Jane Fonda earned applause and appreciation from her peers when she received the American Film Institute’s 42nd Life Achievement Award recently, reported the New York Daily News on Sunday. After years of struggling with an eating disorder, Jane is now a "powerful, strong woman," said Rosanna Arquette.
The 76-year-old's award goes "way beyond films and theater. It is what she has done in her life, and she has achieved a great deal in her life," said her younger brother Peter. And part of that has been serving as a positive role model when it comes to body image for women.
Jane was forthright about her struggle to feel positive about her body. "I wasn't very happy from, I would say, puberty to 50? It took me a long time," she confessed to Everyday Health.
During her years of battling bulimia, Jane hid her disease from everyone. “I had a career, I was winning awards, I was supporting nonprofits, I had a family. I had to make a choice: I live or I die."
So Jane decided to focus on using her background in fitness to help herself and other women. She began her "Prime Time" series of exercise DVDs, ranging from low-impact aerobics such as "Jane Fonda Prime Time: Firm & Burn Low Impact Cardio" to strength-training such as "Jane Fonda: Prime Time - Fit & Strong."
To those who joke about Jane's years as a leotard-encased aerobics instructor in Beverly Hills, she is candid about overdoing in the past. "I have, in my life, been obsessive about exercise, about most everything," she said in an interview with Entertainment Tonight.
Now, however, she feels that because she's older "everything comes into perspective. I don't want to get hurt."
As for diet? "I eat by color. I try to eat several portions of fruit every day and I try to eat enough protein and fresh vegetables," Jane confided in Katie Couric.
Reflecting on her battle with bulimia and decision to have plastic surgery, Jane added, "I'm going to tell the truth." She's taken that desire to be honest about her life and used it to help young girls improve their own body image in her new book "Being a Teen: Everything Teen Girls & Boys Should Know About Relationships, Sex, Love, Health, Identity & More."
Jane describes growing up as challenging. "I had a difficult adolescence," she told the Huffington Post. She hopes her book will help teens, parents and teachers understand "that what's happening to them right now, along with all the body changes, is they're forming their identities that will take them through the gateway into adulthood, and they should do it consciously."
Reflecting on Jane's award, Arquette summed it up: "She has always stood up for what she believed in and has been honest." As for Jane's own wish for what she could change in her past? "I wish I'd known that it was okay to say no."