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Larry King Live

Sarah Ferguson Gives Tips on How to `Win the Weight Game'

Aired January 11, 2000 - 9:00 p.m. ET


LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, she's gone from storybook royal bride to working single mom -- Sarah, the duchess of York, joins me for the entire hour, and you can call her, too, next on LARRY KING LIVE.

It's always a great pleasure to have her with us. Sorry, we can't be in the same studio, but she's in Washington; we're in Los Angeles. And there is the lovely Sarah Ferguson.

The duchess of York is author of a new book called "Win the Weight Game." There you see its cover. The subtitle: "Successful Strategies for Living Well." Just published by Simon & Schuster. The book addresses how the female body undergoes changes over time, and successful strategies to deal with it.

How did you learn these strategies, Sarah?


KING: Hi, dear.

FERGUSON: And secondly...

KING: Nice seeing you.

FERGUSON: And secondly, do you think you could ask the cameras to not show my face on, because I'm looking straight at you, and there's a bit of delay. That's better. Now I can concentrate.

KING: Good. I hate that, too.

FERGUSON: You see, actually it's a bit of a put-off, isn't it, because we're slightly behind, aren't we?

KING: We're about a half a second.

FERGUSON: OK, never mind.

KING: Back to the question.

FERGUSON: Back to the question. The question is that I decided to make this book different, Larry, because it's about emotional eating, and it's about like, for example, when my mother died, I put on nine pounds, and I realized that I wasn't dealing with the death, I was comfort eating. And so I wrote it in book about what it is like if you open bank statement or you open a bill, and you start eating in order to compensate for the fears that might be in the bill or whatever else.

KING: Do you think that's a common problem among people who are overweight, that they eat emotionally?

FERGUSON: I do actually, and I think that's why this book hopefully will get out there and really tell people -- really help people to see if they can do something about changing their lives, because I do think under the stresses of everyday life, we really are -- we really do use food as a crutch to get us through our days.

KING: Now, some people turn to drugs, some turn to alcohol, some turn to various concepts. Do you know why those who overeat overeat?

FERGUSON: Well, in my particular case, which what I'm talking about, I used food as my escapism. It could have been drugs, or alcohol or anything else, but that was my escape route and my form of addiction. And it really is so punishing, because it's so mood altering and it really changes your everyday -- and I think food is so easy to get hold of.

KING: Also, do you know it when you're doing it? In other words, do you know, hey, I'm eating now because my mother died?

FERGUSON: No, not at all. Since I've been with Weight Watchers and the support of Weight Watchers, I now actually do understand about it, but it's taken an awful long time. And I used scenario of -- do you remember that James Stewart movie "Harvey"...

KING: Sure.

FERGUSON: ... when he always thinks he's got a friend, a big white rabbit?

KING: Right.

FERGUSON: Well, I always think that the way to deal with weight, or health, or fitness or whatever situation where you want to take control of your life is actually pretend you have yourself sitting on bed with you and you talk to yourself and say, you know, what do you want to change? What is it about you that you're not happy with when you look in the mirror?

But really, I'm talking more from the health angle rather than I am about just food and fat issues. It's about really taking control here in the 2000 century -- century -- in the year 2000 is taking control and making your life better.

KING: Do -- when you gain and lose weight a lot, do your emotions change, too, like do you get troubled when you're fatter?


KING: Do you like yourself less? FERGUSON: You self-sabotage, your self-esteem out of the window, you lose confidence, and in my particular case, you walk into the room backwards so that you know -- and try to be a wallflower, which is quite difficult when you've got the world's media watching you, and you permanently think this thing traveling behind you -- you don't know what it is, but you realize it's your own backside. So it gets to point where you really want to bury yourself and go underground, but you can't.

KING: Did Weight Watchers contact you, or you them?

FERGUSON: I joined Weight Watchers when I was 19. I gave up because I couldn't focus on the diet. And since then, Weight Watchers, with the new 1-2-3 Success, is quite amazing, and I joined them three years ago, and follow the diet very much so.

KING: And did they ask you to be a spokesman?

FERGUSON: I'm sorry. They in fact asked me.

KING: They invited you to be a spokesperson.

All right, maybe it's difficult, in a nutshell, but you obviously write about it in the book, and there's lots to talk about.

By the way, we'll be taking calls for the duchess as well.

What is this secret? What's the key to what they do at Weight Watchers that works? Obviously, not just eat less. What's the key?

FERGUSON: OK, firstly, people say, because I'm the Weight Watchers spokesperson, that that's the only reason why I support it. The bottom line is, is that if on diets you deny yourself food, you immediately want the food you deny. It's like in life, if you deny yourself something, you immediately want to go and do it. And with Weight Watchers, you don't deny yourself anything. You can eat anything. You just count your points up.

So there is no packet food that you have to eat. There is now special way you have to eat it or you don't have to balance it on the scales. You simply count the points during the day.

