Jane Fonda Talks 'Really Hard' Eating Disorder Recovery, Recalls the 'Toll it Takes On You'

 “I thought my life was worth improving, so I just decided that I would stop,” the actress, 84, said

Jane Fonda attends the Special FYC Event For Netflix's "Grace And Frankie"
Photo: Charley Gallay/Getty Images

Jane Fonda is reflecting on how she was able to overcome an eating disorder that began when she was in her teens.

During an episode of Paramount Plus' The Checkup With Dr. David Agus, the Grace and Frankie star, 84, opened up about her tough time recovering from both bulimia and anorexia.

"If I had it to do over and it was nowadays, I'd probably go to a 12-step program or something, but I didn't know what it was. I didn't know there was a name for it, and I didn't know that you could go someplace," Fonda said. "I'm talking 1960s, '50s."

The actress said she was able to make a change in her life after seeing how the eating disorders were impacting her life and career.

The National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) states that recovery from an eating disorder can take months, even years, and requires lots of support from professionals, friends and family.

"I was married, I had children, I was politically active, I was raising money, I was an actor, I was making movies. I couldn't do it all because the older you get, the more toll it takes on you," Fonda said. "If you binge and purge, it's like three or four days to really recover. And I just couldn't do the lifestyle that I wanted to do."

"I thought my life was worth improving, so I just decided that I would stop. And it was really, really, really, really hard," she continued. "The good news is that you can recover from eating disorders. 100%."

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Fonda is often vocal about her health struggles over the years.

Most recently, she revealed in early September that she had been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and had already begun chemotherapy. "This is a very treatable cancer. 80% of people survive, so I feel very lucky," she wrote in a social media post.

Explaining that she's been undergoing chemotherapy for six months and "handling the treatments quite well," Fonda added that she would "not let any of this interfere with my climate activism."

"Cancer is a teacher and I'm paying attention to the lessons it holds for me. One thing it's shown me already is the importance of community. Of growing and deepening one's community so that we are not alone," she continued. "And the cancer, along with my age — almost 85 — definitely teaches the importance of adapting to new realities."

Fonda also acknowledged that she is "privileged" in being able to afford quality healthcare when many others can't.

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