I’ll bet you’ve thought about eating healthy at one point or another in your life and then thought, nah…that’s going to be way too boring. If this sounds like something you’ve thought (or even said …
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 139 of Running Lean. My name is Patrick McGilvray, the weight loss coach for runners and today, eating healthy is so boring. I bet that you’ve thought about eating healthy at some point in your life. And then you’ve thought, man, that’s going to be way too boring.
If this sounds like something you’ve thought or even maybe said out loud, then you are definitely not alone. People tell me all the time that they can’t stick to their food plan, or they don’t even want to start in the first place. Because it’s all going to be so boring. And I used to think this way too, but definitely not anymore. I’ve embraced the idea that food can be a little bit boring. If it means I get to live a long, healthy, happy life.
So today, I’m going to be talking about this big lie, this lie that eating healthy is boring. And how you might be able to radically improve your health by rethinking this by rethinking how exciting your meals really need to be. And as a licensed sports nutritionist, my focus is on food, it’s on nutrition, that’s like my number one focus, I want to help you make good choices I want you to I want to help you change your eating habits, I want to help you to change your body composition, to lose weight to gain muscle.
But really, what I want to help you with is to become the healthiest version of yourself to become healthy, fit and strong. So my main focus is on nutrition. This is the main driver of good health in my opinion. And I understand that you also want to crush your running goals. So this is where I’m a little bit different from other coaches.
So you might be training for a half marathon or a full marathon, or your first 5k. You know, maybe you’re just getting started with running. And lots of coaches out there will tell you that you cannot lose weight while you’re training for some race or while you’re running. You should stop running to lose weight. And I think this is ridiculous.
Okay, so for us, we, the people in my coaching program, we change our eating habits while we’re training for a marathon, lose weight feel better, running gets improved, our health is improved. And we do it all in a way that feels good for you. It’s not about severe caloric restriction, because we can’t do that when we’re training for a marathon. Right?
We’re not focused on counting calories and doing all this math about how many calories you should be eating because you ran this many miles, which means you burn this many calories and all that stuff, right? That’s just that’s too much. It’s ridiculous. That’s not how we do this, right? I do things differently.
I focus on helping you simplify nutrition, we don’t want to make it more complicated. And I want to help you change habits around food, simplify change habits, and make healthy eating just a way of life. It’s like it has to be part of who you are and what you do. Right. It has to be something you can do without a coach without me.
So the goal is to help you develop new habits, develop a new mindset. So that how you eat just becomes effortless. And it’s just what you do from here on out. So if you want help simplifying your nutrition, you know, maybe you’re ready to embrace the boring. I’ll talk about that more in a minute here.
And if you want a plan that also supports your love of running, then I want to encourage you to apply for my coaching program, you can just go to runningleancoaching.com/apply fill out a short application and we’ll talk about coaching. We’ll see if this is a good fit for you. Sounds good. I would love to have you in the Running Lean coaching project. That’s where the project is you.
Alright, let’s talk about how eating healthy is so boring. The reason I’m talking about this today is because I’ve had a lot of people say this to me recently. I’ve had clients, potential clients, I’ve had friends and family all tell me that they don’t want their food to be boring, and that some people haven’t even engaged in any type of, you know, change of their nutrition regimen, and they’re just thinking about it. And they’re just thinking about like, oh, I could never do that because it would be so boring.
Here’s the thing that is really just a thought. It’s a thought that you have in your head. And it’s a thought that stops you from making any kind of changes. And if you want something different for yourself, then you have to, like drop that thought that eating healthy is going to be boring, okay?
Eating healthy, can be fun, and can be sort of exciting. But if you think that it’s going to be boring, then you’re, that’s what’s going to be reality for you. If you think eating healthy, nutritious food on a regular basis is going to be boring, then that is your reality.
So I just want you to like embrace this idea that this idea of food being boring, is just a thought, okay, but it definitely is something that comes from somewhere. Right? So there’s this idea that food has to be exciting. Food has to be amazing. Every time we sit down to eat a meal, it has to be an experience to remember forever.
And really, this is all just marketing, right? This is all just marketing. It’s the big food companies that are coming together to market an idea to us. And the idea is this. The idea is that if you want to have an amazing, fulfilling, happy life, then every time you sit down to eat a meal, it has to be amazing. It has to be an entertainment experience.
