Shirley Ballas has opened up about her difficult relationship with food early on in her dance career, describing it as "the enemy".
The TV star, 62, enjoyed a successful career as a professional ballroom dancer before joining the Strictly Come Dancing judging panel.
Speaking to the Mail on Sunday's You magazine, she said: "In dance people always judge you on your weight: thin is in. Until five years ago, I always looked at food as the enemy.
"I’m still cautious about what I put in my mouth but I’ve educated myself. When I was a dancer I did all these miserable diets. I was up and down and could never find a balance.
"When someone restricts what they eat, they have these huge [mood] swings. I had issues. It was an emotional rollercoaster. Now that I take probiotics and eat better, I’m in a much better place."
In the interview, Ballas – who has a 36-year-old son, Mark, from her marriage to fellow pro dancer Corky Ballas – also discussed whether there is sexism present in the ballroom dancing world.
She claimed that the industry is controlled by "men at the top" who "don't like successful women".
Ballas explained: "Being bullied was a big part of my life as a dancer. These men caused me stress that was so bad I would pee all the time."
The TV star noted that it was like "being at the edge of a nervous breakdown" with these influential male figures blocking her from work.
Speaking ahead of the launch of the latest Strictly series, Ballas recalled how "terrifying" it had been to initially join the first series back in 2017.
She said: "I was more nervous for that than any World Championship I’ve ever danced in, because when you dance in a World Championship you are familiar with your audience.
"When you go on Strictly, you are in front of a 15 million person audience and you don't know what people are going to think about you! Fortunately I was accepted and welcomed so warmly by the British public."
Watch: Shirley Ballas tells fans she's seeing a doctor after they spot ‘lump’ in her armpit