the HAES® files: What was your experience at the ASDAH Conference?

by Health At Every Size® Blog

ASDAH’s 2013 Educational Conference, Staying the Health At Every Size® Course: Navigating the Weight Debate in the Evolving Healthcare Environment, took place this past weekend (June 28-30, 2013) in Chicago, Illinois. A description of the two full days of programming and the roster of speakers and poster presenters can be found on ASDAH’s website.

Many of us who attended came away with a sense of community and renewed commitment to supporting each other in our HAES® work. As a way of continuing that sense of community and support, and also as a way of sharing it with the HAES community more generally, we invite conference participants to comment below on their experience of the conference.

22 Comments to “the HAES® files: What was your experience at the ASDAH Conference?”

  1. This was my first ASDAH conference and there is a lot I can say about this past weekend. Where to start?! First, … WOW!!! Best conference ever! I met so many incredibly intelligent, progressive and down-to-earth individuals at this conference. Every speaker who presented over the weekend was amazing … every speaker! How often does one have this experience?! Maybe never? I was intrigued and interested the whole time. I learned so much and truly feel re-ignited and empowered. Thanks to all of you.

    As a new member of ASDAH, I just want to personally thank everyone for making me feel so welcomed and at home. I really feel I am a part of something – it’s so special. This was not just any conference. While there was excellent information shared, what I appreciated the most was the human touch and the genuine sense of authenticity and community. I feel so lucky to be a member and look forward to contributing in any way I can.

  2. I was so impressed with the poster presentations! It was really cool to see what the research is showing about the benefits of the HAES approach for people of all sizes. For me personally, the conference was an opportunity to “fill up my HAES gas tank” so I have the energy to bring it all back to patients and colleagues alike.

  3. I am so tired today!! I did my best to squeeze every bit of intense life into (or out of) just a few short days! And I may have achieved my personal best for the number of hugs in a 2-day period! The presenters were excellent, the food was close to excellent, the hotel and our conference room were excellent…. But for me, the best was meeting people I hadn’t met before and seeing people I hadn’t seen since our last conference. I admit that the main reason that I go is for the community. I’m not sure how I’ll manage to get along for the next two years without Chris, and Linda, and Jessica (although she’s moving to the Bay Area!), and Sue, and Erin, and….. well, so many others! Thank you, all of you, for making those two days so memorable!!

  4. Home recovering from a great conference! I want to thank Fall and the leadership team for the thoughtful recognition and beautiful gift in honor of my outgoing Presidency of ASDAH. I know we are all in capable hands with Fall and the new LT team and I look forward to all the exciting ideas that came out of conference coming to fruition!

  5. Thanks to Fall and Jenny and the entire conference committee for making this such an amazing conference. What an awesome experience. It was so great meeting and speaking and laughing and dancing with all of you!

  6. As with Maria, I was a newbie to this conference and was stepping out of my comfort zone attending an event all by myself! I must admit I was really intimidated coming into a room full of so many smart, highly educated and experienced people. But I quickly realized there was nothing to fear. You were all so genuinely welcoming and I learned a ton! Being in the fitness industry, the path of least resistance would be to just do what the majority of trainers do, to offer what most clients think they need, to focus on changing people’s shapes and sizes. But that is not what I want to do. I have a renewed sense of my vision and mission and owe all of that to this past weekend. THANK YOU for providing a welcoming space, for your energy, passion and commitment! Until next conference 🙂

  7. WOW! I am always amazed at how much renewal I get from attending the ASDAH conference. It is a validation of the work I do on a daily basis, a reminder of our mission and goals and meeting the most incredible people. I am home having withdrawal and wishing there were a way for us to have a yearly conference. My hope is for us to continue to grow, generate new ways of obtaining funds and have great volunteers so that one day, that will happen! In the meantime, I am proud to be part of such a giving, loving, accepting group of people – my tribe!

  8. Still basking in the after glow of speakers, companionship, resources, and great beer! 😉 Already looking forward to the next conference and between now and then intend to increase the attendance as much as possible. So many folks would benefit from being a part of this delightful and delicious experience. Thanks to everyone who made this possible!! Warmly and with big hugs! Dr. Deah

  9. I too am a first timer at the ASDAH conference but after such an amazing conference it certainly won’t be my last!
    I have never been to a conference where as the song says “where everybody knows your name”. From the minute I walked in everyone was so warm and friendly and introduced themselves. It felt like by the end everyone knew each other.
    The conference planning committee outdid themselves. The speakers were inspiring, entertaining, passionate and from each one I learned something new and found out about another resource.
    It’s a bit awe-inspiring being in a room full of people who are so dedicated to ASDAH and HAES. I am so thankful and feel so privileged to have had an opportunity to put a face to the names I have grown to learn over the past few years whether in the literature or through the ASDAH list serv. It’s so refreshing to listen to people who have something powerful to say and to not have to listen to another eye-rolling, body cringing presentation about the “obesity epidemic”. My job and personal life has become much more rewarding thanks to all of you.
    The next conference can’t come soon enough!!!

  10. I’ve arrived back home after an exhilarating conference weekend. I was impressed with so many things: the number of new members and first-time conference attendees, the variety of presentations, and the many ways in which the HAES® approach can be conceived, implemented and utilized in so many ways, both personally and professionally. I always come away from our conferences with new ideas and feeling rejuvenated from the amazing community that I belong to, and this time, I learned a lot of helpful techniques as well as lessons about perseverence that pays off (thanks Kori!), which will help me to continue my upstream swim in my own resistant work environment. I quite liked the shorter presentation style this time around – some of the presenters seemed a little caught off-guard and rushed because I think it’s hard for people to adapt to shorter presentation times, but I appreciated the additional content from so many diverse presentations.

