Truth be told, Tia Carrere didn't mind being the fifth celeb kicked off ABC's Dancing with the Stars (Thursdays and Fridays at 8 pm/ET). "I get to spend time with my baby," she says of her 4-month-old daughter, Bianca. "It's the hardest thing leaving her." Besides, Carrere already won the best prize of all a newly svelte body, losing 25 pounds in the two months she fox-trotted for the cameras. In addition to practicing prancing "six hours every day," what helped the 39-year-old buff her new-mom bod? TV Guide asked her for the complete skinny on her weight loss.
TV Guide: You're looking really svelte. What's your secret?
Tia Carrere: Well, I'm doing this food-delivery service called NutriFit, which makes it a lot easier for me. It's three meals a day and three snacks. I was like, "Really, all this food and I'm still going to lose weight?" And I have been. I learned something valuable [during this process] starving yourself all day is not going to help. First of all, I wouldn't be able to do everything I [needed] to do on [Dancing with the Stars] and [still] breast-feed a baby. That was the main reason. I could lose it faster by doing I don't know what, but, like I said, I'm feeding a baby and first and foremost, I wanted to be healthy for her.
TV Guide: How did you pick NutriFit?
Carrere: I consulted with a dietitian, this lady named Jo Scott, who has worked with lots of actresses. She turned me on to it.
TV Guide: What's a sample day for you on the diet? What do you eat for breakfast?
Carrere: Breakfast is two or three little whole-wheat pancakes with syrup and some fruit, and I'll have maybe a smoothie for a morning snack. Then for lunch, it will be, like, a turkey chili, green beans and a green salad. And then, I don't know, Mediterranean tapas on little crackers or vegetables for a snack. For dinner, it will be, like, honey-Dijon chicken with a vegetable medley and a salad, and then I can even have a slice of angel food cake or a fudge brownie for dessert. I mean, it's a lot of food.
TV Guide: What sort of calorie intake is that?
Carrere: It's 1,700 a day. They added an additional few hundred because I'm breast-feeding; otherwise, I think I could take it down to 1,200 or 1,400 a day. It's easier for me because I get this food delivery, but for an everyday person... I don't know. Portion size is key. I would go to a restaurant and have a huge chef salad. You get used to eating that [amount of food] in American restaurants.
TV Guide: And you weren't hungry at all?
Carrere: If I eat everything that they give me at the right times, I might get a little hungry, but I'm not starving, going crazy. You just have to keep the machinery working, to keep the metabolism going by having a little even if it's six almonds or 10 pistachios and a banana for a snack so that your body doesn't ever get to a point where it's starving and you eat badly. One of the dancers on the show told me an interesting story: Japanese people [tend to be] really slight, slim people, but they do have sumo wrestlers. So how do they make a sumo wrestler? They starve them all day and then they feed them at night [right before] they go to sleep. They're not eating Krispy Kreme donuts or anything they're eating chicken and fish and rice, just regular food but they're starving themselves all day and then gorging at night. I think most of us have eaten like that, where we think, "I haven't eaten anything all day and I'm hungry, so I can eat this." But your body holds on to those calories more so because it doesn't know when the next meal is coming.