Drew Barrymore reveals she lost 20 pounds filming new zombie show


Drew Barrymore is feeling more confident than ever these days.

The 41-year-old actress stopped by the Today show on Friday to promote her new Netflix show -- The Santa Clarita Diet -- with her co-star Timothy Olyphant, and shared she lost 20 pounds while filming. Barrymore plays Sheila in the show, who becomes a zombie after she dies.

"It came in the middle of this moment in my life where I had let myself go due to personal circumstances," Barrymore shares. "And I thought I could come alive with Sheila. It was a really great goal line for me, because as much as the weight loss, everything's very subtle -- it's attitudinal, it's empowerment, it's confidence."

WATCH: EXCLUSIVE -- Drew Barrymore Has a Taste for Human Flesh in New Netflix Show, 'The Santa Clarita Diet'

"It's all of these things that she's lost in her life -- and I felt I had sort of lost in my life -- and it was such a blessing to come alive with her, and it really was so positive for me," she adds.

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Drew Barrymore
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Drew Barrymore
HOLLYWOOD, CA - MAY 21: Actress Drew Barrymore (L) and husband Will Kopelman arrive at the Los Angeles Premiere 'Blended' on May 21, 2014 at TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Barry King/FilmMagic)
WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA - APRIL 05: Actress Drew Barrymore arrives at Safe Kids Day at The Lot on April 5, 2014 in West Hollywood, California. (Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)
LAS VEGAS, NV - MARCH 27: Female Star of the Year award winner Drew Barrymore attends The CinemaCon Big Screen Achievement Awards brought to you by The Coca-Cola Company during CinemaCon, the official convention of the National Association of Theatre Owners, at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace on March 27, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Michael Buckner/Getty Images for CinemaCon)
LAS VEGAS, NV - MARCH 27: (L-R) Actors Drew Barrymore, Adam Sandler and director Frank Coraci onstage during Warner Bros. Pictures' “The Big Picture”, an Exclusive Presentation Highlighting the Summer of 2014 and Beyond during CinemaCon, the official convention of the National Association of Theatre Owners, at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace on March 27, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for CinemaCon)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - MAY 21: Actors Adam Sandler (L) and Drew Barrymore attend the Los Angeles premiere of 'Blended' at the TCL Chinese Theatre on May 21, 2014 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by David Livingston/Getty Images)
BERLIN, GERMANY - MAY 19: Drew Barrymore attends the 'Blended' Berlin Premiere on May 19, 2014 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Franziska Krug/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 16: Drew Barrymore visits 'The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon' at Rockefeller Center on May 16, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Theo Wargo/NBC/Getty Images for 'The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon')
LAS VEGAS, NV - MARCH 27: Female Star of the Year award winner, actress Drew Barrymore (L) and Male Star of the Year award winner, actor Adam Sandler arrive at The CinemaCon Big Screen Achievement Awards during CinemaCon, the official convention of the National Association of Theatre Owners, at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace on March 27, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Gabe Ginsberg/WireImage)
TORONTO, ON - SEPTEMBER 13: Director/ actress Drew Barrymore speaks at the spotlight on 'Whip It' event during the 2009 Toronto International Film Festival held at the Yonge Dundas Square on September 13, 2009 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Malcolm Taylor/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - MARCH 27: Female Star of the Year award winner Drew Barrymore speaks onstage at The CinemaCon Big Screen Achievement Awards brought to you by The Coca-Cola Company during CinemaCon, the official convention of the National Association of Theatre Owners, at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace on March 27, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images for CinemaCon)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - MAY 21: Actress Drew Barrymore arrives at the Los Angeles premiere of 'Blended' at TCL Chinese Theatre on May 21, 2014 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)
THE TONIGHT SHOW STARRING JIMMY FALLON -- Episode 0008 -- Pictured: (l-r) Actor Adam Sandler and Actress Drew Barrymore on Wednesday, February 26, 2014 -- (Photo by: Lloyd Bishop/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 15: Actress Drew Barrymore signs copies of her new book 'Find It In Everything' at Barnes & Noble bookstore at The Grove on January 15, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic)
WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA - JANUARY 05: Actress Drew Barrymore arrives at COVERGIRL 50th Anniversary Celebration at BOA Steakhouse on January 5, 2011 in West Hollywood, California. (Photo by Jeff Vespa/Getty Images For COVERGIRL)
LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 03: Actress Drew Barrymore arrives at the AFI FEST 2009 screening of Miramax' 'Everybody's Fine' at the Chinese Theater on November 3, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for AFI)
BERLIN, GERMANY - MAY 19: Drew Barrymore and Adam Sandler attend the premiere of the film 'Blended' (German title: 'Urlaubsreif') at CineStar on May 19, 2014 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Target Presse Agentur Gmbh/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 22: Actress Drew Barrymore is seen on May 22, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Demis Maryannakis/Star Max/GC Images)
TORONTO, ON - SEPTEMBER 13: Director/Actress Drew Barrymore, Actress Ellen Page, and Actor Danny Mooney attend the Spotlight - 'Whip It' event held at the Yonge Dundas Square during the 2009 Toronto International Film Festival on September 13, 2009 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Chelsea Lauren/WireImage)
WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA - APRIL 05: Actress Drew Barrymore attends the Safe Kids Day at The Lot on April 5, 2014 in West Hollywood, California. (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 26: Actress Drew Barrymore and Will Kopelman arrive at the Chanel & Charles Finch Pre-Oscar Dinner Celebrating Fashion & Film at Madeo Restaurant on February 26, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Scott Kirkland/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - AUGUST 23: Actress Drew Barrymore arrives at the premiere of Warner Bros. 'Going The Distance' held at Grauman's Chinese Theatre on August 23, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - AUGUST 19: Drew Barrymore attends the World premiere of 'Going The Distance' at The Vue on August 19, 2010 in London, England. (Photo by Eamonn McCormack/WireImage)
WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA - AUGUST 10: Actress Drew Barrymore attends the Nylon + Express August Denim Issue party at The London Hotel on August 10, 2010 in West Hollywood, California. (Photo by Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 23: Actress Drew Barrymore attends the 16th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at The Shrine Auditorium on January 23, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Steve Granitz/WireImage)
Dress detail on actress Drew Barrymore as she poses with her Best Performance by an Actress in a Mini-Series or a Motion Picture Made for Television award for 'Grey Gardens' in the photo room at the 67th Annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California, January 17, 2010. AFP PHOTO / Valerie Macon (Photo credit should read VALERIE MACON/AFP/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - DECEMBER 03: Actress Drew Barrymore attends Tribeca Film Institute's benefit screening of 'Everybody's Fine' at AMC Lincoln Square on December 3, 2009 in New York City. (Photo by Jim Spellman/WireImage)
HOLLYWOOD - SEPTEMBER 29: Actress Drew Barrymore arrives at the Los Angeles premiere of 'Whip It' at the Grauman's Chinese Theatre on September 29, 2009 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Jeffrey Mayer/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 20: Actress Drew Barrymore arrives at the 61st Primetime Emmy Awards held at the Nokia Theatre on September 20, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - SEPTEMBER 15: Director Drew Barrymore speaks onstage at the 'Whip It' press conference held at the Four Seasons Hotel on September 15, 2009 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images)
NORTH HOLLYWOOD, CA - APRIL 17: Actress Drew Barrymore attends 'Inside Grey Gardens' at the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences on April 17, 2009 in North Hollywood, California. (Photo by Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic)
HOLLYWOOD - APRIL 16: Actress Drew Barrymore arrives at the Los Angeles premiere of 'Grey Gardens' at Grauman's Chinese Theater on April 16, 2009 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Jeffrey Mayer/WireImage)
NEW YORK - APRIL 15: Drew Barrymore visits 'Late Show with David Letterman' at the Ed Sullivan Theater on April 15, 2009 in New York City, New York. (Photo by James Devaney/WireImage)
NEW YORK - APRIL 14: Drew Barrymore attends the premiere of 'Grey Gardens' at the Ziegfeld Theater on April 14, 2009 in New York City, New York. (Photo by James Devaney/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 02: Actress Drew Barrymore arrives at the premiere of Warner Bros. 'He's Just Not That Into You' held at Grauman's Chinese Theatre on February 2, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
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Barrymore jokes that losing weight was a central part of playing Sheila.

