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It Takes More Than Dancing... to Look This Good!

updated 10/12/2009 at 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 10/12/2009 01:00AM

EDYTA SLIWINSKA

"It's hard to keep my body in optimal shape when I'm not dancing"

CHERYL BURKE

"I need to break a sweat every day or I don't feel good"

KARINA SMIRNOFF

"When you're in the public eye, you can't slack off"

LACEY SCHWIMMER

"I have dessert, but I share it. It's all about portion control"

She lost 15 lbs.!

CHERYL BURKE, 25

After the two-time Dancing champion showed up last fall looking noticeably heavier, she was slammed by bloggers—and some of her fellow pros, with Louis van Amstel saying that if viewers "watch someone who's dancing her butt off and she's still heavy, they can be discouraged." The criticism "made me insecure," Burke admits. But instead of going on a crash diet ("Even when you fast, you eventually end up eating"), she took a hard look at her habits—and made an overhaul. Before, Burke routinely skipped breakfast, but then would gorge on "big dinners," she says. Now Burke goes for balance, starting the day with egg whites and whole wheat toast and not eating after 8 p.m. She also opts for light dressing on her beloved Caesar salad and lean meat and low-fat cheese in her tacos, snacks on a banana with peanut butter or hummus and veggies, and although she says, "I'm addicted to carbs," tries to limit pasta dinners to once a month. "They're just little tweaks," Burke says, but they've made a big difference. "I'm always going to have a curvy body. But I know I'm healthy."

JULY 2008

NOW 15 lbs. lighter

EDYTA SLIWINSKA, 30

• Her body challenge: "I gained 5 lbs. this summer!" she says.

• How she deals: Sliwinska does 25 minutes of cardio and 30 minutes of strength exercises three times a week. She also sticks to oatmeal and berries for breakfast, a salad with grilled chicken for lunch and grilled chicken and veggies for dinner—with nuts, fruits and hummus for snacks.

• Her best diet trick: Leave the car at home! "I walk to the grocery store, to get coffee, to go to a restaurant," she says. "It all adds up."

KARINA SMIRNOFF, 31

• Her body challenge: "I have the biggest sweet tooth!" she says. "I could eat chocolate ice cream 24/7."

• How she deals: Smirnoff fights cravings with a few squares of dark chocolate every day. Otherwise she sticks to egg whites with spinach for breakfast, grilled fish and salad for dinner and, instead of a full lunch, fills up on fruit during the afternoon.

• Her best diet trick: "I eat a lot of watermelon because it hydrates you and gives you energy," says Smirnoff, who also avoids red meat.

LACEY SCHWIMMER, 21

• Her body challenge: After a 2007 knee surgery, Schwimmer says she "was sitting in bed for a month" and gained 30 lbs.

• How she deals: To lose the weight, she cut out extras (like ketchup and barbecue sauce) and sodas. Today she stays slim with fruit or a protein bar for breakfast, soups and salads for lunch and veggies with lean meats for dinner.

• Her best diet trick: "Have fun with your workout," says Schwimmer, who skips the gym in favor of playing soccer or baseball with friends.

MORE ON: Cheryl Burke

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