In my coaching practice, I hear this phrase a lot, “I feel like I’m spiraling out of control.” Spiraling out of control can feel terrible and typically leads to out-of-control behavior like eating …
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 125, of Running Lean. My name is Patrick McGilvray, the weight loss coach for runners and today, do you feel like you’re spiraling out of control? So in my coaching practice, I hear this phrase a lot. I feel like I’m spiraling out of control, spiraling out of control can feel terrible.
And it’s one of those things that kind of leads to out of control behavior, like eating all the Oreos in the house or eating an entire large pizza by yourself. And I know this from personal experience, by the way, but what does it really mean to be spiraling out of control? Are you actually out of control? Or does it just feel like it?
Is there no way to recover from the state that you’re in? In this episode of the podcast, I’m gonna explain what it really means when you feel like you’re spiraling out of control. And I’ll show you what you need to do to get yourself out of it.
But first, I want to encourage you to consider applying to join the Running Lean Coaching Project. This is my immersive coaching program, where you get all the guidance, the support, the knowledge, the accountability, that you need to hit your goals. I know that if you’re listening to this podcast, it means that you want more for yourself, you’re not okay with the status quo. There’s somebody that you want to become.
And in order for you to become that future version of yourself, you’re going to have to get into action, there are things you’re going to have to do that you’re not doing right now. There’s some things that you might have to stop doing that you’re doing right now. There’s changes that have to happen. And my job as your coach is to help you make those changes. My job is to help you get into action. My job is to help you to stay in action, and continue to make progress towards your goals.
You know, my job is to help you accomplish whatever it is that you want for yourself. So I’m here for you. If you’re one of those people that’s like you know, what I’ve been doing isn’t working. And I just need a little guidance, I need the support of an expert, I need somebody who’s helped hundreds of other people do the same thing. Then consider joining the Running Lean Coaching Project. It’s easy, all you got to do is go to runningleancoaching.com/apply.
You’re gonna fill out a short little application, you’re going to schedule a call with me, we’re going to talk about it. We’re going to talk about your goals. We’re going to talk about what it is you really want for yourself. And then we’re going to see if this is a good fit for you. I’ll answer all your questions, I’ll explain all the details of the coaching program. But nothing’s going to change unless you get into action. So I want to encourage you, if you’re thinking about this, if you’ve been on the fence about this, if this is something that you want for yourself, just take action, it doesn’t cost anything to schedule this call with me it doesn’t. It takes a little bit of time. And that’s it.
But don’t you owe that to yourself, just invest a little bit of time to find out if this is something that you want for yourself. I think it’s worth it. Just go to runningleancoaching.com/apply. Let’s jump on a call. We’ll see if this is a good fit for you. Sound good? Awesome. All right.
So a lot of people come to me and a lot of people share this, this phrase with me where they say like they feel like they’re spiraling out of control. And I want to break this down a little bit and talk about what this really means. So what does it really mean when you say you’re spiraling out of control?
So what that means for a lot of people is they’ve been doing pretty well for a while, maybe they’re sticking to a new kind of food plan. They’ve switched up their workout schedule. And things have been going pretty well for a while but then they have, you know, stopped they’ve they’ve stopped being consistent. They’ve stopped eating the right foods. They’ve gone back to binging on the Oreos and the pizza. And it feels like they’re out of control. And then this leads to feelings of frustration and guilt and shame.
And then you feel bad about yourself. And that feeling bad about yourself, all those feelings of guilt and shame about what you’ve been doing and how you can stay on track, you’d beat yourself up, oh my gosh, I always fail. That just leads to more, quote unquote, like out of control behavior. So you binge on even more Oreos, or Ben and Jerry’s ice cream or french fries, or whatever it is, that turns you on, you know. Because why bother?
And that’s kind of what we mean, when we say we’re spiraling out of control. You know, there’s some, there’s some out of control behavior happening, that creates these feelings within us of guilt and shame and frustration and failure. And it just leads to more out of control behavior. So that’s where the spiral comes from. Okay. I totally get this.
