Book Review: Reshaping It All

ReshapingSome of you may remember Candace Cameron Bure as oldest daughter D. J. Tanner in the TV series Full House several years ago. I have not really kept up with her career since then, but somehow I was aware that she’d had some eating issues, had lost weight, and was an outspoken Christian like her brother Kirk Cameron. So when her book, Reshaping It All: Motivation for Physical and Spiritual Fitness came up on a Kindle sale, I got it.

Although the book is not a full-fledged memoir, Candace gives glimpses of her growing-up years, family, time on Full House, marriage, and motherhood.

Her family seems remarkably grounded: even though Cameron and her brother were making all kinds of money, their father still made them work (at other jobs: he didn’t consider acting “work”) when they wanted something.

He could see that hard work was not only a prerequisite for success but that it was also a prerequisite for strong character. Struggling for the things we get teaches us the all-important lesson of self-disciple while it strengthens our body and spirit. It wasn’t enough for us to achieve a certain level of success in this world: our parents wanted us to reach our full potential as people who are strong in spirit and mind.

But Candace received mixed signals about food. He father provided “cardboard-tasting ‘health’ food” while her mother brought in doughnuts and such. Various other factors came into play, resulting in Cameron’s being about 25 pounds overweight and suffering from bulimia in her early twenties.

What I didn’t realize at the time is that my heart was longing for the things of this world. I ran to comfort food instead of running to God. I discovered my sin, but I hadn’t discovered that my heart was in the wrong place. I sought moral reformation instead of spiritual transformation. I had known who He was, but I still hadn’t grasped who I was in His sight.

She tells how she changed her approach to food and fitness. She didn’t follow a specific diet plan, and she believed everything was allowable in moderation, but she had a few principles she went by.

Transforming our bodies must begin by the renewing of our minds. Our bodies aren’t making these detrimental choices for us; they are simply animated by a mind that needs a mental makeover.

One such principle was HALT. “When you feel like reaching for food, ask yourself first if you are hungry, angry, lonely, or tired. If you’re hungry, then proceed, but it you are reaching for food in response to emotion, then halt your behavior immediately.”

And even though the book is primarily about her journey towards fitness, she applies some of the same principle to style, clutter, marriage, and other facets of life.

Candace became a Christian at age 12, and the life principles she espouses are based squarely on Scripture. She writes in a conversational, level-headed, encouraging, easy to read style.

Standing face-to-face with a mountain can be overwhelming, especially when your perspective is that of looking up from the bottom. But if we decide to take one step and then another, looking only at the ground set before us, we realize the potential we have.

The only negative for me was the fan letters. At the end of every chapter, Cameron includes a fan letter asking her a question related to the chapter before. That was fine, but each letter also contains a certain amount of fannish praise that I felt awkward reading.

This book was written back in 2011, before her co-hosting stint on The View and other pursuits. She has written a few more books since that time, too.

I enjoyed the book very much and took away a few nuggets to help me in my own journey.

(Sharing with Semicolon‘s Saturday Review of Books, Literary Musing Monday, Carole’s Books You Loved)

First steps to fitness

Photo Courtesy of

Photo Courtesy of

I’ve known that I needed to and should lose weight for ages. I’ve made various fits and starts but haven’t stayed with a plan for more than a few months at a time. I keep thinking I’ll get to it – and before I know it another whole year has gone by, and my doctor gives me the same warnings he did last year.

Developing atrial fibrillation, though, and learning that diabetes is one of the risk factors for making it more of a problem, and being told once again that I am headed for diabetes if I don’t so something, has provided even more impetus than having watched my mom deal with the effects of Type II Diabetes.

So today (Tuesday) I started tracking what I eat with the MyFitnessPal app. It doesn’t “seem” like I eat that much – but obviously the evidence is to the contrary, and this will hep me pinpoint problem areas. I always find this part really tedious, which is probably one reason I don’t usually keep up with it very long. But it is eye-opening. (That has how many calories? A serving is only 1/2 cup?) I haven’t measured out those cups and tablespoons in the past, preferring to eyeball it, but I started doing so today, because approximating can be misleading. I imagine that after measuring servings for a while, one does get a better idea of what 1/2 cup of something looks like and won’t need to measure every time. One thing I really like about the app is that it has a scanner so you can use your iphone to scan the bar code of a food, and it puts all the nutritional information in there. Then when you use that food again, you can just click on it from your previous scans. Recipes will be a little harder to deal with, but, again, once they are entered, they are there to refer to again in the future, so hopefully the major part of the tedium will be just at the beginning.

I figured that was the best way to start, to target what I need to work on. My sweet tooth is one of my biggest problems, but I also tend toward comfort foods with sauces and cream-of-whatever soup, so I’ll be looking for ways to cut down on those kinds of things.

I did discover that the turkey sausage and hash brown breakfast I regularly have was not too bad calorie-wise if I kept the portion size down. With a tendency to low blood sugar, especially in the mornings, sometimes I feel like I need to eat a protein-based breakfast (which does hep) but also a really big breakfast. But the lower portions were satisfying without making me feel stuffed. I did have a sweet snack in the afternoon, but a smaller portion, and I had an apple for a later snack, something I haven’t done in ages. I was feeling pretty good about having 500+ calories left for dinner until I realized that, in listing the components of the leftover Labor Day burger I had for lunch, I had forgotten to include the burger itself. Duh.

Otherwise, the first day went well. Of course, the first day almost always goes well. 🙂 It’s staying with it after the first flush of motivation passes and I want the old habits back again that’s hard. And even though I know and to a certain extent am motivated by all the reasons I want to lose weight and get fit, I keep fooling myself by thinking, “Yes, well, this one snack or this one healthy meal or this one day (or several days) without exercise aren’t going to matter in the grand scheme of things.” But all together they do. A walk in any direction is made of of steps, and the more steps in the wrong direction, the farther from were we originally tended to be. So I am going to review my reasons to lose weight and use the I Deserve a Donut app (which helps you pinpoint why you think so and why you don’t need it) for help in keeping my motivation on track, as well as, first and foremost, prayer and trying to keep a Scriptural focus about it all.

I chafe at the time involved in driving to a gym, having to change into and out of special exercise clothes, exercising with other people, etc., so exercising from home works best for me now. I have several exercise DVDs, some from Leslie Sansone and some from the Biggest Loser, as well as a couple of exercise video games that I can cycle through so no one routine gets boring. Or more boring than it has to be. 🙂 I am familiar enough with most of them that I can turn off the sound and listen to an audiobook, but even with that I pretty much grit my teeth through exercising. I do feel better and have more energy when I exercise, but that’s not motivation enough to set aside things I enjoy doing more in order to exercise. But, I have heard other people say that they don’t really enjoy exercise, but they just make up their minds to do it. So I will do that knowing it is benefiting me no matter how I feel about it.

I had started a weight loss blog some years ago, and I don’t know that I will post regular updates here or there. But one reason I wanted to mention this is that I know some of you are on the same journey, some to lose weight or get fit in general, some specifically  to deal with diabetes. I’d love to hear any tips you have to share!