Sometimes, I have a bunch of thoughts that I want to share with you here on the podcast and I’ll create an episode for each one of those random thoughts. This is a great way of taking a deep dive …
I recently sat down with Dr. Marvin Merrit and had an awesome conversation about what it means to be a healthy human being. In the world of health and fitness, there is a lot of information out …
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 201 of Running Lean. My name is Patrick McGilvray, The Weight Loss Coach for Runners and today, reversing disease through nutrition and exercise with Dr. Marvin Merrit.
So I recently sat down with Dr. Marvin, and we had this awesome conversation about what it means to be a healthy human being. In the world of health and fitness. There’s a lot of confusing information out there. And it can feel pretty overwhelming. And a lot of this information can even be contradictory.
Okay, so how do you know what you should be doing? Well, rest assured that Dr. Marvin and I break it all down for you. And we offer up some very clear strategies for reversing disease, using nutrition and exercise so that you can become the healthiest version of yourself yet.
But first, I know I talk a lot about losing weight, and improving your health and fitness. And I know that all the stuff that even I talk about here can feel a little overwhelming.
That’s why I created a free training just for you. It’s called Five Simple Steps To Becoming A Leaner Stronger Runner. I wanted to make it easy for you, I wanted to break it all down, put all the stuff that I’ve been talking about here on the podcast for over 200 episodes now and give you some really actionable strategies.
So in this training video, you’re going to learn how to fuel your body properly so that you can lose weight and improve your running. You’re going to learn the incredibly important role that strength plays in being a lean healthy runner.
You’re going to learn how to make changes that are actually sustainable, because that is what it’s all about. We’re not interested in short term fixes. We want sustainability with our diet, and so much more. So if you’re ready to get leaner and get stronger, run faster and run longer than ever before. If you’re ready to become the healthiest, most badass version of yourself yet, then check out this free training.
It’s called Five Simple Steps To Becoming A Leaner Stronger Runner. You can find it by going to my website, runningleancoaching.com and click on Free Training.
Okay, without further ado, let’s just get into this conversation. So much fun talking to Dr. Marvin, reversing disease through nutrition and exercise with Dr. Marvin Merrit.
Okay, today, I’ve got Dr. Marvin here, Marvin Merrit and Marvin reached out to me on Facebook, right?
Dr. Marvin Merrit
And you were sharing with me that you teach a lot of the same concepts and principles that I talked about on my podcast, and I share on social media and things like that. And you said, hey, this would be a great kind of collaboration, or maybe we can have a conversation about this.
So we got on a call and you and I had a great conversation where I thought, man, we should really record this, you know, and do a podcast on this because you come out with this healthy eating and healthy lifestyle, from a little bit of a different perspective, being a doctor.
And I typically don’t talk a lot about, about the health, I’m sorry about the medical side of things because I’m not a doctor. I do quote a lot of doctors and I read a lot of the research and I and I understand a lot of the concepts.
And I absolutely know how a lot of these healthy principles can help us with medical conditions. But it’s you know, I don’t like to talk about that stuff, because I don’t have that MD after my name, you know. So that’s where you come in. And I want to just kind of talk to you about, you know, those, the medical side of things and how healthy eating and exercising can help us.
So first of all, before we get into all that stuff, just give us a little bit of background on who you are, and how you got to where you are today with all this stuff.
Sure. Well, basically I’m a kid from New Jersey. I went to college as an undergrad at a small liberal arts college in Iowa. Upon graduation from there, I attended Life University where I got my Doctorate, and I’ve been a practicing physician for almost 40 years.
My practice has taken many manifestations over the years. And now I kind of focus a lot on treating my patients very well. realistically very naturally, through exercise through diet and through nutritional supplements to manage what we call metabolic syndrome, which is type two diabetes, hyperlipidemia, which has high cholesterol, high triglycerides, and hypertension, which we commonly refer to as high blood pressure.
And being that these are all lifestyle diseases, people can go ahead and make that conscious decision. Do I want to live healthy? Do I want to eat healthy? Do I want to increase my exercise?
Because all of those combined together will help with the better control of all of these diseases that many people suffer from not just here in the United States, but around the world and just about all modern countries.
Yeah, and when you say that lifestyle diseases, I think that is spot on, because these are things that are caused by lifestyle. Right?
