FLORIDA – Going through exhausting journey to lose weight years ago, Nadine Abu Jubara sought to provide women, especially Muslims, with an alternative platform to exercise, especially for those reluctant to go to the gym.
"Women, not just Muslim women, tend to use modesty as an excuse to neglect their bodies," reads the website Jubara launched under the name "Nadoona," which means "call on us" in Arabic, Radio Free Europe reported on Tuesday, November 12.
"Long sleeves and flowing tops shouldn’t mean flabby arms and love handles."
The website was the culmination of four-year efforts by Jubara to lose weight herself.
Being of Palestinian origin, the Ameircan Muslim, who lives in Florida, found few allies to her plans to lose weight in her Muslim community.
Gathering at weddings and parties, where the tables heaved with Middle Eastern food, she would set about choosing the healthiest items and smallest portions and hear, "Oh come on, take more!" or, "It’s just one day, it’s just one bite!"
"There was almost this discouragement for what was going on, but I still held strong and I kept going and I made it to my goal,” she says.
Losing 65 pounds (30 kgs), she noticed a dramatic change in people's reactions as many were so impressed by her weight loss that they wanted to know how she did it.
"After about the hundredth time I was asked, 'What’s your secret?' I thought, clearly we have some sort of void in this community about this topic," Jubara says.
Noticing the gab, she decided to offer help to observant Muslim women who prefer to wear modest, body-shrouding garments even while exercising.
Launching the website, she began charging a modest fee for personalized diet and exercise consultations and one-on-one video coaching.
Seeing huge interest, Jubara had another idea launching "Nadoona Extreme," which was billed as "the first ever workout DVD for Muslim women."
"Transform your body in the comfort of your own home," it promises.
In a trailer for the video, Zainab, a Puerto Rican-American born in New York who converted to Islam four years ago, demonstrates moves including lunges and push-ups while wearing a colorful hijab and flowing training clothes.
Each step in the workout starts with a brief prayer, reinforcing the religious-spiritual aspect of the concept.
Jubara released "Nadoona Extreme" at the beginning of November after an initial printing of 2,000 copies.
Customers have been preordering the video from the website for weeks.
The response was overwhelmingly positive, from both Muslim and non-Muslim women.
"When I thought of this idea, I didn’t want it to eliminate anyone," Jubara said.
"As I always say, fat and cellulite don’t discriminate between races, so I never wanted to have those boundaries and barriers dividing us that we find in so many other arenas. It's a topic that we can all relate [to]."
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