Everything you eat has to be so delicious that you are compelled to post about it on social media. And there’s a term for these photos of food that make you drool and make you crave whatever food is in the picture. And they call it food porn, like porn. But for food, that’s kind of weird, if you think about it, okay. But this is what this is the term I didn’t make it up to this is the term that a lot of people use for this idea of posting all these pictures that make you drool and make you say, oh my gosh, I have to have that.
Another term for this feeling that you get is called euphoric recall. So you see a picture. And you remember how amazing the food was, and you remember an experience similar to that. So you may have eaten that exact thing, but it reminds you of something else that you’ve had. Or you can just be sitting around talking to friends and you can, you know, recall, this amazing meal that you had, or this amazing dessert that you had.
And it brings back all these thoughts and feelings of euphoria, like you start to feel amazing, your mouth will start to water and all you’re doing is just thinking about food. Right. And so this idea of euphoric recall, really, it’s a, it’s a mechanism that’s happening in our brains, where we are driven to remember very deeply and very vividly an experience.
And it’s a good evolutionary thing, because in the past, we may have, you know, encountered some berries or some honey as hunter gatherers, and we would, you know, eat that particular food. And we would want to remember that because it will be like, hey, this is a really good source of calories, or this is something that we can, you know, that is that tastes good. It’s delicious, it feels good. We want to remember that.
So your brain sort of locks that into your memory. But now we’re doing it about everything that we eat, and it’s becoming a problem. It’s becoming a problem, because people can’t even imagine switching their diet and eating a more healthy diet because they’re like, Well, what’s going to happen to all this amazing food that I remember, this is all just stuff that’s happening in your brain, by the way.
And food never used to be like this. Like this is a relatively new phenomenon. This idea of like food being so amazing, and there’s a meta or a scientific term for this. It’s called hyper palatable food. Hyper palatable means it’s uber uber palatable, like, like I mentioned, some berries, like you know, we’d find some wild blackberries, you know, as, you know, ancient hunter gatherers, and we’d be like, oh my god, this is so amazing, or fruits that we would find back in the day.
Now, those things have been engineered to become hyper palatable. And then there’s all these scientists that are actually creating hyper palatable foods in the lab, you know, and they really light up our pleasure centers in our brain, these foods light up our pleasure centers, just like alcohol, cocaine, heroin, methamphetamines. And they know what they’re doing. They know that it’s going to give us a rush of dopamine, they know, it’s going to give us a high.
And we’re just buying into this whole idea. I’m gonna sound a little crazy here. But that, to me, this is very much like what drug dealers do, they want to get you hooked on their product. Because once they get you hooked on your product, you can’t stop thinking about it, you want to get that feeling again. You know, and they know what they’re doing, they put it right on the label, like once you pop, you can’t stop.
They know that we’re addicted to these hyper palatable, processed foods, and we can’t get enough of them. So the scientists that are creating these things are creating something that really, really lights up our pleasure centers. A lot of times even more so than those drugs I mentioned.
They did this experiment with rats, I think poor little rats, right? They’re always like experimenting on them. But they gave them a choice between sugar and cocaine. And over time, the rats preferred the high that they got from the sugar, so they would go for the sugar or the cocaine.
So when you talk about something that’s addictive, I mean, is sugar addictive? I mean, we crave it like a drug. We get hooked on it, like it’s a drug, we can’t stop thinking about it, and how amazing it is, like a drug. But they say it’s not a drug. And that’s okay. I mean, they can say that, but we sure act like it is. We sure buy more and more and more of this stuff, because we can’t stop eating it and are hooked on the product. We’re hooked on the quote unquote, drug. Okay?
If we stop, we’re gonna have withdrawal symptoms. I see this all the time, I help people get off sugar all the time, by the way. And when we stop eating sugar, our brains start to freak out. And we have withdrawal symptoms, we have headaches, and we feel nauseous, and we’re grumpy. And it’s just like coming off of other drugs like cocaine or alcohol. Right.
And if we stop just the idea, just thinking about stopping makes us feel like we’re gonna be missing out on all that good stuff. All that amazing stuff. Everyone else is having all these amazing experiences, how come I can’t. So just the idea of like, not eating sugar, kind of freaks us out. You know, food can’t be boring. I can’t live a boring life. Everybody else is having an amazing life. They’re living their best life. Thank you, Cheesecake Factory.
