Rebel Wilson famously went on a self-declared "Year of Health" in 2020, and now she's opening up more about her journey. The Pitch Perfect alum explained that she started her Year of Health with her fertility in mind on Australia's morning show, Sunrise. "I was thinking about fertility and having good quality eggs in the bank, so I was like, 'Okay, I'm going to do this, I'm going to get healthy,'" she said at the time.
She went on to say that the process changed her health—and her life. "It's changed dramatically I think," she said. "I was going through a fertility journey, and it was better if I was healthier, and I kind of wanted to be healthier anyway."
The actress has spoken about her journey with fertility before. She said on an Instagram Live in December that she had started freezing her eggs. "If that's something that interests you, it's a pretty good time to do it," she said. She also hinted at having issues with her fertility in an emotional Instagram in May. "I got some bad news today and didn't have anyone to share it with…but I guess I gotta tell someone," she wrote. "To all the women out there struggling with fertility, I feel ya."
Wilson's comments naturally raise questions about how weight can affect fertility, so Health talked to experts about the connection. Here's what you need to know.
How can your weight impact your fertility?
"In some women, being overweight—particularly, obese—may lower their chances of getting pregnant," women's health expert and ob/gyn Jennifer Wider, M.D., tells Health. "Weight can negatively impact your hormones and make it less likely to ovulate in a regular way or prevent ovulation."
When a person has obesity or is overweight, they typically have higher levels of a hormone called leptin in their body, Christine Greves, M.D., a board-certified ob/gyn at the Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women and Babies, tells Health. "That, in and of itself, can disrupt the hormonal balance and make it difficult to get pregnant," she says.
Being overweight or obese could also signal an underlying health condition like polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), Dr. Wider points out. "PCOS is one of the most common diagnoses that causes infertility," she says. "PCOS can also cause obesity. It's important to uncover the underlying cause of obesity/or being overweight. If you treat the PCOS, the body will likely ovulate, increasing the likelihood of getting pregnant."
If you want to get pregnant but you're concerned about your weight, Dr. Wider recommends talking to your doctor. "It is extremely important to discuss with your doctor or health care provider," she says. "Sometimes, the weight gain has an underlying cause that needs to be addressed to help increase the chances of conceiving."
Wilson has been on a long journey for her Year of Health
Wilson told Sunrise that she's even noticed little changes in how she feels, and said that she feels her health has improved overall as a result. In the past, she said that she would need to put her feet up at the end of a long day on a movie set because they were sore. "Now I don't have that kind of thing happening," she said. Wilson called the results "kind of remarkable," adding, "I'm proud of myself for doing it and also maintaining it this year even though now I'm back to work filming movies."
Wilson says she started her Year of Health in January of 2020 slowly, by walking more and adjusting her diet. "I put on the athleisure and went out for a walk, deliberately hydrating on the couch right now and trying to avoid the sugar and junk food which is going to be hard after the holidays I've just had but I'm going to do it!" she wrote in an Instagram caption at the time. "Who's with me in making some positive changes this year?
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Since then, she's given regular updates to fans about her progress, as well as how she's been feeling. On The Morning Crew With Hughesy, Ed and Erin in January of this year, she remarked that she's noticed people approach her differently now. "Sometimes being bigger, people didn't necessarily look twice at you," she said. "And now that I'm in a good shape, like, people offer to carry my groceries to the car and hold doors open for you. I was like, 'Is this what other people experienced all the time?'"
Wilson also joked about posting more photos of herself on Instagram now. "Loving myself,'" she said. "I know I should calm down a bit on that." However, she says she's been confident at every size. "I've always been quite confident," she said. "It wasn't like I wasn't confident."
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