After winning legions of fans as Fat Amy in Pitch Perfect and as Matt Lucas’s slovenly sister in Bridesmaids, Rebel Wilson could be forgiven for thinking her size was key to her success.
But despite having weighed in at around 16 and a half stone – while standing just 5ft 2in tall – the actress and comedian knew her talent was much bigger.
And after a miraculous transformation at an extreme health camp, Hollywood bosses may need to re-think her future roles.
Rebel, 41, kick-started her weight loss at a wellness centre in Austria where sugar, alcohol and caffeine are banned, dinner is frowned upon and guests chew every mouthful 40 times.
And today the man Rebel has thanked for her progress tells how the star’s overwhelming determination has been key to getting results.
Maximilian Schubert told the Sunday Mirror: “Rebel has done amazingly well. Her willpower, discipline and focus on her health journey has been her success.”
The Australian star this week posted an Instagram selfie from the set of her upcoming movie Senior Year – in which she looked every bit the belle of the ball.
Her flattering pink satin gown showed off her toned arms and its high waist her slimmer frame.
It is testament to her hard graft – by the end of last year she had lost more than four and a half stone to reach her target weight of just over 11 and a half stone (74kg).
She had been inspired to improve her health after looking into freezing her eggs and being told the healthier she was, the better her chances of the process going well.
And she turned to the Vivamayr Altaussee centre in Lake Altaussee, Austria – a picturesque haven loved by celebrities including Liz Hurley and The Rolling Stones.
Rebel has visited the centre twice, most recently last November.
In December she posted snaps of herself enjoying lake hikes and the centre’s pool.
She told her 9.9 million Instagram fans: “Thank you to Dr Schubert and team in beautiful Austria. I’m going to start 2021 in an amazing place, with a healthy body and mind and boosted immune system.”
Dr Schubert told how the centre tries to boost the immune system and reduce inflammation in the body with diet and exercise. While he cannot disclose precise details of Rebel’s regime, he explained: “The goal is always to achieve the most powerful immune system possible.
“She was very disciplined after her stay. She’s done really well because she’s keeping up with her sport.”
The centre is known for its regimented diet plan, based on the Mayr cure – a food philosophy created in 1901. It aims to eliminate snacking and reduce gluten and dairy intake, while focusing on high-alkaline foods such as vegetables and fish.
Certain fundamentals apply to nearly every visitor. Guests are encouraged to chew every mouthful 40 times to help with the digestive process. As part of the detoxification process there is no sugar, no caffeine, no booze and no raw food.
It also sounds no fun, I suggest – to deadly silence from Dr Schubert. “It’s a calming therapy for your gut system so we’re aiming for easily digestible food,” he says.
Explaining an alkaline diet, he tells me: “As a simple rule, we say people should eat two thirds vegetables and a third protein or carbohydrates.”
Breakfasts might include a vegetable omelette or an avocado cream with smoked salmon. An ideal lunch would be two vegetables with some fish or carbohydrate (not both), at around 3pm. And dinner?
“The most healthy version would be dinner cancelling,” says Dr Schubert.
That’s his way of saying “no dinner at all”. Instead, unless a guest is trying to gain weight or has specific medical problems, they are encouraged to do intermittent fasting for up to 17 hours starting from 5pm.
Despite my doubts about people’s willpower, Dr Schubert’s harsh regime is incredibly compelling. It was after training as an orthopaedic surgeon and working as a GP that he realised the huge differences diet can make to people’s health.
He says: “I’ve seen a lady who came in a wheelchair with orthopaedic issues and, after six to eight weeks, she can walk to our lake.
Others are taking lots of medication and we can reduce that.” When people leave, his hope is that they try to stick to the rules, within reason. Since declaring 2020 as her “year of health”, Rebel has told how she once consumed around 3,000 calories a day.
But she is still not one to deny herself the odd treat. In April, she posted a picture of herself out walking during a UK visit, adding: “Strolling through the English countryside after a fresh piece of lemon drizzle cake! Oh yeah!!!”
On Valentine’s Day, she uploaded a shot of herself with a doughnut, joking: “The only ring I’ll see this Valentine’s Day”.
The same month she described herself as “single”, after ending her romance with brewery heir Jacob Busch, 29.
Since her strolls at the lake in Austria she has got into what she calls “moderate walking” – and also now has a regular PT instructor, Gunnar Peterson, and listens to uplifting motivational podcasts.
She revealed in a magazine chat earlier this year: “I never properly considered wellness from all angles. But I was turning 40 and thinking about freezing my eggs, and the experts told me that the healthier I am, the better the process can go.”
She also credits her leaner look to “learning how to manage emotional eating and taking daily supplements”.
She told the magazine: “The goal was never to be skinny. It was never to fit into a certain dress size. I put in a weight because I needed some tangible thing. What I’m proud of myself [for] is doing that and having a lot more balance now in my life.”
Last year’s focus on health came as Rebel took a break after working on a string of projects. Her first lead role, as Natalie in 2019’s Isn’t It Romantic, was a huge hit.
The same year she appeared as Penny Rust in The Hustle, as Fraulein Rahm in Hitler satire Jojo Rabbit, and as Jennyanydots in the film version of musical Cats.
She has often used her plus-sized figure to her advantage, explaining in a 2013 interview: “As long as I look like this, I’m going to make fat jokes. All comedians have to use their physicality, so I use my size.”
As a long-time advocate for body positivity, it seems her healthy attitude towards weight loss for wellness rather than to meet impossible ideals remains pitch-perfect.