I have trained myself to feel sad and I have trained myself to feel happy. It has been over five years since I decided I can win the game in my head; I was one of the luckiest humans alive to see another dawn and another sunset. Many didn’t make it out alive.

A women presenting in front of a screen to a group of women. Experience with depression, nazia, women, business, coaching, work, mental strength, mindfulness, GamePlanA
Fitness specialist Nazia Kathun enables women to fall in love with who they are.

At this moment in time I can say that I’m successful, but it hasn’t always been this way. As a young female with tons of energy, everyone knew me as the boxer girl, but what most people didn’t know was the secret I had kept for years. The battle with my body image which let me to an eating disorder full of self-hate. An angry person not knowing how to control emotions let alone express them in a healthy manner.

How fitness crushed and saved me

I had been struggling with an eating disorder since I was 17. It came to me in the form of anorexia and bulimia, which then transpired into binge eating. In my bad relationship with my self-image, I hated everything about the way I looked, from my hair to my body and face shape.

It was a vicious cycle and I never realized how much it had impacted my mental health at a young age.

A lean mean machine by 21, I found boxing as a way to release a lot of anger (one of my most dominant leading emotions). Boxing was the highlight of my 20s. I was euphoric, every day I was excelling at learning new skills and my talent for the sport was being noticed.

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I was at the peak of my fitness with a strong outer appearance, yet I still struggled with expressing myself with certain emotions such as sadness or negative thoughts. Instead of knowing how to deal with my mental health, I put my all in the boxing ring, either training for a fight or just training to escape certain problems, mostly the inner critique.

Being a brown Muslim girl, I stood out. People told me that I wasn’t born to do this and what will others think of me, it’s not a female sport.

Physically I was at my peak for fitness, my endurance and stamina levels were of an athlete. Yet every time I looked in the mirror, I was never happy, I was drawn into this abyss of compare and despair, always needing to be validated.

My career change wasn’t taken very lightly by my parents, I found myself swallowed up by fear and anxiety. From 28 till the age of 32 my life was a huge blur, I had slowly lost myself to depression without even realizing how I had reached that place.

It almost felt like all of my years of trained insecurities had come to visit me in one hit. The voices of self-doubt crept in time after time telling me I wasn’t good enough. Eventually, it took away with it my bubbly personality, my self-esteem, every ounce of my self-worth and confidence. It drove me to the belief that my existence was a burden on my family and wasn’t needed on this earth.

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This feeling was something I wasn’t used to, I was a fighter, a boxer that trained almost every day and fought in tournaments, you had to have a certain element of mental power and strength to be punched in the face or take an uppercut right in the chin.

Refusing to take antidepressants for some weird reason, my fitness took care of that and I was slowly realizing how much I had relied on exercise as a savior at that point.

I hadn’t paid attention to my mental health, but where I felt misunderstood by so many people around me, fitness was the only thing that channeled all of my high intense feelings.

It rescued me when I felt I couldn’t be rescued.

Now I help women transform themselves mentally and physically. My own experience with depression and self-hate has helped me to find purpose in the work I do. I use neuroscience and fitness to transform people from the inside out and get them to step into the best versions of themselves and live in their true potential.

4 COMMENTS

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by Tahmina 16.04.2020
Takes a lot of guts to talk about mental health and actually breaking stereotypes to achieve your dreams. Brown girls always are told how to behave how to act how to speak and what roles they must fit into. Great to see Nazia break the rules and we will now see the next generation follow!
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by nazia Tahmina 26.05.2020
awww thank you and love this message and yes we def need to break the mould now
appreciate you reading this and if you do need any help please get in contact
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by Audrey Shankles 20.04.2020
Beautiful. Thank you for speaking out on more than just "mental health is important" and really sharing your feelings around depression and how you went through it. "I had slowly lost myself to depression without even realizing how I had reached that place." - I hope others find this quote of yours because it's important people understand that depression can sneak up you. And it's ok to say that, because then you can move forward and get the help you want and need :)
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by nazia Audrey Shankles 26.05.2020
i so appreciate your comment and feedback and its true you do not even realise how quickly it can creep up on you ..we all have a duty to look after our mental wellbeing
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