Hi! My name is Fatema and I am expecting mother who runs a nutrition health coaching business. I am an Indian American and I grew up in Pennsylvania, moved to Florida when I was 13. I have been married for three years now and currently live in California. My upbringing was always kind of like a “white brown family” as I like to say. At home, we spoke both Gujrati and English, and depending on the occasion, our clothing was always a mix of Indian or Western clothing.
I always saw that the women had a pretty standard and fair role in the mosque, which I know is not always the case.
My family was always a big part of the mosque which had a huge impact on my life. I always saw that the women had a pretty standard and fair role in the mosque, which I know is not always the case. We always had girls apart of the youth board and had a lady committee. We also had a lot of moms who had completed their education and had a Masters or PhD be super involved in the mosque. It was so great to see women in that age group apart of the religious community as well. I think in general seeing those women have such a heavy part in our community inspired me to eventually start my own coaching business years later.
A bit about my education- I graduated with a degree in health sciences and was planning on going to nursing school. Somewhere in between, I ended up getting married to my husband and he was the inspiration for me to become more health conscious. I think when you live on your own, you are able to make more informed decisions on what you eat. If you knew me before, you knew I could probably care less about how I ate and if I even took care of myself. I learned slowly that the way you eat really affects your life.
I thought about switching careers from nursing school and instead embark on a journey to educate people about how to take care of their bodies. Luckily I had a lot of very strong positive female influences during this time.
I thought about switching careers from nursing school and instead embark on a journey to educate people about how to take care of their bodies. Luckily I had a lot of very strong positive female influences during this time. One person was my mother-in-law. She was very head-on in helping me make my decision. She told me if there’s something I want, I should work hard for it, no matter what people would say. I knew deep down that being a nurse would make me more credible for people, but I felt like this would make me happier. My mother-in-law always said that if it made me happy, I should pursue it. I am so grateful for her advice because it really stuck with me to this day.
As much as I would talk to my husband about starting my business, it was helpful to have another female perspective from someone my age. My cousin would always ask me, “What feels right?” and she would help me realize if I am doing it for myself or someone else.
Another huge help for me during my career shift was my cousin who is also a social worker herself. She would always remind me – don’t be afraid of change. You are much more capable than you think you are. As much as I would talk to my husband about starting my business, it was helpful to have another female perspective from someone my age. My cousin would always ask me, “What feels right?” and she would help me realize if I am doing it for myself or someone else. Every time I thought about it, I realized that advocating for a healthier lifestyle was my passion. And that’s what I decided to pursue.
And here I am! I have a nutrition health coaching business and am really thankful I made the career switch. I love what I do because I am so passionate about it. It can be challenging of course, especially in the Muslim community. I think this is because a lot of our cultures have very oily based foods. I mean, I get it guys, I love my biryani too! Still, I love working with different clients from different backgrounds because fitness is the kind of thing that is for everyone. It knows no boundaries.
I am so happy I had so many supportive people in my corner to help make this decision, especially as a now-expecting mother. A part of me is worried that I won’t be able to handle my business and a child, but I know I can do whatever I set my mind to. I am so excited for this next chapter of my life, and even though it does seem terrifying, starting my own business seemed impossible at one point too. I did that with the help of my friends and family, so I know Allah will provide the resources to handle this next chapter as well.