Alia Bhatt said she struggled with body image issues while speaking to Journalist Barkha Dutt at a recent panel discussion for ‘We The Women' Global Townhall.
The 28-year-old Bollywood star opened up about how being in the public eye has impacted her mental health, saying, "because I’m facing the camera, I’ve been very hard on myself through the years with regard to my food, the dieting, the weight, and the way I’m looking."
When asked what she would tell her past self, the actor said, “I’d tell myself as an 18 year old, or a 20 year old, that, ‘listen, just relax. Put the effort in but don’t be so hard on yourself’ because it does catch up."
The Body and the Self
Speaking of her battle with negative body image, Alia said she's in a much better place now but, "over the years, it’s been a bit of a struggle."
“Now I’m like, I’ll put in the effort, I’ll go to gym, I’ll work hard and that’s it. But I’m going to have my moong dal halwa and French fries because they make me happy"Alia Bhatt
What are negative and positive body image?
Speaking to FIT for a different article, psychiatrist Dr Ruksheda Syeda explained, "positive body image actually means you look at your body from both approaches– functional and aesthetic–and if you feel that you need to take care of your body in a certain manner, you want to work towards it,"
"Acceptance is something that we all need to really strive for and struggle for. And when we are willing to accept other people, for who they are and see the beauty within and without them, we should do the same for ourselves."Dr Ruksheda Syeda, psychotherapist
Adding to this, writing for FIT, psychologist Prachi Jain explains, "it’s completely normal to not be a hundred percent satisfied with the way you look, it’s a different ball game if you’re flat out repulsed by what you see in the mirror.
A negative body image can have a snowball effect on your mental health with your self-esteem and self-worth taking a beating as well.
According to Prachi Jain, some ways in which one can combat negative body image are by,
Changing the tone of your self-talk to be less critical.
Setting your own standards of beauty and health instead of comparing yourself to others and setting yourself impossible standards.
Mindfully being appreciative of your body.
Monitoriing your social media.
“With the Instagram culture and editing images, I sometimes feel that I want to tell young girls out there to just be kind to themselves and to their body. It honestly doesn’t matter in the long term. I am saying this to myself as wel.”Alia Bhatt
Alia also spoke about how therapy has helped her rebuild a healthy relationship with her body.
"I do therapy once a week and in four sessions in three months, I’m talking about body image issues," she said.
“When I started therapy, it was just like a hygiene thing. Like I take care of my body, I go to gym, I need to take care of my mind as well."Alia Bhatt
Alia's sister Shaheen Bhatt, too, has been outspoken about her battle with depression and is a vocal advocate of therapy and mental health support.