How Aretha Franklin Lost 85 Lbs.

03/02/2011 at 12:35 PM EST

Aretha Franklin Weight Loss
Aretha Franklin (left) and Wendy Williams
Sarah Rice/The Wendy Williams Show
First things first: Lose any food that's smothered in hot sauce.

"That's off the menu now ... and no pig feet, either," Aretha Franklin said good-naturedly on The Wendy Williams Show Wednesday.

Instead, the Queen of Soul and the talk show host sipped afternoon tea in Detroit during their chat, in which Franklin, 68, revealed that she's lost about 85 lbs.

"I've been looking at a lot of pictures, and I was saying [to myself], 'You were entirely too fat for words,' " the 18-time Grammy winner said with a laugh.

"I was doing everything you could to lose that weight, and it's hard," she said. "It's just really hard. [But] you can't continue eating things that will hurt you eventually."

As for her much buzzed-about health following surgery for a mystery ailment back in December, Franklin did not specify the nature of the problem, but talked instead about how she's feeling now.

"A lot of things were said," Franklin noted of the widespread rumors about her health (most pervasive: that she was battling pancreatic cancer).

"I left that behind," she added. "And I couldn't be feeling any better than I'm feeling right now."

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