If there’s a woman in the business who has inspired people to be comfortable in their own skin, it’s actor Vidya Balan. She has always been vocal about body issues, slammed body-shamers and emerged as an idol, especially to people who have been at the receiving end of such shaming.The path to reaching this zen stage in her life wasn’t easy, and Vidya apart from facing a barrage of criticism, also went through a phase of self doubt. She says, “(There was) a part of my life, I was in a battle with my body. I was angry with it, hated it, and I wanted it to change, because I thought if my body changed, then I would be acceptable to everyone. I would be worthy of love. But even at my thinnest, when I managed to lose a lot of weight (it happened a few times) I realised that I wasn’t fully acceptable to everyone. So really there’s no point in trying to change yourself to suit others’ needs and ideals.” What Vidya doesn’t understand is the need to talk about ‘weight’ and ‘diets’ in the first place. ‘What amazes me is that people talk about the body so much’She goes on to add that after all this, she started looking at herself in a new light. “I began to accept and respect my body, and it’s been a long journey. I find myself happier, I feel beautiful. I think the best gift I have given to myself is that I won’t let anyone make me feel differently about my body today,” says Vidya, who will be seen next in Mission Mangal alongside Akshay Kumar and the Tamil thriller Nerkonda Paarvai with Ajith Kumar.What Vidya doesn’t understand is the need to talk about ‘weight’ and ‘diets’ in the first place. “What amazes me is that people talk about the body so much. You enter a place and people are only having these conversations ‘Oh! You have lost weight…’ ‘you have put on weight’ ‘what diet are you on, what exercise regiment?’… it’s so annoying really, it’s so limiting. I honestly feel that I definitely don’t enjoy these conversations, and I feel people talk about the body so easily, judge another’s body, make comments, because it’s visible, it’s out there,” she says. “Why do we not turn around and tell these people, who fat shame us, that you should actually be ashamed because you have got such a small mind? Nothing you do can ever change that, exercise, diet, the right kind of sleep, maybe medication!… whatever can even change our body, but nothing can change your mind! (laughs) God bless you!” she signs off.