Academy Award-winner Diane Keaton says battling bulimia in her 20s was the “lowest point in life.”
Speaking with Dr. Oz this week, the Annie Hall actress said she would consume 20,000 calories within one day. That consisted of a bucket of fried chicken, several orders of fries, TV dinner, a quart of soda, pounds of candy, a whole cake and three banana cream pies. Afterward, she would purge.
“I was an obese person who had somehow tricked myself and managed to hide it,” Diane said of the struggle. “So, when you’re living with a lie for four years, think about what that does to that four years. It wipes out any growth at all… All I did was feed my hunger.”
Diane began taking baby steps toward recovery by meeting with a therapist, even though she said she lied to the counselor for the first year of their meetings. “I pretended like there was nothing wrong,” she said. “One day I just got so anxious that I finally just blurted it out and I said to her, ‘You know what? I gotta tell you something right now: I throw up. And I’ll tell you something else: I’m never stopping! So don’t ask me any questions… I kept saying that to her.”
Calling that the beginning of the end, Diane quit the binge and purge cycle the next year. She considers herself — even 40 years later — to be an addict in recovery. “All I did was feed my hunger, so I am an addict. It’s true,” she said. “I really empathize with people who are bulimic because I think it’s a hard one to wrap your mind around because it’s so hidden.”
Diane initially opened up with her bulimia struggle in her 2011 memoir, Then Again. She said it began when she was cast as an understudy on Broadway and ordered to lose 10 lbs. She wrote about it in greater detail in her new book, Let’s Just Say It Wasn’t Pretty.