Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Success Stories

As you all know, the very reason why I started this blog 2 years ago was to celebrate my success story and share it with you, my story of an ordinary girl, striving to do extraordinary things after living most of her life unhealthy and overweight. I was training for a half marathon and was told my story was inspiring and worth sharing. Since then, I have run 8 more half marathons, 3 marathons, and a few 5k, 8k, and 10k races as well. I continue to strive to achieve more in my sport while I get fitter, stronger, faster, more experienced, and more knowledgeable. My story isn't a secret to you. In fact, sharing every step of my journey with you has been one of the keys to my success. And it was one of the reasons I have felt confident in sharing that story even more publicly outside of this modest blogging venture. I thank you for that!

Recently I entered the Success Story contest through Steve Nash Fitness Clubs, the gym that I work out at and see my personal trainer. This contest is to highlight individuals who have achieved something in their health and fitness goals and who regularly work out at the Steve Nash Fitness Clubs.  I submitted 'before' and 'after' photos as well as an essay detailing my journey back in the spring (2 months before the deadline in pure Zahida-fashion) and waited patiently for word on if I was selected. It was announced only about 2 weeks ago that I was selected as one of the 15 finalists for the 2013 Contest. I couldn't be more thrilled!

Each one of us 15 finalists has a very unique story, remarkable in their own way. It really is an honour to be selected as one of them. As you know, for me it was never really about the number of pounds I lost but more who I've become as a result of my health journey. Many of our stories, those of us 15 finalists, are about weight loss, but there is so much more that goes along with that - taking up a sport for leisure or competition, a new lease on life, confidence, different life choices, impact on relationships, career, and contribution to community. Do take a moment and check these stories out online. They are incredible!

I don't need to rehash my story for you here. And you well know that when I share a before and after photo it isn't to get a reaction of "wow look at all the weight she lost" but more so to show that change is possible. I was stuck in a rut, an unhealthy rut, and now today, I can proudly and confidently call myself a marathoner, an athlete, a role model, and a beautiful woman. I could have never seen myself as these things before, and now it's true. More importantly, I believe it to be true. Yes I said it - I believe I am beautiful!

Before (2008)

Now! (2013)

Today was the photo shoot for the campaign. All of us finalists were treated to a day of pampering. Hair, makeup, and a new outfit for each of us to wear and take home. I got outfitted head to toe in Lululemon gear, which is a real treat as I have never worn the brand before (a bit higher end for those of us with modest budgets). They took a series of photos of me on my own as well as a few with Kristy and Jenn, two of the other finalists that I happen to know! Small world, yes! Kristy is a good friend of mine and Jenn is one of our TNT half marathoners. It was neat having photos done of the 3 of us together as we all wore colours that complemented the others well, and all 3 of us have that TNT connection. And it was a thrill to do this with Kristy as I'm so proud of what she's accomplished in her own health success story. And it's fun to support one another even though we each want to win the contest.

Regardless of who wins -- and this will be announced at the campaign launch next month -- all of us 15 finalists have won. Yes, of course I'd love to *win* the contest, but it is truly an honour to have been selected to be a finalist and to have made it this far. We're all being recognized for an achievement, a lifestyle change, and for making the choice to live healthy. And after a day of pampering and feeling like a model, all of us will be part of the marketing campaign for the clubs. So you will likely see my picture up in Steve Nash gyms and on ads in places including transit buses! Feel free to snap a photo when you see one of these and share with me! I'm excited for this opportunity - a huge ego boost, indeed.

At the shoot today with Kristy


  1. Congrats Z! How exciting! I cannot wait to see your face on busses around Vancouver -- Vancouver could use more of your positive, warm smile and encouragement in its everyday comings and goings.

  2. Thank you Monnie. You're comments always make me smile. Your warmth and encouragement too go a long way. Thank you for always sharing it and letting yourself shine. <3 Z