02/13/2008 at 02:40 PM EST
Though she started playing T-ball at 4 and danced until she was 12, LeAnn Rimes found herself beginning to eat and becoming sedentary on her bus while touring.
"I turned to food at times because I had nowhere else to get that love," the country singer, 25, tells Fitness
magazine for its March issue. "I wasn't taking care of my health. I was getting out of breath in the middle of the show … and sometimes I was getting really sick."
The solution came with the emotional stability provided by her husband Dean – who also provided her something more: a workout partner. "We both push each other to be better," she says.
Then there's her new diet. "I usually eat a bowl of oatmeal with agave nectar, dried cherries and walnuts in the morning. I have a protein shake after the gym, then grilled chicken, a whole-wheat pita and humus for lunch," she says.
Come afternoon there's another snack, then, for dinner, "I might have trout with spinach sautéed in garlic and olive oil and a piece of dark chocolate for dessert."
So secure is Rimes with how she looks and feels that when the magazine asked her to pose in a bikini, she showed up for the photo session half an hour early.