When it comes to eating right and losing weight, there is so much information out there that it can feel incredibly overwhelming. While I can’t address every misconception out there on the internet …
My name is Patrick McGilvray, and I’m an experienced marathoner, ultra runner, Sports Nutritionist, Master Life Coach, and weight loss coach for runners. I’ve dedicated my life to helping runners just like you properly fuel your body and your mind. So you can get leaner, get stronger, run faster, and run longer than you ever thought possible. This is Running Lean.
Hey there, and welcome to episode 212 of Running Lean. My name is Patrick McGilvray, The Weight Loss Coach for Runners, and today, three things you should stop doing if you want to lose weight.
So when it comes to eating right and losing weight, there is so much information out there, it can feel incredibly overwhelming. And while I can’t address every misconception out there on the internet here in one podcast episode, I do want to go over a few things that you might want to stop doing right now because sometimes the best way to start is to stop.
So in this episode, I’ve got three things you should stop doing if you want to lose weight and be able to keep it off for good. But first I know I talk a lot about you know proper nutrition, losing weight, improving your running and building strength here on the podcast.
And if you’re new, and all this feels a little overwhelming, that’s okay, I’ve got you covered, I created a free training that will get you started on the right track. It’s called 5 Simple Steps To Becoming A Leaner Stronger Runner.
You’ll learn the basics of proper nutrition, how to build strength, how to build endurance, how to build the right mindset, all geared towards you the runner. So if you’re ready to get leaner and stronger and become the most badass version of yourself yet, this free training is exactly what you need. Just go to runningleancoaching.com and click on free training to get started on your weight loss journey today.
Alright, before I get into the topic today, I just wanted to drop a little disclaimer here that I have been really sick, I got sick a few days ago, you know, woke up in the middle of the night with a stomach bug and was up all night. And I won’t go into the gory details, but let’s just say that it was a pretty awful night.
And I haven’t gotten sick like that in like 15 years, I can’t remember the last time I was sick like that. And must have picked up some kind of stomach bug at the gym or at the grocery store or something. I don’t know where I got it, but the gym is my primary suspect. So I’m still recovering.
And I actually had to take a day off of work. And I haven’t done that in like 10 or 15 years. So I know it was not good. It was a really, really horrible sickness for me to actually have to take a day off work. And so it’s taken me a couple of days to kind of come back.
So if my voice sounds a little scratchy today, or I don’t sound like myself, it’s because I’m still kind of recovering. But I’m giving myself a little bit of time I actually drove to the gym yesterday sat in the parking lot and was like no, I don’t think this is a good idea for me to go in there today. I still don’t feel 100% civilian, I’m a little lightheaded. Still a little bit nauseous. And I was just like, no, I’m gonna give it another day or two.
So just a little side note here, if you find yourself up, you know, sick this winter, which a lot of people are sick right now I’ve talked to a lot of people who are getting over something or in the middle of something, give yourself time to rest and recover, drink plenty of fluids, take your vitamins, make sure you’re eating right, or just not eating. Fasting is a great way to help, you know, alleviate the symptoms of viruses and it will speed up the recovery process too.
So just know that there are things that you can do out there that will help you to get through this a lot faster. But also don’t try to do too much too soon. I know that as runners, you want to get back out there and run right away or you want to hit the gym and get back into your weightlifting.
And I’m feeling that way right now. Right now I’m like, man, I really wish I was at the gym lifting weights right now or I was out there running today. It was a run day for me and I was gonna run this morning and I just I’m not up to it, you know, and I’m listening to my body.
And I’m just like, okay, this isn’t about embracing the suck. This is about doing what I need to do to take care of myself and to make sure that I don’t go back too fast too soon, you know. So I’ll make tomorrow run day or I’ll hit the gym tomorrow, as long as I’m feeling up to it and then I’ll ease my way back into working out again. I’m not going to go run 10 miles on Saturday or anything like that.
So for me, it’s about giving my body that time it needs the rest, proper hydration, proper nutrition, and just waiting until I really feel like I’m ready to go again. Okay, so that’s just a little sidebar today. That’s where I’m at right now I’m just gonna get through this. So I appreciate your understanding if I don’t sound like myself.
