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Actors are often asked to transform themselves when it comes to taking on a role. And that’s why they get paid the big bucks. Typically it’s when they’re trying to embody a character based on a real-life person, but that’s not the case for Charlize Theron and her new movie, which makes her metamorphosis all the more impressive.

The first time Theron overhauled herself for a role was for 2003’s Monster; she turned herself — on-screen, at least — into serial killer Aileen Wuornos. For that, she had her hair thinned out, gained 30 pounds, shaved and bleached her eyebrows and had a facial procedure done to give her skin a weathered look. It also helped that Charlize can act her ass off, because that combination earned her an Oscar.

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Now, 15 years later, Theron is doing it again — this time for Tully. While she’s not the titular character (that would be Mackenzie Davis), Tully comes to the rescue of Theron’s Marlo, a stay-at-home mother of three who is having a hard time after giving birth to her latest child. And aside from postpartum and juggling 17 different things, one of the biggest things most new moms struggle with is taking care of themselves. Which is why Charlize packing on the pounds to play Marlo makes so much sense.

“I gained close to 50 pounds for this film,” Theron told ET. “I just 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. You know, it was a huge surprise to me. I got hit in the face pretty hard with depression. Yeah, 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 on this film.”

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She gained it all in about three and a half months, and it was fun — starting out. Charlize would have In-N-Out and milkshakes for breakfast, but by about three weeks, it grew tiresome.

“I remember having to set my alarm in the middle of the night in order to just maintain [the weight],” she recalled. “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.”

For those of us who put on pounds just by thinking about food, Theron’s words are a tad frustrating. But there are those who struggle to gain weight and we guess Charlize is just one of those people. Losing the weight after this journey, however, was “hell” and unlike with Monster, Theron said it took a lot longer to shed the pounds. We feel ya, Char.

“There’s nothing fun about that. It took about a year and a half. It was a long journey, very long journey,” she explained, adding that she became worried about how long it was taking. “Because on Monster, I just didn’t snack for five days and I was fine. You know your body at 27 is a little different than your body at 43, and my doctor made sure to make me very aware of that.”

But she makes sure to add that was all worth it, even if it’s just to show the world how tough motherhood can be.

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“The struggle is real for everybody,” Theron said. “What’s beautiful about this film, it’s unifying. It makes you realize that nobody has it easier than you or they don’t experience any of those things. It’s messy.”

It sounds like Theron experienced so much during filming and it’s only going to be more beautiful once Tully is out in theatres. Hopefully the movie helps end the stigma of moms keeping quiet about their feelings and we all just let it out.