We Are Family

YazTheSpaz reflects on the importance of family in our lives.

Every journey has struggles and obstacles that we must overcome to reach our goals. Our family, friends, coworkers and (if we have them) children can motivate us to hit our personal targets.

Throughout the years, I’ve found that I get the most ambition to reach my goals through the help of family and friends. They offer not only encouraging, motivating and wise words, but also actions.

Two specific events I can clearly identify as life-changing for me were when I began wearing the hijab and when I lost 14 kg (30 lbs).

During both of those instances, I found myself seeking comfort with my family, especially my sister. During the summer of 2001, both my sister and I began wearing the hijab. She was turning 15 and I was just ending the age of 12. In Islam, it is said that a girl should start wearing the hijab at the point of puberty, but I started before that stage.

Donning the hijab was a transition that my sister and I wanted to take together. We figured it would be easier on us both this way. She was a source of support, and my mother instilled in us the values and beauty of the hijab. Being a convert to Islam, she took the religion very seriously and wanted to raise us while being the best example and role model she could be. My mother strived to put her all into everything she set her heart to.

Family and friends also played a huge role in my success during my process of losing weight and getting healthy. It all started with my father. For as long as I can remember, he’s never brought one unhealthy grocery item into the house. We weren’t the typical American family that had soda and chips to snack on – we had fruits and natural juices. I can’t thank my father enough for guiding us along the right path of eating a balanced diet and taking care of our health.

With all the foundational knowledge from my father’s teachings of what I should and shouldn’t eat, I reached a point in my life that I needed to put it to good use. In ‘Keepin’ It Real’, my article in the September 2012 issue of Aquila Style magazine, I wrote about my weight loss journey, along with the steps I took to reach my weight loss goals.

While I was struggling with my weight, my sister was also going through the same issue in her life. We were side by side every step of the way – watching what we ate, going hardcore at the gym, and exchanging words of encouragement during our journeys.

These are just two ways in which family has had a huge impact on my life. With their support, we must keep pushing ourselves to be the best role models in all aspects of life, including religion and relationships both with others and with ourselves.

Yaz and her supportive sister.

It is instances like these that bring closeness between families and friends during major transitions in a person’s life. Above all, we have God by our sides at all times and without His guidance and strength, nothing would be possible. Stay focused, keep strong and appreciate the support and motivation you have in your life, whether from a close friend, a family member or even your child.