Okay, now all that’s out of the way, let’s get into this topic today, three things you should stop doing if you want to lose weight. And one of the reasons I’m bringing this up today is because I hear about so much information out there that is so confusing to all of us. It’s even confusing to me.
I’m constantly following people on social media, and reading articles on the internet, that completely contradict one another. And I’ve made a decision a long time ago that I wasn’t going to, you know, hang my hat on any one principle out there that I was going to figure out what works best for me.
And we’ll talk a little bit more about that in a minute. But my goal here on the podcast is always to help you make good decisions, and help to simplify things, and clear up some of this information so that you can make good decisions for yourself so that you can start getting results right away.
Okay, so just understand that there are things that people recommend that you do constantly do this, do that. And what I’m going to ask you to do today is to stop doing a few things. And if you just stop doing these three things here, today, I guarantee you, you’re going to start seeing some results.
You know, I can’t guarantee that, but I’m pretty sure you’re going to start seeing some good results if you just stop doing these three big things here. Okay, so I’m not going to waste a bunch of time. You know, previewing this, I’m just gonna get right into it.
Number one, the one thing I want you to stop doing right now is to stop counting calories. Okay, just stop doing that. I talk about this a lot. Listen, if counting calories worked, it would have worked by now, our ancient ancestors did not do this, they did not track their food, they did not have my fitness pal, and they did not have Weight Watchers points.
They did not need to count how many macros they were eating, okay, they ate real food they ate when they were hungry, and they did not eat when they weren’t. And they did just fine. You know, we evolved as a species over two and a half million years to where we are today. And only in the last 40-50 years have we put this huge focus on counting calories.
And all that has done is made us bigger, we’re bigger than we have ever been in the history of the species. So to me, this is not a very sustainable solution. And it’s also not sustainable. From a weight loss standpoint, if you are somebody who reduces calories, in order to lose weight, just keep in mind that there’s going to come a point in time when your metabolism will slow down to match the amount of energy that’s coming in.
And this starts to become a problem because now you have to reduce your calories even more to get the weight loss to keep happening. Okay, so reducing calories and counting calories to lose weight. You know, it does work in the short term, but it does not work in the long term.
It also causes muscle loss. And if you’re somebody who is an active athlete, if you’re a runner, or you’re trying to get stronger or build muscle, which you should be, then causing muscle loss is not something that you want.
Restricting food and restricting calories is a great way to start to experience muscle loss. And you know, this is going to affect your runs, it’s going to you won’t be fueling, you won’t be giving your body enough fuel for running, you won’t be giving your body enough fuel to get stronger in the gym.
If you’re working out and lifting weights regularly, which you should be, you won’t be able to build muscle. So instead of you know counting calories and restricting calories, I want you to do something else instead. And what I want you to do instead is to eat to satiety, stop when you’re full.
You don’t need to count your calories. You don’t need to count your macros, and I talked about this. I’ve talked about this several times on the podcast but I talked a lot about tracking your food in the last episode, so definitely check that one out.
But if you focus on eating real food, so this is like food that still looks like, you know that food that you find around the perimeter of the grocery aisle, you know, so we got fruits, vegetables, we got meat and dairy and cheese. You know, we have nuts and seeds. You know, we have eggs, and fish, you know, all that stuff.
If you just focus on eating that stuff, again, this is the food that our ancestors have been eating forever. You’re going to feel more satiated when you eat, you won’t be eating the food that messes up your hunger signals. This is very important here. Okay.
So foods like sugar and refined grains, which most processed food is full of sugar and refined grains, that kind of food will really mess up your hunger signals, you will feel more hungry after you eat that food, you will have more cravings for those type of foods.
So for more sugar and more refined grains, you won’t be able to really get in touch with what hunger feels like for you. Because your hunger signals, pardon me, will be so messed up from the sugar and the refined grains, those things tend to reduce the amount of leptin that your body produces leptin is the hormone that makes you feel full.
And it increases the amount of ghrelin that you produce. And the ghrelin is the hunger hormone that makes you feel hungry. And so with those two things being you know, out of whack, you’re going to feel hungry all the time, and you’re going to be craving more of those foods.
