While I was browsing through Facebook one day, I started to feel rage as certain comments to articles reminded me of how others made me hate my body and myself. I mean really hate myself for what my body looked like. I didn’t want to feel that way but I did.

I will take you back to being 5-year-old. I was thin and considered a beautiful child. In a few days, my whole life changed when I was diagnosed with an auto immune disease which put me on steroids where I gained probably 20–30 pounds that month. I looked like a cabbage patch kid. I don’t have very many pictures from that time as I didn’t want to remember how much I hated my body or life. I felt like a loner and didn’t really connect with anyone. When we would meet our relatives, they would ask “what’s wrong with her?” I would look at the tired faces of my parents as they tried to explain why I had gained weight.

Me before I got sick

What did I learn about myself through the process? “Something is wrong with me and that’s all people see. People judge me on my body.” This belief stayed with me. As a child I never felt good enough for anyone’s. I associated love with people feeling sorry for me.

Then, the disease went away and I had lost weight. All of a sudden I was popular again! I was able to do ‘normal’ things. People stopped feeling sorry for me. The impact of my interactions with others led me to believe the following:

– I won’t get married if a man finds out I ever had a disease

– I won’t get married as a fat person and hopefully I will lose the weight

– people love me more and want to spend time with me when I’m skinny

– people see me for what I look like before they see my personality

– people feel sorry for me

– I should feel sorry for myself because I have had hardships

– I am different than others. I am less than them in someway because I have had this disease

– food was my enemy as whenever I ate it, I gained weight

– I was so angry that I couldn’t eat what other kids ate so I snuck food when no one was looking

– my parents have so much unconditional love for me that they are willing to do anything for me. They are the only ones who have my back

– I have an amazing brother and cousins who would accommodate to include me and make me feel normal. Even if it meant that I got special treatment all the time. I trusted only family and figured friends would leave if I didn’t look a certain way.

Growing up, these thoughts stayed with me and I would starve myself to remain ‘skinny’, then binge in private. I hated eating in front of people because I believed that they were judging me.

One of the reasons, I stayed overweight is because I didn’t want to give into society’s pressure. I wanted also to prove that fat people can do what they love and be successful regardless of their body. It really is about the person, it’s their talents, their heart and their brains that makes them who they are.

I notice people making comments to little girls that they are getting fat or calling them ‘motu’ even in a loving way… how that loving a child when these comments get rooted deep into their psyche? Their confidence is being shattered one comment at a time. So stop it. Weight is an emotional battle with scars you cannot see.

For those who told me that I would be prettiest if I was skinner well I am more beautiful than ever before because beauty is not an outer experience. Beauty is an inner experience. I am still the prettiest because I have beautiful features but it is my heart that radiates my beautiful not my face or body.

We live in a society where women are being judged on their bodies, how they look and what they are wearing. I am fortunate that I have decreased this hatred for my body over the last few years. I know people still judge me that I am fat. Does my body change that I am successful and help people every day despite the fact that I may not look perfect?

Remember, every comment you make and every time you judge someone they feel it. It shatters them on the inside. Be careful with your words and your thoughts. People are more then their bodies. They are their heart and soul.


  • Manpreet Dhillon

    CEO/Founder, Veza Community: Diversity Consulting and Leadership Development for Women of Culturally Diverse Backgrounds

    Veza Community

    Manpreet Dhillon is the Founder/CEO of Veza Community, a strategic transformation firm with the lens of diversity and inclusion focusing on the leadership journey of women of culturally diverse backgrounds. Veza aims create safer spaces and a deeper sense of belonging of individuals in organizations and communities. You can follow @vezacommunity on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.