Sarah Hyland speaks out about dealing with her fluctuating weight and health, as well as online bullying

Sarah Hyland wants to set the record straight on her fluctuating weight.

The Modern Family star — who has previously talked about her battle with kidney dysplasia, which required a kidney transplant in 2012 — posted a series of notes on Twitter to explain that she’s been dealing with health issues over the last 12 months.

“I haven’t had the greatest year. Maybe one day I’ll talk about it but for now, I’d like my privacy. I will say that this year has brought a lot of changes and with that, physical changes,” Hyland, 26, writes.

Because of her health, the actress says she’s been unable to keep up her fitness.

“I have been told that I can’t work out. Which, for me, is very upsetting,” she says. “I love to be STRONG. (I’ll be using that word a lot) Strength is everything. Being strong has gotten me where I am. Both mentally and physically. I am not a fan of ‘being skinny.’ ”

Another side effect of her changing body is that Hyland — who had to skip the Screen Actors Guild awards in January because of health reasons — has been dealing with online bullying for her weight.

” ‘Eat a burger,’ ‘your head is bigger than your body and that’s disgusting,’ ” she quotes. “And you’re right! … No one’s head should be bigger than their body but considering I’ve basically been on bed rest for the past few months, I’ve lost a lot of muscle mass. My circumstances have put me in a place where I’m not in control of what my body looks like. So I strive to be as healthy as possible, as everyone should.”

“Oh and no that’s not photoshop. Those are my legs. Those are my arms. I write this because I’ve been accused of promoting anorexia in, ironically enough, an anti bullying post. And I want young girls to know that that’s NOT my intention.”

Hyland says she’s “eating as much protein as possible” to maintain her muscles, but admits that it’s tough to see them disappearing.

“It’s never fun to look in the mirror and see your hard work at the gym fade away or have your legs be the size of one’s arms,” she says. “But I know that when I get clearance I will be able to get back to the STRONG, lean, and fabulous self I know I can be.”

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And Hyland says she isn’t bothered by the negative comments.

“I don’t mind when you say that I look pregnant. Or fat. Because I know that my face is swollen from my medication that is saving my life,” she says. “For those on Prednisone I know what you’re going through and I commend you sticking it out as I have.”

“My self confidence is not rendered from your comments. Because I will always be too fat. I will always be too skinny. I will never have enough curves to be called a woman. And I will always be a slut for wearing a push up bra. Love the you you set out to be. Be the best version of yourself. Be healthy.”

Costar Sofia Vergara quickly retweeted Hyland’s comments, with clapping hands emojis in support.

Hyland, who appears in ABC’s remake of Dirty Dancing, airing Wednesday, made a public appearance Tuesday night at the Dancing with the Stars finale.

“She was super high-energy and looked like she was having a great time. She looked fantastic. She was devastated when Normani got third place,” an onlooker tells PEOPLE.

  • With reporting by PATRICK GOMEZ