Michelle Duggar may have a lot on her plate as a busy mom to 19 children, but the 19 Kids and Counting star reveals that, before motherhood became her calling, she was in the throes of a dangerous obsession.

Michelle opened up to People about her battle with bulimia, from which she is currently in recovery. “I have been open with my struggles with the kids before," says 47-year-old Michelle.

It may seem like a surprising confession from the matriarch of this conservative family, but Michelle reveals that she’s coming clean about her struggle to help others from heading down the same dangerous path. "If my sharing it is going to help another young lady, then I want to share it."

While we’re sure that giving birth to a small army can wreak havoc on your body image, Michelle says that her eating disorder reared its ugly head back when she was only a teen. “I found out that genetically I could put on weight easily, but with my activities, gymnastics and cheerleading, it was important for me not to. I would look around and compare myself to my friends, saying, 'oh my, she's so small,' or 'she has such skinny legs.'"

Although Michelle kept her issues a secret from her friends, she says that she confided in her then-boyfriend Jim Bob, whose support she credits with helping her heal.

“Every time I was struggling, I would tell him," says Michelle. "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."

Are you surprised by Michelle’s story?

Source: People