Exactly, exactly. You know, you, you eat poorly, you know, it’s the old story garbage in garbage out, you eat poorly, you’re going to end up with high cholesterol, there’s just no way around it.
You eat too much saturated fats, too much greasy foods, the fried chicken, the French fries, you’re going to end up with high cholesterol levels.
You eat a lot of products that have hidden sodium in it. And I say hidden sodium, because it’s okay to add a little bit of salt at the table, especially if you’re working out, you’re sweating, you want to replace some of those electrolytes.
But there’s so many foods that have hidden sodium in it because sodium for ages has been used as a preservative. And when you start reading things that are in a can, or things that are in a jar, you see all of this hidden sodium in there in its chemical names, such as, you know, sodium benzoate, you know, people don’t know what sodium benzoate is, they just see that it’s another chemical.
But without fully understanding the labels that are on the containers of the foods that we eat, they don’t realize what they actually have. So that’s where it all comes into play.
Yeah, and I’m gonna reel it back here in just a second. But I have to tell you, I saw this very funny meme once. And I love this, it really sums it up. It’s a guy, you know, talking to his doctor.
And the doctor says, well, you have all these lifestyle diseases. And the guy says to the doctor, okay, I guess I need to change my lifestyle. And the doctor says, oh, no, here’s a pill.
And I think that sort of sums up the medical, the general medical answer to these lifestyle diseases, which is take this drug, take that drug, don’t change your lifestyle, don’t worry about that. That’s all fine. Just, you know, take these drugs.
What’s your take on that? Like, how do you approach things differently than just prescribing medication for people who have these issues?
What it really comes down to and it’s something that that you talk about is people have to be willing to be uncomfortable, they have to be willing to change their diet, they have to be willing to cut out the starchy carbohydrates, the breads, the cakes, the cookies, that candies, the ice cream, you know, the things that are the comfort foods, they have to be willing to get up off the sofa and move, whether it’s run, walk, ride a bicycle, you know, whatever the case, may be getting the pool and swim a couple of laps, just do something physical every single day, they have to be willing to do that.
And, and it’s, it’s all changing that comfort level, people have to be uncomfortable. There’s nothing wrong with okay, you go out for dinner with your, you know, whoever on a Saturday night and you want to have a little bit of something that you don’t normally eat, that’s okay.
But when you do it every day, that’s what gets them into the position that they’re in. And by doing that, that’s the way they’re able to lower and eventually get off some of these medications like the Metformin and the Glipizide. And, and that’s just for diabetes.
Or you know, the medications that we use for high cholesterol, the statins, which are horrible drugs to start out with, because people have so many side effects with them.
And then the hypertension medications, the ACE inhibitors that yeah, great. So it’s going to help lower your blood pressure, but it’s going to give you a chronic cough for the rest of your life. Why put those into your body when you can put natural healthy foods into your body and reverse all of these situations that you have?
And it’s like I always tell my patients, you know, you can keep a diary, and you can fudge that diary all you want. You can come in and talk to me and you can tell me any story you want. Blood doesn’t lie. When I run your blood, I know the truth.
Yeah, that’s cool. So you see a lot of these metabolic syndrome issues with people and you treat them naturally and you see good results. Do you see a lot of reversal of these diseases?
Yeah, I actually do. If you if you get them off, you know, again, the starchy carbohydrates, fruits and vegetables are okay, but you get them off those starchy carbohydrates, all of those carbohydrates turn to glucose, that’s how we metabolize them, the glucose gets in the blood, and that’s going to raise your blood glucose levels.
Now when it gets a little bit too high, that eventually is going to get stored in the liver. And that’s going to get stored as glycogen. Glycogen is good, because we break that down between meals, we break that down when we exercise.
However, if you don’t do that, then that glycogen is eventually going to turn to triglycerides, triglycerides will get them back into the blood, those can clog some arteries, specifically arteries in the heart.
And that’s how people end up with myocardial infarction, heart attacks, they end up with blockages in the carotid arteries, and it just becomes a vicious vicious cycle.
So what I tried to do is change their diets, get them off the carbs, get them off the fats, get them taking some good healthy supplements to help alleviate some of these problems, such as red yeast rice. Red yeast rice is a natural statin. It’s been used for hundreds of years. Okay.
But most doctors don’t want to use it. And I don’t want to get into the whole theories behind, you know, drug reps and you know, and drug labs and things like that. But they are more prone to prescribe a medication than to use something natural because there’s an incentive there to write that prescription.
