Jinger Duggar reveals that she was ‘dangerously on the edge of an eating disorder’ as a pre-teen

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Jinger Duggar has revealed her brief foray into extreme dieting as a pre-teen, admitting that at one point she was ‘was teetering dangerously on the edge of an eating disorder.’

Jinger, 27, opened up about her struggle with body image and weight in ‘The Hope We Hold: Finding Peace in the Promises of God,’ the new book she co-authored with  her husband, Jeremy Vuolo.

In one chapter, the Counting On star admitted that as a pre-teen she ‘hated the way I looked’ and was so convinced that she was ‘fat’ and ‘ugly’ that she began eating just one meal a day — until she had a talk with her mother, Michelle, who had once battled bulimia herself.

Opening up: Jinger Duggar revealed her brief foray into extreme dieting as a pre-teen, admitting that she was 'was teetering dangerously on the edge of an eating disorder'

Opening up: Jinger Duggar revealed her brief foray into extreme dieting as a pre-teen, admitting that she was ‘was teetering dangerously on the edge of an eating disorder’

Sad: The Counting On star admitted that as a pre-teen she 'hated the way I looked' and was so convinced that she was 'fat' and 'ugly' that she began eating just one meal a day

Sad: The Counting On star admitted that as a pre-teen she ‘hated the way I looked’ and was so convinced that she was ‘fat’ and ‘ugly’ that she began eating just one meal a day

New book: Jinger co-authored 'The Hope We Hold: Finding Peace in the Promises of God' with her husband, Jeremy Vuolo

New book: Jinger co-authored ‘The Hope We Hold: Finding Peace in the Promises of God’ with her husband, Jeremy Vuolo

Looking back: Jinger (pictured left) recalled an 'awkward phase' she went through as a pre-teen, and how she believed the changes her body was going through were 'unacceptable'

Looking back: Jinger (pictured left) recalled an ‘awkward phase’ she went through as a pre-teen, and how she believed the changes her body was going through were ‘unacceptable’

Jinger recalled an ‘awkward phase’ she went through as a pre-teen, and how she believed the changes her body was going through were ‘unacceptable.’ 

‘I hated the way I looked,’ she said. ‘I was convinced I was fat and getting fatter by the day. “I’m so ugly,” I scolded my reflection. “I need to do something about this. I need to be skinny.”

She decided to take drastic measures when she noticed that she’d gained a half a pound. 

‘Panicked’ that it would lead to more weight gain, she enacted a plan to stealthily lose weight without drawing the attention of the rest of her family.

Jinger thought the ‘key’ to losing weight was ‘eating fewer meals,’ but she felt that she had to do it without anyone noticing — so she would would sleep late in order to skip breakfast without arousing suspicion, eat a ‘super-light lunch,’ and then finish with a ‘healthy snack before dinner’ so she could say she wasn’t hungry and just pick at her food. 

She said she went to bed starving.  

‘It seemed reasonable at the time,’ she wrote. ‘I didn’t realize that my little weight- loss plan was teetering dangerously on the edge of an eating disorder.’

'I hated the way I looked,' she said. 'I was convinced I was fat and getting fatter by the day. "I’m so ugly," I scolded my reflection'

‘I hated the way I looked,’ she said. ‘I was convinced I was fat and getting fatter by the day. “I’m so ugly,” I scolded my reflection’

Trouble: Jinger thought the 'key' to losing weight was 'eating fewer meals,' so she would skip breakfast, eat a 'super-light lunch,' and then finish with a 'healthy snack before dinner'

Trouble: Jinger thought the ‘key’ to losing weight was ‘eating fewer meals,’ so she would skip breakfast, eat a ‘super-light lunch,’ and then finish with a ‘healthy snack before dinner’

Competition: Jinger (second from right) desperately compared herself to other girls, speculating that more people would like her if she were 'skinny'

Competition: Jinger (second from right) desperately compared herself to other girls, speculating that more people would like her if she were ‘skinny’

Rude! She said that her mother, Michelle, taught her to be 'gracious,' even when fans would say things like, 'Wow, you're a lot thinner than you look on TV!'

Rude! She said that her mother, Michelle, taught her to be ‘gracious,’ even when fans would say things like, ‘Wow, you’re a lot thinner than you look on TV!’

Keeping her motivated were daily looks in the mirror, where she saw ‘imagined rolls of fat and non-existent chubby cheeks.’

An end to it: Her 'extreme dieting' plan lasted just a month before she turned to her mother for help (Jinger pictured left with Jill)

An end to it: Her ‘extreme dieting’ plan lasted just a month before she turned to her mother for help (Jinger pictured left with Jill)

‘I had to be skinny,’ she wrote. ‘If this is what it took, then I would do it, I decided, no matter how hard it was.’

