Mikel HealeyAs told to Ashlee Davis
Candace Cameron Bure, 34, best known for her role as DJ Tanner on the sitcom Full House, struggled with bulimia after the show's eight-year run ended. Moving from California to Montreal to live with her husband, hockey player Valeri Bure, was a life-altering experience, and she sought comfort and fulfillment in food. Now, 15 years later, Cameron Bure has a healthy relationship with food and fitness, and has never felt better.
Her story and inspirational strategies from her new book, Reshaping It All: Motivation for Physical and Spiritual Fitness, stress the importance of spirituality and understanding to living a well-rounded, healthy life. Today she lives in Los Angeles with Valeri and their three children, Natasha, Lev, and Maksim. She stars in Make It or Break It, whose third season premiered March 28. She also appears alongside David James Elliott in the upcoming TV film Truth Be Told, premiering April 16 on Fox.
Struggling with bulimia
I didn't have an eating disorder when I was on Full House. My unhealthy relationship with food had nothing to do with physical insecurities, but emotional issues I was struggling with after getting married, moving to a new city, and no longer working. Almost every element of my life had radically changed. I was happy to be a newlywed and to be at home, but my husband traveled a lot and I found myself very lonely at times. I turned to food as a comforter. Like anyone struggling with an eating disorder, it easily took over. I felt out of control, like I wasn't the one making choices. At my worst, binging and purging felt like an automatic response to the emotions I was feeling. Somehow, it made me feel like I was able to regain control.
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Overcoming her eating disorder
I didn't go through treatment to get help, but experienced two major turning points before I began to change my ways. The first time, I was caught purging. The shame and humiliation of being caught forced me to quit. It was such an embarrassing thing to go through and really stopped me in my tracks. I felt like I was dishonoring and displeasing the people around me. I didn't necessarily understand how unhealthy my actions were. A few years later, I had a relapse. That was the actual turning point for me because I finally realized that I was using food as a comforter. Every time something was tough in my life, I was turning to food instead of God. When my relationship with God became strong, I realized how I was filling voids in my life with food.
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A mental and spiritual shift
If you don't retrain your mind, there's never going to be a true reshaping of your body. It's like going on a liquid diet. You can go on it and see results, but as soon as you're done, you'll gain the weight right back. You need to change your way of thinking, habits, and lifestyle before you can sustain any physical changes to your body. I had to learn to eat the right foods at the right time, in moderation. I finally realized that food is going to be there tomorrow. It seems like the most obvious, easy reminder, but it really works. Remember it's OK to say no or push the plate away. I learned about proper portions and how to eat healthy on a daily basis. I've also never been one to love exercising, and now, after 10 years, I actually do. My body feels so much better when I exercise and eat properly, so I learned to love it. I know my lifestyle makes me feel great, and that's more than satisfying than anything else. We're always focused on big decisions, but every little decision we make helps build new patterns. Should I have soda or water today? Should I have a potato salad or green salad? I think that if you learn that everything is really just one decision at a time, it can make a huge difference in your life.
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Healthy eating strategies
These strategies are very simple, but it's always good to be reminded.
• Make a list of what you need to buy at the grocery store so you don't wander down every aisle lusting over the foods you shouldn't be eating. Once our eyes start to wander, our mouths will start to water at the sight of those cookies, that ice cream, and those chips, which are not on the plan.
• Don't temp yourself by having foods in your home that you shouldn't be eating. Have your fresh fruits washed and out on the counter, or your veggies cut up in the fridge, so they're ready to grab when you're looking for a snack or a quick meal. Having healthy foods out and available will cause you and your family to automatically make better choices.
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Diet and exercise tips
• Stop eating when you're satisfied-not full, but satisfied. Save the rest for later if you get hungry.
• Stay away from fast food and fried foods (of course!).
• Cut out creamy dressings and sauces.
• Find a sport or type of exercise you enjoy and do it with a buddy. Play tennis, run around the park with your kids playing soccer, hop on a StairMaster at the gym, lift weights, try Pilates, or go for a walk. The important thing is to do something, and do it at least three times a week consistently. The more you move, the better you'll feel. Guaranteed. And having a buddy keeps both of you accountable.
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How to kick your sugar habit
• Once I start eating sugar, my body craves it every day. It's hard to get off the sugar train, but once you do, the cravings absolutely stop. I've enjoyed desserts almost every day for the past few weeks. I finally had to say enough because I noticed my jeans getting a little snug. I'm on Day 2 without sugar, and to be honest, I have a major headache. But I know as with most things, after three days, the headaches will pass and I'll be set free of the craving. My motivation? To feel good in my clothes. I just have to say no and use God-given strength and willpower.
• No one feels good after they've overeaten. Remember that feeling. It may taste delicious, but remind yourself that it's not going anywhere. Wrap it up and take it home. Save it for later. Push the excess food away, and after a few minutes, you'll most likely feel satisfied and happy you did.
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Reshaping It All
I decided to write Reshaping It All because I had been asked about my experiences so many times. I used to write a column called "Ask Candace," and the most frequently asked question was, "After having three kids, how do you look like this?" I was constantly giving advice about eating and exercising. My writing partner and I discussed it and thought, why not write a book? We have enough content. I found it crazy how many women were coming to me for advice. And I felt, in order to write the book honestly, I had to share my experiences with bulimia. I had to let readers know that I get it. I get how it feels to have an unhealthy relationship with food, but I'm healthy now. I never thought I would write a book, but I'm thrilled that I can share my experiences with the public and hope it inspires others to start living a healthy life.
Mikel HealeyAs told to Ashlee Davis