Habits > Willpower | How to Enjoy Fitness with Kirtley Freckleton

The best part about DailyFitnessInterview.com is that I get to meet and learn from some amazing people in the fitness industry. Kirtley Freckleton has helped her clients lose over one-half ton of weight. She is a Registered Nurse and Certified Health Coach out of Spanish Fork, Utah. At the young age of 27 she has accomplished some amazing things in fitness and more importantly, has helped many people achieve a better life.

I love her views on diet and her carefree and relaxed (but effective) approach to fitness. She proves that it’s about lifestyle, not will power…no matter what the latest selfies say.

Hello Kirtley, how did your fitness journey begin? Who do you help?

I’ve been involved in sports all my life. I started soccer when I was old enough to get pushed over without crying. Fitness has always been a part of my life, which is probably why it’s so easy to stay in shape. I love being active–it’s not a chore, rather a fun part of life!

I got into weight loss coaching when I was studying for the NCLEX–an exam to get my registered license as a nurse. I was anxious to start making money, and I knew I wanted to help people lose weight. My best friend is overweight and has been her whole life. I’ve seen the negative effects her weight has had on her self-esteem, so I thought it would be awesome to help people like her.

I started calling weight loss businesses and found a guy who was a health coach and ran his own weight loss company. I was intrigued. I met with him and soon was certified to have my own business and clients.

My average client is in their 50’s and has tried every diet known to mankind–but of course, nothing has worked. Most have at least 40 lbs they want to lose, although I am working with a guy who wants to lose more than 100 lbs.

I do work with younger clients in their 20’s as well. They typically only have about 20-30 lbs they want to lose.  All seem to be in the middle of a yo-yo storm–they’ve lost weight but gained it back plus some, over and over. They want to figure out how to lose the weight and keep it off for good.

I love the weekly challenges section on your website. Can you tell us about that section and why you have it set up the way you do, or what your thought process was in creating it?

KirtleySure thing!

I have seen a lot of websites that do 30 day challenges.  Each day a new challenge is given. That method overwhelms me, because so much is given to you at once. I could see myself getting behind a day or two and then giving up–because I’m already ‘too behind, so what’s the point?”

That’s a poor way of thinking, but a common one.

I set my challenges up to run once a week in order to give people more time to make it a part of their lives. Some of my challenges encourage people to finally do that ‘scary thing’ they’ve always wanted to try, but have never gotten around to. Sometimes all it takes is trying a new healthy recipe once, in order to have confidence that you can do it again.

That was almond butter for me!

I chose the challenges by reflecting on the most foundational and influential habits that I now possess. I lost 25 lbs and have kept it off for 4 years now using those very principles.

What do you do now to stay in shape?

I keep my exercise routine pretty simple, since my bigger health focus is on eating healthy.

I try to run at least 2 times a week, anywhere from 3-6 miles. On my run days I take just a few minutes to work on my glutes, thighs and calves.  Sometimes I will add in as many pushups as I can.

I try to have at least one solid weight lifting day from my house each week. I love doing pull ups, so I focus my training on being able to do more pull ups. I do triceps dips, bicep curls, abs and shoulder exercises.

We keep our pull up bar in the hallway, so I try to do at least 6 pull ups every day to keep those muscles ‘awake.’

I love to compete and hope to start getting involved with racing again soon. I would love to make a new PR for my 10k.

diet photoWhat does your current diet consist of?

That’s a fun question, since it has recently changed.

I have always tried to be as “whole foods” as I can. I avoid packaged foods and stick to the perimeters of the grocery store (or just go to the farmers market). I used to eat meat every day, but I decided to try going meatless for the past month, and I’ve loved it.

I used to avoid grains because I thought they would make me fat, but I have reintroduced whole grains/flour into my diet in a moderate amount, and have enjoyed that.

Do I keep to a strict diet?

Absolutely not.

I think it’s just a personality thing.

I totally respect people who keep to a strict diet, but I know I could never do it. I am not detail oriented, and resist rules when it comes to food. Keeping to a strict anything would stress me out and make me feel uncomfortably restricted.

I am carefree and relaxed. I call myself an intuitive eater. I eat when I am hungry, and stop before I am full–that’s the main rule I live by. I eat sugar once in awhile–when I feel like it–and eat a plant based, whole foods diet 90% of the time. I don’t eat sugar often because my body is not addicted to it.

The most important detail about how I eat is that I have experimented with my diet and have found what works best for me. I have not fluctuated in weight for 4 years, and it’s been easy. I found out what my body can handle, and what makes it feel great, and I stick to that.

Everyone’s body is different, and same with their personality, so people need to find what’s best for themselves.

