By ANISAH ARIF
A Muslim Bangladeshi woman, who used to be a boxer and fitness specialist, just won the title ‘Sports Woman of the year’.
The Baton awards, which celebrates women of BAME backgrounds who are pushing boundaries in all walks of life, saw Nazia help gain recognition for her progress.
The London based fitness instructor received her award at The Houses of Parliament on the 29th November 2018.
Nazia won the award for helping women gain confidence and self- esteem via her fitness programme which uses neuro science to recreate the way females view them in a society that defines beauty standards. The way she does this is by speaking to her followers about self love on social media practically every day, her tag line I AM ENOUGH is practised by her followers from different parts of the world.
She told us: “I felt very excited, nervous and highly overwhelmed all at the same time. I had spent so many years working to get fitness as a known concept to female of the BAME background, so to be recognised was exhilarating and so graciously welcomed”.
People and especially females are always messaging the BAME model about their transformations due to her educational impact via social media.
Nazia is no stranger to depression, low self-esteem and self-loathing and it all started whilst she was at college. She found herself comparing herself to her peers, she felt she needed to keep up and her appearance became an obsession, before she knew it anorexia, bulimia and binge eating disorders became part of her life and carried on into her twenties.
Being a boxer, super fit and healthy made no odds she was always looking for that validation and acceptance from her peers and family. She found herself to be very toxic and in turn she was attracting toxic people. Despite her appearance Nazia was fooling people into thinking she was a confident and positive person. The healing process of her condition and issues came down to one thing; she had to learn to love herself and her own company. It was a long process that took time and practice.
The former boxer is believed to be paving the way for other South Asian women: “On social media, I was just a female who loved sports and the different ways it helped me overcome my confidence issues, and ultimately getting over a heartbreak, an eating disorder, and also battling depression and suicidal thoughts”
Being a former boxer, Nazia also feels it’s her responsibility to be a role model by educating people from her own background and beyond. She wants people to understand the impact sports has had on her in the most positive way but also discuss sensitive topics and challenge ideas rather than brushing them under the carpet.
“It was important to me to tackle sensitive topics that are not adressed in the community and be different. I know my culture very well and know what females are faced with every single day. I made it my job to ensure that they felt happy in their physical and mental state of well-being. ”
“This involves me spending 3 days all by myself, doing things such as eating alone, going to a museum alone or the movies even spending a night in a boutique hotel alone and quite simply just enjoying my own company for self- care and mental well- being!”
She goes on:”My mission is to get females from my background to fall in love with their bodies. Being a fitness specialist isn’t the norm, so I wanted to show others that we can be whoever we want to be and break away from this linear narrative of what is expected of us from birth”.
Nazia hopes to spread the messages to a wider scale with plans to create an online platform for the fitness course and a clothing line in the future. Her aim is to travel the world with her signature workshop “How to fall in love with your body”.