Fitness trainers Sharny and Julius Kieser are publicly working off the weight after gaining a combined 60 lbs.

Credit: Sharny and Julius Kieser

Gaining 60 lbs. on purpose may sound a little crazy – but fitness trainers Sharny and Julius Kieser wanted to show that they could lose it again, and that losing weight is tough for anyone.

The Queensland, Australia-based fitness experts had already packed on a couple of pounds after the birth of their fifth child, “We just let go with our eating. Let the food take us wherever it wanted to go,” Sharny, 36, tells PEOPLE of their weeks post-delivery.

By May, about three months after Magnus’ birth, the couple had started the slow process of losing the weight they’d gained, but had a late-night revelation.

“We were scrolling through Facebook and looking at all the fitness people and thinking, ‘What do they know about being fat, about being parents, about being addicted to food.’ ” she says. “We were just about to start losing weight quietly again, so our followers didn’t know we’d gotten to this state. Then we remembered why we had gotten into fitness in the first place. We wanted to be completely transparent.”

“We are not fitness models, we are just a mum and a dad who use fitness as a way to connect with each other and spend time with our kids. By hiding the fact that we were getting fat, we were being dishonest. We were perpetrating a myth that fitness is a permanent state and is easy.”

So rather than resisting, they let the floodgates open and fully committed not to exercise, but to gaining weight. Two and half months later, on Aug. 15, they had added about 30 pounds each – Sharny was at 69 kg., or 152 lbs., and Julius, 35, had hit 109 kg., or 240 lbs.

Now, along with their followers, the Kiesers are dropping the weight together by following their Fit Mum and Fit Dad programs. They set up a private Facebook group where other moms and dads can share their weight loss progress, and each week the Kiesers film a live weigh-in.

“We all keep each other accountable,” Sharny says. “It’s really inspiring to see the hundreds of old faces, and the new ones, all with one goal in mind.”

They’re also working on setting a positive example for their kids, after spending months hiding away stashes of chocolate and late-night pizza deliveries.

“We want to inspire our kids by showing them a love of exercise, of pushing oneself,” she says. “We also wanted to show them that we can say no to junk food.”

Still, even as fitness trainers, Sharny emphasizes that their experience doesn’t make losing weight any easier.

“We’re nearly finished week two, and as we expected it hasn’t been easy,” she says. “Addictive eating is really hard to stop. Anyone who tells you otherwise is lying, trying to sell you something, or both. But after the first week, it tends to become habit.”

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Plus, they know there’s five little kids looking up to them.

“Our future really does depend on our kids, and for them to look after us, we need to look after them, and give them a strong grounding,” Sharny says.