And when you’re craving more of those foods, you just can’t get enough to eat, you tend to overeat, you tend to eat the wrong kinds of foods, and you tend to be kind of miserable all the time. And so trying to fuel properly and eat less or whatever, it’s really, it’s really hard to do not okay. So you have to start to get in touch with what real hunger feels like for you.
One of the biggest lessons I teach my clients and people that I work one one-on-one with, is to start to understand the difference between these cravings and hunger. The false hunger is what I call it. And real hunger. real hunger is when you could sit down and eat a meal. Like you can sit down and eat, you know, a whole bunch of chicken and broccoli and some carrots or whatever.
And that’s real hunger, if you could eat, you know, an actual meal. That means that, hey, I’m actually really hungry right now. And I should probably eat something. But if you’re like, oh, I’m feeling hungry, and you go browsing through the cabinets, and you’re like, oh, I’ll just eat six nuts, you know, and I’ll eat a few potato chips. Like, that’s not real hunger.
You know what that is? That is you being bored. That is you looking for something to make you feel good right now. You know, that’s you being stressed out. That’s what I call emotional eating.
Emotional Eating is when you’re just trying to dampen some kind of emotion that you’re feeling. Usually, it’s some kind of strong emotion. And that could be boredom. It could be stress, it could be anxiety. And you just want to feel better, and you want to dampen that emotion.
So you’re using food as a coping mechanism there. Okay? Well, we don’t really need to do that. If you’re eating the right kinds of food, you’re not going to mess up your hunger signals, you’re going to feel full when you eat, and you’re going to stay full for much longer.
You’re not going to be having those cravings for the chips and the nuts and the crackers and the junk food, you know. So you have to learn what hunger feels like for you. This takes time. It takes time and it takes practice.
And so you have to kind of devote the time and the effort into this process. But it is totally worth it. You know, once you start to eat and understand what your body feels like when it’s full and it’s had enough food. This is a game-changer. Right? So we don’t need to be people who overeat.
We have never been that way in the past because we’re eating food that kept us full and we didn’t have this food that was hijacking or hunger signals. Okay. So again, this is about you know, eating like our ancestors ate, we don’t need to count calories. So stop doing that. Eat real food food that, you know, fills you up and feels good when you eat it. Okay. So stop counting calories.
Number two, is to stop eating all the time. There is so much gym bro advice out there that says you should be eating six times a day. You have to eat 6, 7, 8 times a day to keep your metabolism going. So eat like you don’t want your meals and just keep eating constantly throughout the day.
And I’m gonna go back to what our ancient ancestors did. They did not eat six times a day. First of all, they did not have snacks or anything, that was invented like in the 1950’s. And it wasn’t a thing before that.
Snacks were a food category that was created by the food companies. It was a marketing thing like, hey, let’s, let’s try to sell more food to people. Let’s create a snack category. Oh, okay, that sounds great Bill, you know, let’s do that.
And so Bill and his buddies got together and they decided, I don’t know if his name was Bill could have been Steve or something like that. But they just got together and they were like, Hey, let’s create this whole new category of food that we can sell people on, it’ll be great.
And it worked. It works like crazy. People love snack foods, right? But this is not our DNA. This is not how we were programmed to eat. In fact, if you look at a lot of the systems in our body, I was reading an article recently about the pancreas and about how our pancreas is designed to only operate a couple of times a day, you know, it secretes, you know, whatever it does hormones to help us process food and whatever. And it’s only it’s the system is only designed to work a couple of times a day, it’s not designed to work six times a day.
So we’re sort of overloading our systems when we eat that often. You know, our liver plays a role in this too, and other, you know, organs and stuff. So what our ancestors did was they feasted, and they fasted. That was their MO, they would eat when the food was available, and then they didn’t eat and they didn’t eat for long periods of time.
And there’s lots of evidence that shows that there’s lots of tribes today that do the same thing where they eat, they, they hunt, they gather the eat when food is plentiful, and then there’s times when they don’t eat, but they’re not sitting there snacking all day long. All right.
And they did a study pretty recently that showed that participants in this study, who ate six small meals a day, versus people who ate three larger meals. And there was no metabolic advantage over those who ate six meals a day over the three meals a day.
So the people who ate six small meals, their metabolism didn’t speed up, because they were eating more often, that was exactly the same as the people who are eating three times a day. What was different from the two groups was that the people in the six meal a day group reported higher levels of hunger, and an increased desire to eat.
