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  • Writer's pictureFatima Tan'ia

FATionista in the City to Fab & Fit in the City

Updated: Mar 18, 2020

For as long as I can remember I was called fashionable or stylish and my innate ability to conquer the art of the high/low fashion trend was the topic at many high school lunch tables. During the beginning of high school I was a size 12/14 with huge breasts so trying garments on was essential. As I got older and my waist expanded the love of fashion became stronger and truth be told my weight gain never stopped me. I was no longer a FASHIONISTA but a FATionista in my eyes and that of many others. I am and always will be an avid shopper. I take pride in defeating the size chart at stores that only offer “straight sizes”. The key factor has always been DON’T BE LAZY, TRY IT ON. You would be surprised at how many size 12’s I had in my closet last year prior to my weight loss journey. Funny thing is when I purchased these garments I was nobody’s 12, in fact I was a size 22.

Many of you may think WOW size 22 that’s big (and it was) but you may also assume I was lacking in the self-confidence department. In that case I would have to bat my long eyelashes and advise you that my weight had no damper on my self-confidence. I consider this is an absolute blessing because so many people become introverts as their weight balloons. Now do not be fooled I like so many other women have had that “this makes me look fat” moment but it was brief and short lived. I went from Fashionista to FATionista.....but how did I end up in the City?

Since I was 5 I had this burning passion for fashion but I let fear of taking a risk and the thought of others regarding my career choice discourage me. At 24 I owned a home, I had a Director position at a not for profit, brand new car, college degree etc. Everyone would say “Fatima You are living the life”, and I was content but not living to my full potential. At age 30 I lost my job and initially I broke down asking myself "why me", and as I prayed I remember hearing God speak and saying "why not you". I had been contemplating making a career change for years so I decided to leave it all behind and move to New York City to embark on my journey as a Celebrity Wardrobe Stylist. I was scared as hell. Everything that could go wrong prior to my move did including me breaking my hand. I thought to myself who in the world waits until they are 30 to break a damn bone, swatting a fly at that? I didn't have a job lined up in New York but I had an apartment that I paid for and it was waiting! I prayed about my decision and 2 months later I left my place in Upstate NY and I drove a U‐Haul with my belongings as my mom drove my car. I remember my first night in my apartment I cried and thought did I just make the worse decision of my life. I had no savings, no job and just enough for a few meals. Since that time my work has been on television, in magazines and I've styled at the Grammys. My career was on the right path and I was a FATionista in the City. The journey back to a Fashionista had to began......

January 2016 my mom came to visit for a few days like she has done in the past, however this time things were a little different. In speaking to my mom a few years prior to her 2016 visit she had been diagnosed with Type II diabetes. Finding out her diagnosis immediately made me think of everyone that I had known (with the same diagnosis), all of whom had either had limbs amputated or had other severe complications. In addition everyone that I had known with type II diabetes was overweight (my mom being no different). I was aware that some people who were diagnosed with this specific type of diabetes may not have been overweight and it could be due to genetics. However, obesity is a major key component in why so many people are diagnosed each year and this is avoidable. I had a serious talk with my mom about the importance of getting healthy and remaining healthy.

During my mom’s 2016 visit she was in my kitchen making some of my favorite breakfast foods. The smell of her family favorite home fries along with scrambled eggs, salmon patties, Pillsbury flaky biscuits with butter and jelly and a side of grits (yes, I am a part of the butter and sugar crew). The aroma coming from within my apartment made me hop to my feet and as I entered the kitchen I saw her sticking a needle into her finger and for a brief second my heart stopped. Why was she sticking herself? Had things changed so drastically that she was now insulin dependent?

My initial response was panic but after my feeling of fear settled I went into eldest child mode. Sternly I asked “Mom why didn’t you tell me”? My mom’s response like any other time was “I do not want you to worry, I am okay”. Things were not okay in my eyes, my mom is my world and the thought of something happening to her frightened me but I had two options continue down the path I was on or be mindful of my eating habits and make a change. It was at that very moment I knew I had to get my shit together and fast or I too would be sticking myself with needles or worse, I could die.

If nothing else I knew I did not want to die. Budding relationship, great career, siblings who adore me, my role as an aunt and daughter, marriage, traveling the world and being a role model for young girls, none of this can be obtained or sustained without life. Being a person who loves to cook and enjoys eating even more (with no restriction) I asked myself the following questions:

  • Could I really do this?

  • Would I be able to stick with this long enough to reach a short term goal? What about my long term goal?

  • Would I be strong enough physically and mentally to embark on this journey?

  • Would it even matter?

  • Would I be secluded from all the fun things my friends did because they may involve food?

  • What about my glass of wine?

  • Would this be another failed attempt?

  • Do I post my journey on social media and would people be receptive?

After I asked myself these questions along with many others the fact still remained that if I did not get my act together and fast I could ultimately die from this love of food which I now know was actually an addiction. In March of 2016 my weight loss journey had officially began. When I started my journey I weighed in at 301 pounds with a long term goal of weighing 200 pounds. Stay tuned as I bring you along with me on this journey to "Fab and Fit in the City."

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