And for example, I, when I put the children to bed, like to sit down with a glass of white wine. Well, that's two points. And I'm allowed between 22 and 24 points a day. So I do quite well.

KING: I see, so it becomes measuring under those points.

FERGUSON: Absolutely.

KING: But what happens when the problem develops, when -- we're using the example -- the mother dies? What does that do to the points? .

FERGUSON: Well, then, in my particular case, I didn't count my points, and I went completely off the off the diet, and I didn't focus on what I looked like or even think about it. I just became an emotional basket and, just ate and ate and ate, not really thinking about what I was doing. And I really wasn't aware of just how much I was eating, until nine pounds later I realized it was time to go back to the support and friendship of Weight Watchers.

And I think one of the most important things I've learned in the three years is the support group, is the people have helped me get through it. Because, Larry, you know, when I was young, so many people said you are fine, Fergie, you're such fun, you're always making jokes, you're great, you don't need to lose weight, and had actually someone taken me very seriously, and said actually you do, and let's support you, maybe I wouldn't have made so many funny mistakes in my life.

KING: Was this problem there before you married Andrew, before you were duchess?

FERGUSON: Absolutely, Larry. It was when I was 12 years old and my mom left to live in Argentina, and I became a compulsive eater, because I didn't want to let her down and say that I was sad that she'd gone, because I thought that would upset her, and I was happy for her that she'd found such a love with Hector, and so what I did was I ate to compensate for my feelings.

KING: More in a moment with Sarah Ferguson, the duchess of York, and author of "Win the Weight Game." This is LARRY KING LIVE. We will be including your phone calls. We'll be right back.

Don't go away.


KING: We are back with Sarah Ferguson, the duchess of York and author of "Win the Weight Game: Successful Strategies for Living Well." It is published, just published by Simon & Schuster.

In chapter 1, Sarah, you say: "I would not have ventured a guess that when I would find my true love and marry him, he would just happen to be one of the sons of Her Majesty, the Queen."

How did that happen? How did you meet Andrew?

FERGUSON: I met him when I was 10 actually. And there's a picture in my book of us, and we look -- both look rather round, and we were playing at polo. It was a very nice meeting and we never forgot it.

And then, Diana very kindly introduced us, and she invited me to Ascot races at Windsor.

KING: Was that at a good period in your life weightwise? Were you looking very good then? Were things going well?

FERGUSON: Larry, I was on one of my silly yo-yo diets. I think at that time I was on meat and oranges. I didn't take -- I didn't take amphetamines, but I took every other kind of pill to try and lose the weight.

And so, you know, I was probably looking quite thin because...

KING: You were, and we're seeing pictures of the wedding now. You look quite thin.

FERGUSON: I was -- not there. Look at me there. No. That was...

KING: Oh, yes. Boy!


KING: What's "yo-yoing" like, by the way? What is that up and down thing like for a person going through it?

FERGUSON: Well, what it is, is you take yourself off to these places and you get the diet, so you have injections of some sort or you go to pills or you eat strange things, like soup for five days. You lose a lot of weight, and then the minute you're off it, you put it back on again. So you literally -- you never are consistent with your diet, because you're permanently up and down, like a yo-yo.

And when you do fail like that, you hit yourself over the head even worse and you become even more determined to self-destruct really inside, because you feel that you failed.

KING: And what does your closet look like?

FERGUSON: Well, you know what, Larry? It is so difficult, because when you are going through that period and someone says, come and stay for a week, you arrive with 15 suitcases, because you never know whether you're going to have a fat or a thin day, you know.

KING: You also write, "I would also never have guessed that every dress I wore, every move I made or word I uttered would be scrutinized, analyzed and sometimes criticized by people who barely knew me." How long did it take to adjust to that, if ever?

FERGUSON: Larry, I think it has been the last year that I've adjusted to it. I think...

KING: Just this last year?

FERGUSON: Absolutely. I think hitting 40 was the best thing that happened to me, because I look back and said, right now, put it behind you, the past is the past, and fresh clean page and go forward. And I'm excited by it. But I did -- I really do think that the press -- coming to terms with the press has taken a huge toll on me.

I'm too sensitive. That's my trouble.

KING: If you were giving advice to someone now 20 years old in the same position, about to marry into royalty, what would you tell them? FERGUSON: Just make sure that when you do get married, you stay with your spouse. Stay with your husband or wife, whichever sex is getting married, and just make sure you really have a communication together. Make sure you really, really are there every day and see each other every day, I mean within reason: because I think that's really what happened with Andrew and I. We just spent too much time apart, and therefore, the gap appears. It wasn't from lack of love; it was just circumstances, and him, you know, being away at sea, which I did understand before I married.

But on top of that, I dealt with all the other issues, and so, of course, I became more and more self-sabotage.

KING: But yours is also somewhat of a great relationship. Your Christmas card, which was wonderful, by the way -- pictures of your beautiful children -- are signed by you and Andrew.