And this was definitely the way that I lived my life when I was drinking alcohol. When I was drinking alcohol, I would drink to excess every day. You know, every, every time five o’clock rolled around, I would start cracking open the beers. And I would drink until I fell asleep or passed out, however you want to say it. And I couldn’t stop that. I had been doing that for so many years, every day, thousands of days in a row, that to stop that felt impossible.
I felt like I had no control over my drinking. I felt like I had no control over my actions, I felt like I had no control over my behavior. So the things that I was doing just felt super out of control. And maybe it’s just my personality, but I kind of did the same thing with food. So I quit drinking, eventually, you know, it’s been over 15 years now. But a few years back, I was starting to get pretty out of control with my eating. And I was using food as an emotional management tool.
And I was that person, you know, I would order a large pizza and eat it by myself. And then you know, wash it down with some Ben and Jerry’s. So that was my deal. And that felt really out of control to like, I couldn’t not do that. And, and that led to really feeling terrible, gaining weight, feeling bad about myself, knowing I should be better knowing that I should be, you know, doing things differently. But feeling completely, like I had no control over my own decisions. Like I felt just like completely out of control. And that spiraling out of control feeling, it’s not a good feeling. Because the only solution really, when you’re in it, is to just keep going with that. At least that’s what it feels like, right?
And I just want you to think about this. Now, there are other ways that we can spiral out of control. And a lot of times we look to our circumstances, we look to things that are happening around us we can look to, oh, you know, my bosses got this. Yeah, things are crazy at work right now my bosses just laid all this extra work on me.
And it’s that time of the year where the kids are getting finished up with schooling and it’s crazy, you know, and then, oh, the husband is just driving me nuts with all this stuff right now and not supporting me, I’m trying to like change my diet, he’s just not supporting me, you know, and, you know, the in-laws are coming out.
Like, you can just keep layering on all the things that are happening around you. And it can really feel like you are spiraling out. Everywhere you look, there’s some reason, some story, some excuse, you know, something that is causing you, I’m using finger quotes, they’re causing you to just eat a bunch of crap, you know, because all you want to do is just not deal with any of this stuff here. So that spiraling feeling, forget it. It’s real, it feels real, doesn’t it?
But when you’re in that mode of feeling out of control, and it feels like there’s nothing you could do about it. This is where kind of there’s some negative consequences to this. Right? I think you can kind of see that. You know, you start veering off your plate and you start binging all the junk food, and you just stay stuck and you feel like crap in order to feel bad or you go for more food because that’s your default. That’s just the way you’ve programmed yourself.
You know, you want to stick to your running schedule, but you just can’t do it. So you just say screw it. And that’s another way where you’re just like, see I’m spiraling out of control, and you don’t make progress. And then you get even more flushed, frustrated, and you feel bad about yourself. And because like you keep letting yourself down, you make these promises to yourself that you’re not keeping, then it feels hopeless. And it feels like there’s nothing you can do about it.
But I want to tell you something. This is a victim mentality. This is blaming others. This is having excuses. This is having reasons, this is having stories. Here’s the thing, you know what you have control over? Always 100% of the time, you have control over your own thoughts, feelings and actions. That’s it.
And I would even argue that there are times when your thoughts can seem pretty automatic, but you can kind of quickly change them. I was talking to my coach today about this. And she said this phrase that I thought was amazing. She says, you need to be the guard at the door to your thoughts. You need to stand guard at the door to your thoughts? So there’s times when you know, something may sneak past you and you’re like, oops, I gotta like, keep that in check. Okay, so you have control over your own thoughts, feelings and actions. But what you don’t have control over is everything else.
All the circumstances, the boss, the kids, the husband, whatever it is, you don’t have control over that stuff. But you do have control over your own thoughts, feelings, you have control over the things over the way that you respond to the things happening around you. And I did a deep dive into this last week.
So if you listen to last week’s podcast, this kind of dovetails into it nicely. You know, your brain just wants to keep you safe, your brain just wants to keep you comfortable. And every time we indulge in change, every time we start changing something for the better your brain wants to shut that stuff down your brain is like no, we’re not doing that. Because that doesn’t feel comfortable.
Get us back to eating ice cream everyday. That’s where we felt good. That was our normal. That’s the familiar stuff, we’re used to this whole idea of not eating ice cream at night. What? Can’t do that. And so that spiraling a lot of times begins as just your brain wanting to get you back to safety. Your brain just wants to keep you safe, your brain just wants you to feel comfortable and safe. It’s always seeking pleasure. And it’s always avoiding pain.
