When Sadie Robertson competed on "Dancing With the Stars" in 2014, she said she worked out and danced "24/7" — so naturally her body looked extremely fit. But after she finished filming the show, her figure started to change, and people felt entitled to comment on her different appearance.
"During 'Dancing With the Stars' ... I had this body that I never thought I'd have. I had a six-pack for two weeks, but then Thanksgiving hit and it went away. People started to comment," she said, adding that she was getting it from family, friends and fans on social media.
"They were such innocent comments at first, like, everything was great," she continued. "But whenever my body started looking a little different, that's when the struggle came in. There were people in my life who were just really negative influences, that would say things that were not uplifting about the way that I looked and how I needed to maintain the body that I had. It was so wrong. I was insecure at the time, so I believed them and thought, 'Oh, I need to push it.'"
When Robertson appeared on the reality dance show, she was 17 and also pursuing a modeling career, which prompted even more comments about her body, she said.
"People would say things like, 'Oh, if you lost 10 more pounds, you would look like a real model.' I was literally 115 pounds and already unhealthy. That just messed my mind up," she recalled.
This eventually led to "a really unhealthy view" of her body, Robertson, who got married last year, told ET.
"You can't stop thinking about your body, how you look, how you should eat," she explained. "You're counting the calories, you're sizing up your legs and all those different things. You're just kind of completely gripped by it, and that's kind of where I was. I would look at myself in the mirror and I would think, 'I'm fat,' and I was not at all."
"You don't realize (at the time) that the things you're struggling with, you think it's just about you, but actually it affects a lot of other people around you," she added.
Robertson first revealed that she struggled with an eating disorder in a candid blog post back in 2017. She told ET that her religion helped her overcome it.
"I pretty much just took the word as it was from the Bible. It talks about how you're beautifully and wonderfully created," Robertson remembered. "I started praising God and thanking him for the way that I looked, instead of looking in the mirror and saying, 'Ugh, I wish my arms were thinner, I wish my legs were more toned, I wish I had her eyebrows.' ... whatever it was that I would tell myself.
"Instead I would tell myself, 'I am so thankful that I have this. I'm so thankful that my legs actually serve the purpose that they should and that they're able to run, that my arms are able to carry things. That my stomach one day, hopefully, will be able to carry a baby.' Just what we're actually designed and created for."
"It definitely made me stop thinking about myself as much," she said. "It allowed me to be able to think of others, and how I can serve them with the body I've been given."
Robertson's faith in God also guided her when her life changed "dramatically" after being on "Dancing With the Stars," when 20 million people watched her every week.
"I started struggling with a lot of insecurity of who I was because of a lot of people telling me who I am and not really feeling like that was me," she said. "I remember thinking these thoughts, like, 'I don't know how to be that famous girl that everybody loves and follows on Instagram.' I remember praying and saying, 'God, I think you chose the wrong person. This makes me nervous. This makes me insecure. This is not something I'm thriving in.'
"I just felt like God was saying, 'I'm not calling you to be this perfect person. I'm actually just calling you to be a sister and a friend to those who don’t have a sister and a friend,'" she continued. "I can be confident because I was created on purpose for a purpose."
"All of a sudden I was so empowered to do everything that I'm doing now," she shared. "That's just my story, but man, that's why my faith is so important to me."