KING: Are you a couple? Are you a couple? We got the Christmas card. We were thrilled to have it. Are you a couple?

FERGUSON: Yes, Larry, we're the happiest divorced couple in the world and we live in the same house. And he's one of the finest, bestest friends I have. And I am very, very proud that I married him. I'm even more proud that he's father to my children.

KING: But you date and he dates?

FERGUSON: Absolutely. We're modern couple.


KING: So you're beyond then -- there's no jealousy? You don't feel badly if he's with someone? He doesn't feel badly if you're with someone?

FERGUSON: We both understand that there is nobody could take our places really, because we have the two lovely girls. We're very responsible parents to those girls. And we believe in unity of that.

And the fact that when -- when we decided to have children, there was enormous love between us. And I think we really, you know, take responsibility for the girls.

KING: By the way, both Shawn and I when we got the card thought it was wonderful to see something like that: that divorced people could send out a picture of their children, sign a card together. And still -- why can't more people do that? That's a petty grown up way of looking at things. But what is it like in the same house, though?

FERGUSON: Well, it's fine, because Andrew goes to work in London and I spend a lot of time in the United States, as you know, Larry. And when we are together, we have -- we just have a great time. I mean, it is quite extraordinary our friendship, and it is very difficult to describe, because it is totally unique. But we seem to have grown up together. We're both 40. Well, he's 40 in February, so he's my toy boy. And...


And we're -- and we're...

KING: And how do the children deal with it?

FERGUSON: Oh, well, I mean, they see great support, great respect of each other. Mom and dad respect each other very, very, very much, and so they admire us and they really are happy. In fact, last week, they both said at Sunday lunch with the four of us sitting around that they said that they were luckiest children ever, because there was such unity and friendship.

KING: And they don't pressure you to get married again, mom and dad?

FERGUSON: Oh, of course, yes. I currently have to put on my wedding dress and strut around the house with them as bridesmaids. But -- but you know, the fact is we are very lucky to be healthy and well. And a lot of people, you know, speak to me about, oh, well, what do you think about -- I don't know -- motherhood and parenthood? And what do you think about every day life? And don't you think we should do this, do that, whatever else? And I say, listen, we're jolly lucky not to be in Kosovo. We're very lucky to be -- have the luxuries we do. And quite frankly, to have the unity and friendship that we have is great.

KING: You still wear your wedding band, right?

FERGUSON: Absolutely. And actually, I wear mom's wedding ring as well. So I wear mine...

KING: You're the most married nonmarried person we know.

FERGUSON: I'm deeply romantic and highly loyal.

KING: I know. We'll be back with more of Sarah Ferguson. Her book, "Win the Weight Game," is out now everywhere. There's lots more to talk about, and your calls, too. Don't go away.


KING: By the way, this book, "Win the Weight Game," contains a four-week eating plan and 50 new recipes as well. We'll ask about how that four-week plan works.

First, some other areas with Sarah. You were -- in an interview with "The Times" of London earlier -- in fact, a couple of months ago -- you were asked if you were ever frightened by the royal system, and this was your answer: "Only when Diana died. I was frightened, and I thought, `It's better to keep your head down and not talk about politics, and then maybe you'll be all right.'" What did you mean? FERGUSON: Well, I just mean that quite frankly it's easier just to be within your own parameter and fight for what you -- what you believe is right and what you believe you can do, but not to upset too many people in high places, because, you know, it just -- it becomes too much pressure.

KING: Can't fight the system.

FERGUSON: Absolutely. I think it's better to go with the flow, like a good river going to its destiny, rather than trying to cause a stir. I think I have caused enough stir in my life.

KING: What did her death do to you?

FERGUSON: It -- it made me revisit every moment. It made me really look at whether I need to find really what Sarah is about. And I didn't want to die. I became very aware of life. I became very aware of every day. And I became very aware of the magic that we have been given.

I mean, so often in our busy lives we get up and we rush complaining of a headache, or we rush to work, then we are late. But what about the fact that we are breathing? And that the sun is shining?

KING: Yes.

Do you know that -- we learned so much about her, did you know a lot about her troubles during the time of her life?

FERGUSON: Yes, I did. Yes, I learned a lot about her troubles, and we grew together, like little trees in a forest. And I think...

KING: And we have learned a lot about yours -- we have learned a lot. You have discussed your own post-natal depression. You said you had it for seven years after the birth of your first child, and never really got over it. Marie Osmond was on this show recently, discussing having a child and depression. Can you explain what that was like, and why it lasted so long?

FERGUSON: Well, I really think it was like a breakdown, a mental breakdown. You just -- I think the mind is the most extraordinary orchestra. If you go to the theater and you listen to a beautiful big philharmonic orchestra playing, and the drums suddenly come at the wrong time, or the conductor is not there making sure the piano comes in at the right time, it would sound dreadful. It would be out of control. And I guess I look upon my mind as a big orchestra, and I need to conduct it, and I need to make sure it is all balanced. And I think depression, and really going through mental -- the mental stresses, really, is an orchestra out of control.

