Jennie Garth: How I Made a Fresh Start

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Andrew Macpherson"I have a list on my iPhone of things that make me happy," says Jennie Garth. It must be working, because she looks brighter than ever in skinny kelly-green jeans (hmm, a nod to her Beverly Hills, 90210 character, Kelly Taylor?) and a white sweater.

Jennie is definitely due for some happy: She's spent the past year going through a very public split from her husband of 11 years, Peter Facinelli, with whom she has three daughters: Luca, 15; Lola, 10; and Fiona, 6. But the breakup was also a wake-up call, in body and soul: "Now I feel stronger and more confident in my body."

Check out this video of our cover shoot with Jennie Garth!

And, boy, does it show. The 40-year-old lost 30 pounds and earned herself a "Da-amn, girl" shape. Her secret? Eating clean and exercising five days a week (three doing plyometrics and kickboxing, and two hiking with one of her dogs). Jennie is also amping up her career: She has a show in development with her friend and former co-star Luke Perry. After such a transformational year, she's learned a thing or two about working to reach any goal. Here are her tips:

jennie-garth-health jennie-garth-health . I'll think, 'I'm already in my clothes now, so I may as well work out!'"

  • Think of what it can do for you. "The driving force of why I work out is just to be stronger—physically and mentally."
  • Be a trainer. "In the middle of a set, I love being told, 'You can do this.' It works for yourself, too. Use positive self-motivation."
  • Bring a friend. "Twice a week, I'll put the dog in the car and go for a hike. I'll think, 'My dog needs exercise, so we're both benefiting.'"
  • Golden rules for not regaining a pound

    1. Do check ins. "I weigh myself every morning. If I don't, before you know it, I'll be up 10 pounds. It creeps. This morning, it was up 2 pounds. That's OK. But if it's up 6 pounds? I need to make adjustments."
    2. Run from fad diets. "My biggest regret is putting my body through fad diets: Atkins, cleanses, the hCG diet. I lost like 18 pounds, but it came right back. The worst was fasting with colonics for three or four days. It was the most horrifying experience ever!"

    3 ways to eat healthy

    1. Sneaky swap I love: Fage yogurt for sour cream or mayo. "I make this chicken dish that you're supposed to coat in mayonnaise, but I use Fage. My kids didn't even know!"
    2. My 173-calorie breakfast: Greek yogurt + slivered almonds or whole oats
      "I throw some slivered almonds in it or some whole, raw oats—straight out of the box—and just grab a spoon and eat it on the way driving my girls to school."
    3. My two-step dinner: Salmon with balsamic onions
      "I love making salmon with balsamic onions. There's something so tangy and sweet about it." Step 1: Season salmon with salt and pepper, and broil in the oven. Step 2: Slice up red onions; sauté in coconut or almond oil and balsamic vinegar until reduced to sauce. Top the salmon with it.