This month has me thinking a lot about the importance of community. I recently attended the Your Weight Matters convention, one of the largest public events in the U.S. for people living with obesity. The event allows attendees to connect with experts, providers and peers, and the result is an amazing sense of community. There is something powerful about being surrounded by people who “get it.” People who can relate to the ups and downs of living with obesity. People who understand the courage it takes to show up and advocate for yourself and your health.
Feeling safe and as if you belong — exactly as you are — is something that everyone deserves; it’s undeniable that those who feel a sense of belonging in a community are happier and healthier than those who do not experience the feeling of love and belonging. The team on the Obesity Canada’s Public Engagement Committee is working hard to help build this sense of community for the millions of Canadians living with obesity. Our advocacy efforts are pushing for policy change, but we are also invested in creating opportunities for connection on local levels — and we have some exciting plans for more events in the future. We know that our community is important and that we deserve to be heard and understood. Our stories are powerful, and when we share them we only strengthen our community.
This month I am sharing part of my story in another article on the OC website, and I am also inviting you to share your stories. Our Weight of Living series is an opportunity for you to contribute to our community. By sharing your story, you give us strength and allow others to see that they are not alone and that they belong just as they are. I am honoured to be able to play a part in building this community and truly hope you will join us.
We are better together.
Lisa Schaffer, Chair, Public Engagement Committee