Unlike many reality TV stars her age, Sadie Robertson is a shining example of the type of young woman we want to raise this generation of girls to be.
Comfortable in her own skin, transparent about her past, and grounded in the Word, the 20-year-old Duck Dynasty daughter is about as real in her Christ-like walk as they come.
But admittedly, navigating her journey as a daughter of the King through an industry obsessed with flawless appearance and plastic-surgery perfection has not come without its challenges.
Though her fiery sermons fueled with biblical truth may make it seem like she’s got it all together, Sadie—like the rest of us—has wrestled with finding her identity in Christ rather than the idols of this world.
“I struggled with an eating problem connected to a negative body image for about a year. It was dark. It was ugly. It was insanely difficult. It was done in secret. It was hidden,” Sadie revealed in her painfully honest post, adding that she didn’t even tell her own mom until recently.
Getting lavished in praise for her slim new figure only perpetuated her distorted self-image that became reliant on the approval of Hollywood and adoring fans.
“My fear didn’t just stem from one particular thing,” she explained. “It was more of a [byproduct] of the battle happening in my heart and mind. I was trapped in a battle that took place 24/7, and it was one that day by day began to defeat me. My mirror, my pictures, my clothes, and my view were my worst enemies.”
In a recent podcast interview with HollywoodLife.com, Sadie elaborated on the disease that led her to suffer in silence and the unlikely catalyst that helped cure it.
Sadie shared that the demise of a three-year relationship actually served as a much-needed wake-up call to the warped reality she was living in:
“For me, it was hitting rock bottom and it was a wake-up call. Honestly, it was the day that my boyfriend and I had broken up and it had nothing to do with him. But it was just the moment that I was really broken and I was really upset. I remember that day. I was like crying and I looked in the mirror and I literally couldn’t even recognize myself because I actually saw myself for who I am and I actually saw myself for the first time. I believe, for who God created me to be.”
While the Duck Dynasty star didn’t list any names, her break-up with boyfriend of three years, Blake Coward, was widely publicized in early 2016.
Sadie also discussed her eating disorder in more depth, detailing for the first time that her struggle was with anorexia. After over three months of high-intensity dance training for DWTS, she came out with a rockin’ bod that became the envy of many.
“Not that I even ever cared about my body or even thought twice about it, but all of a sudden, you have it,” said Sadie. “So many people are complimenting you. Everybody is like, ‘Oh, my gosh. Goals.’ All this stuff. You don’t mean to but that can start to become what you identify yourself with. It becomes your identity.”
Those compliments quickly became her lifeline to self-worth and the number on the scale the dictator of her value as a woman. It was completely all-consuming:
“It was such a mind thing, honestly. You’re constantly thinking about not eating. It’s totally consuming you. You’re thinking about what other people will think of you. You’re way overexercising to the point that it’s just exhausting. You skip meals all the time. You don’t want people to see you eat. Then you have anxiety about eating and it is a full on mind game and problem and it’s all-consuming.”
In her earlier blog post, Sadie explained that Satan’s biggest tactic with her was to get her to look at herself and her own imperfections more than her Savior. By getting her to obsess over her thigh gap, waistline and complexion, the enemy was able to take her attention away from the cross. She says it’s on the inside that “the enemy does his best work.”
But strangely enough, Sadie says she finally found freedom in revealing the secret she struggled to hide for so long, and her story is now empowering other women to break out of their own bondage:
“The minute I came out about it and the minute I just began to tell people about it, it’s just been amazing because, first of all, I’m freed of it and, second of all, other people are finding freedom of it. When you’re in that, when you’re in an eating disorder or fear — anything like that — there seems to be no way out, but there is. I feel like even my duty in humanity is talk about it and get people out of it.”
Sharing her story helped Sadie break free from the guilt and shame that her eating disorder manifested in her, and she’s now on a mission to help the 97% of girls who struggle with body image to do the same.
“It is not easy to jump to that 3%, but it is possible,” Sadie attests to her own experience.
Hear more from Sadie’s inspiring journey to walking in freedom in her full podcast interview.