    Kudos and sincere gratitude to Jenny and Fall and the entire conference planning committee. Excellent job!!!

  11. It was a wonderful conference! It was good to see old friends and it was good to put faces with the names I read on the listserv. There is something very special about sitting in a conference room filled with like-minded people, discussing issues that are almost always on my mind.

    From an organizational stand point the conference could not have gone more smoothly. The conference team all did an amazing job. The speakers all were interesting. The easy friendships made the conference fun.

    I liked the breakout sessions where it felt we were making important decisions for the future of ASDAH and people of all sizes. Thanks to everyone that spent so many hours pulling this together, you did an amazing job!

  12. I have not been part of the “movement” for several years. I was amazed how much the entire movement has matured and grown. The professionalism, research presented, ideas shared and wide spread use of HAES has given me renewed hope for our children, our adults and our world. Thank you to all who spent your precious moments working to make this a beautiful, supportive and very informational event. Personally, I am renewed!!
    Arlene Brennan

  13. Still coming down after my first ASDAH conference. The organisation was excellent and it all went so smoothly. The talks were interesting, moving, and inspiring. But like everyone says, the highlight is being in a room full of amazing people who ‘get it’. It was so incredible to catch up with folks I don’t get to see very often and to meet so many new ones. AND, I learned to hula hoop!!! I can’t wait till next time!

  14. This was my first ASDAH conference and it totally blew my mind! I walked in Friday night not knowing a single person and I left feeling like I belonged to a community. I couldn’t believe how welcoming and supportive everyone was. The presentations were, without exception, interesting and inspiring. I came home feeling completely energized about doing this work. So energized, in fact, that I decided to try to start a HAES-focused group here in Louisville. I was thrilled to find that seven of my friends were interested, and now we’re trying to figure out a time to meet!

    My husband and I love to travel and we tend to start planning our trips a year or two in advance. I told him that the ASDAH conference is now a non-negotiable part of my travel plans every two years!

  15. I had a wonderful weekend reconnecting with old friends and making new ones. I came to learn how to articulate HAES (R) and left with lots of new ideas. That is very valuable to me and I will use them every day, with patients and professionals. Thanks to everyone who volunteered time to make this conference a tremendous success! I look forward to continued interaction as a committee member. (Smart move, putting us all on committees 🙂

  16. “…a sense of community and renewed commitment to supporting each other in our HAES® work.” That sums it up for me really well. Along with lots of warm fuzzies and excitement seeing how HAES principles are working in the real world. Kudos to the conference organizers and to the ASDAH leadership team for making it all happen.

  17. I went to my 1st ASDAH conference 2 years ago and I was blown away. I wrote a piece at that time about how I walked into the conference with so many needs and so much baggage accumulated living in so hostile a world regarding size that it was a miracle I fit through the door! My load was a little lighter this year having taken in so much support and strength at that conference…but let’s face it, 2 years is along time to go without a proper feed!
    I once again feel sooo nourished after this years wonderful conference! The amount of knowledge,strength , warmth and perseverance in that room and articulated by the presenters is truly inspiring. Sharing the space and doing the work with women of all sizes means a great deal to me. And having the experience of being with so many fat women who have found their voices,who can now speak up and speak out after having been silenced and shamed for so long ,gives me the needed courage to regain my own.
    Thanks to all of you who make this wonderful organization happen and to those who worked so hard on this conference.

  18. Reading these laudatory messages makes me feel so badly for not attending the conference. I am President Elect of the Society for Nutrition Education and Behavior. They contribute little towards attendance at their annual meeting in Portland, Oregon, (August 9 thru 12) and my budget is going to support my attendance there. I will definitely plan on attending the next ASDAH conference. I miss all of you, especially your comradeship and support. As a founder of ASDAH, I can see that you are fulfilling my hopes and dreams for this organization. Thank you from the bottom of my heart…Joanne Ikeda

  19. This was my first ASDAH conference, and it was everything I hoped it would be: fantastic presentations, life-affirming conversation, smooth-running and fast-paced, and a real sense of being part of a “tribe,” as Fall put it. I want to bring everyone to the next ASDAH conference: my colleagues, my students, my friends . . . because being among these folks was that validating and important. Thank you to the conference organizers for an amazing experience.

  20. After two exhilarating days of professional community and friendship, I am STILL recovering from the crash in energy from lacking the presence of my fellow HAES colleagues and personal support network that only an ASDAH conference can provide. It is more apparent than ever that after being “off ASDAH radar” for nearly three years due to the need to put my health ahead of my work and research, I am ready to utilize the strength and power this organization gives me to keep pushing forward on a very difficult journey of mine. While celebrating the bittersweet close of our conference with dancing and good cheer, I will never forget the international solidarity I felt as a group of us stood together at 12:01am on July 1st to sing the Canadian National anthem in honor of ‘Oh Canada’ day for our Canadian members.

    We have a lot of hard work ahead of us, but if any organization has the ability to turn the tides in favor of unbiased science and social justice for people of all sizes, it is the brilliant minds and unrelenting pursuit of truth surrounding the weight debate that exists within the members of ASDAH. Here is to the progress to be made until we meet again in 2015…

    • That couldn’t have been better said Janell ! What a powerful, focused and passionate organization! I have never say in a meeting where small groups generated so many smart purposeful goals in so short a time!
      And then there was the fun…the dancing,singing,warmth and good humor!!!! I too am missing you all already! Can’t wait till we meet again. Until then, we keep speaking the truth to others and living it ourselves both professionally and personally to the best of our ability!

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