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Olympic Athlete Shannon Miller On Cancer, Motherhood and Finding Balance

Olympic Medalist Shannon Miller

Shannon Miller is recognized as the most decorated gymnast (male or female) in United State’s History. Her performance at every Olympic game she participated in was breathtaking, and she took home five medals at the Barcelona games alone. She has even been dubbed the most accomplished athlete in America, but Miller has other achievements that warrant major kudos; cancer survival and motherhood.

In early 2010, she was diagnosed with a malignant germ cell tumor which is a form of ovarian cancer. While the tumor was caught early and treatment was successful, Miller still suffered greatly during her recovery.

“Any time you hear the word ‘cancer’ it is terrifying,” she says. “I am now cancer free but there have certainly been a few negatives. The nausea was particularly bad during a pretty aggressive chemotherapy regimen. I landed back in the hospital the first week, unable to keep even water down.”

Even with the physical and emotional challenges of treatment, Miller never gave up and never gave in. She feels the experience made her stronger as a person and even more focused on her goals and priorities than she was prior to the diagnosis.

Perhaps Miller’s greatest priority is son Rocco. While she admits that motherhood certainly made the balancing act of day to day life much more challenging, it is a challenge that she welcomes every day. “There is nothing like being a mommy,” she says. “The love I have for my son is absolutely indescribable. It doesn’t matter what kind of day I’ve had or the challenges I’m going through, when my Rocco puts his arms around me and says, ‘I love you mommy’ everything else disappears.”

Like most mothers, Miller has to work at maintaining a healthy figure. While she does admit to eating healthy most days, that doesn’t mean a restrictive diet plan. She says she is an, “Everything in moderation,” kind of girl and feels that the more you attempt to completely eliminate your favorite foods from your diet; the more likely you are to fail. Instead she believes in portion control. Miller likes to mix up her workouts with a combination of walking, elliptical work, Pilates and yoga and says she tries to workout 5-6 days a week. Her advice for mothers looking to shed a few pounds is to be patient, continue with portion control and of course be certain to get a good mix of cardio, light weights and toning. She additionally encourages new moms to focus on regaining good posture. Miller has even put out a DVD which includes specific exercises for new moms titled Body After Baby.

In addition to being a living legend and a busy mom, Shannon Miller has also found a way to give back to others. Her new television show, The Wish List with Shannon Miller (which airs on the Health & Wellness Channel), gives her an opportunity to travel the country granting wishes to terminally ill children and young adults. Miller says that while the stories may be heart wrenching they are also a source of inspiration, and considers the opportunity to be a part of each story a true honor.

Shannon Miller may best be known for her extraordinary athletic ability, but her inner strength and ability to truly balance the many balls of life make her an admirable human being as well. Miller advises that finding true balance can often depend on the particular time in one’s life and stresses that women should not forget themselves and their own health while attempting to prioritize and take care of others.

For more information on Shannon Miller, her free fitness videos as well as information about the upcoming 2012 games, visit http://shannonmillerlifestyle.com/ [5]