Charlize Theron’s 50-Pound Weight Gain Was No Picnic

She had to set her alarm to eat cold mac and cheese in the middle of the night.

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Photo by: Isa Foltin

Isa Foltin

For most of us, putting on a few pounds is woefully effortless — as easy as falling off a…diet. Not so for Charlize Theron.

In order to play an overwhelmed mom in her forthcoming film, "Tully," the 42-year-old actress took it upon herself to add nearly 50 pounds — over the course of only three and a half months — to her normally Hollywood-slim physique.

"I wanted to feel what this woman felt, and I think that was a way for me to get closer to her and get into that mindset," Theron told Entertainment Tonight.

But eating the requisite calories for the weight gain was no picnic.

"It was a huge surprise to me. I got hit in the face pretty hard with depression," she said, adding, "for the first time in my life I was eating so much processed foods and I drank way too much sugar. I was not that fun to be around..."

It was better in the beginning, Theron told the entertainment site. She felt like "a kid in a candy store," scarfing down breakfast with two milkshakes at the In-N-Out. But after three weeks, the thrill was gone and eating just felt like a job.

No, worse, the dream became a nightmare.

"I remember having to set my alarm in the middle of the night in order to just maintain [the weight]," she said. "I would literally wake up at two in the morning and I'd have a cup of cold macaroni and cheese just next to me. I would wake up and I would just eat it...I would just, like, shove it in my throat. It's hard to maintain that weight."

Appearing on The Ellen DeGeneres Show Wednesday, Theron added that, while she "ate a lot of everything," her "drug of choice is potato chips." She ate them "everywhere. I had a bag in the car, a bag in the bathroom, a bag in the kitchen, a bag on the couch, a bag in my trailer. Everywhere I went, there was just a bag."

As a result of all that processed food, she said, she felt "lethargic and tired all the time."

But as difficult as gaining and maintaining all that weight was, losing it may have been harder still — much more grueling than it was for her to lose the weight she packed on in 2003, when she was only 27, for her Oscar-winning role in Monster. In fact, the actress describes that part as "hell."

"There's nothing fun about that," she told ET of her slow transition back to her sylph-like self. "It took about a year and a half. It was a long journey, very long journey."

We regular folk feel your pain, Charlize.

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