Julianne Hough Learned that Restricting Her Diet Wasn’t the Answer: ‘I’m Allowing Myself to Do What Makes Me Happy’

03/29/2016 at 09:55 AM ET

Julianne Hough
Cindy Ord/Getty Images for Lord & Taylor

After years of monitoring her diet, Julianne Hough realized that it wasn’t making her happy—and it wasn’t working.

“In the past, I used to be so strict, and because I was strict, I used to fall off really easily, and once I fell off, I would just go crazy,” Hough tells PEOPLE. “[I] was being very strict and disciplined, all or nothing.”

But now, happily engaged to hockey player Brooks Laich and working as a brand ambassador for the Fitbit, Hough has realized that obsessively trying to eat healthfully all the time just doesn’t work.

“This phase of my life, it’s not about that, it’s about a mindset and a belief,” Hough says. “I’m doing this so I’m healthy, when I have kids my kids will be healthy, when I’m older I’ll be in shape to play with them. There’s that thought process.”

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“I think by not being so strict, I’m basically allowing myself to do what makes me happy rather than [focusing on] what I should do.”

And a major part of what makes her happy is a daily sweat session. Hough is seriously dedicated to her workouts, going to Corepower Yoga about twice a week, Body By Simone two to three times, and going for hikes with her dogs on the other days.

“I like to keep myself pretty occupied, and I feel like if I’m doing the same thing over and over again I get pretty bored,” Hough says. “So I try to mix it up.”

Which means she’s also constantly in search of new workout classes to try.

“I really want to try Rise Nation, which is like a stair treadclimber thing,” Hough explains. “It’s only 30 minutes I’ve heard because it’s so hard, you do literally 5 minutes and you want to fall over, that would be epic for the Fitbit. I love pushing myself.”

And all that sweat has an added bonus.

RELATED: Julianne Hough Launches a New Lifestyle Website (and There’s Pizza!)

“After I work out I actually feel the best. When you sweat, I feel like you glow more,” Hough says. “I also feel good when my fiance says I look good first thing in the morning with no makeup. It has to do with him too!”

“Once you make yourself happy, you can give so much more to the world, to the people you come in contact with. For me it’s working out, and my slogan is: The way you move directly affects the way you feel. It’s good for your soul, your health, future generations to come!”

Julie Mazziotta, @julietmazz

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Showing 9 comments

jen on

as someone who loves her, i wish she would wear some makeup and change her hair.she used to be so stunning. she’s slightly messy looking now.

Taylor on

She is so talented. Besides dancing and acting she can sing too!

Zeph on

She must of made a list of something to release each week. It’s all relevance. Must Stay Relevant!

Serena on

This is an ad disguised as an article, right?

Nurse Ratchet on

Such a bright light in this world of self indulgence and fame seeking. A beautiful (with or without make up) and talented young woman.

Carrie M on

Julianne – tell this to Giselle!

DaisyMoon on

So happy she was booted as a judge…she was terrible at it.

Kathleen on

It’s always interesting when celebrities disguise their decidedly human traits as empowering. Eating what you want? I won’t deny myself! Posing naked? No one owns my body but me! Dating around? I’m young and I don’t care what others think! It is just life, Julianne!

Beth on

She is so gorgeous. She was the only reason I watched Dancing with the Stars, so with her gone, I’m watching The Voice now.

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