Brooke Burke talks Dancing with the Stars, bikini-body tips, and healthy summer foods

There are only three couples still standing on America's most star-studded, bedazzled dance floor, and tonight, a champion will be named. What better time could there be to check in with last year's winner, Brooke Burke? Since taking home the title in November, this self-described "mom-preneur" has been getting back to the business of raising a family (she has four kids!) while juggling her latest business venture, ModernMom.com. SELF talked to the former swimsuit model, TV host and reality show winner about everything from staying in bikini shape and figuring out a healthy summer diet to maintaining your sanity while balancing a crazy schedule. Find out what Brooke had to say.

SELF: You were dancing up a storm every week on TV - and training off-screen everyday in between! - less than a year ago. What did you learn from the show, and how have things changed for you since Dancing with the Stars wrapped?

Brooke Burke: I think that experience was probably the most challenging three months of my life. Before that, I had two babies in two years and I was home a lot. When I booked the Dancing with the Stars gig, I suddenly realized that I was going to have a seven-day a week commitment, which I have never had. But the hardest part of it all - forget about the physical and emotional commitment and the fact that I was doing something I had never done in front of 20 million people--was being away from my kids as much as I was. And as soon as it ended, I suddenly realized how valuable that time is that we take for granted with our kids. And I did nothing for at least a month, just spent time catching up with them.

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SELF: Have you been keeping up with this season?

BB: Of course! In fact, I was there last night. I totally understand what they're going through, and I commend everybody that's made it this far. It's an interesting season, because everybody has such different qualities that they're bringing to the dance floor and none of them have a huge fan base--nobody really knows which pair is going to win.

SELF: Which pair are you rooting for?

BB: Gilles and Cheryl! I think they've got great chemistry and they're so exciting to watch. I think they bring a lot of passion to the dance floor.

SELF: Now that you're off the dance floor, what do you do to stay in shape?

BB: I've been doing pilates for about nine years - it's a really good head-to-toe body-toning exercise. I started with my first pregnancy, and I did it through all four. I try to do it two or three times a week. But I totally believe that 90 percent of staying in shape is what you put in your mouth. I try to maintain a healthy diet. I'm super busy, which helps, and always active with my kids. I don't have time to really go to a gym, but I try to get my cardio by walking with them.

SELF: Summer's right around the corner! Any last-minute bikini-body tips from a former swimsuit model?

BB: Well, I'm not a big believer in these crazy cleanses and diet fads, because I think they're quick fixes and you always put the weight back on. But in case of an emergency, I would cut out carbs, get on a really strict diet that works and increase my cardio. It's all about consistency and nutrition. If people can find a healthy lifestyle and smart-food choices that they enjoy, it's so much easier than the panic of all of a sudden needing to drop ten pounds.

See our tips: 20 easy ways to eat healthier right now!

SELF: Summer is when those healthy choices fall by the wayside - sometimes it's hard to put that bag of chips down on the beach! What kind of healthy snacks would you suggest packing your cooler with?

BB: I mean, fruits always great to bring, especially in a beach bag. But I do have a sweet tooth, so I try to keep really sensible snacks in the fridge that are healthy and easy, like sugar-free Jell-O cups, especially with some of the new flavors like goji berry. I drink goji berry in its pure form; it's great for your immune system and gives you a lot of energy. I even give it to my children--it's a little intense, but when everybody's feeling a little run-down, it gives us a boost. All the flavors are really low-calorie (ten calories!) and really yummy. I can just grab one of those and feel satisfied.

Check out these 20 superfoods for weight loss!

SELF: You have four kids under ten, and school's about to let out for the summer. How do you stay sane and find time for yourself when everyone's home?

BB: I multi-task! Having two kids was easy, three was great, but my fourth child really rocked my world. Right now, I'm waiting for one baby, who's in a kids' class right now with my husband, and I'm outside pushing my three-year-old while trying to do this interview. I guess that's a pretty good example of what my life is really like. But when we're all at home together, the kids interact with each other and entertain each other. I love to have them run wild and be outside in the sunshine. We have a really beautiful garden and a very peaceful backyard, so I can relax while they play. But they all like one on one time, and I think that's the biggest challenge as a mother when you have a lot of children.

SELF: You've taken those challenges and turned them into an online business - first BabooshBaby.com, now ModernMom.com. Tell me a little bit about your role in developing these websites.

BB: I launched BabooshBaby a year ago, and now I've merged that site with ModernMom, which relaunched on Mother's Day. BabooshBaby is the store inside of ModernMom where I sell a lot of products to help mothers get back in shape after pregnancy - and stay in shape before, during and after. It was really my avenue for sharing a lot of my fitness tips and secrets related to pregnancy. ModernMom is more of an online source for any mother, with articles, videos and original content. The site has a very strong focus on the woman, because I think most mothers kind of lose themselves in the whole process of raising a child and it becomes all about the kids. I'm really passionate about it because it's organic and I feel like I'm authentic mom and I'm not just endorsing it, I'm part of it, I'm part of the development.

SELF: So what's new for you this summer? Do you have any projects coming up? Do you think you'll head back to TV any time soon?

BB: I will, I love hosting. I love working and I've been fortunate enough to be able to pick my spots and I've been able to work in LA and hosting a show has enabled me to still be a hands-on mom and still have a career. It really is about balance and making the right choices. I'm totally anxious to get back to work. So we'll see, I don't really know what's in store for me this summer.

Photo Credit: Courtesy of BrookeBurke.com

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