The journey toward ultimate self love and personal acceptance is an individual one, and Zazil Abraham, an #AerieREAL model and a body positive activist, has made major strides in order to be where she is today: embracing herself fully. After starting her journey on social media, Zazil has documented her evolution, what now works for her, and how to love every part of herself.
On Getting Started
Four years ago I started documenting my fitness journey on Instagram, using it as a journal to motivate myself. I wasn’t trying to be famous or successful, I just posted what I wanted, so people could relate to me and my journey.
The Process of Personal Evolution
I’ve learned so much. I was always overweight and I’ve always struggled with food… I’m a definite sugar addict! And all of this has taken me through many phases. When I first started eating healthy, I was all about low-fat and sugar-free. My boyfriend is the one who got me into clean eating and weight lifting, and soon, I was all about fitness.
Then I met my fitness and nutrition coach who taught me a lot, and it led me to try new things. I stopped doing CrossFit, I’ve been eating more vegan, and I’m trying everything to see what I like the most now. I think people just naturally evolve. You can’t say you’re going to do CrossFit and eat clean forever, because people change. It can seem scary sometimes, but I’ve come to learn that change is always for the better. Now I’m more into intuitive eating: being more mindful of what I eat and what my body needs. I want to be more conscious; it’s been a process.
The Catalyst to her Revolution
I started feeling a lot of external pressure. Nobody ever asked me what I wanted to do or not do with my body. I don’t consider myself a weak-minded person, but I never realized I was living what someone else wanted me to live. I do this because it makes me happy and I get to help people doing what I love. I had a Youtube channel called “Fit Me Up,” documenting 12 weeks of eating as clean and healthy as possible. Around week 8 I just got sick of it, but I had to put a happy face on because I had to give results to people and everyone wanted a number. On the last episode I said publicly that I decided to change my account name because it wasn’t working out for me anymore. Doing the challenge helped me realize that this method wasn’t working for me.
Finally Learning to Love Herself
I think ‘fit’ isn’t just about muscles or fat percentages or your weight; I think it’s something holistic. I started focusing on self-love and self-acceptance. I used to be skinny and I wasn’t confident with myself or my body, and I realized it’s not just about a weight or a size. It’s about how you feel and whatever makes you happy.
It all started out vain, wanting to be thin and for people to like me. It has evolved four years later to needing to love and accept myself first and realizing that if you don’t, that’s okay!
A couple of weeks ago, I got a Groupon for a local Crossfit gym (yes yes yes 💪🏼 - so glad and grateful to be back in a Box till I head out again). I’ve been getting to know my coach and have had a few classes now with some of the other members and have ended up shirtless and baring my scars each day (one of the days, I was asked about them, and was able to come out to the asker at that time - he was accepting ☺️🌱). For the last couple of classes, I’ve been starting them out wearing shirts like the one in this photo as well. With the acceptance of my coach and the others I’ve met so far, I feel safe in this space to be openly and visibly out, and have been easing my way into what I hope will further spread awareness and visibility to these and others who attend. 💙🌱#spreadawareness #visible #grateful #safety #thisiswhattranslookslike #ftm #trans #transgender #transman @ftmmagazine #crossfit #boxwod #love #education #awareness #acceptance (at Spokane, Washington)
6:30 AM CrossFit, check! There were med ball sit-ups in the warm-up, and anyone that was here yesterday let out a collective groan because they felt the after effects of the 150 sit-ups we did, either soreness and/or a raw spot on their booty. Anyhoo, today was testing our 1 RM on split jerks. I increased mine by 5 lbs to 105 lbs. 🎉
WOD, 3 rounds for time:
15 push presses (55 lbs)
10 burpees over the bar
10 pull-ups (with bands)
🎉🎊🎉PR! Never touched more than 158# for front squats before today, and I managed 163# for 5 sets of 3 😏 My goal for the year was a 175# front squat, and even though I’m probably not going to get to max out before the year is over, I’m sure that I’ll hit it the next time I do. These were so freaking hard though, and the last set was a serious mental fight. After the second rep I wanted to half-ass the last rep, but then I got my shit together and got it done.
15 slam balls (30#)
20 walking lunges carrying the ball
I finished in 9:37 Rx. My glutes are going to hate me tomorrow 😭
I don’t workout, I train. I don’t diet, I fuel my body. I don’t stay in my fat burning zone, I grind. I don’t tone, I lift. I squat. I squat often and heavy. I squat until the vein in my forehead messes up pictures. I’m not training for pictures. I don’t want to be a model, I want to be a role model. I make my training a priority. I miss happy hour. I train when I don’t always feel like it. I skip training when it might affect my ability to keep training. I don’t train because it’s my life. I train because it makes me feel alive. I train for my own achievement, not for anyone’s approval. Not to avoid weakness, but to exhibit strength, and give others the courage to do the same