Duggar of the hit TLC show, "19 Kids and Counting" has shared with People magazine that she has struggled with the eating disorder Bulimia and that she opened up to her daughters about it when they were writing their book, "Growing Up Duggar" that will be in stores this March.
The mom of 19 who viewers see each week as the calm, loving, caring put together member of the large family wanted to let her children and viewers in on her past struggle in hope of helping them and others who may be going through the same issues she did.
In the book the girls, Jana, Jill, Jessa, and Jinger talked about Michelle, who they called Marie at first before disclosing it was their mom, and her battle to fit in with her peers;
"On the outside, Marie had what everyone else wanted, but on the inside, she felt sad and empty, 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."
The girls say that Michelle struggled with self acceptance that forced her to do things that caused her illness that almost destroyed her health and could have killed her.
Michelle spoke to People about why she told the girls of her battle with Bulimia that started at age 14;
"I have been open with my struggles with the kids before We talk about how God has brought us out of different things along life's way. When the girls were writing their book, they brought this up and I thought, if my sharing it is going to help another young lady, then I want to share it."
Growing up she was involved in many school activities like cheer and also gymnastics but even after doing those activities she could not lose weight and that caused her to compare herself to other girls and her friends giving her a bad body image of herself.
She wanted to be like the other girls so much that it caused her to struggle and she would make herself vomit when she thought she ate more than she should.
Michelle said no one knew about it, and it was something that she would do often;
"I didn't tell any of my friends what I was going through.I felt this was the answer to my problems."
She did tell one person, and that person ended up being her husband and father of 19 kids, Jim Bob. She started dating him at age 16 and felt the need to tell him her secret. She said that helped her and when she felt like throwing up, she would call Jim Bob;
"Every time I was struggling, I would tell him. 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. I began to tell him, 'I have to have strong accountability for this.' I was set free."
They even went on a fast together from sweets and later married, though through the years she said she would struggle with thoughts of doing it again but Jim Bob never let her falter.
Michelle said that she now keeps herself in shape and healthy by exercising and following Weight Watchers to keep her focused and stands by the fact that having someone stand by you, as Jim Bob does for her, as your accountability is what still helps her this day;
"That solid accountability with another human being, a deep love and strong focus, was where I found freedom,I was willing to be accountable before God and man. But the struggle was still there. That accountability was powerful."
The Duggar girls book "Growing Up Duggar" hits newsstands March 14 and you can watch the new season of "19 Kids and Counting on TLC April 1.
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