Although she managed to maintain a healthy relationship with food as a young actress on "Full House," Candace Cameron experienced the darker side of dieting when, as a young adult, she suffered from bulimia. And she believes that her faith in God is what helped her recover from her eating disorder, reported People magazine on Dec. 14.
Candace feels that her eating disorder developed when she suddenly found herself in a period of change that she could not control. She had just married hockey pro Valeri Bure, followed by a complete change in her environment when the new couple moved to Montreal to support him and his career.
Trying to deal with "the emotional struggle that I had in dealing with just a totally new life," Candace felt that food was the only item that she could control. But instead, her use of food for comfort spiraled out of control as developed bulimia.
"I turned to food for comfort and had to find a different source, because clearly it wasn't a healthy way to deal with things," Candace revealed.
"So that's really when my faith was kicked up a notch and sought comfort in my relationship with God, and not with food," she added.
Candace has written about her past in a book, "Reshaping It All: Motivation for Physical and Spiritual Fitness" (click for details). She included details about her eating disorder in the book.
"It's a very dangerous cycle that can just start to consume your life and really take over," Candace told People magazine at that time.
"It wasn't about me trying to lose weight," she added. "It was all about emotions."
Princeton University's eating disorder experts define bulimia as "binge eating followed by purging or fasting. Someone who is bulimic eats an abnormally large amount of food in a short period of time and then fasts or purges using laxatives, diuretics, or self-induced vomiting because he or she feels overwhelmed with guilt and shame."
Candace talked about the "very dangerous" aspects of this eating disorder, and it can be life-threatening even as those with the condition try to control their lives.
"Through purging, fasting, and exercise, bulimics hope to regain a sense of control they lacked while bingeing, but unfortunately they end up suffering such hunger that their cravings for food will take hold once again, making binge eating more likely," notes Princeton University's experts.
"The most dangerous health risk posed by bulimia is cardiac arrest or heart attack due to an electrolyte imbalance of the mineral potassium."
Candace notes that she learned to seek comfort in non-food resources, which helped her "address the underlying emotional causes." And although some think of bulimia and other eating disorders as stemming from problems in childhood or preteens, Candace says that her stint on "Full House" did not contribute to her battle with bulimia.
"I think I was very protected by my parents and even the producers," she recalled.
"They all had a sensitivity about it. The producers were parents themselves. I don't think any of them wanted to see that happen to their child, so I was protected."
Since then, she's learned to balance her life, including her spiritual foundation. She's written a second book offering tips on how to follow in her path: "Balancing It All: My Story of Juggling Priorities and Purpose" (click for details).