10/29/2013 01:39 pm ET Updated Dec 28, 2013

A Peaceful Spin to Health

Each week, I will blog overarching sentiments, testimonials and experiences of women participating in Slim Peace taking in our nation's capital.

Slim Peace Session One

Like any initial rendezvous of random people, there was a twinge of awkwardness in the air as we gathered in the diner-turned-nutrition-classroom. However, that sentiment was promptly nipped by the structure of the program curriculum and ice-breaking activities. A unique group exercise connected us in a way that intertwined our diverse, colorful, and multifaceted backgrounds through the foundational fabric of Slim Peace.

The curriculum, facilitators and success of past 22 groups brought strength and motivation to what would have been just a hodgepodge of Muslim, Jewish, Christian and agnostic women of Northern Virginia.

The evening focused on dialogue about health and weight loss, and turned quite personal, considering that the group had only just met. The room quickly turned into a safe space of trust and support, where individuals shared their trials and errors with pills, fad diets and personal details about their bodies and health goals.

In session one, the curriculum emphasized our fundamental solidarity as women rather than our religion or culture, by sharing personal stories and having intimate one-on-one conversations.

A Serendipitous Message

At the end of our first session together, we had a surprising group indulgence in a morsel of dark chocolate. That little dove chocolate got my analytical gears churning about another dove, the one carrying an olive branch as a symbol of peace, who reminded me that I am an active participant in a social movement for change, peace and tolerance.

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