I have been so blessed this past month to have the opportunity to combine my services with Vision Fitness and Wellness Trainer Natania Goldberg. She was invited this weekend to speak on fitness and nutrition at an event for underprivileged teenage girls in Pacific Palisades called Women Empowered, and she invited me as her new nutrition specialist to speak to the participants on healthy eating.
Women Empowered is an organization that connects,educates and supports women of all ages and backgrounds and inspires them to give back to their respected communities through networking and volunteer work. We worked with nine girls, Natania teaching fitness basics and showing the girls how to monitor their heart rates and myself giving them tear-away handouts of MyPlate, the USDA’s latest choosing of illustration for the five basic foods groups and using plastic food models to show portion sizes and designate healthy foods from not so healthy food items. We ended the session with a fun rap music video about healthy eating that the girls seemed to like.
The coolest part for me was at the end, when Natania asked the girls if they could take away ONE THING from today, what would it be? 7 out of the 9 girls said nutrition based things. After my lecture on Pop Tarts, one girl said she would stop eating them. Another said she would try to eat more fruits and vegetables. It was such an awesome feeling knowing that THEY LISTENED. It sounds silly, but we all know teenagers, when it comes to adults…sometimes they like to tune us out. Maybe because we made it fun and interactive? Maybe because we asked a lot of questions and demanded answers? I don’t know exactly what it was, but the feeling when you leave a venue knowing you might really have made a difference, that maybe a few of those girls would pick a whole grain granola bar instead of candy at the convenience store, and maybe a few of them would try to do something active with their down time, it is an AMAZING feeling.
A lot of these girls live in food deserts, where they might not have access to fresh goods, or they might have parents who are on a budget and are not able to buy all the fresh groceries they might ask for. They might have parents who are uneducated about nutrition and won’t understand why they should buy more apples or broccoli from the store. But the point is, now THEY KNOW. Driving back from the Palisades on the Pacific Coast Highway and watching the ocean go by, I feel good about what I did today. Making a difference is cool. I would like to do more of that!