The Bariatric Foodie Obesity Action Coalition (OAC) 2017 “Connect Drive”


Have you heard of the Obesity Action Coalition (OAC)? Ever wondered what they do, or why you should get involved?

Here’s your chance to do that – alongside your fellow Foodies – and have the chance to win a trip to hang out with me at the 2017 OAC “Your Weight Matters” Convention in New Orleans this summer!

But wait…I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s back up.

What is the OAC? And why should I care?

The best way I know how to illustrate what the OAC is, why it exists, and why it’s important is to share with you part of my own story.

I have been overweight since the day I was born – three weeks early, at 9 lbs. 3.5 oz.! That trend continued as I became a big kid, who grew into a big teenager, who matured into an adult with obesity.

Deep down, I knew my weight was a problem but I had no idea what to do about it. Every time I brought it up to my doctor, he’d simply give me a copy of the food pyramid and tell me to exercise. But it confused me. What do I eat? How should I exercise? And besides that…I was a large woman and I was embarassed to exercise. Left on my own, I only made half-hearted attempts to lose weight.

I had no idea I had other options.

That’s one reason I’m passionate about the work of the Obesity Action Coalition. It’s a non-profit organization out there working on behalf of people living with obesity. The OAC is a membership organization, which means people like you and me can be part of their important work. So what do they do?

Among MANY other things, the OAC:

  • provides important education and resources to medical professionals so they can have productive (read: non-judgmental and evidence-based) conversations with their patients about their obesity. Obesity is an awkward subject, and medical professionals are human. Having good resources to start the conversation about this important health issue is critical – and the OAC provides them.
  • They also provide information to regular people, like you and me, that helps us know and understand all our weight loss options – and not just weight loss surgery. They provide information on medical weight loss and other types of treatment as well. That way folks know the facts about all their options before making a decision.
  • The OAC also advocates to elected officials for policy that helps people with obesity access quality, evidence-based care, so that so many people aren’t denied coverage. Currently, the OAC is advocating for the passage of the Treat & Reduce Obesity Act. They stand as a constant voice in Washington on our behalves – and they let us know when and how we can use our voices to help!
  • Finally, the OAC also advocates against weight bias in its many forms – in the workplace, the media, inside doctor’s offices. They have even started a gallery of images the media can use to portray people as obesity as we really are – whole people with full lives that do not revolve around eating!

These are just a few of the reasons I have been involved with the OAC over the past four years – and why I became a member of their board of directors recently. Being connected to this organization helps me to be a better advocate, paying it forward to those still struggling with obesity who want to get help.

So why does it matter? I can’t answer that question for you. But for me, it matters because I have two daughters, and obesity runs in my family. Should they elect to seek treatment for obesity, I want them to have a wide range of evidence-based choices and I do not want them to face bias – in their healthcare, on their job, or anywhere else!

That’s why I’m doing my part by working with the OAC to make change happen. And I want you to get connected too – which is why I’m holding the 2017 Bariatric Foodie-Obesity Action Coalition “Connect Drive!”

What the heck is a “Connect Drive?”

I’m glad you asked, especially since last year I did a membership drive. (If you were around, you remember, my buddy Monica won a free trip to the OAC’s “Your Weight Matters” Convention after becoming a member…more on that in a moment.)

This year, I don’t want there to be any barrier to you getting involved in the OAC. Last year I heard from many people who wanted to join, but the funds to do so were a limiting factor. This year, I’d simply like to ask you to connect with the OAC by joining their email list. When you do, you’ll receive information on how you can help advocate, educate and support on behalf of people living with obesity.

It costs nothing to get connected – and if you do, you’ll have a chance to win a trip to the 2017 “Your Weight Matters” Convention. To get connected, click the button below that best fits your situation.

“I wanna get connected!”

Click this button if you know you’re not connected to the OAC and you want to get connected. You’ll be directed to a simple form where you can input your information.

“I’m already connected!”

Click this button if you already receive emails from the OAC. You’ll be directed to a form where you can re-confirm your information. (Because it’s good to keep stuff up-to-date!)

“I think I’m connected, but I’m not sure…”

Click this button if you’re not sure if you’re connected to the OAC. You’ll be directed to a form where you can input your information to be sure you are connected.

Remember: If you are connected to the OAC, you are eligible to win my “Convention Trip Sweepstakes” to come and hang out with me at the 2017 “Your Weight Matters” Convention in New Orleans, this summer!

Ok, but what exactly does the OAC do?

Today, more than 93 million Americans are affected by the disease of obesity. People with obesity are at risk for other, conditions (often called “co-morbidities”) such as Type II Diabetes, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), certain forms of cancer, and more.

Further, people with obesity are often the victims of weight bias, which can take many forms. They may experience bias in their workplaces, being paid lower wages or being declined for promotions due to their weight. They face bias in the media, with news outlets portraying people as obesity as people whose worlds revolve around eating, instead of portraying us as people with full lives, who have many interests and capabilities.

When people with obesity seek medical treatment, responses can vary. There are many wonderful, knowledgeable and supportive medical professionals who truly try to help patients get connected with effective treatments. But far too often, patients face bias and ignorance even with their medical service providers, who do not offer information about evidence-based treatment options.

But there is hope.

There are effective, tested, evidence-based treatments for obesity. Yet many people either aren’t offered or don’t have access to these life-saving interventions for a variety of reasons. Further, people living with obesity are also hindered by bias in healthcare, employment, the media and popular culture. As long as we continue to treat obesity like a character defect and people suffering from it as the punchlines of jokes, the epidemic will continue. But we – yes, you and I! – can change things.

If we stand together, we can make a difference in the fight against obesity. The OAC brings our voices together. The OAC is a non-profit organzation that exists to educate, advocate and support in the fight against obesity. The organization provides vital resources to individuals, medical professionals, and professional organizations to help them understand evidence-based weight loss options. They work with elected officials to develop policy ensuring that people living with obesity have access to quality treatment. And each year, they bring together researchers, medical professionals, and people living with obesity for their premier educational event, the “Your Weight Matters” Convention.

Win a trip to the YWM Convention!

Advocacy Training Pic
Nik and friends attending the FREE advocacy training during the YWM Convention in 2014. Here I learned how I could use my voice to fight weight bias and stigma.

The OAC “Your Weight Matters” Convention will be held August 10-13 in New Orleans, Louisiana. It is the premier education, advocacy and support event for obesity. You’ll have the chance to hear about the latest obesity treatments, get inspired by new ideas on how to manage your food, activity and life to achieve a healthier weight and life. And…you’ll have fun! You’ll meet lots of other people who, like you, are battling the disease of obesity with the help of a thriving, supportive, inspiring community of people who are all connected to the OAC.

I want you to be there! That’s why I’m hosting my 2nd annual “OAC Convention Trip Sweepstakes” where you can win an expenses-paid trip to the convention. To be eligible to win, you must:

  • Be connected to the OAC (see the buttons at the top of the page!)
  • Meet eligibility requirements (more about that on the entry page)
  • Be available to come to the Convention in August

Will you do it? Will you join me and so many others who have joined our voices on behalf of millions of people living with obesity? I hope you will…and I hope to see you at Convention!

Enter the Sweepstakes!


Walk from Obesity pic
Nik with Michelle (Shelly) Vicari of The World According to Eggface participating in the Walk from Obesity at the 2nd Annual Your Weight Matters Convention in Phoenix, AZ in 2013.


Costume Party Pic
Me and Pandora Williams of Desperately Seeking Slender all dressed up for the “Party of the Ages,” which was the theme for the annual costume party during the YWM Convention in 2014.


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