KING: And do you know why a child would produce it?

FERGUSON: I know. I haven't really thought about it, Larry. I could think about it and use my common sense, I would say...

KING: You are very bright. I'm trying to guess, why would this joy of a child produce a depression?

FERGUSON: Because I think it could be that it is such an amazing gift, it is such a blessing, it is such an extraordinary new -- it is a creation. You have created magic. And therefore -- and therefore maybe it is just the side effect, and maybe the hormones and maybe your body just goes, whoo, what has happened?

Because during the nine months, every organ is pushed into every different kind of direction, and maybe it is just like a car crash. It is a huge shock onto the body, and the body just goes into shock. Ah, that is a good point. Maybe it is that.

KING: Is it true you would like another baby, and you would like to have a boy?

FERGUSON: I wish my girls would kill me if they heard me saying it, because...

KING: But you would like to have a son, a little boy?

FERGUSON: I think one day. One day, Larry, one day. I don't know. I don't know. As I say that to the girls, usually goes, no, I'm the littlest, there is going to be no others, so I don't know.

KING: Therefore, you wish to marry again.

FERGUSON: Whoa, who says you can't have a baby out of marriage?

KING: Well, I mean, would you do that too?

FERGUSON: I don't know.

KING: Or instead?

FERGUSON: I just -- I just believe in partnerships, Larry, I believe in -- the most important thing is, for example, to go back to my scenario of Kosovo, those mothers and fathers woke up and their children were shot dead. Or the children woke up and mom and dad were shot dead. Whether it is about marriage or not marriage, you know what? There are big issues out there, and we've got to face them, so I don't know. Quite frankly I'm very lucky to be here today.

KING: Our guest is Sarah Ferguson, good lady. The book is "Win the Weight Game: Successful Strategies for Living Well," Simon & Schuster is the publisher. We'll be taking your phone calls. She is with us for the full hour.

Tomorrow night, many in the Southern Baptist movement want to convert Jews to their way of thinking and to believing in Christ. We are going to debate that issue tomorrow night, and get your thoughts as well.

We will be right back.



KING: How do you react to those -- some in the press knocking the fact that you are doing this? Knocking Jenny Craig, knocking you for doing a commercial, for endorsing a product.

MONICA LEWINSKY: Well, I guess it is a little disappointing to me. And I -- my first thought, really, is I wonder if they have ever had to deal with weight problems themselves. Because I think if they had, they would know that if you've got a program that works like this, and you have an opportunity to share your success, and the opportunity that it might help someone else find success, too, and alleviate some of that pain, you want to take that opportunity.


KING: Now Sarah Ferguson, yours, of course, is a different product. But what do you make of Monica Lewinsky being a spokesperson.

FERGUSON: I think she is dead right in what she was saying. It doesn't matter who you are or where you come from, if you've got a weight problem then it is a very serious issue, and must be taken seriously. And the fact that she stood up and said, yes, I have got a weight problem, I'm prepared to do something about it, should be heralded as a very, very good thing.

KING: So you have no problem with her. You were criticized in British press for working for Weight Watchers, weren't you?

FERGUSON: Absolutely, and because in -- especially in Britain, things like weight and sex, and goodness knows what other subjects which you don't get into on a daily basis because they are too free.

KING: By the way, you don't get to see William or Harry?

FERGUSON: Yes, sometimes I do. Yes, I do. Yes.

KING: Oh, I thought -- I thought you didn't. You do get to see them?


KING: So how are they doing?

FERGUSON: They are doing very well. They are doing very well. They are great boys. Diana would be so proud of them.

KING: Is it true that the queen offered you a house for your children and you declined?

FERGUSON: Yes, in fact, they bought a house for me. And it was a very nice house, but it was very expensive to run, and it needed an awful lot of work doing to it, like new heating and new electricity, and I knew that I was going back into problems with financial problems if I took it on.

KING: And so you -- were they surprised that you declined? FERGUSON: Well, they were surprised but I'm -- hopefully they realize that it was very prudent, for a change.

KING: Before we go to calls and more questions on the book, how do you -- how is your dealings with the royal family, if any? Do you have dealings with them at all? Do you get to see them?

FERGUSON: I get to see some of them, and I'm very proud that my children are really understanding about the royal family and the monarchy, and that I'm very proud of the girls and how are they. And I think they are a credit to both Andrew and Di. And I like to think that life is calm now -- the waters are much calmer.

KING: Is it -- is this one of the happier times you ever have been? You seem very relaxed and content.

FERGUSON: Larry, I am, I think, just beginning to realize that I'm much more peaceful inside, and I'm much more content. And I'm so excited to think that I have actually got to this point of being able to tell you that.

KING: We are happy for you. We will come back with calls for Sarah Ferguson, author of "Win the Weight Game: Successful Strategies for Living Well," from Simon & Schuster.