Yeah, I hate that it works that way. So you mentioned like lowering fat intake. What do you mean by that? And like, what do you consider like good, healthy fats?
Okay, so good, healthy fats. Good healthy fats are going to come from things like olive oil. I use a lot of olive oil when I personally cook, because it’s a good healthy fat because you can’t deep fry in it, you just saute in it. Other good healthy fats, avocados, good healthy fats, all your nuts, good healthy fats. Okay, those are all things that are healthy for us.
What’s not healthy is all the processed oils, all the seed oils, while those seed oils are these heavy oils that we just don’t digest well. And because we don’t digest them, well, now they end up getting stored.
And that’s how people also end up suffering from what we call fatty liver disease. The too much of the saturated fats, the fats get stored in the liver, and the liver becomes filled with fat.
It’s reversible, because the liver is one of the most versatile organs that we have in the human body. So we’re able to reverse that. But again, it’s getting off those fats and changing the diet up.
Yeah, I tell people, generally speaking to stay away from those seed oils, canola oil, you know, that kind of stuff. Whatever is considered like vegetable oils, you know, because they were designed to be something that was like heart healthy, and they’re sold and marketed as being heart healthy. But I think there’s other implications that eating that stuff. There’s like some long term studies that have been done that have shown that this stuff is just toxic for your body.
It’s extremely toxic. You know, if you remember years ago, they used to say, oh, stop eating eggs, eggs are high and cholesterol. But when you take a look at an egg, an egg is almost the perfect food.
It has protein, it has some fat, okay, it has a little bit of carbohydrate in it. And again, in moderation eating a couple of eggs a week is almost the perfect food. So there’s nothing wrong with that.
Where again utilizing these these vegetable oils, the corn oils. Canola oils. You know, those, those just do not metabolize well in the body. And one of the other things I tell my patients, olive oil aside, the lighter the color of the oil, the healthier it is for you, because it’s not as heavy.
So if you use something like sunflower oil, sunflower oil is a very, very light colored oil. It’s good for you, you can utilize it. It metabolizes well in the human body. You can’t fry in it, deep fry in it, because it won’t hold up, it’ll break down. So those types of oils, those are the oils that tend to be more healthy for us.
And then how do you figure olive oil and things like that play in? Because olive oil is pretty dark, usually.
Olive oil is pretty dark, but olive oil is purified. And that’s the nice thing about it, you get that extra virgin olive oil, which is the better of the olive oils. And that’s been purified. And that because you can’t deep fry in it. You can only saute like some vegetables or a chicken breast or something like that. It’s not going to be soaked in that oil.
Whereas you take something like a vegetable oil, or an animal based oil like lard and you drop your chicken breast covered in you know whatever coating you put it in and you fry it in there for 10 minutes or so, that oil just soaks right into the meat. It soaks right into that breading. And now you’re eating that oil on top of it. And that’s where the downfall comes.
Gotcha. Gotcha. And so let’s talk a little bit about the exercise side of things. So tell me a little bit about your history because I know you’re a runner, right?
Yeah, yeah, I run, I cycle. I actually, I was a wrestler. I wrestled in college, I wrestled in high school. I was a lifeguard on the Jersey Shore. That’s the way I worked my way through college.
I’ve always been very, very active. You know, and I picked up running probably about 10 years ago, I got this bug to, I started out walking. And I said, you know, I’ll let me try a little bit of running. And one thing led to the next and before I knew what I was doing, 5K’s and 10K’s and then a triathlon and said, Well, that’s a lot of fun.
So I started doing more and more, I’m just letting through the whole lifestyle of it. And, you know, realize that, you know, you can’t smoke, you can’t drink heavily, you can’t eat poorly, to participate in these sports, it just doesn’t, it doesn’t work with our bodies.
Although oddly enough, I’ve seen some weird things on some of these courses that I’ve run with what people do. But, you know, nonetheless, you know, it’s all part of that healthy lifestyle.
And by exercising, that helps you metabolize all of these good foods that you put into your body into energy. And that gives you the energy to go out there and run 5k, to go out there and run 10k, to go out there and jump on a bike for 30-40 miles. And you don’t feel tired afterwards, you feel energized. On top of that, you get that dopamine release on top of it. And it all just ties together. And that’s what I try to get my patients to do.
Yeah, and you have like a running group that you do there. And you’re in Florida, right?