She desperately compared herself to other girls, speculating that more people would like her if she were ‘skinny.’ 

It certainly didn’t help her body image that her family was on television, and well-meaning fans would make rude and awkward comments about how she looked, including her size.

She said that her mother, Michelle, taught her to be ‘gracious,’ even when fans would say things like, ‘Wow, you’re a lot thinner than you look on TV!’

‘I heard that more than once,’ she recalled. ‘I’d watched the show myself, and the saying that the camera adds ten pounds is all too true.’ 

Her ‘extreme dieting’ plan lasted just a month before she turned to her mother for help. Michelle, who had battled with bulimia as a teenager, had told Jinger and the other girls all about her ‘poor body image and unhealthy relationship with food.’

Goody goody: Jinger shared other revelations in the book, including her confusion over her reputation as a 'rebel Duggar' — something she says couldn't be further from the truth

Goody goody: Jinger shared other revelations in the book, including her confusion over her reputation as a ‘rebel Duggar’ — something she says couldn’t be further from the truth 

When Jinger confessed, she said, her mom stressed the importance of eating enough calories to ‘fuel’ her body and helped get her on a healthier eating plan. She also warned her not to compare herself to others.

‘Her only requirement was that I eat about two thousand calories a day, enough for a healthy, growing girl,’ Jinger said. 

Jinger shared other revelations in the book, including her confusion over her reputation on the internet as a ‘rebel Duggar’ — something she says couldn’t be further from the truth.

‘People even called me the “rebel Duggar,” which was funny considering I wanted nothing more than to please my parents,’ she wrote.

‘It was all because of one offhand comment I made on camera about how I love the city and enjoy visiting it. That innocent statement turned into entire Reddit threads about how I wanted to move away from my family and lead an exciting life in the big city.’

In the 2012 clip from 19 Kids and Counting she references, Jinger had said that she wanted to find a man who lived in a city. 

‘If you didn’t get somebody like that, the Lord can be working and teaching you something in that area,’ Jill warned her at the time. 

Rule breaker: Jinger discussed how she studied the bible before starting to wear pants as an adult

Rule breaker: Jinger discussed how she studied the bible before starting to wear pants as an adult

'As I searched the Scriptures for answers, I never found a passage specifically forbidding women from wearing pants,' she said

‘As I searched the Scriptures for answers, I never found a passage specifically forbidding women from wearing pants,’ she said

'My mom had always dressed us girls in skirts and dresses,' she reflected. Michelle, though, had worn pants and even bikinis back when she was a teenager (pictured with Jim Bob)

‘My mom had always dressed us girls in skirts and dresses,’ she reflected. Michelle, though, had worn pants and even bikinis back when she was a teenager (pictured with Jim Bob)

‘Yes, that’s for sure,’ Jinger answered. ‘I need to work on my contentment!’

Sympathetic fans were crushed that Jinger was encouraged to be content with whatever she had rather than chase after what she wanted. 

Luckily for Jinger, she did find her city man in Jeremy, with whom she lived in Loredo, Texas before moving to Los Angeles.   

But fans had continued to consider her one of the more rebellious children when, after marrying Jeremy, she started to wear pants. 

‘My mom had always dressed us girls in skirts and dresses, a standard that was taken from Deuteronomy 22:5, which says, “A woman shall not wear a man’s garment,” and I never really questioned it,’ she said. 

Interestingly enough, Michelle herself had worn pants — and shorts, and even bikinis — as a teenager, before she and Jim Bob decided to enforce much stricter rules with their children.

‘Modesty was a huge topic in our house, and we believed that wearing skirts instead of pants was a central part of being modest. 

But as she studied her bible, ‘I realized that biblical modesty is deeper and more profound than wearing skirts instead of pants. 

‘As I searched the Scriptures for answers, I never found a passage specifically forbidding women from wearing pants,’ she said, prompting her decision to introduce them into her wardrobe. 

