January 02, 2006 06:00 AM

Losing weight isn’t easy – and doing it in front of an audience is that much tougher. But for VH1’s Celebrity Fit Club 3, eight stars submitted themselves to physical challenges, diet overhauls and public weigh-ins to shed the pounds. PEOPLE caught up with the women of the show – Sonny and Cher’s daughter Chastity Bono, former Cosby kid Tempestt Bledsoe, ’80s sex symbol Kelly LeBrock and sitcom sidekick Countess Vaughn – about their weight struggles, their secret cravings and why skinny isn’t necessarily beautiful.

Kelly LeBrock, 45

Claim to fame: Sexy spots in ’80s movies Weird Science and The Woman in Red
Weight-loss goal: 20-25 lbs. “They wanted me to lose 35,” says LeBrock. “I think that might be a little much.”
Her vices: “Chocolate flourless cake and spaghetti.”
Why she joined the Fit Club: “It’s going to be empowering to show the ladies out there that it’s okay to say that you’re a little overweight and actually do something about it.”
On her weight gain: “When you raise children, Mommy tends to be everything else other than somebody who takes care of herself,” says the mother of three (with her ex-husband, action star Steven Seagal). “My kids are in a place now where I can concentrate on myself a little bit.”

Tempestt Bledsoe, 32

Claim to fame: She played Vanessa Huxtable on The Cosby Show
Weight-loss goal: “I’m not concerned about pounds – I want to reduce my body-fat percentage to, say, 25 percent.”
Why she joined the Fit Club: “I’ve always worked out, but I thought the opportunity to focus on it solely for 100 days would be really good,” says Bledsoe, who keeps a vegetarian diet. “I’ve stepped it up to five, six times a week.”
What she gave up: “My ginger ale – I love it to death.”
Keeping it real: “I’m not trying to be 120 lbs.,” says the 5’8″ actress. “It’s not what I’m built for and I accept that.”

Chastity Bono, 36

Claim to fame: The activist-writer is the daughter of Cher and Sonny Bono
Weight-loss goal: “To lose as much as I possibly can. When you’re overweight in Hollywood, you feel separate and apart from the rest of society.”
Why she joined the Fit Club: “I got clean and sober 18 months ago, so this was the next step,” says Bono, who overcame a drug addiction. “My mom is thrilled. She was the first phone call I made about it to get her opinion.”
Going public: “To get on TV and talk about weight – which has been an issue for me for a long time – was tough. There is something courageous about doing the show.”

Countess Vaughn, 27

Claim to fame: She played Kim Parker on The Parkers
Personal goal: “I’d like to lose about 15 pounds,” says the 4’10” actress.
Why she joined the Fit Club: “I want to be a pin-up girl – it’s always been a dream of mine. If I lose weight I get to do the cover of Smooth, a men’s magazine.”
Her final indulgence: Chicken tetrazzini with garlic bread and a salad with blue cheese dressing . “Bye-bye to all of that,” she says.
A new direction: “I’ve always been the chunky girl in every show that I have been on,” says Vaughn, who’s married and has a 2-year-old son. “It’s time to break the mold.”

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