Yes, yes. Yeah. Yeah, what I do is on Saturdays, I know it sounds crazy for a doctor to work on Saturdays. But on Saturdays, I go to my office and where my office is located in Pompano Beach, it’s in an office building kind of off the beaten path, which I kind of like and it’s a beautiful lake right across the street.
So my patients, I have two groups of patients, I have my walker patients and I have my runner patients. My walker patients, I meet them early in the morning. And we’ll go out for a two or three mile walk, a brisk walk and get their heart rate up and exercise and stretching beforehand.
We walk, come back, stretch again, we talk a little bit about our nutrition and any challenges that they face during the week.
And then I get my running group and a little bit later on. And we’ll go out for a 5k a three mile run, not too hard of a pace, running about a 13 minute mile give or take. Because some of them are a little bit slower.
And I don’t like to leave anybody behind. So we’ll slow the group down if we have a slower runner. And same thing stretch beforehand, go for a run stretch afterwards, you know.
And everybody says oh, we should go to Dunkin Donuts for coffee, no let’s not go to Dunkin Donuts for coffee, let’s go get something healthy to eat. The coffee is okay, but the Dunkin Donuts isn’t gonna work. And that’s what I tried to do with them at least two to three Saturdays a month, we get together and we do that.
That’s cool because you’re building this relationship with people where you can share more than you can in a you know, 14 minutes that you have with your patients, you probably spend more time with your patients than a lot of doctors, the traditional doctors that are working for these big insurance companies, they get, you know, certain amount of time they’re allowed to spend with each person. Right?
And that’s it, and then they’re done. But you’re creating these relationships, and you’re having these conversations with people and you’re actually out there running with them. You’re actually out there having breakfast with them. I think that’s really cool.
Yeah, you know, my philosophy has been and to give you a little bit more of the background of how this generation of my practice manifested. Sadly, my mom died from complications of type two diabetes.
And going forward from that I said to myself, I said, you know, and she didn’t take care of herself. That was all part of it I said, people need to be educated. People need to understand because it’s a hidden disease. People don’t really know that they have type two diabetes until something goes really wrong.
Or they just go to the doctor for their annual checkup. And they do blood and they’re, you know, their fasting blood sugar is like 190 or they give a urine and their sugar is like 800 milligrams per deciliter or something like that.
So that’s when they find out about it. For the most part, it’s a silent disease. And because it’s a silent disease, people don’t even realize that something is wrong.
Once they realize something is wrong, then we can get them on the track to doing better, getting better, feeling better, feeling stronger, and reversing most of the symptomatology of type two diabetes. And again, type two diabetes goes hand in hand with high cholesterol, high blood pressure. They all three seem to go together all at the same time.
Yeah, you mentioned that diabetes as being sort of a hidden thing and I know a lot of the visceral fat that people have, you know, visceral fat is that internal fat, it’s growing around your organs and things like that’s the really the bad kind of fat.
And people don’t know that they’re, that they’re getting, they don’t know that they have that. Right. I think it was Professor Tim Noakes, who was a long distance runner, and he was running all these marathons he had done like, I forget how many 72 marathons or something crazy like that.
And went to the doctor and was diagnosed with diabetes. And he was like, that’s impossible. You know, I run all these marathons and, and he sort of, I don’t know if he coined this term or not, but he calls it tofi T-O-F-I, thin on the outside fat on the inside. You know, that is like people who are fit and they’re exercising, and they look pretty good from the outside. But inside, there’s stuff going on, they need to get fixed, you know?
Right. Right. And that’s exactly it. The thin on the outside, they’re fat on the inside, because yeah, you carry this layer of visceral fat. We all do, because we use it for insulation when it’s cold. And you live up there in Ohio, you know about cold
This week for sure, yeah.
You know, it’s, yeah, it’s that body fat, that does help keep us a little bit warmer, which is very, very important. Also, in times of crisis, our bodies will tap into that, you know, internal body fat, but we shouldn’t be carrying enormous amounts of it.
You know, it’s interesting in my, in my, I’m also a college professor, as you know, so when, when I teach, when I teach about the heart, we do dissection. And for years, we used to do these sheep heart dissections.
And one of the things I remember about the sheep hearts is they were very, very fatty, they did some research and sheep actually carry a lot of visceral fat. Granted, they don’t have to worry about diabetes and things like that, like we do, but they carry a lot of visceral fat.
