Rebecca Gibney was stunned when she looked in the mirror late last year and realised she was 'fat'.
The usually-svelte star had put on 13.5kg to play troubled mother-of-five in upcoming film Mental.
She enjoyed gaining the weight, but was horrified when filming was over and she was stuck with her new body.
"They called wrap on set and I went back to my apartment and took a long look in the mirror," Rebecca tells the March issue of The Australian Woman's Weekly.
"I said, 'Wow, I'm fat.' Well, not fat, but pretty chunky. And I had to be back on set for Packed to the Rafters in two weeks. I went on a diet and started trying to lose the weight."
Rebecca, 47, started an aggressive diet, cutting out bread, pasta, and alcohol but the onset of menopause meant that the weight wasn't coming off as quickly as it used to.
After weeks of feeling angry and anxious, Rebecca decided enough was enough — and decided to quit dieting forever.
"I was starting to stress out about the weight and not being able to lose it," she says. "But then I thought, 'Well, I can be grumpy, sad and hungry, but that wouldn't be good, not for me, not for my family, not for anyone'.
"I'd be terrible to live with if I was all those things at once, so I thought, I'll just be grumpy. I won't be hungry anymore."
"I am not an all or nothing kind of girl. I'm not going to give up everything. I'm just not. Life is too short, so I am going to have chocolate and I am going to have a glass of wine. And on my cheat day, I am going to have ice-cream. "
Rebecca is now down to a healthy size 10, and says she doesn't care if she never gets back to her old body.
"Luckily, the great thing about being older is that I don't feel the pressure to be a size 6 or 8 again," she says. "I am a size 10. I'm healthy and I'm fit. I'm 65kg, which is smack bang in the middle of the healthy weight range for my height and age.
"I'm not at my pre-baby weight, but I refuse to beat myself up over it. There are plenty of more important things to worry about. It's so sad that we put so much pressure on ourselves and emphasise the way that we look rather than, for example, our mental health."
Read more of this story in the March issue of The Australian Women's Weekly.
Video: Good food habits