Currently gearing up to start a new TV series, to air on Nickelodeon this Christmas, former Spice Girl Melanie Brown (better known as Mel B) is in the best shape of her professional career and personal life. A little over one year since she gave birth to her second child, Brown is launching a workout DVD and releasing a solo album in early 2009, and she’s the spokesperson for Ultimo, the U.K. and Europe’s biggest lingerie line. She spoke to Real Health about her health and fitness lifestyle changes.

Real Health: What are some of the worst health mistakes you’ve made in your life, and how have you improved since then?
Mel B: When I was younger, like in my late teens, I ate burgers and fried foods all the time. I was always on the go, and fast food was the easiest option. Now that I’m older, I’m much more aware of the importance of good nutrition and I treat my body much better. Now, it’s everything in moderation. Once in a while, I’ll have a burger or something like that, but usually I stick to healthy foods, like salads, fish, sushi and fresh fruit.

How would you characterize your health personality?
A healthy lifestyle is important to me. I’ve come to realize that when you eat crap, you feel like crap; and when you eat good things, you feel good. I especially know that I need to eat healthy foods in the afternoon, so I tend to have well-balanced snacks around, like nuts, sugar-free Jell-O and veggies with low-fat dips. And one of my big rules is no skipping meals!

What were your main health and fitness concerns both before and after giving birth?
I’ve been fortunate because I’ve never had major health concerns. The most important thing I discovered was to listen to my body while I was pregnant. Your body has a magical way of telling you what you need through cravings and preferences for certain types of foods.

How has becoming a mother for the second time changed you and your life?
The second time you really know what you’re getting into so you tend to be less frightened. You are more educated so the whole experience is a lot less daunting.

As you get older, what concerns you most about your physical looks and your health?
Honestly, I’m very happy with the way I look and always have been. If something starts to bother me, I’ll try and change it through diet or exercise. I really love my life and I enjoy working out outside and having an outdoor lifestyle.

In what ways have you changed your outlook on the importance of being healthy and fit?
I had always heard that after 30 you see a real difference in your body. It’s so true! You can’t eat the same things as before and you have to work much harder to keep your body looking a certain way. But I also believe a healthy body is the result of a happy mind-set. I am happy in my life, and I think my outer self reflects that.

What is your typical fitness routine?
I work out three times a week. I do a high-intensity combination of 30 minutes of cardio and 30 minutes of high-repetition light weights. I think it’s important to give your body a break, too. That’s why I don’t work out every day. I am also running around a lot with my kids. We love to be outside and swim and go to the beach. I also love to hike.

How difficult was it to get yourself back into shape after your pregnancy, and how difficult was it to prepare for your dance performances on Dancing With the Stars (DWTS)?
I truly believe that the power to stay in shape is all in your mind. It’s important to have a goal. The last months of my second pregnancy, I really allowed myself to relax, so after I had my daughter, I couldn’t wait to work out. I made sure I set myself up with an easy workout that I could do right away. Then, I slowly built up my strength and endurance so I could do a more intense routine. I actually didn’t prepare physically for DWTS. I was really excited about the opportunity to learn from such incredible teachers and performers. I just made sure I was mentally ready to enjoy the experience.

With all the stress that comes from being an entertainer, in what ways do you maintain your mental health, balance and well-being?
Everything I’ve ever done in my life is what I’ve wanted to do, so I don’t have a lot of stress. I try to keep my life as stress-free as possible. I think it’s because I’m passionate about what I do and I’m passionate about my kids and my family, so I really feel like everything falls into balance pretty naturally.

This fall, Brown teams with Kraft Foods’ Pose for the Cure Campaign, featuring Jell-O, Cool Whip and Philadelphia brands, which are raising money and awareness for Susan G. Komen for the Cure, a group that supports breast cancer research. Visit in September to purchase a limited edition T-shirt designed by Mel B. A portion of the net proceeds per shirt goes to Susan G. Komen for the Cure.