updated 12/29/2010 AT 8:00 AM ET
•originally published 12/29/2010 AT 2:15 PM ET
As a child star of the hit series Full House, Candace Cameron Bure had to weather life’s most awkward stages – baby fat and all – on national television.
Now 34, she’s never been in better shape. Her secret? A pro-athlete husband, three active kids and lessons learned from a never-before-revealed battle with bulimia.
“It’s a very dangerous cycle that can just start to consume your life and really take over,” Cameron Bure tells PEOPLE. In her new book Reshaping It All, the actress reveals that she began binging and purging after Full House ended its run in 1995 and she was adjusting to life in Canada with her new husband, Russian-born NHL player Valeri Bure.
“It wasn’t about me trying to lose weight,” says Cameron Bure, whose older brother is Growing Pains star Kirk Cameron. “It was all about emotions.”
Now at a healthy weight, the star of the ABC Family series Make It or Break It says she stays svelte thanks to plenty of family exercise time with Bure, 36, and kids Natasha, 12, Lev, 10, and Maks, 8, and a diet philosophy that allows everything – including her self-professed “weakness,” dessert! – in moderation.
For more on Cameron Bure’s weight struggles – including her secret battle with bulimia – check out the Jan. 17 issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands next week