Neha Bhasin: I thought I’d never be an international pop star because I didn’t have a perfect stomach

There was a time when singer Neha Bhasin would stare at her stomach and scowl, all because of insensitive comments she received in the early stages of her career. And it took her a decade to break through the negative obsessions and embrace a healthy relationship with her body.

“When I started my career at VIVA in 2002, there was a lot of body shaming, especially in management. After that I had a very unhealthy relationship with my body for 10 years where I was constantly struggling to accept my body. I knew it was the right feeling, but it was ingrained in me,” says Bhasin.

The 39-year-old continues: “I kept choosing diets, putting in extra hours working out, but never being happy with my body. It was my 20s, a point in life to enjoy. But the sad thing about the number is that we judge ourselves the most. No matter what size you are, you are never happy.”

The singer, who has sung chartbusters like Jag Ghoomeya (Sultan), Dhunki (Mere Brother Ki Dulhan) and Parwah, recalls being shamed by the band management because of her stomach.

“For some reason it became such an obsession of mine over the years as I kept hearing about it. Someone came and said, “You look great, but your stomach wasn’t right”. Everyone reflected the same words in my life,” says Bhasin, adding, “I got to a point where I was looking at my picture, I was always looking at my stomach. It became such a negative obsession for me.”

In her mind, her “stomach has become a barrier” in her life, as she describes it, “something that sticks with me like a bad habit.”

For Bhasin, the road to overcoming the possession was a decade long. It wasn’t until she turned 30 that she started to accept and embrace her body.

“My relationship with my body got better after I turned 20. During a therapy session, the first thing that came out of my mouth was, ‘I don’t have a perfect stomach, so I’m never going to be an international pop star,'” she tells The Singer.

Why? “Because I remember when I was doing research at the time, I couldn’t find a single pop star in the world who didn’t have abs. Nowadays people are much more accepting of all kinds of body types. At that time, body shaming was a natural thing for an actor or singer to do.

Today she has accepted her body without fear of judgement, which is also reflected in her social media posts.

“Even today I have my days when I fight. But mostly I would say at this point that I have the healthiest relationship with my body that I have ever had. This is also reflected in my size today. I don’t think it’s the other way around. It’s not like I accept my body because I’m a good size. Because I accept my body, I feel like I look the best I’ve ever seen,” she concludes.

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