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Actress Rebecca Gibney tells Kate Minogue how she overhauled her health after learning she was insulin resistant.
I gained 13.5kg for the new P.J. Hogan film Mental. I had to gain the weight quickly so I went to a nutritionist for advice. I’d started having more pasta and rice, and I've always been an ice-cream nut and I like a glass of wine, so I was enjoying all that. Then I found out I was insulin resistant. So although I couldn't lose the weight straightaway because of the film, I had to stop gaining weight because carrying excess kilos makes the condition worse.
When I found out my health was at risk it was a blessing in disguise. It forced me to clean up my act and cut back on sugary foods. When filming finished I had to be strict with what I ate. It has taken me the last three to four months to lose 10kg. I'm lucky that playing Julie Rafter on Packed To The Rafters means I'm not expected to be skinny. I'm [playing] a middle-aged mum, so the producers were happy for me to lose the weight gradually.
I did employ a personal trainer who helped me with an exercise and diet plan. I love walking and I try to see the trainer a couple of times a week to do strength work. I want to strengthen my core so I can avoid back problems when I'm older, and so I have good posture. I also do yoga stretches and meditate at home every day there’s nothing more important than a calm mind. I've had a big learning curve. For instance, when people say they are going to have a low-fat food, I've learned generally that low-fat means it's packed with sugar. And sugar is the enemy for someone who has insulin resistance. I don't process sugar well it goes straight around my middle and that can be a problem later on for things like heart disease, especially if I keep putting on weight. Thankfully, I'm not, but I'm 47 and putting weight on is much easier than taking it off!
I'm mostly a positive and optimistic person. I'm not a Pollyanna, though I don't beat myself up if I have a down day. It's important to nurture yourself as you get older. But mostly I'm a great believer in living in the present and being grateful. Recently some close friends suffered a great loss. It makes you realise how precious life is. I've travelled extensively with [charity] World Vision and it's allowed me to see there's been a lot of tragedy in the world and it's just by the grace of God that I was born where I was. I'm very lucky. It’s my duty to make the most of it, and I want to be a good example for my son [Zac].
The last 12 months have been full on my filming schedule has been incredibly long. I haven't had the kind of quality time I want with my family, so I really want to spend time with my husband and son. We are planning to go overseas soon for four to six weeks. We're going to take Zac, who is eight, out of school for a bit. We'll take school work for him. He is a nature freak so we will probably do lots of hiking and looking for yetis and Bigfoot.
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