"19 Kids and Counting" star Michelle Duggar opened up about struggling with bulimia as a teenager in her daughters' new book, reports People magazine.
Growing Up Duggar hit stores earlier this month and is a collection of stories from the oldest Duggar daughters, who are all in their early twenties. In the book, they initially disguise their mother's experiences as those of a teen named Marie, before later revealing her true identity:
She began to envy the girl who tried to control her weight through what turned out to be a destructive eating disorder. Not realizing how dangerous it was, Marie thought it might work for her, and soon her obsession to stay thin started controlling her life.
Michelle was both a gymnast and a cheerleader, but still found it difficult to stay as slim as she'd like. The 47-year-old told People her eating disorder began when she was 14, believing it was the answer to her problems.
According to Michelle, meeting husband Jim Bob when she was 16 years old helped her stop the dangerous habit, because she felt like she had to share her secret with him.
"I shared this struggle with him and he said he would help me and help keep me accountable," she said. "Every time I was struggling, I would tell him," she says. "It was a hard time for me. But it was at that point in our relationship, it built a solid foundation for us. There are tough things in life you walk through together."
She added, "He told me to call him anytime. I just know that I would be tempted and I would have the crazy thought that I wanted to throw up, not hold onto the calories. Thank God it didn't go on longer than it did or I could have done horrible damage to my body."
While Michelle hasn't been quite so open about the eating disorder she's now recovered from, the mother of 19 has spoken about her issues with weight and body image before.
“Jim Bob has never put me down for my body. He has never mocked me for my mommy tummy,” she told "Today Show" last year. “He is one of my biggest encouragers.”