I used to be so angry, thinking I'd never lose weight... I was drowning in food, says Fergie

  • Last year Duchess of York was 6lb off weight when pregnant with Beatrice
  • 54-year-old went to ski resort with long-time fitness trainer for strict regime
  • Cut out sugar, controlled calories and climbed mountains every day

Slimmed: A svelte Sarah Ferguson, who last year weighed almost as much as when she was pregnant

Reclining on a fur throw in an eye-catching African print silk blouse and harem pants, the Duchess of York is clearly keen to show off her three stone weight loss.

The Queen’s former daughter-in-law has endured a life-long battle with her weight and was shocked into taking drastic action when she stepped on the scales last year only to discover she weighed almost as much as she did when pregnant with her first child, Princess Beatrice, now 25.

Sarah, 54, speaking exclusively to Hello! magazine, said: ‘I used to be so angry. I believed I was never going to lose the weight, that I had lost control. I couldn’t fit into any of my clothes. I was just drowning in eating, drowning in food.’

After hitting her heaviest weight since pregnancy she immediately headed to the upmarket Swiss ski resort of Verbier with her long-time fitness trainer, Josh Saltzmann, and embarked on a calorie-controlled weight loss programme, particularly cutting out sugar, combined with daily mountain running.

As revealed by the Daily Mail, she also developed her own range of pudding-flavoured teas, including jam roly-poly, to sip on while others tucked into tea and cakes as they returned from the slopes.

Over five months she has managed to lose three stone – and says she is determined to keep the weight off this time round.

Sarah described the moment she stepped on the scales as frightening. She does not reveal exactly how much she weighed but at her heaviest was known to tip 16 stone.

‘Beatrice was an 8lb 8oz baby and I was only 6lb off my full-blown pregnancy weight. I decided to make a change,’ she said.

The 54-year-old took drastic action when she stepped on the scales last year. She enlisted the help of a personal trainer and heading to Verbier ski resort where she cut out sugar and climbed mountains daily

She says the weight loss has affected her both mentally as well as physically.

A former Weight Watchers ambassador in the US, the duchess insists she hasn’t  gone on any faddish diet to achieve  her new slimline look, just cutting out sugar and sticking to a ‘straightforward’ exercise regime.

‘It took courage to go out in public in all the years I have been overweight,’ she says. ‘Every time there was a “Duchess of Pork” or “Fat Frumpy Fergie” headline, they didn’t have any idea they were reaching to the depths of my soul.’

The duchess now intends to become a public face of the global fight against obesity and has even been appointed an ambassador  for the Institute of Global  Health Innovation at Imperial  College London.
She is also looking to market her pudding-flavoured diet teas which she developed after struggling to combat her sweet tooth.

Sarah pregnant with Beatrice in 1988. She said she feared she would never lose weight after childbirth

In 1994, as her marriage broke down, she was pictured looking larger while taking Beatrice to school

In desperation, she went to a master tea maker and asked them to create some flavoured hot drinks to curb her cravings.

Together they came up with a range of 17 teas in three ranges. The first is based on English pudding and includes the jam roly-poly, rhubarb fool, strawberries and cream, Bakewell tart, chocolate torte and mint humbug.

The second is a variety of ‘mocktail’ teas including pink champagne, gin and tonic, whisky and ginger, and pina colada. There is also a take on classics including English Breakfast and Earl Grey.

A friend said: ‘Everyone has been asking her how she has lost so much weight and of course healthy eating and a hell of a lot of exercise is largely responsible.

'But Sarah has a very sweet tooth – it has always been something of a downfall of hers – and decided she needed to keep it in check.’

Earlier this year, her two-stone weight loss caused a flurry as she left a New York restaurant looking gaunt

The source said the teas had been a huge success and her friends were already clamouring for them.

‘At the moment the teas are just for her but she has had so much interest in them that she is considering whether to market them,’ they said.

‘There are a number of commercial opportunities she is exploring but nothing has been signed yet.

Sarah has a very sweet tooth – it has always been something of a downfall of hers – and decided she needed to keep it in check

‘She swears by them. Like most women she just wants to feel better about herself. She saw a few photographs of herself that she didn’t like.’

The duchess has struggled financially since her 1996 divorce from Prince Andrew, which saw her secure a modest £350,000 cash settlement.

Her out of control spending saw her rack up debts of more than £4million in the late 1990s before she went out to work, securing lucrative contracts with Weight Watchers and Wedgwood. She also brought out several successful children’s books.

However an ill-fated decision to create a lifestyle and wellness business which later collapsed with more than £1million worth of debts saw her pursued through the courts by creditors.

Sarah is now working on a number of projects including a film about Prince Albert and her children’s books.

  • See the full exclusive article in Hello! magazine, out now.