I'm Larry King, and we will be right back with your calls. Don't go away.


KING: By the way -- we're back on LARRY KING LIVE -- Jeffrey Toobin long-awaited book on Clinton, Lewinsky and that whole rigmarole has finally been published, and Jeffrey will with us on Thursday night, along with whole host of guests who are in the book. Should be quite a night. That's Thursday night.

Our guest tonight is Sarah Ferguson, author of "Win the Weight Game: Successful Strategies for Living Well," published by Simon & Schuster. We are going to include your phone calls.

And we start now with Prospect, Ohio -- hello.

CALLER: Hello. I was wondering, how much importance does Weight Watchers put on exercise? And does Sarah exercise herself?

KING: Good question.

FERGUSON: Well, nice to talk to you. Yes, I exercise as much as a possibly can when I'm not traveling over to the States. But I think I exercise Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and I do an hour on the bicycle. It may sound boring, but I have to do it, because Weight Watchers really believes that without exercise, it is -- the two go hand in hand; it wouldn't be so good without the exercise. And also water -- I think water is very important.

KING: You drink a lot of water? FERGUSON: Three liters a day, I drink.

KING: Fort Lewis, Washington, hello.

CALLER: Hi, Larry.


CALLER: My question is, what does the queen think of you being a spokesperson for Weight Watchers? And did you need to get her permission in order to do it?

FERGUSON: Well, the most important thing is that her majesty is an excellent granny to my children, and we meet sometimes. So I think that she probably thinks it's a good thing that I'm going out talking about health ant fitness, because we all should look after our health, and after all, that's what Weight Watchers is about. So I think, all in all, it's a good project.

KING: She hasn't said anything to you one way or the other about it though, right?

FERGUSON: No, absolutely not.

KING: What do you mean by a four-week eating plan?

FERGUSON: Four week eating plan -- well, the thing is, is the 10 percent difference. When most people, like myself, start to climb the mountain of dieting, you think that you can never reach the top of the mountain, and what Weight Watchers says is go for 10 percent. So in other words, if you weighed 200 pounds, you knock off the "0," and you lose 20 pounds, that's 10 percent, and then the after 10 percent, and you've gone down a couple of dress sizes, and you're cholesterol levels are lower, you feel much better, then you'll go on to the next 10 percent. But don't try to climb a mountain in the first four weeks. So we go first four weeks, you keep to a good plan, get to 10 percent, and then go on to the next 10 percent; softly, softly catch a monkey.

KING: Can't losing be as obsessive as gaining?

FERGUSON: Absolutely.

KING: You can get hyped into losing weight.

FERGUSON: Absolutely, and then you can get hyped into gym and exercise, and then you can get hyped into everything. And I think life is about being careful in balancing our addictions. I think we can all be addicted to things, even like if you have been abused, or battered men and women, that you keep going with it, because you think that you're so worthless, that's all your entitled to. And so everything is like that. I think it's a question we have to try and balance everything we do in life.

KING: Chicago, Illinois, for Sarah Ferguson, the duchess of York, hello. CALLER: Hello. It's an honor to speak with the duchess. I would like to ask, what does she see as the biggest challenge facing her in the future as a role model for young women like myself?

FERGUSON: Well, nice to talk to you, too.

I think the biggest challenge is trying to help people realize that it's OK to make mistakes, it's OK to -- you're just human, and it's -- we are not perfect. And if we were perfect, well, I don't know where we'd be. But you know, everybody is entitled just to be themselves and to do the best job they can, and that's great. I think there's an awful lot of peer pressure on young people today to always be, you know, the best scholar, or the best this or the best that, or thinnest or the best model. So what? Let's be healthy, let's be well and let's get to enjoy our lives.

KING: The thought, Sarah, is that alcoholism is a disease, and if the alcoholic takes a drink, he or she is back to it again. Have you had days where you have overeaten?

FERGUSON: Oh, yes, absolutely.

KING: But it doesn't get you back again?

FERGUSON: I mean, there's no question about it.

Well, yes, I mean, I have to be very aware of my figure at all times, because I have to be aware that it is control of my mind. And in my case, it is my mind that makes me eat, not my stomach. My stomach is probably full and is fine, but I just go on eating, and that and that is because I'm trying to compensate for something that might have gone on, I don't know.

But yes, I make mistakes with it, too.

KING: And what do you do next day, though?

FERGUSON: Well, now, I do positive self talk, called Tools for Living. I say to myself, like to my white rabbit or my doll -- which is for you, Larry, by the way -- I say, right, OK, now we've got to do something about it, don't beat myself up, don't put the hair shirt on, and tomorrow is another day and take it like that.

KING: You talk to that doll?

FERGUSON: Well, this is Little Red, actually. And, Larry, I have to tell you something.

KING: Let me see him -- put him up.

FERGUSON: Here she is. It's very pretty, OK.

KING: OK, it's a she, right.

