Jane Fonda is opening up about the “terrible addiction” her eating disorder has become after years of suffering.
The 85-year-old actress said call his daddy host Alex Cooper that she was “miserable” as a young actress, especially as she was forced to play the “girl next door” archetype in many of her roles. Her attention to her appearance was particularly difficult, Fonda explained, because of her issues with her body image.
“I was bulimic, anorexic and all of a sudden I became a star and there’s so much emphasis on how you look and it was a trigger, a constant, constant trigger for me,” she said. “When he was 20 years old, he was starting to be a movie actor. He suffered from very, very bad bulimia. He led a secret life. He was very, very unhappy. I assumed he wouldn’t live past 30.”
Fonda explained that her eating disorder felt “innocent at first” when she began binge eating and purging. “Why can’t I have this ice cream and cake and then just throw it up?” she remembered thinking. “What you don’t realize is that it becomes a terrible addiction that takes over your life.”
In addition to damaging “the way you look,” the award-winning actress and activist shared that the disease also made it “impossible to have an authentic relationship” due to her reserved nature.
“Your day is organized around getting food and then eating it, which requires you to be on your own and no one to know what you’re doing,” he explained. “It’s a very lonely thing and you’re addicted. I mean, if you put some food in you, you want to get rid of it.”
And while she pointed to “inauthenticity” in her life, relationships, and career as a cause of her eating disorder, Fonda also noted that it can start with “being told she’s fat,” something she was subjected to for some reason. the public and even within your own home.
“I’ve worked most of my life to get over judgment, objectification and judging, subconsciously making me feel like I’m not adorable if I’m not really skinny, things like that,” Fonda shared. “It was a generational issue for a lot of men my father’s age. The objectification of women, and it took me a long time to get over that.”
It also took Fonda decades to understand the impact her eating disorder was having on her body and her quality of life as she got older.
“You may think you can get away with it when you’re young because your body is so young. As you get older, the toll it takes on you gets worse and worse. It takes days and then at least a week.” to overcome a single binge. And it’s not just fatigue, it’s that you get angry, you become hostile. All the trouble I got into was because of that anger and that hostility. And then I reached a point in my 40s when I just thought, if I keep this up, I’m going to die,” she recalled. “I was living a very fulfilling life. I had children, I had a husband, I had two husbands by then, I was doing political work, I was doing all these things. And my life was important. But I was less and less able to continue, so I went cold turkey.”
Fonda was also alone in the recovery process.
“I didn’t realize there were groups you could join, I didn’t know anything about it yet. And no one was talking about it. I didn’t even know there was a word for it, so I just stopped.” and it was very difficult,” he said. “But the fact is, the more distance you can put between yourself and the latest binge, the better it will be. It gets easier and easier.”
Fonda mentioned that addressing her anxiety and taking medication also helped stop the binge-purge cycle. And although she is now more open about the issue, the actress said she is “scared” for young people whose mental health is now affected by the prevalence of social media.
“I think it makes it a lot worse and it’s really hard,” he said. “I don’t know what the cure is.”
If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, please call National Eating Disorders Association hotline at 1-800-931-2237.
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