Do you ever feel like a hog, fat, guilty, ugly, gross, regretful after eating something unhealthy? So do Slim Peace DC participants who used these adjectives to describe how unhealthy food affects their self esteem and body image. Regardless of religion, age or culture, women ditto'd and seconded these emotional responses. After acknowledging the negative impacts of a basket of fries or a late night pizza slice, we shifted gears (not just our new participant-gone-spin-instructor!) to focus on the empowering affects of healthy eating.
Happy Meals for All
We've covered the nutritional and biological benefits of foods, but what about how the food you can really determine your daily demeanor? What you eat now will impact how you feel later, and women want to feel pretty, confident and empowered. Our Jewish nutritionist laughed and suggested, "Think of it as a happy meal." Think about how our projected self-image doesn't have to revolve around the more superficial wardrobe choice or appearance, but it can come from the inside- literally. The things that we put in our mouth and digest can give us pride in our self appearance and confidence. We thought of this as a Pavlov reference, if we acknowledge the positive impacts of eating healthy, we can condition ourselves into healthier behavior choices.
Rather than relying on Wikipedia or a religion course, we had our Muslim friends serve as reliable sources of information as they shared their respective religious journeys. One disclosed how she made the personal choice to remove the Hijab in order to explore other realms of faith, while another expressed how her conservative practice brought a sense of stability and strength to her daily life. We learned that the Hijab does not reflect a higher devotion, "It's not about the headscarf -- it's about your character," a Muslim participant proclaimed. We realized that a religious woman of our faith possesses the same personality characteristics as a woman from another faith, no matter where she falls within the umbrella of religion.