Baby factory: Jim Bob and Michelle have been outspoken against birth control and left the number of children they had up to God

Baby factory: Jim Bob and Michelle have been outspoken against birth control and left the number of children they had up to God

Thoughtful procreation: But Jinger and Jeremy confirm in their book that they did, in fact, choose to wait to have a baby, welcoming Felicity two and a half years after they were married

Thoughtful procreation: But Jinger and Jeremy confirm in their book that they did, in fact, choose to wait to have a baby, welcoming Felicity two and a half years after they were married

Smart move: Jinger admitted she wasn't particularly eager to have kids right away and wasn't as baby crazy as some of her siblings, but eventually she decided she was ready to have a baby

Smart move: Jinger admitted she wasn’t particularly eager to have kids right away and wasn’t as baby crazy as some of her siblings, but eventually she decided she was ready to have a baby

'Jinger and I had talked about wanting our kids to be about two years apart, but we weren't in a rush,' Jeremy said about their plans to wait before welcoming Evangeline (pictured)

‘Jinger and I had talked about wanting our kids to be about two years apart, but we weren’t in a rush,’ Jeremy said about their plans to wait before welcoming Evangeline (pictured)

Jinger has also departed from her parents’ teachings on family planning. Jim Bob and Michelle are strictly against birth control and preventing pregnancy in any way, and have been outspoken about how they left it up to God to decide on the the number of children they had.

But Jinger and Jeremy didn’t welcome their first child, Felicity, until July of 2018, two and a half years after they were married in November of 2016.

This wasn’t by chance: The pair confirm in their book that they did, in fact, choose to wait to have a baby.  

‘I always knew that we needed to wait,’ Jeremy wrote. ‘Our whole relationship had been fast-paced, and Jinger had only recently experienced the most drastic changes of her life. We needed to slow down and take a year to get to know each other as husband and wife before we had kids.’

Jinger admitted she wasn’t particularly eager to have kids right away and wasn’t as baby crazy as some of her siblings, but eventually she decided she was ready to have a baby.

Jeremy recalled: ‘Jinger touched my arm, a tender look on her face. “Jer, I think I’m ready,” she said. “Let’s have a baby.”‘ 

Criminal activity: Jinger's brother Josh has been charged with receiving and possessing child pornography last week and was arrested last week

Criminal activity: Jinger’s brother Josh has been charged with receiving and possessing child pornography last week and was arrested last week

Josh and his wife Anna with their children Mackenzie, 11, Michael, nine, Marcus, seven, Meredith, five, Mason, three, and Maryella, one, in 2019

Josh and his wife Anna with their children Mackenzie, 11, Michael, nine, Marcus, seven, Meredith, five, Mason, three, and Maryella, one, in 2019

Stay far away: If Josh is released on bail, he will not be allowed to come into contact with his children

Stay far away: If Josh is released on bail, he will not be allowed to come into contact with his children 

The two continued to use some unknown method of family planning after Felicity was born, and didn’t welcome their second daughter, Evangeline, until November 2020, two and a half years later. 

‘Jinger and I had talked about wanting our kids to be about two years apart, but we weren’t in a rush,’ Jeremy said.

As for Jinger’s brought Josh, who was arrested last week on charges of receiving and possessing images of sexual abuse to children, Jinger had little to say in the book.   

The reality star called his molestation of her and three of her sister the ‘worst trial in our family history,’ and but mostly just lamented that it had become public knowledge in 2015.

‘One of my siblings made some sinful choices, but it had all been years ago. It had been awful, but we had dealt with it as a family,’ she said.

She and Jeremy, however, had stronger words last week after Josh’s arrest. According to the indictment, Josh is alleged to have ‘knowingly received’ child sexual abuse material online in May 2019. Some of the child pornography material he is accused of possessing shows children under the age of 12.

Flashback: In the first episode of Counting On, which aired in December of 2015, Jinger tearfully reflected on Josh's molestation being made public

Flashback: In the first episode of Counting On, which aired in December of 2015, Jinger tearfully reflected on Josh’s molestation being made public

'We are disturbed to hear of the charges against Josh,' Jinger and Jeremy said in a statement

‘We are disturbed to hear of the charges against Josh,’ Jinger and Jeremy said in a statement 

Meanwhile, Jim Bob and Michelle released their own statement with less condemning language

Meanwhile, Jim Bob and Michelle released their own statement with less condemning language 

'We love Josh and Anna and continue to pray for their family,' Jim Bob and Michelle wrote

‘We love Josh and Anna and continue to pray for their family,’ Jim Bob and Michelle wrote 

‘We are disturbed to hear of the charges against Josh,’ Jinger and Jeremy said in a statement.

‘While this case must go through the legal system, we want to make it clear that we absolutely condemn any form of child abuse and fully support the authorities and judicial process in their pursuit of justice,’ the couple wrote in a statement shared to Instagram.’

Meanwhile, Jim Bob and Michelle released their own statement with less condemning language.

‘We appreciate your continued prayers for our family at this time. The accusations brought against Joshua today are very serious,’ they said.  

‘It is our prayer that the truth, no matter what it is, will come to light, and that this will all be resolved in a timely manner. We love Josh and Anna and continue to pray for their family.’ 

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