And I still have one of the sheep parts in my lab, and I show my students the sheep part, as compared to a pig heart, which is what we dissect now. Now pigs, they don’t carry visceral fat, they carry body fat, which is a little bit different.
And we take a look at the differences between the two. And I say, can you imagine a human being that has such a poor diet that eats a lot of fat, and they have a heart that looks something like this?
Because they do, they will build up that visceral fat on the heart, which can also compress the heart, which now can result in cardiac conditions. So it all begins to tie in together. It’s how you take care of yourself. How do you choose to live your life? And that’s the bottom line.
Yeah, that’s so interesting. So what are some of the main I guess, what is the right word for it, like complaints or whatever the people are coming to you with? Like, what’s the main things people need fixed? And why are they coming to you?
Okay, basically, my practice is straight referral. I don’t advertise. I don’t belong to any insurance companies or anything like that. In fact, I take absolutely no insurance in my practice.
The reason why I do that is because I want my patients to have a commitment. I feel that if an insurance company is paying for them to come, they don’t really see what the insurance company is paying other than their copay, whether it be $5 $10, whatever.
So I want them to have commitment and commitment comes from them paying me, I make it very reasonable for them. But the thing is, is that when they come in to see me their referral, usually from a friend that has seen me or a relative that has seen me, and yeah, their complaint is, yeah, I’m a type two diabetic, I keep going into my medical doctor, all they do is they keep on increasing and increasing and increasing my medication.
And I don’t feel any better. I’m tired. I’m sluggish and rundown. I’m hungry all the time and drinking, like I own the water company, you know. And those are all the symptoms that you see. And then you have to try to fix that.
So the first thing I always do with these folks is, you know, keep a diet diary for me, okay, I want to know everything that goes in your mouth for the next seven days.
I don’t care if you think it’s minuscule, like a piece of gum, I want to know what it is. And then we start taking examination of that we start breaking it down to see what can we replace it with? What changes can we make?
How can we okay, you like gum? Well, I see you’re chewing bazooka bubble gum, which is high in sugar? Well, you know, let’s, let’s see if we can change that to something that’s a little bit less caustic on the body.
Okay, I’m not a big one in artificial sweeteners and things like that. But I’d rather have them chew a gum that has no sugar in it than a gum that’s all sugar. Okay, so these are just the little changes.
And like you do in your podcast, you know, you make these little steps with these people and make little changes in the diet and make little changes in their exercise. And we just start looking at this week after week, month after month.
And what’s really amazing they see it because they’ll see it in their blood work that hemoglobin A1C went from 11.2 to 9.7 they’re not, you know, normal yet they’re still diabetic. But that’s a significant change. And they feel better.
They get on the scale, and they’ve lost 10-15 pounds, they feel better, the clothes fit better. They realize that when they go out to dinner, they don’t have to eat half a basket of bread, you know, they can walk away from the bread.
And again, that is that psychological motivation that happens with these folks. And really what I do with them, Patrick is I give them 90 days, okay? If in 90 days, they can’t comply with my recommendations, I can’t help them. And I very politely, I verbally discharge them, and I send them a certified letter that they’re discharged, that there’s nothing more I can do for them.
That’s hardcore man.
Yeah, you gotta be, that’s the only way to be because, because otherwise, you’re going to go on to another doctor, and they’re getting another pill, and they’re getting another medication and another prescription.
And then before you know it, they’re taking, I have a friend of mine, sadly, he’s, he’s my age, I’ll be 64. In January, he just turned 64. And he’s a type two diabetic, with all the problems, he will not listen to me.
So he goes to another doctor, he’s on four different diabetes medications, he’s on two different blood pressure medications, and a statin. And that’s just to start out with. And, you know, it’s just, it says, he doesn’t want to be uncomfortable, he’d rather, you know, go out and eat half a pizza.
Yeah, there’s this whole mentality that I think we really have to shift and you’re doing a great job of starting to shift this mentality of, I can just do what I want is I just go to the doctor and get a pill or get, you know, get on some kind of drug that’s going to that’s going to allow me to leave this lead this great, crappy lifestyle.
You know, I was talking to an older woman recently. I think she’s in her 70s. And she’s a type two diabetic and is on diabetes medication, and the doctor wanted to up her medication. And she was eating, you know, some cookies or something like that.
