Molly Sims immediately greets you with a warm Southern drawl that puts you at ease, and shares a quick story about how her morning routine got derailed. “My cheek is swollen right now!” she laughs. “I have a new puppy who almost broke my cheekbone during my workout, but I got the time in!” The Kentucky-born supermodel, actress, and author, has been busy juggling her growing household, career, and launching a lifestyle-wellness platform. In her books, Everyday Supermodel and Everyday Chic, Sims’ goal is to inspire people to find their inner confidence with resourceful, easy, and stylish solutions for you, your home, and your family. She sits down with Thrive to share how she has reframed her mindset when it comes to stressing about her weight and her social life, and how she stays organized.
Thrive Global: You’ve shared that you felt a lot of pressure and stress to come back after having babies. Can you share a little about your journey?
Molly Sims: I found my prince a little bit later and got married later in life. So, I had three kids in five years — I actually got pregnant with my first on my honeymoon. I gained 83 pounds because I had ended up having an undiagnosed thyroid problem that was brought on by pregnancy. I’ve always had to keep a certain physical image, because of being a model and being in the entertainment business. I wasn’t in a great mental state, because here I was two weeks married, I had a newborn, I was 83 pounds overweight, and it took me 18 months to start to feel like myself again. At 45, I had my third baby, and none of my old tricks worked. So I had to change the way I thought about weight loss and develop new goals. I thought, “Okay, these are my intentions, this is what I’m going to do and focus on, and this who I want to be.” I wanted to have energy, to feel good, and be healthy for my family. It wasn’t about being at my skinniest anymore.
TG: What are some of the most effective ways you’ve worked to get in shape after baby?
MS: It’s so daunting just to think about it. I’m so lucky that I could work out with someone, but I also love classes. Sometimes the classes are a little bit more motivating because the people around you and the energy in the room really helps you. There are so many different systems now, whether it be Mirror, streaming systems, Peloton — you can put your laptop on the floor and can do amazing Pilates series from YouTube. I like Sweat by Kayla and Tone it Up Girls. They have great programs.
I work out less now than I ever did in my life, and I am stronger. I work out for 40 minutes a day and when I’m doing the high intensity, I work out for 25 minutes or I’ll walk on a treadmill at an uphill. One thing that adds stress is that I have a little bit more pressure on me because people are looking at me, judging me, and shaming me. I have a different motivation than a lot of people do, and sometimes that motivation is good, and sometimes that motivation is bad. I’m not caught up in that pressure anymore. My motivation is to be healthy. I’m the mom of three, I want to live.
TG: You said you start working out in the morning to set your day up. What is the first thing you do when you get out of bed?
MS: Before I even get out of bed, I’ll just lie there for like five minutes thinking about my day. I give myself a little pep talk to work out. That is my “me” time — I really make fitness a priority for me. Then, I take my thyroid medicine, go down and make my kids’ bottles, and get a cup of coffee. We start making breakfast, and then we’re off to figure out who’s doing what and where and how.
TG: Do you suffer with mom-guilt?
MS: It’s definitely hard to have three little kids and work-life balance. I find that even though I try my best, I always feel guilty. The moment you have the baby, you automatically have mom guilt. It’s insane. You think, “Oh my God, I’m not breastfeeding right. Oh my God, I rocked her too hard.” I actually went to see someone about that. But listen, you have to do the best you can do. You have to get a great team around you, and you live and die by a calendar.
TG: You mentioned your calendar, but what are other ways you stay organized?
MS: We do color-coded calendars — every kid gets a color, so we know what is happening for each kid. This way, everyone gets some quality time and attention. Also, I am very organized at home. I have baskets of toothpaste and toothbrushes, so I don’t have to go upstairs in their room. I have cups and bowls and things like that on their level that they can get to. They have different baskets in their little room so that they can pull out their own toys. And my biggest time saver is making the lunches and packing the backpacks the night before.
TG: How do you prioritize your time?
MS: I’m not as apologetic as I used to be because I have to get home.That’s the biggest thing. What can be good for you, doesn’t work with me. I think it all depends on who you are and also what kind of boundaries help you be who you innately are. Sometimes those boundaries don’t work with your girlfriends, and that’s ok. You have to just find what works for you. For instance, to catch up, I’ll do a call to a friend on my way to pick up my kids from school.
Some women like to go out all night and do girls’ trips and that’s awesome. Oh my gosh, I would love to be there right now, but I have a young family. I’m not there yet. So having strong boundaries and also saying things like, “I can only be there for an hour,” to set up a reality. And surprisingly, you have less anxiety when you’re honest.
TG: What is your relationship with technology?
I don’t follow very much social media. My friends are always like, “You never comment on my page.” And I say, “You know, I actually don’t sit and scroll.” I only do it for work. It can be exhausting and there’s so many different things — YouTube, DMing, texting, emailing, Instagram, Facebook. I’m like, “Oh my God, I can’t even keep up.” I just wish there was an endpoint to social media. You post and then it’s, “Okay, you’re done.” But you’re just never done. So recently, I stopped checking it. I’m actually not the person that has a lot of FOMO. I don’t innately have that in me. When I’m on a plane and the wifi goes out, I’m secretly happy, because I can’t do anything. I can’t email or do anything, so I take that time to read, sleep, and recharge. It’s amazing.
TG: What brings you optimism?
MS: I love politics. I don’t think we’re in a great place, but I do believe in unity. I believe not in parties, whether you’re a Republican or Democrat, but in what you believe and coming together to make a decision. I have a lot of hope. I don’t think America is going to let us down. In the end, I think we’re going to pull together. Like Michelle Obama says, when they go low, you have to go high. I don’t want to move to Canada. I lived in France — I lived in Europe for seven years. I believe that we’re still an amazing country. We still have a lot to offer. I feel like sometimes we’re going to have to dig a little deeper. I do not talk about politics in an open arena of any kind, really, because I respect everyone’s choices. Listen, I’m from the South. I grew up in a very open family, believe whatever you want to believe. I think we’re in one of the most difficult places our country has ever been in, but I do have hope that we can come out of it. I just think we have to really stand up for what we believe in, and some things are going to work and some things aren’t, but you cannot lose that voice.
TG: What is one thing you do each day that helps you thrive?
MS: It’s really hard to teach empathy; it’s easier to teach someone being grateful. A good trick is changing the way I frame things I am doing or saying. Instead of “having” to pick up my kids, I “get” to. Instead of “having” to make them dinner, I “get” to. It’s looking at seemingly stressful behavior and turning it into a positive. I think just that little trick on a mindset can get you up and over any hump.
Another way I thrive is that I try to come from an open place, which can be very difficult because we all have predisposed notions — especially in the mom category. I don’t see dads shaming each other, but I see so many moms do that. So I just try not to be so judgmental.