By Bob Tourtellotte
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Back in December, writer and actress Carrie Fisher began a long journey to shed pounds, hiring on as a celebrity spokeswoman for weight loss company Jenny Craig and targeting 30 lbs. She did far better.
On Wednesday, the woman who in her twenties made many a young man swoon as "Star Wars" Princess Leia in her metal bikini, revealed that she'd lost 50 lbs.
Fisher, now 54, has used her sly wit to write seriously about her life's struggles growing up in a celebrity family, daughter of Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher. One book, "Wishful Drinking," morphed into a one-woman stage show. Here, she reveals how she went from a chubby 180 lbs to a fit 130.
Q: Everyone always wants to know, what's the secret?
A: "It is better to not do it all by yourself, so I had the consultant that Jenny Craig provides. You can vent any frustration to that person, and it's good to have someone cheering for you when you don't feel like cheering for yourself, and to keep you focused on the positive."
Q: When you think back, just before you decided to diet, what did you think about yourself?
A: "I was ashamed. I knew also what the weight implied -- that you're saying 'screw it' to your health. I have a daughter; I can't afford to risk my health anymore. But it was just like, 'no one's going to see me, and I'm too old anyway and what am I doing trying to fit into a bathing suit and trying to get picked up in a bar in Acapulco.' The bottom line is: I was really embarrassed, and didn't think I could do it."
Q: Had you tried other weight loss programs?
A: "I hadn't really done a lot of them. I'd always tried myself, but nothing had worked for me in the last four years. I'd always had excuses like I was on the road...It was getting annoying that my mother was thinner than I was! And, of course, my daughter -- that's where my old body is, she has it. Now, I wear one size higher than she."
Q: A big problem people have with dieting is that it feels like they are denying themselves all the foods they want? Or, at least, what they are accustomed to eating.
A: "There's not a lot of room for (denial) in the Jenny Craig system, so you don't. The food is good enough that you don't feel denied...You have to stay focused on that. You are getting results, and that is the good thing about having someone else help you keep your eye on the prize."
Q: I asked you what you thought about yourself when you started the program. How about now? How do you see yourself?
A: "I can't even believe I did it. It's amazing. I really did think, 'I'm never going to look good again, so screw it.' I never did think I looked that good, even when I was cute."
Q: In May, you reached your target of losing 30 lbs, but you kept going to take off the additional 20. Why?
A: "Because it looks better, because as you do it, you get on a roll and it's not a fat roll! It's going well, so you're reassured because you have results...I lost the 30 lbs kind of comparatively easy. The last 20 were hard. It was not easy, but it is fun to be able to focus your rage at the consultant."
Q: And, I'd guess, it gave you new material for a book.
A: "Yes, a new chapter called 'Wishful Shrinking.'"
(Editing by Jill Serjeant)