So they were more hungry, they had an increased desire to eat, so they were eating more and eating more often, and they had higher levels of hunger. And so this is not something that we want, I think we want the opposite of that. Okay.
You also have to understand there’s an insulin response, every time you eat food, you will produce some blood sugar, unless you’re eating pure fat, which really doesn’t raise your blood sugar at all. But anything else really is going to increase your blood sugar a little bit.
And insulin will be produced in order to bring that blood sugar back down to normal levels, which is the way your body is supposed to operate. And this is completely fine to eat this way or for your system to function this way when you’re eating three times a day, or six times a day or whatever.
But one thing that we have to understand is that when insulin is present in the system, that puts your body into that fat-storing mode. So your fat is locked up in your fat cells. While insulin is present. We want to get the insulin down in order to burn the fat. And if you’re eating six times a day, then your body never has a chance to recover that insulin level.
You’re always going to have insulin present, which means that you are never burning fat throughout the day. And so if you’re somebody who’s trying to lose weight, and eating six times a day is not working for you. This is why right here. You are constantly in fat-storing mode, you’re never in fat-burning mode, right?
So we’ve got to make sure that we eat a diet that keeps our blood sugar at pretty normal levels, we want our blood sugar to rise a little bit, and then come back down again. We want insulin to rise a little bit and come back down again, a couple of times a day that is normal. That’s the way we should be functioning.
We are naturally good fat burners as human beings, but we’ve gotten away from that. And we want to get back to that state that natural state that we are so good at our body burns fat as fuel. This is in our DNA.
You know, we store body fat to be used as fuel later, but the way we eat the types of foods we eat the the amount of times a day we eat can really make that fat or that storage mode just constant and we’re just constantly adding you know, we’re Just constantly adding to those fat stores and never able to burn the fat. Okay?
So I’m a big fan of intermittent fasting, intermittent fasting just means you’re not eating constantly. It’s not some weird fringe thing. Again, this is kind of the way we’ve evolved as human beings. The intermittent fasting is just not eating constantly, it’s prolonging the amount of time between your meals, think of it as meal spacing.
The way that I do it, and I suggest a lot of people do this, and they have good results from doing this is just skip breakfast. This is one of the easiest ways that you can start intermittent fasting. So you know the time from dinner the day before. And let’s say lunch, the next day might be 16 hours or so.
Most of the time, we fast for about 12 hours. So all I’m saying is like, hey, just extend that like four more hours. It’s easy to do, right? So what I’m suggesting you do, instead of eating all the time is to not eat all the time, just stop doing that.
Right, don’t eat all the time, space out your meals, and allow your body more time for fat burning to kick in. And for fat burning, to ramp up. Skipping breakfast is the easiest way to do it. It is not the most important meal of the day.
That again, is a marketing message that was created by like Kellogg’s, they wanted to sell more cereal. So they’re like, you gotta have breakfast, the most important meal of the day. Just stop doing that.
Okay, and exercising in that fasted state is a great way to improve fat burning as well. And people report more energy when they exercise in the fasted state. They report increases in their endurance when they’re running, and they report increases in the amount of weight they can lift when they’re lifting weights.
So there’s some positive adaptations that happen when you train your body to exercise in that fasted state. So number two, stop eating all the time, and practice some intermittent fasting, I think you’ll see some some good results from that.
And then the third thing I would say to stop doing is just stop following the conventional advice out there. The conventional advice is like the food pyramid, the MyPlate, or whatever they’re calling it these days. A lot of this stuff is you know, they’re telling you to eat 60 to 70% of your calories from carbohydrates.
This is a problem because people are generally following this advice. The food guidelines, so food guidelines were created in like 1980. And if you look at since 1980, if you look at the rates of obesity here in the United States, they go up dramatically starting in 1980.
So I’m, you know, maybe doing some correlation, not causation. But it’s pretty clear that things have not been working for us as a country since 1980. And we may want to just rethink this whole food guidelines thing, okay. So if you’re somebody that’s like, well, I’m just going to follow the food guidelines. I’m going to suggest maybe not doing that.
