graham elliot

Fireside Chat with Graham Elliot at the ObesityHelp National Conference #OH2014

August 28, 2014

Hilarious, brave and honest, Graham's Fireside Chat illustrates how sharing your weight loss surgery journey helps connect us as a support community.

Education · Support · Celebration at #OH2014

Each year, brings together hundreds of conference attendees that are navigating their weight loss surgery journey with a common goal of weight loss, improved health and wellness. There is always a very special connection among our attendees, one where you can look around the room and know that others right there beside you understand the stigma of obesity and what it is like to make that big decision to have weight loss surgery.

Whether they are a pre-op, post-op, or a weight loss surgery veteran…someone, somewhere at the conference has been in those shoes and is sure to understand. We’re proud to say that our attendees walk away from the ObesityHelp Conference inspired, motivated, educated and supported!

MasterChef Judge, Graham Elliot as Keynote

With this very special connection in mind, we invited MasterChef Judge, Graham Elliot, to be the keynote speaker at the 2014 ObesityHelp National Conference (#OH2014). It was an amazing experience for the conference attendees. Graham participated in a Fireside Chat, where he answered questions asked by emcee, Diana Vogel, MS MFT-Intern, as well as questions by the audience. The room was filled with understanding, excitement and laughs as Graham shared his vertical sleeve gastrectomy (VSG) journey story with ObesityHelp.


Highlights from the Fireside Chat:

  • In Video: Part 1, Graham shares that the ObesityHelp Conference Keynote is the first he's done. He also talks about his path to becoming a Chef, as well as when he began to have an issue with his weight and food, how food was his "friend", that he tried Jenny Craig when he was 16, and struggled with depression. He revealed who the first person was that he told he was going to have weight loss surgery, talked about his fear of going "under" the knife, the physical difficulties of weighing 400 pounds, secretly asking for the seat belt extender when traveling, having sleep apnea and wearing a c-pap mask, the criticism he used to receive about his weight from viewers, and he shared a very heartfelt story about a visit to his son's classroom and how that impacted his decision to have the vertical sleeve gastrectomy.
  • In Video: Part 2,  Graham divulges that he was kicked off Yelp two times, discusses fears his wife has and how losing weight has impacted their marriage, shares his thoughts on "the easy way out", talks about taking "selfies" before and after surgery, reveals the one thing he misses since weight loss surgery, discloses what he no longer eats and drinks, talks about how he was always a rebel, discusses self-control, tells us what it felt like to chug water after VSG, talks about plateaus and how often he weighs in on the scale.
  • In Video: Part 3,  Graham talks about living in constant fear, shares what he tells someone that asks him about having WLS themselves, talks about being a better dad and husband, discusses self-deprecation and about being uncomfortable with compliments, and talks about comments on Twitter and Instagram. He reveals who matters the most to him and who he tries to please, he tells what his NSV's (Non-Scale Victories) are, describes what the impact has been of going public with the news that he had VSG.  He laughingly reveals what he ate at a recent Dodger's game, talks about no one recognizing him without his glasses when running, and talks about hot dogs!
  • In Video: Part 4, Graham takes on questions from the ObesityHelp Conference attendees. During the question and answer, he talks about exciting future plans with a cookbook and a TV show, cooking for his kids, tattoos and his surgery scars, his love of music, and coping with stress. He also discusses where he gets his support from,  who inspires him, how he researches food when traveling, as well as how he tastes food when cooking.


Want to see more photos from the 2014 ObesityHelp National Conference? Stop by the #OH2014 feed!

What people had to say...

"Definitely enjoyed hearing you speak at #OH2014 about your journey and your decision to have weight loss surgery. Thanks for being so real and down to earth." --Pattie H. 

"Enjoyed having you there so much, thanks for sharing your before photo with me." --Vicky B. 

"You are amazing! Thank you for coming, really enjoyed hearing your journey as I had VSG one month before you." --Christina B.

"Thanks so much for speaking today. You are amazing!" --Elizabeth K. 

"I liked Graham's philosophy on not eating the pasta, bread or drinking the soda that one time because he knows he'll just want to do it again and again. That is a powerful thing to learn early on. Kudos to Graham and all of us that are figuring out what is right (or wrong) for us after #wls."-- Allison S. 

"You're a class act Graham, thanks for keeping it real!" --Diana Vogel, MFTI

"Had a great time speaking at the National Conference today; thanks everyone for coming out! (I'm hiding," --Graham Elliot