June 12, 2013 12:00 PM

CATCHING UP WITH

TRISHA YEARWOOD

THIRTY LBS. SLIMMER, THE SINGER CELEBRATES A HEALTHIER LIFESTYLE – AND A HOT NEW BODY!

As she tried on wardrobe options recently before taping the new season of her cooking show Trisha’s Southern Kitchen, Yearwood got a shock. “I’m used to buying an extra-large shirt, but the medium fit!” says the singer, who in January began a low-fat, low-sugar diet and stepped up her workout routine. “There’s that mentality that I’m always the big girl. I’ll have to work on that!”

Her hard work has already paid off on the scale (she went from a “tight size 14” dress to a 10), but more important, “I feel good,” says Yearwood, 48. “I wake up with an energy level I never had.”

After her mother became ill with breast cancer and passed away in 2011, Yearwood put on weight: “I was grieving, and weight was the last thing on my list.” At the beginning of this year, “something clicked, and I thought, ‘Just get it together.’ ” She trimmed her calories to 1,200 by emphasizing lean meat and veggies, snacked on apples instead of potato chips and added Latin-dance inspired Zumba classes to her routine.

Zumba also introduced her to a circle of supportive girlfriends, her lifeline on days when her diet’s been defeated by a bag of peanut butter pretzels. “I did that recently – called a friend and was like, ‘Here’s what I ate,’ and it was 20 things. She said, ‘Go on the treadmill right now.’ I just ate 1,000 calories and didn’t know if I could! But I did because she was holding me accountable. And I took a picture of the treadmill and the calories I burned and sent it to her.”

After a lifetime of failed fad diets, Yearwood knows “it’s got to be something you do for life.” That means occasionally indulging in smaller portions of comfort foods like fried chicken and mac and cheese (“Any diet that eliminates a food group is a set-up for failure – it’s about balance”) and giving herself a break when she falls off the wagon: “I have sat and eaten almost an entire brick of cheese. But the next day you get back on track. That’s life.”

Husband Garth Brooks (who plays basketball with Yearwood weekly) “is happy for me,” she says. “But it doesn’t make him love me more or think I’m more beautiful. He makes me feel great no matter what the scales say.”

BABY NEWS

Jennifer’s Joy!

“I’m so proud of this little person,” says the Sugarland singer, who’s taking time off to tend to her most important project: 6-month-old son Magnus Hamilton. “I’m grateful to have this time with him. He’s super, super sweet.”

LUKE BRYAN

CELEBRITY DREAM ANALYSIS

LUKE DREAMED IT. WE HAD IT ANALYZED!

THE DREAM

“A recurring dream I have is that my teeth break into hundreds of pieces, and I wake up and have no teeth. I hate it. I’m very aware of teeth and my teeth especially … I’m kind of a teeth freak. I think it’s payback for being overprotective of my teeth.”

THE ANALYSIS

“This is not payback,” says dream coach Paula Scardamalia of diviningthemuse.com. “Since this is a recurring dream, I’d look at what is going on in his life when the dream shows up. Because Luke takes such conscientious care of his teeth, and his smile is so much a part of his look in the music industry, for his teeth to break could suggest a worry about his identity as a musician or about his appearance for his audience, especially as he grows older. Also, because teeth help us to communicate, the broken teeth might relate to a breakdown in communication with someone.”

ME & MY DOG

THOMPSON SQUARE

HERE ARE FIVE THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW ABOUT SHAWNA AND KEIFER’S FURRY BEST FRIENDS

1. THEY’RE KINGS OF THE ROAD

“Our band and crew are always asking to take them,” says Keifer. “Especially Barkley. He’s so cute and small – he’s two pounds and looks like a cartoon character. He’s got us all by the heartstrings.”

2. THEY BELIEVE IN TEAMWORK

“I trained Barkley to sit, lay down and do a high five, and Etta helped me!” says Shawna. “I had them side by side and Barkley would just look over and mimic everything Etta was doing. You can tell Etta is a proud big sister.”

3. THEY PLAY FAVORITES

“I love Etta, and I know she loves me too, but she really loves Keifer,” says Shawna. “She curls up on his chest and falls asleep.”

4. THEY LOVE SLEEPOVERS

“They each have their own crate that they like to sleep in,” says Keifer. “But sometimes we’ll walk in and find them both asleep, cuddling over in Etta’s crate.”

5. THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME

Although they’re both good travelers, “like us, they’re most comfortable at home,” says Shawna. “There’s a tree in the yard that Etta’s made her own racetrack around. She’ll chase lizards, and Barkley will hide in the monkey grass and pounce on her.”

COUNTRY CONTEST

Meet the Winners of Our GEORGE STRAIT TICKET GIVEAWAY!

THEIR STORIES TOUCHED OUR HEARTS

EDWARD BOISSEAU, Central Square, N.Y.