And this is a family member, and my girlfriend was like, hey, you shouldn’t be eating those cookies. You know, you got to go on this. If you got to take this medication, you shouldn’t be eating those cookies. And she said, oh, it’s fine, because the medications are free anyway. And so I don’t have to pay for it. So it’s fine. You know, that’s kind of like that is the wrong mentality. Right?
And that’s why I take no insurance.
Yeah, exactly. And I love that. And the other thing I wanted to say, and one of the reasons why I really wanted to talk to you is because of that approach that you just talked about that you take with your with your patients, which is the same approach that I take with my coaching clients, which is, we’re going to look at what you’re doing today.
And we’re going to make a few modifications, and we’re going to see how you feel. And then we’re going to make a few more modifications and get your body adjusted to those changes. And then we’re going to like, see how you feel.
And then we’re going to just keep going with that process. I don’t have a diet that I’m going to hand over to them, because there’s no way I can know what’s going to work best for them.
Now, of course, I have guidelines like you do, and I have suggestions. But at the end of the day, everybody’s a little bit different. And everybody approaches this a little bit differently.
Yeah, we lower the carbs, Yeah, we tried to get off sugar, we want to stop using sugar as an emotional management tool. Yes, we need to increase the protein intake, especially if your activity levels are pretty high.
But for the most part, this is going to be very individualized for the person I’m working with. And so many doctors or coaches or, you know, trainers, whatever they have this like one diet, you know, in mind, and I just don’t think that works.
And so that’s what I really like, it was kind of refreshing when you and I talked about that, that, you know, you do take a very individualized approach and you work with each person, you treat them, like an individual because they are and you work around where they are and make a few changes and then continue with that process.
And that’s absolutely, you know, I don’t just hand them a diet. I mean, you can go online and there’s a million diets for diabetics. Oh, do this diet. Oh, do that diet. Oh, do the keto diet, do the Atkins diet. You know, and we can go on and on about that. Oh, do Weight Watchers.
But that’s a cookbook, okay. We can’t do a cookbook. We have to make the recipe, individual to everybody’s lifestyle to everybody’s tastes, so to speak. And that’s what I tried to do because what might work for one patient may not work for the other patient.
And we have to find, you know, what’s that happy medium for that particular patient? What are we going to slowly begin to tweak in their diet? What is their, you know, their level of being able to exercise?
Some of them haven’t gotten off the sofa in 20 years, you know, I certainly can’t have going out and running, you know, 5K’s from day one. But you got to find out what their level of activity is.
I deal with a few patients, unfortunately, they’re either widows or widowers, and you know, they’re at home. And, you know, they don’t get out a lot. And I tell them, you know, what, get a dog. The dog needs to be walked. If you get a dog and you walk the dog, well, now you’re getting out there, and you’re doing some exercise.
And sometimes it’s as simple as easy fix as that and now they also have companionship, something that they’re responsible for, and they’re able to go out and do that. And that’s, that’s just a little easy fix that I do with some of our patients, not all of them, because they all can’t have dogs where they live. But those that can, that’s something that I strongly recommend.
Not everybody likes dogs, Marvin, okay. You can walk your lizard if you need to. There you go. Yeah. Well, from an exercise standpoint, what do you see as sort of the best types of exercises that kind of across the board, most people should do or get the best benefits from doing regularly,
There should always be a balance between aerobic or cardio exercise and strength training. Again, very similar to the things that you talk about in your podcasts, you know, we talked about, you know, cardio exercise, again, it doesn’t have to be running, but walking, walking at a good pace, you know, not walking, like you’re going through the mall, shopping, but walking at a good pace.
And then some strength training and strength training doesn’t necessarily have to mean, you know, go to the gym and spend hours and hours on end in the gym. All it means is, go on Amazon, get some bands, you know, and, and start doing that.
Some of my patients, I’ll actually, you know, I have the bands in my office. I want to say I sell to them, I sell them for what I paid for it off of Amazon. It’s just a convenience thing. It’s like, here, let me show you how to do this. And I’ll show them a half a dozen exercises to do with the bands, maybe some arm curls, maybe some overhead presses, some, you know, deltoid work, just some things like that.
And I have them worked with bands, sometimes they’ll come to the office on the Saturday sessions, I’ll have them bring their bands with them. And as a group, we’ll do some band exercises. And that’s it just something to get them physically moving again.