"If you're eating, in her case, human flesh, I basically thought, 'Well, if a woman was just eating simple protein every day all day long she would lose weight," the mother of two says with a smile. "It's, like, a very macabre Atkins [diet]."

WATCH: Drew Barrymore, Katy Perry, Charlize Theron, Ariana Grande and More Attend Women's Marches

Barrymore is currently single after splitting from her ex-husband, art consultant Will Kopelman, last April. The pair have two daughters together, 4-year-old Olive and 2-year-old Frankie.

In November, the actress acknowledged that 2016 was a difficult year for her. "I have cried a lot this year," she Instagrammed. "I have always been a person who is flawed. I forgive. I fight. But I do not fight with others. I will spend my life trying to give love. And I am always aware and appreciative when I receive it. My heart is very open right now."

27 PHOTOS
Drew Barrymore's Style Transformation
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Drew Barrymore's Style Transformation

1984

We're loving Drew's teddy bear purse and plaid dress. Stylin' in the '80s!

Photo Credit: Getty Images

1985

10-year-old Drew hangs out at the China Club, a since defunct New York City nightlife spot. We’re loving the pop of neon, but it looks like it might be past her bedtime!

Photo Credit: Getty Images

1989

Drew's off-the-shoulder dress is just sassy enough but doesn't go too far, and we love it!

Photo Credit: WireImage

1990

Drew loves to rock a bold lip on the red carpet – looks like some things haven’t changed!

Photo Credit: Getty Images

1993

Drew’s style typically leans towards casual. Here she is at a benefit in Los Angeles,  wearing a denim jacket and blue-tinted shades.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

1995

Drew got edgy for the 'Batman Forever' premiere in an icy blue mini dress and dark lipstick.

Photo Credit: WireImage

1996

We can definitely see the roots of Drew’s bohemian style here, at a movie premiere in Los Angeles. We also spy a much darker hair color!

Photo Credit: Getty Images

1997

Drew is back to blonde and wears a deep purple satin dress to a celebration of Elizabeth Taylor's birthday.

Photo Credit: WireImage

1998

It’s pin curls and a modestly cut dress for Drew at the premiere of Ever After in Los Angeles.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

1999

At the Kid’s Choice Awards in Los Angeles, Drew is able to really show off her bohemian flare with bell-bottom jeans, a long scarf, and a headband.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

2000

Drew arrives at the L.A. premiere of "Charlie's Angels" with Tom Green on her arm.

Photo Credit: WireImage

2002

Drew looked cool and casual in all white for the 20th anniversary premiere of "E.T."

Photo Credit: WireImage

2003

Drew sports a black bikini under a white suit at the Charlie’s Angels 2: Full Throttle premiere.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

2004

Drew loves a good retro hairstyle. We think this one, at a premiere of 50 First Dates, reminds us of Brigitte Bardot.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

2005

Drew makes her entrance at the 77th Annual Academy Awards in her go-to red carpet color – black!

Photo Credit: Getty Images

2006

This look, from the Costume Institute Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, might be our favorite of Drew’s yet!

Photo Credit: Getty Images

2006

A one-shoulder dress paired with a ponytail is the perfect party look for Drew.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

2007

Drew shows up in a yellow frock to sign her first major beauty deal with CoverGirl.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

2007

Drew arrives at the 64th Annual Golden Globe Awards in a pale pink stunner.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

2009

At the HBO premiere of Grey Gardens, Drew is going for a major Priscilla Presley vibe.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

2010

Drew attends the 16th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards in a navy gown and, again a retro 'do.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

2010

Drew vamps it up in gold for the Los Angeles premiere of Going the Distance.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

2011

Drew goes yellow again for another CoverGirl event, and this time, we like the marigold hue even more than her last look.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

2012

Drew goes for an allover print at the Big Miracle premiere in Washington, D.C.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

2012

We’re loving Drew’s take on pregnancy style, see here at the New York City Ballet’s Spring Gala.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

2013

Here’s Drew at a Bvlgari event in Los Angeles. We love the jumpsuit and hot pink lip!

Photo Credit: Getty Images

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