Kate Ferdinand reveals 15-year battle with body dysmorphia caused panic attacks so severe she suffered hair loss

Kate Ferdinand has opened up about her 15-year battle with body dysmorphia [Image: Getty]

She regularly wows her one million fans on Instagram with stunning bikini snaps.

But Kate Ferdinand, 28, has opened up about a 15-year battle with body dysmorphia along with suffering severe anxiety.

Speaking to Fabulous magazine, the former reality TV star - who married footballer Rio Ferdinand in Turkey in October - explained that she had experienced low self-esteem since her teens.

She said: “I’ve always thought I looked bad and it’s only in the last two years I have been able to rethink what’s important and what isn’t.

READ MORE: Davina McCall wows with amazing 10-day body transformation in same bikini while on holiday

“I’ve learned to accept myself, but it’s been a hell of a journey. And I’m still on it. I still have bad days, but I never thought I would get to this point.”

The ex-TOWIE star said her mental health struggles began when she started experiencing mood swings triggered by going on the Pill to help her acne.

Kate said: “I always felt I looked bigger or different from other girls.”

She added: “My friends would tell me there was nothing wrong with me and I’d have rows with them thinking they couldn’t see what I could.”

The former reality TV star married footballer Rio Ferdinand in October in Turkey [Image: Getty]

READ MORE: Kim Kardashian reveals why she is dressing 'less sexy' now she's a mum

From the age of 14, the star - convinced she was overweight - began obsessively exercising and trying out fad diets in an effort to lose weight.

Kate told the magazine that she would binge on chocolate and then try and burn it off in the gym, meaning “my weight just yo-yoed”.

She also revealed that alongside body dysmorphia she had suffered panic attacks.

As well as psychological symptoms of anxiety, she would also experience physical side-effects - like hair loss and irritable bowel syndrome, which caused her tummy to bloat.

READ MORE: Kim Kardashian reveals why she is dressing 'less sexy' now she's a mum

Kate - who is now step-mum to Rio’s three kids following the death of their mum Rebecca from breast cancer in 2015 explained: “I’ve had panic attacks in the past.

“I know when the anxiety is coming because I get a feeling of being completely overwhelmed and not being able to cope and I feel it in my chest and in my stomach.

"It’s usually a build-up of things. I know I put myself under pressure to make sure everything is perfect for everyone else and then I forget about myself a little bit.”

The star now exercises five times a week to keep her mental health under control, but has insisted she is no longer obsessive about the gym.

She also regularly has therapy, and uses a technique where you tap pressure points to calm herself down.

Watch the latest videos from Yahoo Style UK: