October 31st, 2013
01:06 PM ET
When Kim Kardashian shared a self-portrait of herself in a revealing bathing suit earlier this month, she was actually flipping the bird.
Didn't catch her middle finger in the snapshot? That's because the picture itself was intended to be a big "F. U." to those who criticized her weight gain while she was pregnant, the 33-year-old reality star told Jay Leno on Wednesday.
The negative press and mean-spirited commentary while she was pregnant with daughter North "really did affect me," Kardashian said. "It really hurt my soul, it changed how I am in the public, I think, a little bit. ... I was gaining weight because I was pregnant, and it was just really hard to read all these stories and hear all these nasty things."
Kardashian, who's in the middle of filming season 9 of her reality show "Keeping Up with the Kardashians," added that she came out of that experience wanting to live a more private life.
"I wanted to adjust my life a little bit, because why would I subject myself to so much negativity?" she said. "I just don't need that energy. I choose to go out with family and friends when I want to but I've definitely tried to live a more private life because of that, because they were so nasty, it's like, why even go out as much just to put yourself in that position."
But when she took the sizzling swimsuit photo while trying on clothes in mid-October, she couldn't resist sharing it with the public.
"I was trying on that bathing suit, and I actually just sent that to my fiancé (Kanye West), and I was like, 'babe, can I post this up?' This is my big, middle finger to the world on everyone that called me fat," Kardashian said with a laugh.
Her post-baby curves were hard-won, though. Losing 50 pounds after North's June arrival was "the hardest challenge of my life," she said. "And I was dedicated, and I was motivated, and I did the Atkin's diet ... it's a newer version now. I remember in college, I would try every single diet with my dad, and we did the Atkin's diet together and I lost weight and so did he. At the beginning (after giving birth) I couldn't exercise a whole lot. But then I started going on hikes with different family members, my boyfriend, everyone, and it worked."
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