At the start of season 12 of The Real Housewives of Orange County, the 53-year-old star stepped on a scale to reveal she weighed 172 lbs., a 40-lb. gain from a year prior -- and nearly 60-lbs. heavier than she said she had been for most of her life. Her fitness coach, Dr. Tim Ramirez, informed Shannon that her body fat percentage was at 40 percent, a number that scared him.
“I wasn't excited about [documenting my weight loss journey], and I sure wasn't excited to start filming,” Shannon tells ET. “It's, like, ‘Oh, crap!’ Now I gotta be in front of a camera, which doesn't make you look skinnier! But I knew I was going to start working on the weight loss, so at least now when I watch it, I know I'm down a little. I'm down about half, down about half of the weight.”
Shannon says she’s dropped 20 lbs. so far, and hopes to shed at least 20 more in the next couple of months, just in time to show off her slimmer look at the RHOC reunion.
“I'm not gonna go back down to where I was, like, in season nine, when I started [the show], because as you age, you know, you look gaunt,” she notes. “I want to look healthy.”
The star, who loves all things holistic, isn’t interested in fillers or Botox to keep her face looking youthful.
“This is life,” she says. “You know, when you're 53, all of a sudden you can pack it on and I am evidence of that.”
Shannon says she currently works out 30 minutes a day, every day, with Dr. Tim, doing a series of exercises “maximize” her half hour. She is not joining her husband of 17 years, David, in the gym, though. He’s taken to CrossFit-style workouts as he regularly trains for Spartan races.
“Tamra [Judge] says that he exercises more hours than she did for her fitness competition, so it's a lot,” Shannon admits. “David's workouts are, like, carrying a bucket of rocks up the driveway. Midlife. That's what I say, midlife!”
David’s extra gym sessions did start to cut into time together for the couple, a topic Shannon brought up on the latest episode, filmed exactly one year after the pair renewed their wedding vows. In that year, Shannon says David became distant again, much like he did around the time he had an affair a few years back.
“It was just a realization,” Shannon recalls. “Oh, wow. It's been a year … it is hard to watch. But, you know, relationships go up and down. We were at the highest of the high last season. So, you're gonna maybe see a dip.”
After the couple’s vow renewal, they took a second honeymoon and implemented rules to keep their bond strong, like regular date nights and daily texts of affirmation. All those things started to fall to the wayside following season 11 of Real Housewives, which saw co-star Vicki Gunvalson allege that David had been physically abusive toward Shannon -- something Shannon adamantly denies.
The stress of those accusations not only caused strain in Shannon’s marriage, but also contributed to her weight gain, she says. Still, like her weight loss, Shannon says things with David are looking up.
“We're good,” she shares. “We’re working on ourselves, doing the best that we can with our kids -- for our kids. We’re working on it … You'll see improvement.”
The Real Housewives of Orange County airs Mondays at 9 p.m. ET on Bravo. Check out the video below to see what Vicki told ET about Shannon’s claims that Vicki contributed to her weight gain.