More than a decade ago Avika Gor made her debut as the young bride in the television serial Balika Vadhu.
She won the audience with her spunky persona both on and off screen.
Avika soon became a household name and we saw her sharing racy pictures from her travel, red carpet events and parties.
The 23 year old took to Instagram to reveal how her journey to fame came with a heavy price.
Over the years, Avika disclosed she gained weight due to poor eating habits and why she decided to switch to a healthier life.
A fit body is the dream of every actor. But Avika had reached a point where she hated looking at herself in the mirror.
'I still remember one night last year, when I looked at myself in the mirror and I broke down. I didn't like what I saw. Big arms, legs, a well earned belly. I had let go too much,' Avika wrote on Instagram.
Talking about her unhealthy eating habits and how it changed her body image, Avika said, 'If it were due to an illness (Thyroid, PCOD, etc), it would be okay because that would be out of my control. But, it happened because I ate anything and everything, and I didn't workout at all. Our bodies deserve to be treated well, but I didn't respect it.'
'I disliked the way I looked so much that I couldn't even completely enjoy dancing (which I love) without thinking "how I must look right now". I got so busy judging myself & feeling bad that I didn't leave any scope for outsiders to make me feel bad.'
'Such insecurities run in the head all the time and they make us feel tired and irritated. Hence, I would often snap at my loved ones.'
Avika's decision to evolve required conscious efforts.
'Nothing changed overnight. I just started to focus on the right things... things that I should be proud of (like dancing). I kept trying to eat better & working out, and I had various setbacks. But, it was important that I didn't stop. And my people were constantly there to guide me.'
'Long story short, I looked at myself in the mirror this morning and I didn't feel the need to look away.'
'I smiled at myself, and told myself that I'm beautiful. And you, the person reading this, you are beautiful as well. We all have a lot to offer and we must actively work on that, rather than feeling sad about what we can't do. But, we MUST do what's in our control.'
'Today, I am comfortable in my own skin. Today, I'm peaceful,' she added.
Making healthy choices
In another post, Avika dicussed how making wrong choices impacted her life.
'I didn't make the best possible choices for a long time,' she said while sharing examples from her daily life.
'Where do I start? Vadapav? Oh I love Vadapav! Give me 2 mins, I'll be back. OK wait. No.'
"No, Avika! Bad choice!" I mean good choice for taste, but bad for health. Why couldn't Vadapav be healthy for us?
'Between a smile and a frown, I used to subconsciously choose the frown all the time. My face only came to normal when things were great, and I rarely smiled!
'Between a healthy (which can also be tasty) meal and junk food, you can guess what I always chose. I didn't eat for food, I ate for my mood, and that choice ain't gooood.'
'I thought, I anyway don't look great, what do I have to lose with a few extra french fries. Well, I know what I gained! (Kgs)'
'Between half glass full and half glass empty, I chose to see the emptiness almost every time. I would marinate in negative emotions for days at times, and not once count my blessings.'
'But it had to change because these choices were making me hollow!!! And it was really hard. (Not letting go of Vadapavs, letting go of the negative emotions.)'
'It took constant reminders, forced reflection and a strong support system for me to gradually move out of the wrong choices.'
'I still make the wrong choices, but it's less frequent and when I do, I quickly try to improve it. After all, it's a short life, the least we can do is try to get better.'