Photo from the hotel window
It was cool and overcast at this year’s conference for clinicians specializing in the treatment of obesity.
But even without sun, the Obesity Medicine Association’s recent gathering in San Diego was just what the doctor ordered.
On April 4th and 5th Brad Butterfield and I attended the OMA conference. And in some ways, it was good to have, meh, weather. There were no distractions from our purpose: to reignite our passions and get excited about the important work we do!
After all, it has been months since we have seen our patients. And it can be easy to lose sight of our mission when our focus – for weeks – has been leases, contracts, phones, websites, internet and, well, starting a business.
So it was a salve for the soul to be surrounded by the same ilk of medical professionals that takes obesity medicine very seriously.
Some major takeaways for us were:
Focusing on the causes of obesity. We know it is NOT a self-inflicted disorder. There are too many factors, many of which are out of one’s control, to have an individual take full responsibility for this disease. Classifying it as a disease means there are treatments.
Our team has many years of collective experience. We have spent countless hours with patients, helping them come up with solutions to the problems they encounter during the process of losing weight. We see success as a series of incremental victories – every day!
I personally consider myself a reservoir of sorts, collecting patients’ struggles and also as an assistant, someone who helps people find solutions to their struggles.
Time and time again, I have conversations with people about the medications used in weight loss. There is still a stigma that surrounds this area of treatment. There is no other disease of the magnitude of obesity (a pandemic) that does not have an established set of protocol that includes medication. We need to advocate to the public, other providers and our patients that there are safe and effective medications.
The following pair of statements made at the conference really struck me:
- If people believe they can change, then they can. We believe our patients can change. We know they can change.
- Eating and exercise are behaviors. Think about that. Really let it sink in. We need to change our behaviors.
Change is not a particularly simple or easy task. These statements reaffirmed what we have known all along. Behavior change has to be at the core of successful weight loss. It cannot be “doing a diet” until a goal is reached, then going back to eating “normally.” What is normal anyway? Eating a lot of quick and easy processed food with no thought or intention or focus on nutritional value? That’s not going to work, ever, in the long run.
So hooray for the OMA! They have done it again! We are fired up and so close to opening our new clinic. Stay tuned for more information on that front – and expect an email to be coming your way shortly.
Thanks for reading,