I feel that one of the best ways to gain knowledge is by learning from others. I wanted to know more about Health Coach Kirtley’s view of health and why she enjoys being a health coach. Kirtley is a registered nurse, horse-enthusiast, outdoorswoman, and lover of health! So obviously she is my kindred spirit!
You can find her website here.
Here is the interview I had with Kirtley:
Breanna: Introduce yourself.
Kirtley: I live in Utah with my husband in an old farmhouse. I’m a horse lover and we’ve got two horses outside. One is a thoroughbred and a racehorse and the other horse is half Clydesdale. It is so fun to have them. We have three miles of cornfield property. We have a labradoodle and I love training him. He is a bit of a trick dog. I want to do competitions with him one day.
Breanna: Why are you interested in health and fitness?
Kirtley: I grew up playing soccer and running track. My mom is pretty healthy and has been a good example of exercising. I decided to go into nursing. I graduated from nursing school and after I graduated, I asked myself the question, “What would be the most fulfilling thing to do?” I decided that I wanted to help people lose weight and get healthy. I love having a healthy body and I want to pass that on. I am a health coach and wellness practitioner. I love it!
Breanna: I think nursing really does go hand in hand with health coaching. I think when you know what the consequences are of these unhealthy choices, you are better able to teach and understand why a healthy lifestyle is so important.
Kirtley: I’ve had broken bones before and my ACL tore, so I couldn’t walk. I was really struggling in my life when I couldn’t do the things that I wanted to do. It really taught me to love my body and made me very grateful to have it. I’ve always been an outdoorsy person. I enjoy hiking, biking, kayaking, and camping. I just love having a body and I want to enjoy the freedoms that come along with a healthy one.
Breanna: Definitely a healthy mind and a healthy body go hand in hand. So, you told me a bit about your credentials. You are a registered nurse and a certified Health Coach. Do have anything more to say about that?
Kirtley: I was a full-time nurse for the most part of two years. I just didn’t feel fulfilled because I didn’t feel like I was actually helping people the way I thought I would. I didn’t have time to connect with anyone. I was taking blood pressures, handing out medications and then doing paperwork. I really didn’t feel like I was helping anyone and I felt more like a waitress. So, I was coaching on the side and I didn’t think it would go anywhere, but then somebody told me that I had saved their life. I had never been told that as a nurse, not even something close to that. I was told that I had made them feel better. I became bored with my job and I just wanted more fulfillment and love my job every single day. Love every day of your life. If you hate your job, find one that you love. Life is short. That is when I looked at my business and I was doing better than I had thought. I quit nursing and went full-time coaching and treated it like a full-time job. It took off and now I feel way more fulfilled!
Breanna: I feel that if we focus more on preventive care instead of treating high blood pressure and diabetes, we would be better off. If we are trying to prevent chronic diseases, we wouldn’t have to take care of it later. What does your weekly health and fitness routine look like?
Kirtley: I like to work out in the mornings. My husband and I will go to the gym together in the evenings. I rotate between doing arms, abs, legs, and cardio. I’ll do my own weight-lifting at home with 5-10 lb weights. I do those weights with higher reps to create muscle tone for me. I love abs. I’ve also been focusing a lot on cardio. I love to play ultimate frisbee with a team nearby. I am getting into road biking again. My friend and I went on a 2.5-hour road bike ride on Saturday morning. It was so fun! I also enjoy running.
Breanna: What is your favorite healthy treat?
Kirtley: Dates. I love to make date paste. It’s incredible and super sweet. You can just blend up dates together. I also love 100% cocoa baking bars. It helps me not eat chocolate. I’ll overeat chocolate if it is in my house. It is incredibly bitter but you can dip it in date paste. Fruit is also my go-to treat. I love herbal tea, especially the ones that have licorice root in them because it is super sweet. Celestial Seasonings Cinnamon Apple Spice is my favorite herbal tea. Whole dates dipped in peanut butter is a really good snack as well. Those are my magic tricks!
Breanna: What are your go-to healthy meals?
Kirtley: I have four fast and easy meals that only take ten minutes. Almost every country has a stew and once you learn the basics to each stew and you know their basic seasonings, you can almost make anything. I like to make a 10-minute curry. I love to throw in vegetables and frozen vegetables and cashew cream. I also love making a Mexican one pot dish. Spaghetti and chili are easy to throw together as well. They are also nice for multiple meals throughout the week. They are so fast and easy!
Breanna: I also love soups and stews. I feel that it is a good way to get a lot of food groups into a meal. What fitness goal are you working towards?
Kirtley: I love working on physical goals! Last year, I saw a couple on Facebook doing acro yoga and I thought it looked like the most magical thing on earth. And I thought I need to get more flexible. Therefore, I made a goal to do the splits and straddles. I really got into that, in which got me more into yoga. So I was able to meet my goal. That was super fun for me! And I want to do even better, so I am still stretching. My arm was injured for a while and then it got better. However, I had the goal to do 12 pull-ups and so I have worked on my upper arm strength. I want to have really strong triceps. I have focused on that.