Yeah, I love that. And I’m a big fan of strength training, especially like actually being intentional about getting stronger muscles. Because as we get older, and I know you probably work with a lot of older people that, you know, one of the biggest issues with older people is that their muscle mass really declines, you know, they start getting very weak.
And then their bone mass also gets pretty weak. And then they fall and they have complications. And that leads to all kinds of issues because now they’re completely immobile, they can’t do anything. So building muscle, building strong muscles, building a strong skeletal system, skeletal muscle and bone sport. It’s so huge. Oh my god, it’s gonna put years and years and maybe decades on your life.
It’s sustaining. You know, without getting too scientific, we have what’s known as Wolf’s law. And Wolf’s law states that the more stress you place on your skeletal system, the healthier your skeletal system is going to be.
And this is something that I find with my female patients is that as they get older, they suffer from what’s known as osteopenia, which is a loss of bone mass. Okay. So I put them on calcium and magnesium that helps with the with the bone mass a little bit from nutritional standpoint.
But they get that way because they haven’t done much in the way of exercise. Now you start putting more stress on the skeletal system by having them exercise a bit, and it’s not so much that you reverse the osteopenia, slowly osteopenia, so it doesn’t progress to a severe case of osteoporosis. And that’s what you really want to prevent. Because you don’t want this poor woman stepping off the curb and the pressure is just right. And boom, she breaks a hip. That’s the thing you don’t want.
Yeah, what’s the difference between osteopenia and osteoporosis?
Yeah, osteopenia is when you start losing bone mass. Osteoporosis is where the bone actually gets eaten away, and you lose all of this calcium. And it almost looks like in osteoporosis, if you look at it under the microscope, it almost looks like moths have eaten away at the bone, like moths will eat away at a cloth. That’s what it’s like. Osteopenia, you just start seeing on an x-ray, how the bone mass is getting thinner and thinner and thinner. And then it can lead to the next.
Wow, okay, interesting. Just learn something. That’s cool. So yeah, I think strength is like so huge. It’s like one of the best things you can do for yourself. And I think that if as we get older, if we continue building strong muscles and supporting strong bones, then you’re you’re going to live longer, you’re going to have a better quality of life, you’re less likely to get injured from doing normal day to day things, especially those of us who love to run. And you can run as you get I know people who run marathons in their 90s, you know.
Yeah, there’s a video that I showed to my students when I’m teaching. It was done by PBS, and it showcases an 87 year old man doing the triathlon Escape from Alcatraz. I mean, that’s one of the toughest triathlons because you’re swimming across San Francisco Bay for a mile and a half, followed by I think it’s 20 miles on the bike, and then an eight mile run. And he’s 87. I mean, that’s pretty big. I want to be back. I want to be him. That’s my goal.
That’s no joke right there. That’s,
That’s my goal. Yeah. That’s my goal.
That is amazing. Yeah, that San Francisco Bay is brutal. That is brutal. It’s a little stretch of ocean swim. Can’t imagine. People swim in that and they get seasick from this swimming because there’s so much up and down movement. This has been really good.
So let me ask you this. If people wanted to try to find you, how could they reach out to you and, and be able to find you and learn more about you and how they might be able to hook up with you?
Sure, they can email me and email@example.com. But that’s one way they can call me. And I can give you my cell phone number. I have no issue with that. I always ask though, if you want to reach out to me text me before calling.
I’ll always get back and my phone number is 954-649-5280 Just text me before calling tell me what you need me for. And I’ll be more than happy to, you know, if I’m with patients or teaching, I’ll just politely text you back that I’ll get back to you. But I’ll always get back to people and I always do. That’s just the way I am. That’s the two easiest ways to get hold of me.
Okay, cool. And do you work with people that are not local to Pompano Beach area?
Yes, absolutely. I can do it. You know, via telehealth, you know, no problem with that at all.
Cool. Cool. What’s next for you? I know you just did a race about a week ago. Right? What did you do?
Yeah, I did the Danger Point 5k I had a personal best that 3550. Which I was pretty happy with in my ripe old age. I think next I’m probably going to do the jingle bell jog on Christmas Eve. Okay, I’ll do that next.
And I’ll keep training but I’ll take a little bit of time off from from racing because I want to do the In April the Los Olas Triathlon, which is down here that’s, well it takes place on Fort Lauderdale beach and they call it the Los Olas Triathlon because it crosses Los Olas Boulevard which is pretty famous down here.