You know, what’s pleasurable, eating ice cream, you know, it’s painful, not eating ice cream. And so then the spiraling begins, because the stuff just, you just keep going back to the easy, you keep going back to the safe, you keep going back to the comfortable. And the more you do it, the worse it gets. Because the more you do it, the easier it is right, the easier it is to eat the large pizza, the easier it is for you to do. And you’re just reinforcing those bad habits.
And it just becomes natural, it becomes part of who you are. You program yourself to act this way you program yourself to think and feel this way. That’s the spiraling that’s when it feels out of control. But I have to tell you, that this is all false. There is no out of control. You’re always in control. You’ve just taught yourself to act in a certain way. You’ve trained yourself to think and feel these thought patterns that feel so automatic, that you just feel like it’s just happening to you, but you’re doing it, you’re creating it yourself. You’re creating this spiraling feeling yourself. The out of control feeling, you’re doing that. It’s not anybody else. It’s not that you’re not actually out of control. It’s just you.
And you’re doing it because you just keep practicing these, these thought patterns. You just keep practicing these behaviors. And it just leads to more and more. More and more of the feeling of hopelessness, more and more of that feeling of like, I don’t have any control. There’s nothing I can do about this. And I get it. It’s easy. It’s easy to just say like I’m spiraling out of control. Like I have no control over this because then you don’t have to actually do anything about it. Right?
That’s the way I was with my drinking. My drinking felt so out of control. And I could just tell people like, oh, it’s just it’s out of control, I’m out of control. And then I didn’t have to do anything about it. Because I’m like, just shrug my shoulders. And there is nothing I can do about it, it’s out of control. It’s a cop out, really is, it’s a huge cop out. Listen, if you want to lose weight, then you have to take back your control.
Because I’m going to tell you right now that you were never out of control, you were just choosing thoughts, feelings and actions that just felt good. That’s it. And you’ve just been practicing it. So it just feels like it’s natural. It just feels easy. It just feels like it’s automatic, but it’s not. These are things you have control over. You have to be willing to do the work, though.
And you got to be willing to put yourself into some uncomfortable situations, you got to be willing to embrace the discomfort of change, because it’s uncomfortable. I get that talk about this all the time, right? Change is not comfortable. That’s why I do what I do as a coach. Because in order for you to lose weight and feel better, and get stronger, and become healthier, and run longer, and always say, you got to change stuff, there’s a lot of change we got to do to get you there.
You could do it, though. But it’s hard work. And it’s uncomfortable, it doesn’t feel good. You can still do it. But here’s the thing, the more you do it, the more you practice the more you practice the new stuff, the more you practice taking back your control, the easier that becomes for you.
That’s where we want to get to, that’s where we want to get, that’s when the magic starts to happen. Because then you’re like, you no longer can use that excuse of being out of control. Because you know how to take your control back. You no longer use that as a reason why you can’t make progress. You know, it’s kind of like pulling the rug out from under yourself. You’re like, look, guess what? I can’t use this excuse anymore.
It’s kind of the good and the bad news, right? It’s bad news. Because now you have no excuse, you just have to take responsibility. It’s good news, because now you get to change. Change is uncomfortable. Change is uncomfortable. It’s like a shedding of your old self. That’s an uncomfortable process to go through.
There’s all this stuff that you’ve been doing, it’s just your programming, and it’s part of who you are. And it’s so hard to let go of that stuff. For me, it was like pizza, ice cream, you know, when I was drinking, it was drinking 6-12 beers every night. That was part of who I was. To change that, to stop drinking, it just seemed like that does not compute. It does not compute.
This is not who I am, I had to become a different person. If you want to change, you want to stop the out of control BS, then you got to like shed that old version of yourself to become a different person. We use being out of control as an excuse. And we got to stop doing that. Okay. Now there are some things that happen, some traumatic events that happen in our lives that will take time to heal, you know, the death of a loved one.
If you go through a divorce, abuse, these things are, are a lot of times these things are out of your control. And the way you respond to these things can be out of control, it can feel that way. And it takes time to heal. But over time, you can heal and you can still get to choose how you think, feel and act you really do.
