Long days on set exhausted the popular Neighbours star, and sometimes she was too tired to even take her eight- year-old son Kai to the park.
‘Normally, I’m so on-the-go all the time,’ laughs Rebekah, who plays high-powered businesswoman Terese Willis on the long-running soap.
‘I talk at a million miles per hour and don’t sit down for more than two seconds at a time, but recently I wanted to lie down for a little snooze all the time.’
Suddenly, the awful truth dawned. The diminutive actress – who stands just 1.5m tall – had stacked on 10kg and three dress sizes since joining the Ramsay Street crew four years ago.
‘I’m bigger now than I was two days after giving birth,’ wails Rebekah, who currently tips the scales at 68kg and wears a size 14, depending on the fashion label.
‘I’m five foot nothing, so even if I put on an extra kilo or two, it makes a big difference.
‘On TV, which makes you look about 10kg heavier than you really are, it’s even worse. But actually piling on 10kg on top of that! For me, it’s the biggest I’ve ever been.
‘I actually don’t have an issue with the way I look and I’ve never come under any pressure to slim from producers. But I’m definitely over the healthy weight range for my height, so I have to do something about it.’
Now 43, Rebekah reckons her plight is similar to that of many busy mums her age. It’s hard to find time for herself and achieve some kind of work/life balance. Factor in on-set catering, the hormonal changes of approaching menopause, plus the family’s stressful move from Sydney to Melbourne, and it’s a recipe for weight gain.
‘Those extra kilos can so easily creep up on you, and that’s what happened to me,’ admits Rebekah, who first shot to fame as Home And Away’s teen tearaway Sophie Simpson in 1990.
‘I honestly think things have changed dramatically in that respect, going into my 40s.
‘I do lead a healthy lifestyle in many ways, but there’s so much running around, not having a routine, not looking after myself properly. I take my hat off to women who have more than one child and work full-time. I just don’t know how they do it.
‘I’m like a woman I caught on TV the other day, who saw herself in the mirror and thought she looked fine – until she saw the family photographs! Oh my God, that’s me!
‘I’m not massively overweight, just enough to make a difference to my general fitness and energy levels. That’s the struggle, and I think a lot of women can relate to that.’
For the full story, see this week’s New Idea – Out now.
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