Finding a fitness partner with the same goals as you is a rare and beautiful thing. For Fitmark Ambassadors Kim Miller and Shannon Dougherty it happened by chance during a photo shoot in 2011.
At the time, both women had made the conscious decision to get back into shape after having children and commit their lives to living healthy, active lives. Together, they formed the FitMomDiet, an online community dedicated to helping “educate, support and inspire moms to make positive changes in their life.”
Fitmark caught up with Kim and Shannon to find out how they lost the post-baby weight and what changes they had to make to their lives in order to maintain a fit and active lifestyle.
How did your lifestyle change after having children?
Kim: Having children completely changed my world. Suddenly I was responsible for another human being, then shortly after two of them! My time was more limited, my priorities shifted and I was very aware that my lifestyle would affect who my children become.
Shannon: Children rocked my world in a good way. Adjusting to keeping myself healthy and fit while caring for a little bundle of love was defiantly an adjustment. Over time I developed fun at home workout and strategies to keep my eating and fitness on track.
You gained 50 lb during childbirth – how long did it take for you to lose this weight?
Kim: It took me quite a while. I made small weekly changes over a long period of time. I have to say that to completely transform it took a few years. However, I began to change pretty quickly when I adopted a clean eating diet, made time to exercise 4 times a week and worked to adopt a mindful, positive attitude.
Shannon: I signed up for my first bikini competition to help with my focus and weight loss. It took me 6-9 months to transform my body and refocus my mind. I struggled with an eating disorder in college and will always have those demons in the back of my mind. The mind is so powerful, that’s why small, realistic changes are key to lasting results.
Did you go on any special diet?
Kim: Shannon and I currently have our Fit Mom Guide To The Body You Love eBook that contains a lifestyle eating plan. Looking back as I changed my habits, I basically got to the point where this is what I was using. It’s a clean eating whole foods-based plan designed to nourish your body.
Shannon: Fit Mom Guide To The Body You Love eBook and I use our 10 Day Flat Belly Plan when I have an event or special occasion I want to blast extra belly fat.
How often do you work out and for how long?
Kim: 5 days a week for approximately 45 minutes to an hour and a half. My workouts are very diverse and include trail and road running, HIIT, yoga, Pilates, boxing, weightlifting and hiking.
Shannon: 4-5 days a week. Cardio sessions are no longer than 30 minutes, which always include intervals. Keeping it short, sweet and intense works best for me. I love to lift and do primarily circuit-based programs for 45 minutes max.
How do you manage to keep fit and be active moms at the same time?
Kim: I believe the most important thing you can do as a mom is carve out a little time to take care of yourself. When you do this, you are better able to care for others. It’s a matter of priorities. There are things that sometimes need to be eliminated, but exercise is never one of them. Furthermore and probably even more importantly is making exercise a lifestyle choice for your family. Kids are naturally inclined to move and there are so many things you can do with them. A lot of our Fit Mom Diet workouts include kids; the whole family moves and plays together.
Shannon: During the week, I wake up at 4:15 to drink a big cup of coffee in silence and get out the door to the gym by 5 am. It’s my “ME TIME.” I notice a huge difference in my mood and patience on days I have not exercised or taken the hour for myself. My kids love working out with me at home and encourage me to create and film a workout video. They definitely can run the show now.
Besides being immersed in the fitness community, how do you instil fitness into your kids’ lives?
Kim: We get creative. We participate with our kids in the things they enjoy. When we go to the park, we run, climb and jump rope with them. When they were little, we put them in a backpack or strolled and hiked or walked with them. We encourage them to join in our workout and give them a role. We also sign up for family events like races we can do together. Finally, we encourage physical movement. Both of our kids play sports and we practice with them. Kids are great role models for us. They love to move!
Shannon: Your kids watch every move you make, so be a healthy role model. My kids know I go to the gym every morning and the days I sleep in question why I am not there. They are involved in sports programs year round with a break in the blazing summer. During the summer months, we are in the pool, racing each other or running around in the sprinklers. Little do they know how much exercise they are getting! We are always in the front yard or park playing catch, riding skateboards or bikes. Get involved with making activity fun with your kids; don’t just sit on the sidelines and watch.
What physical activities do you share as a family?
Kim: My family loves to do 5K’s together. When the kids were younger they would do the 1-mile fun walk/run. We also love to hike and both of my kids play baseball, so I’ve thrown a few balls in my time.
Shannon: We enjoy family bike rides, basketball at the gym and lately tennis and squash. My kids love to hike and discover creatures in the desert. I could do without the creatures myself, but I take one for the team.
What’s the best advice you can give to women out there battling with post-baby weight?
Kim: Do not get stuck on the number on the scale and make sure you incorporate strength training into your routine. I enjoy cardio and it is a great way to lose weight, but strength training firms, tones and develops lean muscle. This increases your metabolism as a result and in the long run, you will feel and look better. Learning how to be mindful about food and fitness is the most important thing about weight loss as well. Finally, eat whole foods, organic whenever possible.
Shannon: Stay away from the scale and give yourself time. It took 9 months to put on the weight, don’t expect it to fall off overnight. Start incorporating strength exercises in the pockets of your day. Take an hour or two every week to prepare your own healthy food, just like you would for your baby. When you leave the house with your diaper bag or Mason’s Bag (love mine!) make sure to pack a healthy snack and water for yourself too.
What do you like most about your Fitmark bag?
Kim: EVERYTHING! I love the versatility. The quality is top notch and the bags are stylish. I carry my meal management bag (The Box) everywhere, so I am always prepared with food and snacks. It offers all the functionality I need. I also use my backpacks all the time, especially when I travel. Fitmark thinks of everything the active person needs in a bag, which I like.
Shannon: The bags are sturdy, classy looking and go with my work or play attire. The Box not only is spacious but it includes containers for protein, meals and shakes. Win-Win.
Thanks for talking with us, Kim and Shannon, and keep spreading the message: Love Your Body!
Sport Your Lifestyle
The Fitmark Team