Okay, so stop following the conventional advice out there. The thing with the food guidelines is that they show up everywhere they show up in hospitals, the hospitals have to follow the food guidelines. It dictates what we feed our children in schools.
There’s more obesity among children now than there ever has been in the history of human beings. Even these food guidelines show up in the military. I get people in the military constantly reaching out to me, Hey, I need some help losing weight because what they’re feeding me here is not working.
The food guidelines dictate what they serve in nursing homes. Most dietitians, and health coaches follow the food guidelines, and that’s the advice they’re giving you. Even a lot of running coaches that I know and talk to and running certification programs for coaches out there, preach these food guidelines and I just have to say that you know it this might work for some people, but for the vast majority of us, it does not work.
A recent study shows that 88 to 93% of the US population is considered metabolically unhealthy. So that is not a good stat right there. So that means like 7-12% of us are considered metabolically healthy. That is a very small number. That is actually frightening. That is a very frightening number and it’s going up because it was 88% and now they’re showing new numbers that show it could be up to like 93% that is frightening. We need to fix that.
Okay, so whatever we’re doing, following this conventional advice is not working. So we got to do something else instead. So what should you do? This is where this gets a little bit meta, because I can’t really tell you what to do, because you got to figure out what works best for you.
We’re all different. We’re all a little bit different when it comes to how our metabolisms work, how our lifestyle is structured, the foods that we enjoy our culture, you know, our weight loss goals, or our running goals, or weightlifting goals, do we want to build muscles? Do we want to maintain? Do we want to lose fat? Do we want to improve our running endurance? Do we want to get faster, there are so many different factors to consider there.
But I just want you to ditch that conventional advice out there. And it’s okay if what you do doesn’t look like what anybody else is doing. Because that’s that’s the way I am to things what I’m eating doesn’t fall into any category of any specific diet.
You know, it might be close to something like a paleo diet or primal eating, I don’t know what you want to call it, I just tried to eat something that is mostly whole foods related, you know, like I eat real food, like 90 plus percent of the time, I pretty much don’t eat packaged food.
I don’t eat processed foods, these things are mostly junk, they’re there to sell you more food. If I do eat foods that come in a package, it’s like some cheese or some you know, heavy cream, or like some frozen broccoli. It’s like hey, prepping all this food and cleaning up the kitchen.
So I buy like frozen broccoli, frozen cauliflower, stuff like that. But I want to encourage you to take control of your own health. And you don’t have to follow the norm out there. Because the norm is not working, the norm is 88-93% of the population who is metabolically unhealthy, that is the norm. So don’t be the norm.
So stop doing the norm, and start doing what feels good for you. And you start you have to start to get in touch with your own body and how your body feels when you eat certain foods. Does eating this food make me feel good? Does this make me feel bad? Does this make me feel extra hungry? Am I getting cranky?
A couple of hours after eating this food, I’m getting anxious to have more cravings for junk food. If I eat this particular thing, you need to be an experiment of one and figure out what feels good for you and what helps to keep you satiated, because the diet doesn’t mess up your hunger signals.
That keeps you feeling full throughout the day and provides proper nutrition is going to be the one that helps you to become the healthiest version of yourself. And the weight loss will happen as a side effect of all the good things that you’re doing for yourself here. Okay?
The real goal here is always to become that healthiest version of yourself. And the weight loss happens as a result of that, you know, we’re not just trying to lose weight. And that’s one thing I always make sure I tell people that I’m working with, I’m like, listen, our goal here is to get you as healthy as possible to get you operating at peak performance, you know.
And when we do that, when we start aiming in that direction, and moving towards that path, the weight loss, it will happen as a nice side effect of all of them. Okay, so number one, stop counting calories. It doesn’t really work. It certainly doesn’t work long term, stop eating all the time.
Eating six times a day does not speed up your metabolism. In fact, it makes you overeat and tends to make you feel more hungry and keeps that fat locked up in fat cells and then stop following the conventional advice because it’s not working. Don’t be normal. Be abnormal, okay?
And as always, if you want help with any of this or all of this, I’m here for you. Just go to runningleancoaching.com, click on work with me, hit me up and you and I can have a conversation about coaching. Cool. Alright, that’s all I got for you today. Love you all, keep on Running Lean, and I will talk to you soon.