"I'm going to wait until I can go as far as I can go," she tells PEOPLE

By Michelle Ward
September 26, 2011 03:30 PM
Credit: Craig Sjodin/ABC

Ricki Lake has been busy planning her wedding to fiancé Christian Evans. She has a location, a photographer and a florist.

But there is one major detail she has yet to finalize: her wedding dress.

“I haven’t dealt with that yet,” the Dancing with the Stars contestant, 43, told PEOPLE at Variety’s Power Of Women Event in Beverly Hills. “I’m going to wait until I can go as far as I can go in this competition [to get my body in the best shape], then start trying on dresses.”

And she is well on her way. “When I lost weight a couple years ago, I weighed less than I do now, probably 10 pounds. But there is a difference. I didn’t work out with that – it was a crash diet,” Lake said. “Now muscles I didn’t know I had are defined. It’s dramatic. Everyone is seeing it, and they are telling me, but I see it and I’m a tough critic.”

The former talk show host is as dedicated to winning the mirror-ball trophy as she is to losing weight.

“I’m really taking care of myself and committing,” Lake, whose pro partner is Derek Hough, said. “I’m getting enough sleep and not really having late nights. I’m having to skip really fun things because I want to do as well as I can.”

But she’s not letting her competitive nature get the best of her. “Initially, honestly, I wanted to win,” she says. “Now that I’ve been working with all these people and they are all my friends, it’s really about … learning these amazing, beautiful dances and getting my body in the best shape I possibly can.”

Whether or not she finishes Dancing a champion, Lake has a lot to look forward to when she and Evans tie the knot. “I met the best guy in the whole wide world,” she says. “I have so many great professional things happening – I have a new talk show, a book coming out, all amazing – but I wouldn’t want any of it without him.”