Thank you. Two simple words that are so hard to say.

This last weekend was the Obesity Action Coalition’s 3rd Annual Your Weight Matters Convention. It was a great weekend, and I will be posting things about it over the coming weeks, including a slew of mini-interviews I did with attendees, vendors and speakers. The official end to the event was the Awards Dinner on Saturday night. Each year, the OAC gives out seven awards across a few different categories.

Here’s a quick rundown of those awards…

The Robin Blackstone Award for Outstanding Membership Recruitment by a Physician. There was pretty much a tie for two centers this year; New Life Center for Bariatric Surgery and Rocky Mountain Associated Physicians.

The OAC Community Leader of the Year Award went to the Georgia Chapter of the ASMBS for their role in helping to restore access bariatric surgery for all of Georgia’s state employees.

The OAC Bias Buster of the Year Award went to Abby Lentz.

The Healthcare Provider Advocate of the Year Award went to Merrill Littleberry.

The Barbara Thompson Award for Advocacy went to Rob Portinga.

The OAC Chairman’s Award went to Amber Huett-Garcia

And last but not least, OAC Member of the Year went to Sarah Bramblette.

I’m still a bit… in shock… that I received this award.

2014-09-29-award

BTW, any suggestions on how to take a good photo of  a clear, glass object would be appreciated. Anyways, when I had bariatric surgery and started losing weight, I would get compliments here and there. And it seems I always had some sort of.. excuse. Specific examples are escaping me at the moment, but it was just plain tough to simply accept the compliment. It’s something I continually struggled with.

I sometimes wonder if it is at least in part because for soooo long, I felt so little about myself, that there was no way any sort of compliment could be true. If someone said something flattering, they were just trying to be nice and not hurt my feelings or something, because they couldn’t actually think something nice about me, could they? How could they, where there was so little about myself that I liked.

Over the last few years, it has gotten better. I have learned, by and large, to offer up a gracious, and sincere “Thank you”, when someone gives me a compliment. Even if there are still times I do not believe it myself. I recognize that just because I believe… or maybe don’t believe I am worthy of the compliment, that I can be thankful, and appreciate that someone else does. And I can do so without making excuses, without trying to qualify the statement.

At least not always out loud.

Which brings me back to Saturday night. I admit, I have conflicted feelings here.

On the one hand, I know there is a lot of work I have done, both with the OAC and on my own here, through this blog, through my radio show, and just in daily life. So sure, maybe I did earn this. But on the other hand, I don’t do it because of the chance of getting an award. Yet on the other hand, it does… feel good… to be recognized for one’s efforts. Especially when that recognition comes from those you admire, respect and look to for inspiration in what you do. And on the other hand, I don’t feel like what I do is anything… special. I just do it. I’m going to steal a phrase from a good friend of mine, Mark. I do it… because I can.

I guess, this is another way, life can change after weight loss. When caught so tight in the grip of a disease like obesity, a disease that so often not only affects our bodies but also our minds, obliterating our self-esteem, our feelings of worth, we can’t trust the words of others because we have so little faith in ourselves. We spend so much time fighting our own battle between wanting to be seen by others and simply wanting to hide ourselves from the world. And it’s a mindset that is terribly hard to break out of. Part of it, I guess, comes from us beginning to have faith in ourselves, to find the worth in ourselves, to respect ourselves, to… trust… ourselves. And when we can do that, we can start trusting others, trusting that what they think about us, what they say about us, comes from a place of trust and faith in us, respect for us.

So, “Thank you“. Thank you to the Board and others with the OAC that decided I was worthy of this award, this recognition as well as for giving me the opportunity to earn such an award. Thank you to everyone there that stood up and cheered as I was heading up to the stage. It is a humbling thing, but also very, very, very gratifying. I truly hope I can continue to show myself to be worthy of this award in the coming years, to continue to be an example of what any of us can do when we come to believe in ourselves and put our trust in those that believe in us.

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