Pandora at DeperatelySeekingSlender.com sent you and if you register now, be sure to put my name down on the referral and give me a chance to pay it forward to someone deserving. Join me at that OAC YWM2013 Convention and lets fight obesity together in an empowering environment that will be filled of positivity, inclusively and fun!

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Author: Pandora Williams

Author of Desperately Seeking Slender

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