Last year Boisseau, 53, was diagnosed with prostate cancer that had spread to his lymph nodes and spine. He credits his wife of 32 years, Brenda, with getting him through his ongoing chemo and other treatments. “The pain at times can be overwhelming, but no matter how bad it gets, my wife has been my rock,” he wrote. “When I am so sick that I can’t keep food down, she is right there to wipe away the remains and the tears.” Brenda herself got through it by listening to Strait’s music, and her husband wanted to take her to a concert to show her how much she means to him. They attended the Feb. 22 show in Buffalo. “It was just a night we’ll never forget,” he says. “And the best part was seeing how happy it made my wife. She’s been by my side through it all, so it was such a gift to be able to be by her side for this. It made some priceless memories for us.”

WILLIAM ARNOLD, Albany, Ore.

The 43-year-old moving-company owner credits Strait with helping him meet the love of his life. Nurse Haley Stuhr, 34, hired Arnold’s company for a 2012 move across town. “During the move I learned that we shared a love for Strait’s music and that Haley’s love extended to both singing and playing the violin,” he wrote. “By the end of the day, I’d admitted that I also enjoyed singing, and before I could say more, Haley had pulled out her violin and the sheet music to ‘Amarillo by Morning’ and insisted that she accompany me while I sang. Little did I know this one song would lead to the most intense love affair of my life.” The pair plan to attend a 2014 show. “I love Haley so much and am looking forward to seeing George play ‘Amarillo by Morning,’ the song that brought us together,” says Arnold.

STAR TRAVEL

Craig’s Big Adventure

“Any time I get the opportunity to push myself to my limits, I take advantage of it,” says singer Craig Morgan, 48, of joining a 205-mile sled-dog expedition through the Scandinavian Arctic in April. Morgan and son Kyle, 21, spent four nights sleeping outside in temps as low as 32 below and even built their own shelter out of tree limbs. So would he do it again? “I’ve actually been talking about taking our family out, but it would have to be where you sled from cabin to cabin. I don’t think my wife would go for sleeping outside!”

WEDDINGS

I DO, I DO, I DO!

From the family farm to the beaches of paradise, look who got hitched

Clara Henningsen & Jacob Calaway

Rain showers didn’t dampen the day for Clara Henningsen – one third of the family group the Henningsens – as she wed her boyfriend of two years, landscaper Jacob Calaway, 30, at her family’s farm in Atwood, Ill., May 4. “It just felt right to close one chapter of my life and start the next there at my family home,” says Henningsen, 23. The couple met on a beach in Florida through mutual friends, and it was “love at first sight,” says Henningsen. “We are so blessed to have found each other.”

Jon Richardson & Andrea Overton

Randy Rogers & Chelsea Cai Dowlearn

Apparently great bandmates think alike! Just ask Jon Richardson, bass player in the Randy Rogers Band, and frontman Randy Rogers, who both eloped to Hawaii and wed their respective brides on March 27 (Richardson was on Kauai, Rogers on Maui). “We had no idea we’d both be getting married the same day,” says Rogers, “but we both wanted to get married in the most beautiful place in the world.” And, adds Richardson, “this was the only time we had off!”

PASSAGES

SEPARATING

Citing irreconcilable differences, Jason Aldean, 36, filed for divorce from his wife, Jessica Ussery, 33, on April 26. Aldean said in a statement, “Jessica and I have been together since we were teenagers. We’ve been through a lot of ups and downs over the years as we grew up together as a couple.” Despite the split, he said, the couple’s daughters Keeley, 10, and Kendyl, 5, are “our No. 1 priority.”

ENGAGED

“Home to Me” singer Sarah Darling, 30, plans to wed British graphic designer James Muriel next spring. Muriel proposed to Darling on a beach in Key West, which was perfect, Darling told the Boot on April 16, because “the Atlantic Ocean was what separated us.” Muriel has since moved to Nashville.

EXPECTING

It is going to be double diaper duty for Carter’s Chord member Becky Scott, 31, and her guitarist husband, Jeremiah, 33. The couple are expecting twin girls in August.

BABY

Love and Theft’s Eric Gunderson, 28, is a dad. He and wife Emily welcomed son Camden William on March 10 in Nashville. Gunderson happily reports that Camden “is so cute and already has me wrapped around his finger.” He also loves to go to bed to Dad’s rendition of “Itsy-Bitsy Spider.”

RECOVERING

Charlie Daniels, 76 (inset), entered a Nashville hospital with a mild case of pneumonia March 25 and exited a few days later with a pacemaker after tests showed that he had an irregular heartbeat. “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” fiddler’s ticker is now keeping perfect time.

DIED

Jack Greene, 83, who had such hits as “Statue of a Fool” in the 1960s, died in Nashville on March 14 of complications from Alzheimer’s disease. Blake Shelton tweeted that he was “very sad to hear about the passing of Jack Greene. He and I performed his song ‘Statue of a Fool’ at the Opry years ago. True hero.”

DEALS

Billy Ray Cyrus might be coming back to the small screen. The Hannah Montana star, 51, and Randy Travis, 54, recently filmed a pilot for Still the King, in which Cyrus plays a dysfunctional Elvis impersonator and Travis a local sheriff.

BREAKUP

Writing on Twitter that “dreams and visions change and that’s life and that’s okay,” Hannah Blaylock, 26, announced she was leaving the trio Edens Edge. Remaining bandmates Dean Berner and Cherrill Green wrote on their website that they plan to continue performing as a duo.

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