FERGUSON: OK, she's a she, not a he, so I'm sorry about that, Larry. But anyway, can I just tell you one thing. This little doll is -- sells for $15 at Schwarz, and what she's called is Little Red, and we've -- they've 30,000 dolls, and $5 from the doll goes to Chances for Children. And, Larry, it's absolutely extraordinary, because thanks to you and CNN, you gave so many people shelter during the Kosovo War, and you're still doing it, because you -- between you, and the viewers, you've raised $30,000 which bought -- helped us buy a thousand tents which actually gave shelters to 100,000 people.

KING: I remember that night.

FERGUSON: Ten-thousand people.

KING: So if you buy that doll for $15 dollars FAO Schwarz, any FAO Schwarz -- it's called what?

FERGUSON: Little Red.

KING: Little Red -- $5 of it goes to your program.

FERGUSON: Absolutely. And that program goes to now helping buy tents in East Timor or in Venezuela, or we -- really "Sarah's Tents" we call it, and it's Chances for Children.

And thank you, Larry.

KING: Thank you.

And by the way, so when you have an eating problem, you talk to Little Red?

FERGUSON: when I have an eating problem, I talk to Little Red or Harvey or...

KING: Or anyone.

FERGUSON: ... or anyone, but I try and talk to myself and say, come on, do you really want to have to go through this huge mountain of losing all that weight all over again? You've got to stop it now, you've got to take action. So you can have bad day, like over the holidays, I had very bad days, and then the very next day, I pulled myself together and said, no, don't let it go out of control again, you've done it once, don't do it again. It's like a bank balance -- you've done it once, you don't want to do it again.

KING: Back with more of Sarah Ferguson, author of "Win the Weight Game." The Duchess of York taking your phone calls on LARRY KING LIVE right after this.


KING: Back to calls -- Tennessee Ridge, Tennessee, for Sarah Ferguson, hello.

CALLER: Hello. My question is, is duchess of York's daughter going to have the hounding of the paparazzi, like William, and Harry, and Sarah and Diana, is she going to let that happen or continue when they get older? KING: What happens to your daughters, Sarah?

FERGUSON: Well, I hope that by then, there will be many changes, and that perhaps the hounding will stop. But I brought them up to -- both of them -- to realize that this is their life, and they've got to understand what it's all about. And I hope from them talking to me and by my example, they can realize that sometimes what's written, they mustn't take personally.

KING: Minneapolis, Minnesota, hello.

CALLER: Hi, Larry. Hi, Sarah. How are you this evening?

KING: Fine.

FERGUSON: Good, thanks.

CALLER: Thank you very much for taking my call, and I was wondering, Sarah, what relationships are there between you and Princess Di and your eating disorders, and what would you think about the possibility of her being murdered?

FERGUSON: Well, in answer to your first question, what was -- it was something about eating disorders...

KING: Yes, she had an eating disorder of a different kind than yours, right? She did not eat.

FERGUSON: Diana is not here to answer that question, and therefore I don't know what Diana actually discussed in public. But -- so we will leave it that.

KING: Well, from what you knew, was she bulemic?

FERGUSON: From what I knew she admitted that she had an eating disorder, yes.

KING: Now, do you say what you have is an eating disorder.

FERGUSON: Yes, I would call it that, but it's -- I don't have bulemia or anorexia, but I do put a focus on weight, and food, more than I should do.

KING: Do you have any suspicions about her death?

FERGUSON: I'm not going to answer those questions.

KING: Because her would-be father-in-law does, as you know. And there is always speculation in these kind of things. You don't, or you are not going to answer?

FERGUSON: I'm not going to get into that, Larry.


There is something everyone has an opinion on. I know you will have an opinion on this. What should happen to the little boy from Cuba?

FERGUSON: Ah, another ticklish topic. Well, tell me what's the latest news right now.

KING: The latest news is that a judge in Florida has said that they are going to hear it in family court, and the federal court is trying to override that. The Immigration Service, which thinks he should go back, is trying to override the family court.

FERGUSON: What does the little boy want?

KING: He is six years old, the family taking care of him in Florida says he wants to stay, but he is six years old. His father wants him back.

FERGUSON: But he still has a right to an opinion, and his wishes, doesn't he, at six, or not?

KING: I don't know, what do you think?

FERGUSON: I think he has a right an opinion, and I think he has a right to have a feeling, and I think he should be listened to, I really do. But that is what I do to my children. I would think -- I would think that would that would be the best, although I can't get into it either -- you know that, Larry.

KING: Yes, but you can influence a child at six, can't you, with candy canes and Disney World?

FERGUSON: Don't know -- don't know the situation.

KING: But you would pay attention if a child of six though -- it's fair to ask -- if a child of six said to you, "I want to be a certain place," you would respect that.

FERGUSON: If a child of six came to me, and after long discussions I believed that that child really was serious about that child's opinion and feelings, then I would listen to it, yes.

