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Rebel Wilson explains her favorite exercise, opens up about 60-lb weight-loss journey

Wilson said she's lost more than 60 pounds in her "year of health."
/ Source: TODAY

Actor Rebel Wilson is known for playing funny characters on the silver screen but in the past year, she's also wowed her fans by getting into amazing shape.

She started calling 2020 her "year of health" in December 2019 and spent the past 12 months losing weight and getting healthy — reaching her "goal weight" in late November.

Wilson said she'd been getting so many questions about her wellness journey that she decided to do a sit-down Instagram Live on Tuesday night.

"I was determined in 2020 — the year of health — to actually fully change my whole entire lifestyle," she explained in the video. "So it meant not only, like, physically but mentally as well."

Favorite Exercise

Wilson, 40, revealed the one exercise she recommends to just about everyone: walking.

"I’m in a lucky position ... I do have access to really amazing personal trainers but I want you guys to know that the majority of the exercise that I’ve done this year has just been me going out for a walk," she said. "That is free, you can do it, it’s safe."

The "Pitch Perfect" actor said she listens to several music playlists or audiobooks and podcasts while she walks.

"I know it’s getting colder…but just give it a go. If you can do an hour — that’s what I like to do when I go walking — it is the best," she added. "Just get your body moving."

Walking is an exercise highly recommended by experts. Cedric Bryant, Ph.D., the president and chief science officer of the American Council on Exercise, told TODAY last month that walking "certainly can" help with weight loss.

"It is a low-impact aerobic exercise that allows individuals to expend energy and burn calories, so it can certainly help with weight loss," Bryant said.

Other experts have recommended walking as a form of exercise due to its simplicity and accessibility.

"I am a fan of walking as a form of movement — especially if you're just getting started," Marisa Moore, a registered dietitian in Atlanta, said. "What's most important is finding a type of activity you like and will do."

Bryant said it's difficult to guess how much weight one may lose while walking due to the number of factors involved, but said that people can expect to burn about a hundred calories for every thousand steps they take.

Wilson said she had been surprised by how much she had enjoyed the activity.

"Weirdly, I never thought I would like hiking, walking uphill," she laughed. "Like, who would have thought that’d be a fun activity? But frick it’s good. To be out in nature, get that air into your lungs. I really really love it and so I do that now all the time."

Wilson, who said she works out six days a week now, said she also enjoys cardio activities and weightlifting.

"Ladies, don’t be afraid of weights, I frickin' love lifting weights. It just makes you feel like really strong," she said.

Eating Healthy

Wilson added that much of her wellness journey has also been about re-training her bad eating habits. She said she has been on a high protein diet, drinks loads of water and tries to stay under 1,500 calories a day.

She explained that while eating something like chicken, she can do so "mindfully."

"You feel satisfied and then you stop eating," she said. "Whereas if I’m eating a whole frickin’ bag of chips I’m just like devouring that and suddenly there’s a ton of calories and game over and yeah, no weight loss that week."

She said she had grown up eating fast food and has a "real sweet tooth."

"Basically, I only used to eat like, carbs and sugar," she said. Wilson added that nothing is off-limits in her new eating plan, she just is aiming for balance.

Mental Health

While Wilson may not have any "rock and roll issues" like drug or alcohol addiction, she said she suffers from emotional eating.

"Whether that be happiness, sadness, celebrating, depressed," she said. "Emotional eating was kind of the thing that I did and dealing with the stress ... how I was dealing with fame and the pressures of work was by emotional eating.”

Wilson, who is currently in New York filming, added she had taped something earlier in the day and hadn't been "feeling at ease" so she ate some chocolate.

"The old patterns still come up," she said. "Maybe not every day. But if I’m worried or anxious or whatever it still comes up for me. It’s not something that’s just going to disappear, it’s just something I have to manage now moving forward."

She implored fans watching to not feel bad about emotional eating or overeating.

"It’s just about how you manage it and what you can do to … try to replace your unhealthy habits with healthy ones," she said.

Wilson went on to say that she had worn her weight "as a bit of barrier, you know, maybe so that people wouldn't get close to me."

"It’s hard when I talk about the emotional stuff," she said, her eyes watering. "Sometimes talking about all the personal stuff, it’s difficult and not everything I’ve fully processed yet in my brain."

She said she had learned she was "doing those unhealthy behaviors" because she "wasn't treating (herself) with love and respect."

"And anybody else out there I would try to treat with love and respect but myself I probably wasn’t…I’d leave myself to last. I’m sure a lot of people can relate to that," she said with a sigh. "I just wasn’t valuing myself and ... telling myself negative things and going ‘Yeah, well stuff it. Yeah, just eat that whole thing of ice cream or that whole packet of brownies because who cares, whatever you deserve that.'"

"That was hard," she said. "And so what I’m trying to do is change those patterns so you’re more loving and you're treating yourself with more respect."