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Jane Fonda at Dr. Oz show talks about her fitness revolution and anorexia

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Jane Fonda

On the Dr. Oz Show, special guest Jane Fonda reveals her life’s secrets and the lessons she has learned in what she refers to as “The Three Acts of Life.” Act I is about her early years and a life of privilege where she had to deal with a distant father and stardom in film. Act II is about her rise as a controversial activist and then a fitness revolutionary dealing with her own issues of bulimia and anorexia. Act III is about healing the psychic wounds she bore from life. All three Acts are shared with viewers to explain how they can perform a “life review” and move forward to a fuller, healthier and richer future.

Act I
In the first act, Dr. Oz points out how that in her book, that Jane Fonda’s relationship with her father takes such a dominating position in her life story. He asks Jane Fonda, “Why was it so difficult [her relationship with her father]?

Ms. Fonda explains that her parents were emotionally not there for her and had difficulty with expressing themselves. “Like a lot of people I had a father who had a hard time with emotions, being emotional. Parents are supposed to reflect children back to themselves with love—right? And my parents had a hard time with that. You know, it was kind of like they had duct tape over their eyes. So I grew up thinking that it must be my fault, but of course, usually, when we really look back you find out that it wasn’t your fault…that they had their own issues as people…you have to really see who your parents were as human beings—not just as parents. And it took me a long time to see that, and it did not have anything to do with me. They did their best and they were good people,” admits Ms. Fonda.

Act II
In the second act, Dr. Oz talks about how that after Ms. Fonda’s movie career took off, that she turned to physical fitness, and yet she had battles with bulimia. And now—at age 70—has returned to doing physical fitness instructional videos.

“I think that you teach what you need to learn,” says Ms. Fonda as she explains how in past efforts to be perfect she developed eating disorders for many years. “You can’t really be a whole authentic person if you suffer from an addiction,” she explains as she discusses how exercise helped her be the subject of her own life. And, how that now, exercise has carried over with her into her 70’s with a new line of exercise videos called “Prime Time” that are geared for helping aging women who have never exercised before in their lives. “Who better than me?” she asks. “I’m old, I’m impaired and I’m the person to do it,” she says.

In Act III, Dr. Oz and Ms. Fonda talk about life review and the questions Ms. Fonda asked of herself when she reached the third part of her life.

For Ms. Fonda, the idea of life review questions began when she reached age 60 and began to realize that the last thirty years of her life is the last act of her life and that she needed to decide what she was going to do with her time. “I realized that in order to know where I was going to go, I had to know where I had been,” she says. “Which means really going back and trying to figure out who you were in the earlier times in your life. And more importantly—who were your parents,” she advises.

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She brings this to the viewers as an important part of their own personal Act III that they can bring to their own lives by seeking an answer to the question “What would your family say about you?”

She tells people that if it is possible, to interview your parents before they die and learn more about them; and therefore, more about yourself. She explains how that it wasn’t until much later on that she learned that her father had suffered from undiagnosed depression. She believes that if antidepressants like Prozac had been available back then, that a lot of things may have been very different for her.

She also advises viewers to find old friends from school to bring back memories that you had forgotten that may reveal new things about yourself that had not occurred to you before. From speaking to old childhood friends when she did her life review, she learned that as a kid she was both brave and honest and had forgotten instances in her past that reflected those personality traits.

Another life review question Ms. Fonda advises viewers to ask themselves is “What goals do you have for the rest of your life?” She talks about how that women can come full circle. How that many women enter life feisty and full of life, but how that it changes when you enter puberty and lose some of that by wanting to be popular and to fit in…and be thin.

According to Ms. Fonda, the good news is that as you age you can go back to being that feisty person again. “You become that feisty girl again, but this time with wisdom and maturity…we become who we were, but only better,” she says. “What you want to do is come to the end knowing that you are who you were always meant to be,” she says.

She tells viewers that one of her goals that she actually rehearses for is how her life ends. She envisions herself lying in bed surrounded by friends and family who love her, hoping that she will have something wise to say to them before she dies. “Well, if I am going to live that, that means I have to deserve their love. I have to live out this last act in such a way that I will have friends who will want to come and hold my hand when I die. And I have to keep learning so that I’ll have something wise to say to them…love, a little wisdom, and being okay with going out.”

Dr. Oz ends his interview with Jane Fonda with the last life review question of “What do you want it all to add up to?

“I think that adding it all up means that you are a whole person, that you are not leaving part of yourself behind…and love and forgiveness. I’ve had a lot of experiences. I could die having a lot of experiences and not be wise. It’s reflecting back on experiences that you have had and understanding what they mean and that’s what brings wisdom. I’m losing my eyesight, but I’m gaining insight.”

Image source of Jane Fonda: Wikipedia