KING: Now back to Sarah.

Did you at one time have a breast cancer scare?

FERGUSON: I did, absolutely. In December. And I went through the terrible fears that you in fact could die, and that because I didn't know enough about it, I went through worrying so much about it, and going through those feelings.

KING: And it turned out to be?

FERGUSON: Absolutely no problem whatsoever. But, after that, I really have been talking a lot about breast cancer, because I know what it must be like for people that have been told they've got to go and have a checkup, and they immediately go and think that they are going to die. And so we started work with NAPCA here in the United States. And also, you know, it is quite interesting -- a woman came up to me afterwards, and she said, "You know, it was so glad for Weight Watchers because had I not been with Weight Watchers, I would have died." And I said, "But why?" And she said, "Because I was so overweight I lost the weight and they found the lump in my breast, and they stopped the breast cancer." It was very interesting.

KING: Yes, that is true. I guess if you are really overweight...

FERGUSON: They can't find the lump.

KING: ... you wouldn't notice a lump.

FERGUSON: No, absolutely. And they also say that fat cells can bring on, you know, that there is a problem between breast cancer and fat cells. I mean, that it is proven, and the more I work with Weight Watchers, the more I realize that I enjoy spreading the word about health and fitness and breast cancer, because I really want to be able to try and help the researchers and scientists find a cure.

KING: Because there certainly is relationship between cancer and diet.

FERGUSON: I certainly think that it is very, very important, for example, why is it that people that are very overweight, and they lose the weight, then get rid of their diabetes?

KING: Yes, good question. We will be back with more, and more calls for Sarah Ferguson, author of "Win the Weight Game." This is LARRY KING LIVE, and we'll be right back.


KING: We are back with Sarah Ferguson.

Barrington, Illinois, hello.

CALLER: Hi, my question is, what do your kids think of the U.S.? And would they like to live here?

KING: Good question. I know you love it here.

FERGUSON: I love it here, my kids just have a great time here. I can't tell you. They just love it. I think that the American people are very good with children. They give a lot of confidence and they instill that in their children, and certainly my girls pick it up here. Whether they would live here, no, I don't think we will live here, only because, you know, the girls must be brought up in Europe, in the United Kingdom.

KING: Any favorite city in United States? Is it New York?

FERGUSON: Well, I think actually one of the favorite cities is Chicago, because I like the beef steaks there, and also -- I love New York, absolutely, but I get infuriated with the traffic because it always makes me even later than I normally am. And -- but apart that, of course, those are my two best, I suppose.

KING: Traffic is worse than ever in New York, right? Worse than ever.

FERGUSON: Yes, but we can deal with it, I think.

KING: You mentioned earlier, Sarah, that one of the secrets of the concept of Weight Watchers is to eat less and go and judge it by numbers, and when you hit a certain number you don't eat anymore that day. Then why do you need recipes? There are 50 recipes in your book.

FERGUSON: Well, actually, no, that is not strictly true, you see. Let me go back on what you just said. When you get to your points you stop eating, that is wrong. That is not what you do. You -- there are a lot of things that you can eat that have zero points. For example, you can eat vegetables, vegetables and -- I mean, an apple is one point.

And you can do lots of different things. You can get Weight Watchers popcorn, so while your husband is eating lots of sweet snacks next door to you, you can eat the Weight Watchers popcorn, which is actually very good.

But why there are recipes -- well, for example, anyone who really has a weight problem, like myself, nothing is more boring than watching a sort of old piece of chicken sitting on plate, which is so dry that you don't even want to look at it.

KING: Know it well.

FERGUSON: Immediately makes you want to go and break your diet, so the recipes are about mixing tastes, like the beef ragout with figs in it, and a serving like that is 6 points and it tastes delicious.

KING: I got you.

Atlanta, Georgia, hello.

CALLER: Hi, Larry, my question is for Sarah Ferguson. Is -- do you think that since Diana's death the royal family has become less conservative, and better in touch with the people?

KING: Good question.

FERGUSON: I think that -- I think it is not just the royal family, I think the world was so shaken by Princess Diana's death that it all gave us an opportunity to cry, and show emotions that perhaps we normally don't show. It also made us much more aware of ourselves, and the hearts, and our health, and how we must treasure life. So I think I think we all learned something it from.

KING: Sarah, were you surprised at the reaction to that death? The worldwide reaction?

FERGUSON: I wish Diana had seen how she was loved. I don't believe Diana ever really truly knew that she was so loved.

KING: So therefore you were a little -- or you were surprised?

FERGUSON: Well, I always loved her from the day I knew her, which was when I was 14 years old.

KING: So you weren't surprised that the world felt the same?

FERGUSON: It's not surprise. It is -- it was right. She deserved she deserved -- all her hard work, all her loving and giving -- and she did give. She was a fine humanitarian. And surprise is not the word. I was so taken by the whole sort of wave of emotion that I just was -- I was just like everybody else. I went with it. I went with the emotion.