You know, choosing to feel sad or angry or hurt is 100% normal. It’s a normal response. If you you know, lose a loved one or go through a divorce. Like it’s it’s okay to grieve that and to feel sad or to feel angry to feel hurt. This is normal. You can get through these difficult times you can experience difficult emotions. You can also go through these things without adding the complication of the out of control behavior of binge eating or overdrinking.
You know, a couple years ago, I went through a divorce. This is hard. I used food to soothe myself. I was engaging in out of control behavior. At least it felt like that to me. And I used food as an emotional management tool. I don’t recommend doing this. I learned a lesson that I can just experience the emotions.
I can experience the hurt and the endless badness, and I could grieve that relationship. And I could be angry and all those things without eating large pizza, to feel better. And I could just be with the pain and be with the hurt and all that stuff and process the emotions without eating them. And I did. That’s when you kind of become an emotional badass.
Okay, so I’m just letting you know that there are traumatic things that happen that do take some time to heal from, you know, but we don’t have to also add the complication of you know, the out of control behavior or using that as an excuse to engage in the out of control behavior. Eating a large pizza by myself, not helping me to improve my emotional state that was not helping me to process my emotions that was not helping me to, to, to move on. It just kept me feeling terrible.
So that out of control, spiraling feeling, I just want you to really understand that you have control. And I want you to stop acting like you’re out of control. I want you to stop using this out of control, as an excuse, right? You know, stop pretending that you don’t have control over your own behavior. Always, always, always do take your power back, take your control back today, start doing this today, stop using this spiraling out of control as an excuse to stay stuck, and to stay small, and to stay comfortable.
There’s all kinds of areas of your life where you exhibit control, no matter what. Like think about, I talk to so many people about this and it cracks me up. I’ll be like, listen, okay, you feel out of control with your eating? Like you just have no control? What about your running? How are you doing with that? Are you sticking to your running schedule? You’re training for a marathon? Are you sticking to that schedule?
Oh, yeah, perfectly. I hit all my runs, no matter what I do all those workouts. I’m perfect with that. Perfect 100%. I’m like, well, that is the same date, like you, you have total control over that. Or you could choose to not be in control there. But you’re doing that you’re doing it over here in this area of your life. Why can’t you do it with your food? And something sort of I see like a light bulb go off in people’s heads, I can almost see it like being as if they’re like, oh, yeah, you’re right. I do have control over that. I do have control over my food, too. I’m just, I just don’t feel like it.
You know, I just like, yeah, and they and they kind of see that they can exhibit this control in other places of their life. It’s kind of like showing up for work on time. There’s so many people that like they just show up for work on time, no matter what they’re gonna show up for work every day, five days a week to get there on time. They make sure they’re sitting at their desk five minutes before their shift starts or whatever, like they are diligent about that.
But then I’m like, how’s it going sticking to that food plan? Oh, I can’t do it, can’t even put two days together. Like really? What about work? Like, are you going to show up late for work every day? Oh, no, I’ll do that perfectly. It’s that same concept. It’s the same concept. It’s the same thing happening in your brain. You’re just making choices. And you’re making excuses. And you’re using it as a way of keeping yourself safe and comfortable. But also stuck where you are. And you don’t want that I know I said that earlier. You want more for yourself. You want to become that badass person that you know you can be.
In order to get there. We’ve got to stop acting like we’re out of control. Stop thinking and feeling out of control thoughts and feelings stop in engaging in out of control behavior. Take back your power. Take back the control over every area of your life. I know you can do this. And if you want my help, I’m here for you. Okay. That’s all I got for you today. Love you all. Keep on Running Lean. Talk to you soon.
If you’re a runner and you’ve been struggling to lose weight or you keep losing and gaining the same 10 pounds over and over again. Or you’re finally ready to get to your natural weight and stay there for good this time then I have something you will love. I’ve created a powerful new training just for you called running lean for life. You’ll learn exactly how to transform yourself into a lean fat-burning running machine. So you can run without bonking, lose weight without calorie counting and develop the habits required to make it last for life. To get this free training right now go to runningleanpodcast.com/leanforlife and start your transformation today.