Welcome to “A day in a life of a fit mom”! In this series I feature women who are passionate about healthy lifestyle and consistently make fitness a part of their lives despite it all. Because “momming” is HARD. We wear so many hats, raise little people, and put the needs of our families first. Fit moms featured in this series show how they balance mommy duties and taking care of themselves. They know exercise and clean eating helps them be a better version of themselves and a positive example for their kids. I always feel inspired learning about how other fit moms make it work . Hope you find this helpful too!
Fit Mom of the Week: Shannon Dombkowski
I couldn’t be more excited to share Shannon’s story with you today! She is a mom of 3 girls and an aspiring entrepreneur. Shannon blogs at https://toughmomfitness.com/. She’s passionate about fitness, running, nutrition, reading, coffee, and the outdoors. She can often be found at the park, at the pool, or running around the back yard with her girls on the weekend. Even with jam-packed days she finds time to workout and eat well. She is motivated by her own desire to look & feel fabulous, along with wanting to set the best example for her daughters. She used at home workouts and running to lose 40lbs – TWICE!
I’ve never been the skinny girl. Growing up I was never overweight but I was definitely athletic. It turns out that’s just my body type but who knows that in high school? I just wanted thighs that weren’t gigantic. It wasn’t until after my first daughter was born in 2008 that I became overweight.
I had gained about 45lbs during that pregnancy and I thought that breastfeeding would magically make it all fall off. Ha! If only I were so lucky. I was still carrying around that weight 14 months later when I got pregnant with our second daughter. I went back and forth with diets and workouts for a couple years after she was born but I never saw real results. I had no confidence and no love for myself. It affected every part of my life.
It wasn’t until late 2012, when my husband left for his 3rd deployment, that I decided it was time for a change. Since I had a 2 year old and 4 year old at home with me, and a job working full time, I didn’t have time to go to the gym. So I did workouts at home. I devoted 30-45 minutes every morning before work to exercise. I also began the slow process of getting my nutrition in check. I knew I couldn’t overhaul everything at once or I’d be setting myself up for failure. I ended up losing 30lbs in the 6 months that my husband was deployed. He didn’t even recognize me at the airport when he got home!
Naturally, I found out I was pregnant about 7 weeks later. We call those “deployment babies.”
After my 3rd daughter was born I found myself right back where I started. I kept my nutrition on track through the whole pregnancy. I exercised almost daily. Heck, I walked over 3 miles 8 hours before she was born! But my body didn’t care. That was okay, though, because this time I knew what I had to do. Three months after she was born my husband left for his 4th deployment and I decided it was time to get to work.
This time I was still working full time but now I had 3 young kids and a dog at home. I kept up with my home workouts. I did 30 minutes in the morning and then sometimes I’d do quick 15-20 minute workouts after they went to bed. I also incorporated running one day a week when I was working from home. I also made sure to keep my nutrition on track. I ate nourishing, healthy foods 80-85% of the time and made sure to treat myself 15-20% of the time (hey, we all need wine, chocolate, and ice cream sometimes!). Seven months later when my husband returned I had lost 30lbs again. Within a few months I lost 10 more pounds and I’ve been holding steady for just over 2 years now.
In the 2 years that I’ve been maintaining my weight loss the way my days look have changed, but my workouts and commitment to good nutrition have always been a part of it! At the time I’m writing this I’m wearing both parenting hats while my husband is away for a few weeks of work. So, basically I go, go, go from the time I wake up until the time I crash at night!
On a typical week day my alarm goes off at 4:40am. I get up and do a 30 minute workout at home. Most days it’s a resistance workout using body weight, dumbbells, kettlebells, and/or resistance bands. A couple days a week I do a HIIT (high intensity interval training) workout instead. Mornings are crazy so I prep my breakfast in advance. It’s usually overnight oats or egg cups. And coffee. Always coffee.
Once I get my older kids on the bus I put my 3 year old on the jogging stroller and we go out for a run. After that we head out for errands, some time at the park, or gymnastics class. I always take a protein shake to go. I also prep my lunches on the weekend so I can just heat them up during the week. It’s always some mix of protein (mostly chicken), sweet potato or brown rice, and lots of veggies. Right now I’m loving asparagus, brussels sprouts, broccoli, and zucchini – very green! After lunch my daughter goes down for a nap I pick up the house a bit and fold laundry. Then I sit down to focus on my blog & business for a couple hours.
I do eat an afternoon snack of Greek yogurt and fruit. If I don’t eat every 2.5-3 hours I get quite unbearable. Anyway… My older kids get home at 3:30, unless it’s a day where they have an after school activity. Once they get home it’s a complete blur from that time until they go to bed. We go through homework, reading, and prepping lunches and snacks for the next day.
They typically run outside to play with friends while the littlest plays inside or in the back yard. I take that time to get dinner ready. I always plan out my dinner menu in advance. This helps me ensure I get the ingredients that I need when I go grocery shopping on Fridays. I keep dinners simple so they can be cooked in about 30 minutes. I save those more time-intensive dinners for the weekend. After dinner we do the shower, books, and bed routine.
Once the kids are in bed I spend 30-60 more minutes working on my business. Then I take another hour to catch up on social media, watch a little TV and/or do some reading. I’m a huge contemporary romance fan but I’ve been reading some personal development and business books lately too. By 9:30pm I’m passed out drooling on the pillow.
First and foremost, I do it for me. I went through too much of my life feeling self-conscious and unhappy. I do it because I don’t ever want to go back there again. I also do it for my daughters. I want them to have a good relationship with food. I want them to understand that moving our bodies is important and fun. I want them to grow up with mounds and mounds of confidence. I want to show them that there’s nothing wrong with strong girls. The best way for all of that to happen is for me to model it.
Sure, there are days when it’s hard. There are days where I don’t know where I’m going to find the energy to get it all done. There are days where I just want a freaking bowl of ice cream (and I do eat ice cream because I don’t believe in denying myself). But when I feel my motivation slipping I rely on my habits and I remind myself of my why. Because when you have a good why there are no excuses big enough to stand in your way.
Want more? Connect with Shannon for health & fitness tips and motivation on Instagram or Facebook. Her Instagram stories are always filled with a behind the scenes look at what life really looks like when the smoke and mirrors of traditional social media are taken away.
If you are a mom with passion for fitness and healthy life style and would like to share your story in “A day in a life of a fit mom” please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.