"It was like getting on a moving train that was moving at a 100 miles an hour, and I couldn't get off of it and I didn't know how," says Candace Cameron Bure

By Gabrielle Olya
Updated May 04, 2016 11:55 AM
Daniel Zuchnik/WireImage

Even though Candace Cameron Bure grew up in the spotlight, it wasn’t until after her run on Full House was over that she developed an eating disorder.

“I had a great body image growing up,” the actress, 40, said during the #EatingRecoveryDay panel in NYC on Tuesday. “My parents were wonderful, and protective of not allowing the entertainment industry to shape me into what they believed a standard of body image of perfection was.”

When her hit show wrapped, Bure moved to Montreal to support her husband Valeri’s hockey career, where she often found herself isolated and alone.

“The change of having worked since I was 5 years old to now becoming a wife and soon-to-be mom, and living in a city where I didn’t have family and friends around me, I kind of lost the sense of who I was,” she said.

“My husband would play away 41 games out of 82 during hockey season,” she continued. “I sat lonely so many nights not knowing what to do with myself. But there was always one friend that was always there, that was so readily available anytime I wanted, and that for me was food.”

Her eating patterns soon became unhealthy.

“It became a very destructive relationship, and it was one that really caught me off guard,” she said. “I got into a cycle of binge eating and feeling such guilt and shame for that, that I would start purging. And without even knowing, it soon just took over to a point where you feel such a loss of control.”

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The Fuller House star tried to keep her disorder a secret from her friends and family, but her dad soon discovered her dangerous behavior. Feeling ashamed, Bure decided she would no longer binge and purge.

“But it really came from wanting to please others, and not because I was finding that by myself,” she says of stopping her disordered eating behavior. “So it wasn’t a surprise that several years later one day, it hit me again. I got caught back in this embarrassing cycle and it was even more furious than the first time.”

“It was like getting on a moving train that was moving at a 100 miles an hour, and I couldn’t get off of it and I didn’t know how,” she continued. “And at that moment I knew I had to seek help from others, and it wasn’t just something I could do on my own.”

Through her faith and the help she sought, Bure was able to recover from her eating disorder.

“It was never about the weight for me,” she tells PEOPLE of her struggle. “It was an emotional issue.”

Now the mom-of-three feels better about her body than ever before.

“I’ve never felt more confident,” she says. “Each year that I get older, I feel better and better, and more confident about my body and the woman that I am.”

With Reporting by MOLLIE CAHILLANE