So they’ve created this product that really gets us hooked on their product. And when we think about not using the product, we feel bad. So we don’t want to give it up. And we were being sold this idea that food has to be amazing. And it has to be an experience. And if you’re the kind of person that’s like, hey, I just want to eat healthy food. I just want to live a long, healthy life, healthy life, right?
But we can’t even do that. Because we have sort of convinced ourselves or we’ve been programmed to think that it’s just going to be too boring. Eating healthy food and living a long happy life can’t do it. It’s going to be too boring. It’s going to be too boring. So we have this. We have a physical addiction to food. We have a mental and emotional addiction to food, or obsessing over food just like an addict obsesses over their particular drug of choice.
And we’re certainly acting much more like this as a drug than a food. So I just want you to know that if you’re feeling like you cannot make a change like this in your life, like you can’t stop eating, you know the junk food and you can’t stop going to Cheesecake Factory or whatever it is that you’d like to do. Because this idea of like, oh my life is going to be boring. I’m never going to be happy again.
I just want you to rethink that. Because you know food did not used to be like this. This is a recent thing in the last 50 years especially really the last probably 20 years since the Internet, this has really become this has exploded, right? This idea that food has to be amazing or whatever. But really in the last few 100 years, let’s just say, that’s really no time at all in this, you know, in the life span of humans.
So we hunted and gathered, we came together to celebrate with food. And we came together with our tribe and with our families, we socialized, we connected we bonded over food. It was nourishment, it was fuel as a source of life. It was something to be set to celebrate, you know, it was important. And nobody would ever say like, oh, God, this is so boring.
You guys, woolly mammoth again, geez, this is so boring. I know, it sounds kind of ridiculous. But that’s kind of where we are today with all of this, right. But again, this is all just a big lie. And you don’t have to believe it. You don’t have to buy into this idea that food has to be super exciting and that it has to be a source of entertainment. And every meal has to be amazing.
Food was pretty boring for like 2 million years of human evolution. Why all of a sudden does it have to be some amazing experience? Now, every meal doesn’t have to be an entertainment experience, it could just be a meal. And listen, would you rather experience a little tiny bit of short term pleasure now, or a lifetime of health and happiness in the future?
Because here’s what we’re doing, we’re choosing one over the other. When we choose short term pleasure, we’re choosing to feel good momentarily, we’re choosing the effect that the drug has on us. We’re choosing the dopamine hit that we’re going to get. And we’re choosing that. We’re forgoing our health or forgoing what makes us healthy human beings and what really is going to drive our fitness, our health, improve our running, all those things that we want for ourselves.
So we’re programming ourselves to choose short term pleasure over long term health and happiness. What if you just delayed that pleasure? Like, what if you just said, you know what, I’m not going to give in to the idea that I have to have something amazing right now, in this moment? What if we just forego the immediate pleasure, for feeling amazing for the rest of your life? Like, what if you did that?
And runners are kind of bad at this in general, I’m just going to say that because the typical runner’s diet is just bad, like lots of refined carbs, lots of sugar, lots of alcohol, really kind of the worst things you can do for your health. But they think that, hey, I’m a runner, so I get to eat and drink whatever I want. You know, I’m gonna drink like crazy. Like, if there’s anybody else, it’d be like, Hey, I think you might have a little problem with drinking. But no, it’s like, I’m a runner.
So it’s okay. And if this is working for you, you get to eat and drink whatever you want, as often as you want, as much as you want. Donuts, you know, all the refined carbs, tons of sugar, alcohol, whatever. Like, that’s all good. If this is working for you, more power to you. But I’m gonna tell you right now, it’s probably not gonna work for long. It’s probably not sustainable. If it is, and you’re that rare person that can just do that for your whole life, and you can stay super healthy. That’s amazing.
I don’t see that happening, especially as you get a little bit older. You know, once you get into your 40s, things start to change, things get a little bit different. And I’ve found myself running with friends on Saturday mornings, and we talk about food. And we’re talking about what we’re going to be eating when we’re done running and people will be like, oh, yeah, I can’t wait.
