So I had every intention of writing blogs and doing a video at the OAC Convention, then I got there and realized how incredibly busy I was going to be and how many new friends I would be wanting to spend time with and decided the writing must wait.

So we arrived in Dallas on Wednesday. Heather and I got checked into the Hilton Anatole and got our room in the Tower area of the hotel. The room was very nice, the hotel was very nice too, very large, it had several restaurants, shops, a spa and fitness area a running trail, two bars, pretty much anything your heart could desire. Even a Fed Ex place to save my butt and get my business cards that were left at home.

HJ and I decided to have dinner at the Media Grill were we planned to take advantage of their free Wi-Fi, I’d planned to get a blog written while we had a drink but I decided to check in with Rain Hampton from, someone I was very excited about meeting, and low and behold we were seated about 3 tables away from each other in the restaurant, she and Linda we’re having dinner there too and being the lucky girl that I am I met one of my new besties my very first night there! Rain, Linda, HJ and I spent several hours sitting and talking and dancing. Rain and I stayed out late, talking, sipping on cucumber water and dancing. In fact we danced so much we both left the restaurant sweaty and certain we’d gotten a workout in.

On the way to my Advocacy Training session I decide to head to the gift shop for some hairspray and boy I was so excited when I happen to run into Michelle from The World According to Eggface! I’ve admired and looked up to this woman for so long. I’ve followed her voice through her blog for nearly three years now. Her blog and what she has been able to do for the Bariatric Surgery community through sharing her passion and love for food by providing healthy, delicious and easy recipes for the weight loss community is simply amazing.  Along with Michelle I also met another Weight Loss blogger that I had just recently found and started to follow, Beth AKA MeltingMama the founder of the Bariatric Bad Girls Group on Facebook. I tagged along with both of them and their friend Sarah and we had breakfast together. I also got the opportunity to meet Shawna and Carla, two members of the BBGs for the first time at breakfast. A whole table of what would become new friends by the end of the weekend. And then we were off to the Advocacy training program.

The next morning we were up bright and early for the Advocacy Training program. Now I have to admit, going into the OAC Convention I wanted to get involved. My passion for fighting obesity is limitless and my desire to help others is one the biggest needs I have ever felt within myself. But I had no idea how much attending this Advocacy Training session would change my life. I’ve never been a very political person. I’ve never been the type of person that would get into an opinionated  conversation about a political issue. I’m more the type to avoid Politics and Religion knowing that they often lead to disagreements. But as I sat there and listened to Joe Nadglowski, the CEO of the OAC and Chris Gallagher, the OAC’s Policy Consultant explaining the concept of Marching to Capital Hill in defense of a bill that might affect people with obesity; suddenly I realized, there is a point I will indeed get involved in politics, a point where I care enough. When the politics start affecting the goals and aspirations I have by affecting the people I want to help. You’re damn right I’m ready to risk talking about one of the big No Nos in order to try to make a difference.

The best way I can explain this, I’m the type of person that always roots for the underdog, that always fights for the victim and wants to take down the bully. I’m that girl who will be completely non confrontational with you, I’ll be calm and rational with you, but you mess with my friends and I’ll come out swinging like a mama bear defending her cub. That’s just who I am, I’ve been a fighter my whole life, I’ve fought emotional battles for a long time, I’ve got good training, and I’ll come out with my gloves on to defend someone else so that they don’t ever get emotionally beat up the way I did faster that you can blink.

Several times along my weight loss journey I have had moments of epiphanies. Moments that something hits me and I realized that I have just achieved another mental breakthrough. I love these moments because for someone who was used to having mental breakdowns ALL the time this is a very big non scale victory for me. It shows how much I have grown as a person and how far I have come in breaking the cycle of abuse that plagued my family.

As I sat there participating in the OAC Advocacy Training program; all I could think of was the day that my Personal Trainer first introduced me to Kick Boxing. While we were doing combo punches on that bag I felt so much emotional release. It was a physical manifestation of the anger I needed to release. I beat the heck out of that bag. Ever since I’ve used exercise as a physical outlet for anger and frustration. The more I need to workout the harder I push myself to do it. I saw what the OAC was telling us we could do on Capital Hill as my opportunity to find my emotional release. I believe that our weight loss journey consists of several elements, some physical, some emotional, some mental. I think we need to be engaged in all those ways, and I think; working with the OAC is going to be another way for me to be engaged emotionally and mentally. I’m so excited.

We ended the evening at the meet and greet at the hotel where I got to meet WanningWoman for the first time. You have no idea how excited I was. There are two women in this community whose voices I followed through a time in my life that was full of darkness. It is amazing how much one person’s voice can stand out like that. But for me, when I was struggling through one of the most emotional times of my life after my Father’s death, there were two women who were really able to help me with what they were sharing on their blogs.

Michelle: The World According to Eggface: I could follow her voice and find answers about what to eat and put in my mouth when I was struggling to eat at all, her examples and suggestions kept me trying things and eating rather than sitting in bed crying and grieving.

Keisha : WanningWoman: This woman’s confidence, her take no prisoners approach and her drive and determination coupled on top of her ability to persevere against crazy odds reminded me often of what kind of voice I wanted to have when I was done healing emotionally. Her voice guided me back into the light and every picture she posted in that I’m bringing my sexy back attitude reminded me of the woman I wanted to be. We headed out with Keisha and several of her friends, and I’ve got to say, this Dallas local crowd were the first to open their arms up to me and truly make me feel welcome. The moment I hung out with these women I knew I had started to build friendships that would last.

I got to meet both of these women my first day at the OAC Convention and both of them were just as genuine in person as they are on their blogs. I’ll always admire these women greatly for what they were able to give to me trough sharing their voices on their blogs and websites. I’ll always credit them for inspiring me to do the same. But now, after visiting the OAC Convention I have the privilege of calling these two amazing women my friends.

My first day at the OAC Convention was amazing. But it just got better and better each day…

Stay Tuned for day two!