A lot of people are turned off by my concept of / approach to fitness because I’m one of those hard core extremist types that tend to annoy the general public (there is no balance or moderation in my approach). Whereas, you seem to be much more down to earth about fitness and I think a lot of people fail to realize that you can still achieve your fitness goals without dedicating every waking moment to the gym. Can you talk about your approach to fitness and discuss the following quote from your about page:

“Easy self-control. I don’t rely on will-power. Don’t need it. That’s the perfect balance I hope you will aim for it if not already achieved. I know what I want, and how I want my body to feel. I like that.” –Kirtley Freckleton

My approach to fitness is probably more laid back because I am not working toward a certain competition, or to be ‘the best.’

I’m pretty simple–I like being slim, toned and in good cardio shape. I feel like I am at that point, and it doesn’t take much to maintain it. The reason I said I don’t rely on willpower, is because healthy habits are so ingrained in my lifestyle, that healthy behavior comes naturally. I don’t force myself to eat healthy or to work out, because I naturally do it almost as naturally as I breathe.

When you have been living a certain lifestyle for long enough, your brain forgets there are other options.

I view myself as a healthy person. I find myself running up the flight of stairs for appointments instead of taking the elevator. While waiting in a long line I catch myself quietly doing calf raises, or triceps dips while casually chatting with my husband. I have made it so much a part of my life that I stay toned and fit without stressing about it.

It’s like I get mini workouts all day, rather than a big one once a day.

I know what I want:

I’ve been down the path of feeling bloated. Don’t like it. I don’t like being self-conscious and unsatisfied with my body because I can’t control the amount of junk food I eat.

I also know that I don’t like making the same healthy eating goals over and over and never getting anywhere.

Finally, I learned how to listen to my body.

I was able to cue into when I was hungry, and when I was full. I was able to listen to when my body really wanted sugar, and when it didn’t. Saying no to unhealthy food was easy, because I was enjoying listening to my body. Social pressure didn’t affect me anymore.

I was able to discover what it was like to feel healthy, and at my body’s ‘happy place.’ I felt good about my appearance, finally, and loved having total control over my eating habits. I can say that I am not addicted to any type of food or drink. That is liberating.

I want everyone to reach the point where they can listen to their body, and find their perfect health zone–free from stress and dissatisfaction.

Is there anything else you would like to discuss?

social media photoYes, a quick plug about social media and what it does to your self-esteem. This is targeted to the ladies!

Until I started blogging, I rarely saw work out shots of super fit girls. I rarely saw girls showing off their perfect abs, or perfect glutes.

All I had to compare myself to was….myself. I was easily satisfied with my body as I made progress.

I noticed that as I saw more shots of these super model fit chicks, I started comparing myself. For the first time I realized that my glutes weren’t as ‘big’ as I thought.

Then I wondered, “Well, should they be?” Suddenly I felt that sinking feeling of dissatisfaction with myself.

Luckily, I was able to see what was happening and I snapped out of it.

Who’s to say my body isn’t awesome??

I decided then that I would NOT let social media decide if I have a good figure or not. I will only compare myself to myself.

What it comes down to is that I prefer the feeling of loving my body instead of loathing it. For girls who easily compare themselves to others, I would suggest they avoid the fit pics from social media, and just compare themselves to themselves. You’ll be a lot happier that way!

With that in mind, what do you think is the biggest challenge that women who are trying to lose weight face, and how would you address that challenge?

Great question! The biggest battle in losing weight is with your own thoughts–especially for women!

So many of my female clients are used to beating themselves up with negativity and self-doubt.

I try to help my clients focus on how far they have come, and all the positive habits they have created.  I remind them not to stress about little ‘mess ups,’ and to forgive themselves and move on.

I had to retrain my own thought process as well. I used to be super critical of myself. Now, I am my biggest cheerleader and don’t let little things get me down. It’s made the biggest difference in my health. My stress and worry has gone way down ever since I started accepting myself more.

That’s great advice Kirtley…do you have any suggested reading along those lines?

Great question with an easy answer!

Hands down I would recommend “Intuitive Eating, ” and “Why French Women Don’t Get Fat.”

intuitive eatingwhy french women don't get fat

Those two books have a balanced approach to health, and they really influenced my current habits! Both are realistic and easy to maintain and apply for life.

Fitness Bio | Kirtley Freckleton

Hey there! I’m Kirtley Freckleton (yes, I do have freckles) and I write about everything from emotional and intuitive eating, to blood sugar balance and weight loss meal plans. I love to run, bike, and ride horses–basically anything outdoors. I’m a pediatric registered nurse and certified weight loss coach, and I’m trying to save the world…one french fry at a time.

You can find Kirtley at thegistoffit.com, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

She has posted a Marathon PR of 3:29, was on the First Place Team in the Washington Ragnar Relay, enjoys soccer, running, biking, rock climbing, horseback riding, and has helped her clients lose over 1/2 ton of weight in the last 18 months.

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