Hannah Brown Opens Up About Her Body Image Issues Over the Years: 'I Had Disordered Eating'

"It's always been this constant struggle of worthiness," the former Bachelorette said

Hannah Brown is opening up about dealing with body image issues.

On Wednesday, the 26-year-old former Bachelorette star uploaded a new video to her official YouTube channel, where she shared details about her struggle with her body over the years and the pressure she has put on herself in return.

Explaining that her struggles started at a young age, Brown recalled looking through Limited Too catalogs as a preteen and comparing herself to the models she saw on the pages.

"I had a really round face, like I still do now, and huge dimples," Brown said. "Everyone would always comment on my 'little chubby face.'"

The reality star also said that she "always hated" her legs and detailed that she struggled with not having a thigh gap after a girl in her dance class made a comment about what "perfect legs" should look like.

Hannah Brown
Hannah Brown. Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images

Continuing her candid conversation, Brown said that she "loved to eat" — and noted that she still does — but once she got into high school, her relationship with food took an unhealthy turn.

Brown recalled her peers telling her as a teenager that she was "pretty, but I was a little curvy or thick," which she said hurt her feelings deeply. "If they only knew how much that hurt me because I struggled with it so much," she explained.

Brown went on to say that her body image issues reached a peak when she entered the pageant world, adding she went on an "extreme diet" after a close friend told her she should only eat and drink liquids to lose weight.

"I remembered I was hungry. I was so, so hungry," Brown recalled. "... As soon as I stopped [dieting], after the pageant, I was literally starving, all the weight came back on and more. That was really hard for me, so that started the constant yo-yo that I've had for so long."

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The dieting, Brown said, also caused her to struggle with anxiety and depression.

"I was so scared of gaining the weight. I definitely think I struggled with an eating disorder. I had disordered eating, that is for sure," she said. "I would work out in the mornings with a trainer and I was so small and had no energy that I couldn't even really do the workouts that I used to do."

Brown's struggles continued throughout the years, even more recently during her time on The Bachelor and The Bachelorette, where she said being around "all these beautiful women that are all so small" was hard for her.

She also detailed that competing on Dancing with the Stars reinforced those negative feelings about her weight as well, adding, "It's hard when you're always around other beautiful, professional women that dance ... I was so hard on myself."

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Nowadays, however, Brown said she is instead focused on loving herself and her body.

"It's always been this constant struggle of worthiness. When I think back on it all, I wasn't any happier at any time," she said. "The whole issue with it all was I didn't have any self-worth through all that."

"I've definitely struggled with accepting the way my body is now," Brown continued. "I'm like, 'No, Hannah! Cut the crap and learn to have a healthy lifestyle and accept how your body is.'"

The former pageant queen said she is hopeful that sharing her story with her own body image issues will help others dealing with the same, as she attempts to be a "more authentic, real version" of herself.

"I needed to dig deep emotionally in who I want to be," she added, "... Thank goodness I've grown and changed and so has my body."

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