Jennie Garth Shares the Secret to Keeping Off the Weight

03/07/2013 at 08:05 AM EST

Jennie Garth Pictures; Talks About Weight Loss and Diet
Jennie Garth
Andrew Aaron/Startraks
After having three children, Jennie Garth worked hard to get her body into cover-girl shape, losing 30 pounds to sizzle in a bikini.

But, she says, she's fine with a little Easter chocolate indulgence – or even the occasional cupcake.

"Maintenance is definitely challenging. It's something you have to do daily," Garth said during a Lindt-sponsored charity auction in New York, benefitting Autism Speaks.

"You have to remind yourself what your priorities are," she told PEOPLE, "and remind yourself about staying healthy and living a healthy life."

But Garth, 40 – who starred last year in her own CMT reality series Jennie Garth: Little Bit Country,, and who split from Peter Facinelli in March 2012 after 11 years of marriage – says that doesn't mean she's totally depriving herself of a bite or two of her favorite white chocolate ("My weakness," she said) or baking with her three daughters.

In addition to her discipline with her diet, she maintains a gluten-free lifestyle and enjoys daily exercise.

"Every day, I try to schedule something in, whether it's hiking with my dog or jogging or going to the gym," said Garth, who's currently dating Big Gigantic drummer Jeremy Salken. "Those are the things I'm focused on right now."

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