Breanna: What are some other ways you like to stay fit?
Kirtley: I think my favorite current sport now is ultimate frisbee. It is exhausting and is kinda like soccer in a way.
Breanna: What else are you passionate to communicate to my readers?
Kirtley: I was able to lose 30 lbs. Not everybody knows that. My first step in my weight loss was to love myself. That is what I have my clients do first thing. You can love your body! You don’t have to love how you look to love yourself. So first, be grateful for your body and decide to take care of it. As you take care of it, listen to it. Listen to your own body cues. Your body knows everything. At least start listening to when you are hungry and when you are satisfied. Start eating slower and actually think about the food you are eating. We also view our food emotionally. Are you eating this chocolate to satisfy your emotions? When you view it this way, you will realize that you don’t need food as much as you think. I love teaching about emotional eating. Wake up and come into awareness. Understand yourself and have a better relationship with yourself.
Breanna: I agree that we need a shift in how we view our bodies. As a postpartum mom, I have stretched out skin and stretch marks. Who was that person years ago that decided that those were ugly and hideous? It is a normal thing that happens to our bodies. Why can’t they be indicators that my body is amazing and grew to babies! We need to view our bodies as beautiful things that can do amazing stuff. We need to focus on our strengths.
Kirtley: I love coaching because my mission is to help people become free and experience more fulfillment in life. That comes with physical health and emotional health. You can also say spiritual health as well. I love it because when I work with people, we are going to focus on what is going on emotionally. I ask them, what are your habit cycles? Then we create new ones. I talk about social eating. A lot of people have the same routine. And their friends eat unhealthy so they eat unhealthily. I empower my clients. I like to start slow. I try to match their pace. Start off with really good and simple nutrition. I help them to do gradually more and more healthy choices on their own. If they want to learn themselves about how to be healthy, they need to be educated. They need to learn how nutrition affects their body. Most women I work with lose about 10 pounds a month, which is pretty fun. The men go a bit faster. However, the biggest thing is the lasting benefits of choosing a healthy lifestyle. We want to keep the weight off forever. It’s not like a diet. It’s about really connecting with your body.
Breanna: It’s all about sustainability! How is health coaching different from personal training?
Kirtley: As a health coach, I don’t even use exercise for weight loss in my coaching. If you use exercise for weight loss, you are more likely to say, “since I worked out for an hour, I can go and eat a brownie.” Then the justification comes and the obsession comes on how much do I need to exercise to eat this much. It is really in the diet mode. Health coaching focuses on the whole being and holistic wellness. I focus on nutrition first and then as they feel better, they naturally want to exercise. Exercise then becomes a part of a healthy life. If you naturally enjoy Zumba, that is what you are going to do. If you like walking your dogs, that is what you naturally are going to do. I want them to choose something that they can habitually do for the rest of their lives.
Breanna: It truly is about finding what you enjoy doing because that is what will stay with you.
Kirtley: Find something that you love and you are more likely to do it forever.
Breanna: What is one piece of advice you would give someone who is just starting out on their health journey.
Kirtley: My number one is to clean up your environment. It is surprisingly simple and most people actually aren’t willing to do that. That is what has helped me the most and kept my 30 pounds off. You cannot keep unhealthy food in your house. Your home needs to be a very safe place. Home is where most of your emotions occur. Keep your house clean so you are forced to eat clean.
Breanna: How do you help your clients find motivation?
Kirtley: That is a great question and I love the topic of motivation. When my clients ask me how do I find motivation, I tell them you don’t wait for motivation to come. Stop relying on your feelings because we naturally want to take the easy way out. That will lead into laziness. Decide that this is what I want, these are my goals, and if you want to start making more homemade healthier foods, you are going to have to meal plan. Force yourself to do it and then the motivation comes after. After you start feeling the benefits of your choices, motivation will be there.
Breanna: Mentally you need to say, “This is something I do.” Every day when you want to make a habit to be a part of you, tell yourself it is just something you always do.
Kirtley: Yes! It is like defining and branding yourself. This is Kirtley. This is what I do every day!
Breanna: I think that in this day and age, so many people think you have to purchase things to be healthy. However, we have food from the earth and the outdoors to play into health us achieve health. With your business, what are your keys to success? What has helped you the most?
Kirtley: Consistency. I have to commit to putting a little bit of work in every day. There are days where I really don’t feel like working. That is ok but I can’t let that get me down. It is always good to remember my why. Health coaching is not this fairytale job where clients are rushing through your door. It is a lot of work and you have to be ok with people not being ready to get help. I am throwing them a life jacket and they can take it or not. I will not be offended. Don’t care about rejection and be. That is what helps me the most. Every morning I have that vision of seeing me help someone become free. I use visualizations and affirmations.
Breanna: Thank you so much, Kirtley, It was a pleasure talking to you!