“Growing up, I was a really fat kid. I was barely 10-12 years old when people I didn't even know came to me and told me I that I needed to control what I ate because I was ‘fat’. At times my parents would also get worried about my weight. However, my family doctor said that it was just baby fat which I would lose in the future. Nevertheless, the society was cruel enough to affect me deeply. I had a ballet teacher who would constantly ask me to leave the class because I did not have the body for ballet. She even humiliated me in front of everybody by asking me to not appear for the exam. My mother however supported me through this ordeal. She said, “It is one thing if you are not capable of dancing, but don't let people put you down just because you are fat.” These words left a deep impact on me. My family has been immensely supportive. They taught me to be confident and not let others words affect me.
But the social pressure never stopped. By the time I was a teenager I was very conscious of my body. So I took to crash dieting. I was obsessed with how I looked and had an eating disorder and started calorie counting any morsel that entered my mouth. Thankfully, my parents realized that it needed medical attention. Them and my older brother, who probably didn't understand much at that point, supported me through and through. Over the years my weight kept on fluctuating. Even though I was not fat anymore, in my mind I was still the fat kid. So whenever I looked in the mirror all I started percieving myself as fat and found flaws when in reality that wasn’t the case at all. This was just because how deeply what people said had affected me when I was younger.
In the recent years though I have started feeling comfortable with my body thanks to my instructors. They focused on making me fitter and stronger- mentally and physically. For them it was never about aesthetics. It has helped me be comfortable with who I am. But even today when I go to events, I find people commenting on how I look. It's never “How are you?” It's always “Oh! You have become fat!”, or “Oh! You have become so thin!” People should understand that they are not entitled to make such comments. If you have noticed that I have gained weight, then so have I. I look at myself in the mirror everyday. And if you point it out to me it does affect my psyche even if the comments are in passing. I was excessively bothered by how much I weighed, so much so that I counted every calorie I consumed. People asked me why I didn't eat or why I ate so less. What they need to realise is that it is my choice. Dieting is also a choice. It has been given a very negative connotation. It's about being fit and living a healthy life and not about getting thin and skipping meals. I have realized this and now I make sure that when people comment, they know that my body is something that I work hard to build and maintain. It is nobody's business to judge me but instead to mind their own measurement!”