September 09, 2015 02:06 PM

Nino Muñoz/SHAPE Magazine

It may have taken Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting “years” to perfect her diet and exercise routine, but judging by her incredibly fit form on the cover of Shape, she’s really, really figured it out.

“I’ve never worked so hard to look good for something in my entire career,” Cuoco-Sweeting tells Shape of her recent fitness kick. “But I didn’t starve or kill myself with exercise. I went slowly, and it paid off.”

The Big Bang Theory actress, 29, says she’s gotten in the best shape ever — and lost 6 lbs. — over the last three months, crediting her new, stronger body to the powers of yoga and cutting out junk food.

“Doing yoga five times a week has transformed my body,” she says. “I love being toned and having muscle; it’s so sexy and beautiful.”

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Cuoco says she’s always been “type of girl who’s always had to buy jeans in three sizes” because she never knew how her body would look on any given day. That is no longer a problem. “Everything, from the inside out, has completely changed for me,” she says.

Nino Muñoz/SHAPE Magazine

Before revamping her lifestyle, Cuoco-Sweeting says she would consistently snack with her husband, Ryan Sweeting, a professional tennis player who has to eat voraciously for fuel.

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“When we first got married, it was so much fun to eat like him. We got into this habit we called the bedtime snack. The drawers next to the bed were filled with candy. Eventually, I realized it was mindless eating,” she says. “So I cut that out. Our refrigerator and pantry have completely changed, because we don’t eat crap anymore. No more soda, chips, cereal; we had boxes of stuff that only a 4-year-old would eat.”

Even though she no longer treats herself to candy before bed, Cuoco-Sweeting still indulges.

Nino Muñoz/SHAPE Magazine

“I know when I’m being good all week long that come Sunday, I’m going to lie by the pool, have a drink, and eat some pizza. Then I wake up on Monday morning and I’m all ready to start the week again” she says, of her scheduled cheat days. “I’m just going to be in a bad mood all the time if there’s no light at the end of the tunnel.”

And it sounds like Cuoco-Sweeting’s new lifestyle isn’t just a passing phase — she’s proud of her new body and motivated to keep it.

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“Now, when I look into the mirror and see the positive changes, I don’t want to go back to what I was doing,” she says. “Especially when my husband is like, ‘You look amazing!'”

—Maria Yagoda

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