I’m gonna have this huge stack of pancakes and waffles and doughnuts and croissants and drink some beer. And I’m like, really, beer on a Saturday morning? And they’re like, yeah, what are you going to be eating Patrick? I’m like, bacon, eggs, yogurt, fruit, and they’re like, boring. And I’m like, Hey, listen, I’ve been there. I’ve done all that. I’m done with that now, though. I’m 55. And then the best shape of my life. I’m fine with my food being boring. You call it whatever you want. I enjoy it.
Can we just embrace boring, though? Can we just drop the idea that food has to be amazing? Can we just accept that our food can be a little boring? I teach my clients how to simplify their meals. Meaning that every meal doesn’t have to be different. Every meal doesn’t have to involve recipes, and shopping, and tons of ingredients and lots of time and effort to prepare.
And I really think we do ourselves no good by holding on to the notion that every meal has to be an experience for the ages. One of my favorite meals that I love to eat and I eat this a lot, is a grilled ribeye steak with sea salt. Here are the two ingredients. It’s a ribeye steak and sea salt. And I put some salt on the steak and I cook it on the grill, and then I eat it. And that’s my meal.
Sometimes I’ll do like some steamed broccoli on the side with some sea salt and lots of grass fed butter melted on there. Simple, delicious, effortless, two ingredients, almost no time to prepare. It’s simple. You can call that boring if you want to. I love it. And it’s so delicious. Boring does not mean it has to taste bad or it can’t be delicious. I love the simplicity of food these days.
Because when I eat food now I can really taste the flavors. Because I’m not making everything into this big ordeal, right? You can change your palate, your tastes will change over time. When you start to simplify, and you get off the hyper palatable foods and you start eating real foods, foods will start to taste much better than they ever have before.
So you could eat something like a plain chicken breast with salt and pepper on it. You’re like, oh my god, this is like the best thing I’ve ever had. And I never realized this until I stopped eating all the junk food. And when I stopped eating all the junk food, all that stuff that’s been designed to be like super, hyper delicious or whatever. All of a sudden, the simpler things just taste so, so good.
I think you know, we should still enjoy food. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying food should not taste good. And I’ve heard people say that food is fuel and it should just be fuel and you shouldn’t even enjoy it. And I’m like, no, we should enjoy food. We’ve been programmed to enjoy food, it’s what’s kept us alive for millions of years, if we didn’t enjoy food, we wouldn’t go back to it, we wouldn’t seek out nourishment when we need it. You know.
So I think food can be both simple, and delicious. I think food can be kind of boring, and still tastes amazing. So this isn’t about not enjoying ourselves or not enjoying food. I just think we have to get away from this idea that every food experience has to be amazing. Now I went out to dinner last night, and I had a steak and it had this kind of like South American sauce on it. And it was really delicious. It was really good. I really enjoyed it.
And every now and then I will go out to dinner. And I will do something that is a little bit more of an experience around food. And, you know, I might go out with friends or my girlfriend or something like that, and we come together and we can enjoy food. And we like I mentioned, you know, our ancestors would come and celebrate around food and it’s how we bonded and connected and how we grew closer together. And I still think we should do that.
But I think we can also simplify things. And that every food experience doesn’t have to be, you know, something amazing, right? Because when we have this idea when we have this thought in our head that every food experience has to be amazing, then, just the idea of changing our our nutrition plan, changing our diet is gonna seem just undoable, it’s just gonna seem too hard. It’s gonna seem too hard.
So, the idea that food has to be an experience, we just have to squash that idea. Start by simplifying food, make it simple. What can you do to simplify a meal? Stick with real food food that still looks like food. Try to stay away from anything that has a marketing message behind it right? So don’t be eating that stuff that’s been concocted in a lab to get you hooked on the food like an addict is hooked on the drug. Gotta get away from that.
Start to make better choices and start to simplify your food. And yes, it can be boring. Eating healthy can be boring, and it can be delicious. And it can improve your health and it can improve your fitness and it can help you improve your running all those things.
And remember, if you want help with this, if you want help simplifying your nutrition, you know maybe you’re ready now to embrace the boring and you want to be able to support your running performance reach out. I’m always always here for you. Cool, love you all. Keep on Running Lean, and I’ll talk to you soon.
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