KING: Are you friends with Prince Charles?

FERGUSON: Well, the most important thing, as I have said, Larry, is that I honor and respect the royal family.

KING: On that wonderful terse note, we will take our final break and come back with our remaining moments with Sarah Ferguson, author of "Win the Weight Game."

Tomorrow night, Southern Baptists are trying to convert American Jews into believing in Christ. Tomorrow night, minister rabbi, others will be here to debate that issue. That's tomorrow night on LARRY KING LIVE.

Right back with Sarah, after this.


KING: Denver, Colorado for Sarah Ferguson, hello.

CALLER: Yes. Hi, Larry. It's a pleasure to talk to you.

I was wondering, do you agree that an eating disorder is more difficult to overcome rather than alcoholism or a drug addiction, because you just can't simply go cold turkey, you have to eat something?

KING: Fair question. You must eat.

FERGUSON: Yes. I also think that food is a very, very easy thing to get hold of. You can have it anywhere. You can pick up a biscuit anywhere. It's very easy, and especially in the United States. I mean, one in five children is diagnosed as obese, which must say that food is -- there's ample food everywhere.

And I don't know, because to -- in answer to your question, but what I would say is that yes, it certainly is easier to get food. You get food 24 hours a day.

KING: Yes. It's right around you. Is it more difficult to lose weight the older you get? FERGUSON: Yes, I think especially it sort of stays there longer. I don't know why. Maybe the metabolism slows up a bit. But that's why we have to sit on the bicycle a bit longer, Larry

KING: So you work harder at 40 than you did at 35.

FERGUSON: Yes, and I have to really work hard at my -- at my fitness in order to -- to keep in the suits.

KING: In a young culture, is 40 a dramatic age for you? Was it difficult for you to turn 40? Emotionally?

FERGUSON: Larry, it wasn't, because as Frank McCourt says, that wonderful Pulitzer Prize winner, he says I write these books -- "Angela's Ashes" -- but always keep the child within me. And I think that even at the age of 60 -- I hopefully will make 60 and I'll keep the child within me.

KING: How old are you inside, Sarah?

FERGUSON: Let me think. How old am I inside? Well, when I'm with my children, I'm about five, and most of the time I'm an adolescent teenager.

KING: Bismarck, North Dakota, last call for Sarah Ferguson, hello.

CALLER: Hi, Sarah. How much weight have you lost on Weight Watchers?

KING: Good question. Cumulatively.

FERGUSON: Well, as anyone -- as anyone knows, with being a member of Weight Watchers, you don't have to disclose how much weight you've lost. However, because I am incredibly honest, between 30 and 50 pounds.

KING: Really?


KING: So you were really overweight.

FERGUSON: Yes, thank you.

KING: I mean, 50, that's a lot of pounds to lose, 50 pounds.

FERGUSON: Well, absolutely.


Thank you, Larry.

KING: No, I mean that. That's a great compliment, 50 pounds is a -- at the height of it you must have been in really distraught shape. I mean, to look, you know, you must have felt terrible. FERGUSON: Yes, and I was about 203 pounds. Would that be right? I don't know. I talk in stone. But anyway, whatever it is. The equivalent: 14 stone, 7.

KING: So like 203 pounds. When you start to lose, does that encourage you? When you see that it's 190, then you go into 180, and then you go into 170?

FERGUSON: That's -- that's the 10 percent trick, and that's what Weight Watchers says. They say when you do a month and then you reach a plateau and then that's when you give up and put on the month that you have just lost, that's when Weight Watchers says, no, you're down one dress size and now let's go down another dress size, and slowly, slowly, we'll get there: mini-steps. And that's what I had to do. It took me -- it took me a long time, Larry.

I'm not going to put it back on again.

KING: How old -- how old are the girls now?

FERGUSON: They're -- Beatrice is 11 and Eugenie's nine.

KING: Are they -- is the 11-year-old interested in boys yet?

FERGUSON: Boys, discos, glittery, false eyelashes, you know, funny hats for the millennium. You name it. You name it, she's into it.

KING: And the 9-year-old is still a little girl?

FERGUSON: She's trying keep up with her elder sister, and -- but they're very, very sporty. I make sure that they are very athletic. They're very lucky to enjoy riding. And we've just been skiing for a week, and they love that. They're very fast. In fact, they have helmets on. They go so fast I can't keep up anymore.

KING: Sarah, it's always good seeing you. Thank you for joining us.

FERGUSON: Thank you, Larry, very much.

KING: Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York, is author of "Win the Weight Game: Successful Strategies for Living Well," published by Simon & Schuster.

Tomorrow night, we'll discuss the Southern Baptist attempt to convert Jews. And on Thursday night, Jeffrey Toobin and his new book on Clinton, Lewinsky and the whole rigmarole.

Stay tuned for CNN NEWSSTAND. They're going to look at the game show craze.

I'm Larry King. Thanks for joining us and good-night.



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