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Carrie Fisher: 'I like to think of myself as a failed bulimic'

'I like to think of myself as a failed bulimic'

We all knew 'Star Wars' would be huge – except George Lucas It felt like playing on a big set of boys' toys; it was very surreal. But although Star Wars was a life-changing event for me, I've since found success in behind-the-scene roles [as an acclaimed novelist, scriptwriter and Hollywood script-doctor], which I've preferred.

I'm 5ft 1, so if I gain 10lbs, I may as well be twins I've been on the road for the past three-and-a-half years with [my autobiographical show] Wishful Drinking. I stopped exercising and I put on so much weight it was humiliating. I weighed 12 stone at my heaviest. I couldn't even look at myself.

I was flattered by how iconic the 'Return of the Jedi' gold bikini scenes became I was the geek pin-up. But I'll never forget when this guy came up and said, "I've been thinking of you every day from when I was 12 to 22." "Every day?" I asked. And he replied, "Actually, four times a day." Well, that's gross. And I don't look like that any more.

As a teenager, I really didn't like my mother It's tough to individuate yourself if your mom [the American actress Debbie Reynolds] is a gorgeous, powerful Hollywood star. Now we're much closer; my relationship with her is just like any other mother-daughter relationship, except we wear more make-up and we're louder. I'm still jealous, though, as now I'm fatter than her – she's more disciplined than me.

Beauty is the biggest power you can have I look at how many young, beautiful girls there are in Hollywood and its obvious that we live in a world that's fixated on appearance. I'd like to think intellect was more important,but look around: there's the Nobel Prize, sure, but there's a lot more beauty prizes. These girls need to know: you're all heading for skin creping and losing your looks as you get older.

It's not good to go online to see what people say about you I Googled myself recently and someone had posted on a website: "Whatever happened to Carrie Fisher? She used to be so hot and now she looks like Elton John." It hurts, but if people are going to say mean stuff about me, I may as well say it myself [in my show], except I'll be more precise about putting myself down.

I regret that I complicated my daughter's life with my vices and being bipolar. [Fisher struggled for many years with alcohol and substance addiction.] As a mother, I'm supposed to be here to ease her difficulties in life, and that was not always possible. But the best thing you can do with regrets is hope that they become a lesson.

I'm not big on all that surgical stuff I'm not getting any younger, but I've not had a face-lift, as it wouldn't have been brilliant idea for me anyway; if you're going to be as overweight as I have been, then you can't get a face-lift, because if you then go and lose all the weight, it would look terrible and you'd have to have it done all over again.

I like to think of myself as a failed bulimic I was never very good at denying myself. When I got the Star Wars role, I weighed just 7 stone, and they told me I had to lose another 10lbs; I carry a lot in my face. There was no way that I could lose that weight healthily – there's no accident that the word "die" is in diet.

My new diet plan works along the same lines as AA Jenny Craig's is about the one-to-one support they give, which is key, along with portion control. So far I've lost 17lbs in 10 weeks, and it feels good; I just want the option to get back into a bikini again.

Carrie Fisher, 54, is a novelist, screenwriter and actress. For more about the Jenny Craig Fitness Plan, visit jennycraig.co.uk or call 0800 088 2034