The Real Housewives of Orange County

Alexis Bellino Reveals Eating Disorder

05/12/2011 at 05:45 PM EDT

Another Real Housewife has revealed another secret struggle.

On Sunday's episode of The Real Housewives of Orange County, airing 10 p.m. ET on Bravo, Gretchen Rossi, Peggy Tanous, Fernanda Rocha and Alexis Bellino are out for some authentic Texas barbecue. In between footage of Alexis's digging in, she admits, "I had an eating disorder."

"I was surprised how Alexis was getting into food," Peggy said. "I've never seen Alexis eat so much."

Although Alexis told E! News she overcame her food issues after "years of therapy," she acknowledged that the situation continues to be a lifelong struggle.

"An eating disorder is kind of like an alcoholic," she says in the above clip of the episode. "Once you have one you're never completely healed."

Alexis – who's a dedicated wife to husband Jim and a mom to James, 4, and twins Melania and Mackenna, 3 – also talks about how her battles with food began.

"My mom and dad's divorce – it was devastating to me. It started an eating disorder. I couldn't control it," she says, "I'd go days without eating. I'd make myself throw up if I had to, and it was horrible. I just realized I've got to get this thing under control. And I did."

Telling E! she "suffered from both anorexia and bulimia," Alexis also revealed why she chose to speak publicly about her struggle. "It's time to try to help people with something I overcame, Someone can be 10 years free of it. Your life can go back to normal."

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