Q&A and Giveaway with The Great Fitness Experiment

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Charlotte Hilton On Fitness and Life 7 Years After Starting “The Great Fitness Experiment” Blog

Today’s Q&A is with Charlotte Hilton of the blog, “The Great Fitness Experiment,” an honest and often hilarious blog that she founded to talk about fitness but has morphed into so much more.

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– FREE BOOK GIVAWAY –

We’ll also be giving away Charlotte Hilton’s book The Great Fitness Experiment: One Year of Trying Everything. To enter, leave a comment below telling us why you want it and we’ll pick a winner at random!

Why did you start your blog The Great Fitness Experiment, which is actually about way more than fitness?

After my third child was born, I was looking for a way to lose weight and get healthy but I had no clue how to do that! My background is in computer information systems, not fitness or nutrition, so I started reading everything I could find on the subject. But it all contradicted each other!
“Eat whole grains…”
“Grains are the devil!”
“Running is the best exercise.”
“No, wait, weight lifting is the best exercise!”

“I was ‘super healthy’ but it made me crazy trying to maintain that so now I just settle for happy and healthy.”

It was all so confusing. So I decided the only way I could figure it out was to try EVERYTHING. I started the blog as a way to keep track of all my experiments and even though I’m no longer doing fitness experiments, it’s still grown from there!

I originally only wanted to blog about fitness, once I realized that I had a compulsive exercise disorder I knew that the blog wasn’t helping me unless I could be truly honest. This led me to branch out into talking about my struggles with eating disorders, body image, sexual assault, having children, mental health and the rest!

How has your level of fitness changed from before the blog and to now – 7 years later?

Ironically, I’d say I’m probably at about the same level of fitness as I was when I started! I went through a phase for about four years where I was “super healthy” but it made me crazy trying to maintain that so now I just settle for happy and healthy :)

In one of your blog posts from 2011, you said “my real success story has nothing to do with my weight loss and everything to do with the change inside me and in my abilities.” Can you tell us a little more about the changes inside you?

I’ve changed mostly in the way that I talk – both to others and to myself. I’ve become a lot more honest and stopped hiding behind health mantras that were anything but. My favorite part of doing my blog is all the comments, emails and responses I get from my readers – they are the smartest, kindest, funniest bunch of people I’ve ever seen on the Internet and I’ve learned so much about myself from them.

Have you always loved fitness? What keeps you at it day after day?

I grew up hating anything athletic. I didn’t discover a real love for fitness until after my 3rd child was born. I started out by simply running away – from my internal pain – and ended up falling in love with all aspects of exercise. I love the camaraderie that comes from working out with others. I love the sense of accomplishment I get. I love the physical benefits of being able to load all my own groceries at Costo or chase my kids. And, of course, I love the endorphins!

You are quite open about your history of depression/panic attacks. How has fitness played a role (or not) in managing them?

“Exercise is one of the most helpful things I have for managing my depression/anxiety.”

It’s a fine line. I’m prone to addictive behaviors and there was a time when I was definitely an exercise addict, much to the detriment of my own health. Yet exercise is like food – you can’t use it as a crutch, but you can’t give it up entirely either as you need it to live! So, I’ve done a lot of therapy and set up a series of checks and balances to keep myself in line and when I do it in moderation, exercise is one of the most helpful things I have for managing my depression/anxiety. I also take medication and, not gonna lie, it’s been a godsend. I’ll probably be on it for life and I’m okay with that.

Do you have a favorite blog post that you’ve written you think our readers would love?

Ooooh wow, that’s hard! Often the posts I love the most are not the ones people respond to the most. One that I’ve gotten a lot of great feedback on was when I experimented with squatting to go potty. It was hilarious and weird and ultimately really effective!


Read 4 Tips for Making Changes that Last >>

WIN A FREE BOOK! To enter, leave us a comment below why you’d like a copy of Charlotte Hilton’s book, “Great Fitness Experiment: One Year of Trying Everything.”

10 Responses (Add Yours)

  • Cheryl Baulding says:

    I would love to read about how she was able to find balance and something that worked for her. It would be good to read the book

  • Janet Engelbrecht says:

    I would love to read her book. I have severe depression and I would like to know how she was able to motivate herself to workout when she was having a bad day. Sometimes it is hard just to get out of bed.

  • Rachel says:

    My life feels like a fitness and health experiment and I’m still trying to figure out what works for me, especially in light of my body image issues and tendency towards overexercising and emotional eating.

  • Alexis K. says:

    After both bariatric surgery and back surgery in the same year, I was on a rollercoaster. Unable to exercise but losing pounds like crazy left me with a less than ideal version of myself. Fast forward a year and a half and I’m feeling great and finally released to do anything and everyhing I’d like fitness-wise. So now I’m learning what works and what doesn’t for me, as well as starting from the ground up- a year plus of almost complete inactivity left me pretty out of shape!

  • Debbish says:

    I read Charlotte’s blog regularly and love her approach to fitness, eating and weight loss. And I definitely love that she appreciates her mindset change as much as (or more than) any weight loss.

  • Kara says:

    I’m actually doing some of my own fitness experiments trying to figure out what works for me with some physical limitations I have. I would love to see how someone else approached their fitness experiments.

  • Hayley says:

    I love Charlotte’s blog and would love to read her book.

  • megs mom says:

    I have battled with weight issues since 4th grade…, now i am 40. I swear i have tried it all….i would love to learn to “except me for me” one of these days….

  • amanda says:

    I’m currently struggling with an eating disorder and trying to find a healthier way of living. I found my way to Charlotte’s blog from searching for references and find this blog also. I find Charlotte’s blog a great balance of emotion and honesty along with humor. I’d love to have a copy!

  • Lisa Christie says:

    Congratulations, Hayley! You won the drawing for Charlotte’s book. Please e-mail me directly at lisa.christie@fitwoman.com with your address so we can mail it to you! Everyone else, keep reading, we’ll have more book giveaways soon.

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