Brooke Burke's philosophy: Work with what you've got—and why not have some fun while you're at it? The 39-year-old celeb mom has given up striving for perfection and instead focuses on doing her best. And that's one of the reasons Brooke Burke wrote her book, The Naked Mom, a survival manual for mothers (and everyother woman for that matter) trying to artfully keep all those balls in the air. "Women need to hear the words 'It's okay if things don't go exactly the way you want them to,'" she says. "Give yourself a break!"Here, Brooke Burke gives no-nonsense advice on everything from living a healthy lifestyle to her personal bucket list.
Brooke Burke's Healthy Lifestyle Tip #1: Fad Diets are Not Fab Diets
"I've tried just about every crazy diet you can imagine," says Brooke, a former swimsuit model. "But now I've learned what really works for my body." Brooke and her family follow a Mediterranean diet, which includes lean grilled beef, chicken, fish (she loves salmon—try this celeb's favorite salmon recipe), salads, vegetables, and, of course, olive oil. "I also eat five small meals a day," she says. "And I never skip breakfast, even if it's just a protein shake. I can honestly say that I've never been healthier or fitter in my life."
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Brooke Burke's Healthy Lifestyle Tip #2: No Excuses: Exercise
Brooke Burke has always been a dedicated workout girl, but with four kids, it takes some creative scheduling to fit exercise in. "I keep a large weekly calendar in my kitchen where I write down every event that's happening in our lives," she says. "I always pencil in my workouts there so I'll really do them." In a perfect world, she exercises five days a week. When she's doing DWTS, she drops the kids off at school and heads to the gym for a cardio workout. "I get on the treadmill, put it at a 15 percent incline and walk at about 3.5 miles per hour," she says. "I'm also crazy about Pilates Plus, which I do three times a week. The class is 55 minutes, head to toe. In that short amount of time, I've done everything I need to do. And for a working mom, what could be better?"
MORE DANCING WITH THE STARS: Find out how this DWTS pro got her sexy body
Brooke Burke's Healthy Lifestyle Tip #3: Confidence Trumps DNA
Of all the benefits of exercise, the one Brooke values most is the self-confidence it gives her. "There's something magical about a woman who feels comfortable in her own skin," she says. "Power and beauty come from a very deep place. You can look at a supermodel and, yes, she's beautiful, but then you meet a woman who just has something special about her, who becomes more attractive as you get to know her. The older a woman gets, the more she can tap into that—at least that's what I've experienced personally. It's about owning who you are."
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Brooke Burke's Healthy Lifestyle Tip # 4: A Bucket List is Motivating
A year ago, Brooke was inspired to come up with a bucket list. "Every woman should give herself an hour to dream and write down her desires," she says. "Once I started focusing on the things I wanted, they all started coming true." Proof positive it works: Number 20 on her list was to be on the cover of SHAPE. "I never wanted to be on magazines like Vogue or Allure; I wanted to be on SHAPE," says Brooke. "There's something very special to me about being relatable to other women, being healthy, and representing confidence at any age."
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Brooke Burke's Healthy Lifestyle Tip #5: You're as Important as Your Children
"As mothers, we're always pulled in a thousand directions with obligations to our families, but not necessarily to ourselves," says Brooke. "I'm really good at taking care of everyone else in my life, but now I'm finding what fulfills me." One trick is to schedule a day to do absolutely nothing. "I'll write down my 'me' time in the calendar. Sometimes I'll go work out or just sleep in, whatever it takes to manage my stress. It's really about being in touch with your body and knowing when it needs to just rest."
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Brooke Burke's Healthy Lifestyle Tip #6: Nice Girls Kick Ass Too!
On her blog for modernmom.com, Brooke broached the subject of women—especially mothers—standing up for themselves. "For much of my life, I've felt like I've compromised myself in many ways that benefited other people," says Brooke. "I needed to change that." For her, it was a matter of listening to her inner voice, being strong, and then speaking her mind. "Making decisions and committing to them is better than being wishy-washy," she says. "You have to trust your instincts, then have the confidence to act upon them."
Pick up a copy of SHAPE's January issue on newsstands December 20 to find out which celebrity gal pal Brooke likes to share a bottle of wine (or two) with when she needs to get away and the three things she does to keep her love life hot.
More Healthy Lifestyle Tips From Dancing With the Stars Celebs:
Kelly Osbourne: Weight Lost, Confidence Gained
Melissa Rycroft: How to Live Happily Ever After
Kim Kardashian's Confidence Boosting Strategies