Dieting With the Stars: Karina Smirnoff’s Slim-Down Secrets

10/25/2013 at 03:26 PM ET

Jessica Alba

The Dancing With the Stars star says it’s taken a lot of trial and error but now she knows what—and how—to eat to stay in top form.

“I’ve tried pretty much everything,” Karina Smirnoff tells PEOPLE. “The carb diet, the protein diet, the not-eating-after-6 diet, and I found that if you need to put in a lot of effort into maintaining a healthy diet, it probably won’t work because how long are you going to do that?”

Her method, she says, is something everyone can easily follow: “You want to find a way to be happy, full, energized and finding that lifestyle with food that makes you feel the best.” A few delicious revelations:

1. She has dark chocolate every day.
But just a little. “I read somewhere that you should have a piece of dark chocolate daily because it’s loaded with antioxidants,” says the Ukranian-born dancer. And having a small indulgence every day “keeps me happy.”

2. She carries around a plastic bag filled with homemade trail mix.
“I like healthy snacks that keep me full and give me energy and that I can take on-the-go,” says Smirnoff. Her trail mix includes granola, dried cranberries and blueberries, walnuts and chocolate chips. “Stick it in microwave for seven to ten seconds, and add honey or milk, and it’s extra delicious!”

3. She doesn’t eat food she doesn’t like (even if it’s “good for you”).
There’s no sense in eating something if you dislike it, she says, “but there are plenty of foods I do like.” At the top of her hit list: spinach. “I love it in every shape and form, in a salad, sautéed, even mixed with kale for a smoothie. I’m borderline Popeye!” Other favorites: asparagus, broccoli, baby carrots, watermelon and pineapple.

4. She’s pretty much broken up with red meat.
“I try not to have any because I don’t digest it well,” says the star, who’s been hoofing it up on DWTS since 2006 and blogs for PEOPLE about dancing with her season 13 partner, Corbin Bleu. “Most of the time I will have fish or chicken, and I don’t have a lot of pasta.”

5. She never picks up the salt shaker. Ever.
“I never cook with salt or add it to my meals. If I go out, I try to order something that’s low sodium,” she says. “I feel that not having salt makes me digest everything a lot easier. I don’t miss it, and I don’t crave it. I wish I could say the same thing about sugar!”

6. She listens when her body talks.
“One time, I tried eating more vegetables and just fish for several months, and I never felt more energized in my life!” says Smirnoff, who also cycles, hikes and does yoga regularly. These days, she’s broadened her diet but still only eats healthy foods that agree with her. “I eat to where I’m full but still have energy to move and not be a couch potato.”

7. She believes in smoothies.
She whips up her own with frozen fruit, like cranberries or blueberries, and takes it with her to work. “It’s delicious and you know you’ve put something healthy into your body.”

–Nancy Mattia


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The Latest Craze in Disco Styles Is See-Through Jeans—but Beware of Foggy Bottoms
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The Latest Craze in Disco Styles Is See-Through Jeans—but Beware of Foggy Bottoms

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On a clear day, you can see forever—or at least that’s the wicked thought behind L.A. designer Agi Berliner’s transparent idea: see-through jeans. Exhibitionists notwithstanding, most folks wear them over bathing suits or as attention-getting evening wear with halters, garter belts and body stockings. Created for the disco crowd, the $34 jeans are selling like, well, hot pants. In just six weeks, 25,000 pairs have already been sold in such major department store chains as Macy’s, Bonwit’s and Saks.

“What’s limiting American designers is that we’re afraid to do something different,” says Berliner, 32, a Hungarian émigré who fled with her family to the U.S. in 1956. Agi thought up the gimmick in London while marveling at the way plastics were being employed by designers of punk fashion. In her L.A. office, where she designs for La Parisienne junior sportswear, Agi spent five days on the phone and six weeks testing to come up with the right plastic.

Agi herself tried out the French-cut jeans with the zipper in front, and quickly found several problems: Some plastics tore away from stitching, others wouldn’t bend and all fogged with perspiration. The ideal material proved to be a vinyl supplied by a bookbinder. The steam was eliminated with a series of vents behind the knees and in the crotch. “They’re no hotter than polyester pants,” claims Agi, “and if you wear them with tights, they won’t stick to your legs.”

Whatever the discomfort and despite the problem of Saturday night feverishness, discomaniacs report one major advantage of the plastic pants: no laundry bills. To keep Berliner’s see-through jeans clear, all the wearer needs is a little Windex.

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