Sadie Robertson is opening up about about a secret eating disorder she battled for nearly a year in an effort to help fans who might be struggling with similar demons.
The 20-year-old Duck Dynasty star and working model got personal in a candid post on her blog Friday, speaking out for the first time about the private pain she experienced.
“I struggled with an eating problem connected to a negative body image,” Robertson said, adding that she kept the disorder from everyone in her life including her mother. “It was dark. It was ugly. It was insanely difficult. It was done in secret. It was hidden. … My self-worth was demolished, and I began to lose sight of my true identity.”
“I was able to hide my ugliness on the inside, and that meant no one could call it out,” she added. “There was no accountability.”
Sadie Robertson on Dancing with the Stars in 2014Adam Taylor/ABC via Getty Images
Robertson revealed her body issues started in 2014, after she was a contestant on Dancing with the Stars.
Allowing all of her “ugly thoughts and insecurities to manifest a spirit of fear, jealousy and deception,” Robertson stopped seeing the world around her clearly and was afraid to address the fear and anxiety bubbling below.
“I was trapped in a battle that took place 24/7, and it was one that day by day began to defeat me,” she said. “My mirror, my pictures, my clothes, and my view were my worst enemies.”
“It was like I was looking in a magic mirror, you know, those ones that distort the image? Except it was my mind changing what I saw. My thoughts instantly went to the imperfections. The blemishes. The flaws,” she said. “At least five times a day, I would wrap my hands around my thighs, making sure they hadn’t grown beyond what I could reach. I knew each little calorie that was in every bite of food I took. I talked about food all of the time.”
Sadie Robertson in 2015Michael Stewart/FilmMagic
During that time, Robertson said she would often put herself in a place where she would reach out to help others with eating disorders – hiding “behind the talk” and refusing to listen to her own advice. “I was staying behind on the battlefield,” she said.
It was only when she turned to God and asked for help that she finally felt ready to tackle you problems. “The day I prayed for the Lord to enlighten my eyes to see His standard of beauty, is the day my whole life changed,” she said.
Now, Robertson said she’s 15 pounds heavier than she was after competing in the hit ABC dancing competition. “I am feeling good,” she said. “If it means being ‘less beautiful’ in the world’s eyes, that’s okay with me. As long as I still get to seek out real beauty – the kind that is found in God’s word, and is painted out in the world before me.”
“Do these old thoughts come back from time to time? Absolutely, but it is my job to take authority over them,” she continued.
RELATED VIDEO: Chrissy Metz on This Is Us, Crying on Set, and Her Body Positivity
One of the times those thoughts came back was recently, when she was cast by a clothing company in an all-natural shoot that would actually end up requiring a large amount of makeup and photoshop to give her the “I woke up like this” look.
That’s what inspired Robertson to start speaking out.
“I don’t want to be the photoshopped girl…giving you another impossible image to compare yourself to. … Because I’ve been damaged by ‘that girl,’ ” she wrote. “It was images like that with false advertisement that sent me down a spiral of trying to obtain an image I did not realize I was never going to be able to reach, because it was not real. I could have never imagined how much it would cost me to attempt to reach the standard of today’s beauty.”
“Praying every girl who reads this is encouraged by the powerful truth that you are beautifully and wonderfully made in God’s image,” she wrote on Instagram.