Cool. Is that a sprint triathlon? Yeah. Cool. You swim in the ocean?
Oh, yeah, swimming the ocean. And then we’ll see where the spring in the summer takes me. There’s usually a couple of events that pop up. Last year I did the July 4 triathlon. It was a great weekend. Actually a great couple of weeks, I did the Memorial Day 5k followed by the July 4th triathlon, which was on July second, followed by the July 4th 5k, on July 4th, so it was a nice quick couple of weeks and then finished up the end of August with the Iguana Man 5K.
So I try to stay active. I tried to do you know, 5675 k’s a year, two, three triathlons, maybe a duathalon depending on how the water is.
Cool. You are an example of what is possible, Marvin, I love it. Keep up the good work seriously. You’re doing some work in this world. And you’re helping people get healthier and helping people live longer and helping people figure out how to do all this because it’s confusing.
And there’s a lot of information out there that’s just like, it’s a lot of conflicting information, a lot of confusing information and it’s very overwhelming for people. So to have somebody like you where people can go and, you know, do a consult with you like even you know, over Zoom or however you do it. That’s awesome.
Because that gives people an opportunity to start to see that things can be different for them and they don’t have to be on medication for the rest of their life. Just because you have one of these lifestyle diseases, it’s not a death sentence. It doesn’t mean you can’t improve with the right diet and exercise.
So hats off to you, my friend for doing good work. Keep it up. Thank you for taking some time to chat with me here today. It’s been really fun.
I enjoyed it. I enjoyed it a lot. Patrick, thank you so much for having me.
Today is a very special episode - number 200 - and I wanted to do something a little different to celebrate this milestone. I’ve had a look over the last 200 episodes and picked out the most …
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 200 of Running Lean. My name is Patrick McGilvray, The Weight Loss Coach for Runners, and today, Mindset Principles Every Runner Needs To Know.
So today is a very special episode number 200. And I wanted to do something a little different to celebrate this milestone. So I’ve had a look over the last 200 episodes. And I picked out all the most important mindset principles that I feel runners need to know in order for you to crush your running goals and crush those weight loss goals, too.
I’ve featured each of these principles in different parts of podcast episodes over the last few years here. So you can easily go back through the archive and search for each of these principles, you’ll get a deep dive on each one of these so that you can do that anytime.
It’s super fun putting these podcast episodes together for you every week. And my hope is that they’ve helped you to improve your health, your fitness, and your mindset in some way. So here’s to episode number 200. Yay, and to the next 200 to come. And from the bottom of my heart, thank you for listening, I really do love you all.
But first, I know I talk a lot about losing weight and improving your health and your fitness. And I also know that all of this can be a little overwhelming. So if you’re looking for a good place to start, I created a free hour-long training that you can go through it’s called Five Simple Steps To Becoming A Leaner Stronger Runner.
In this training video, you’ll learn how to properly fuel your body and lose weight and improve your running. You’ll learn about the incredibly important role that strength plays and being a lean healthy runner, you’ll learn how to make changes that are actually sustainable, not just short-term, quick fixes, but actually sustainable, and so much more.
If you’re ready to get leaner and get stronger, if you’re ready to run faster and longer than ever before, if you’re ready to become the healthiest, most badass version of yourself, then you need to check out this free training now just go to runningleancoaching.com and click on Free Training.
Okay, so 200. Episode 200. This is kind of hard to believe for me because this has been almost four years of podcasts. If you do a podcast every week, which I have done now for almost four years, that equals about 200 episodes.
And looking through some of the stats, 1.6 million downloads, that’s crazy. And I should add that that is just continuing to grow every single day. So thank you from the bottom of my heart for listening to the podcasts and making this something that you listen to every week and that you’re committed to listening to.
I know a lot of people reach out to me and they tell me how much this podcast has improved their health and their fitness. So they’ve taken a lot of the principles that I share here. You know, I talk about diet, I talk about strength training, and I talk about running and I talk about improving your health and your fitness from a variety of different angles.
They apply the principles, and they get some good results. I think that’s really cool. And people reach out to me, I probably get a few messages every week where people are like, hey, you’ve literally changed my life. I’m in much better shape, I lost all this weight, I feel great, my health is improved, my strength is improved, my running is improved, and my whole life is better, just because of the stuff you shared on your podcast.
That’s pretty cool. That is pretty cool. That is what I want to get out of this. I want to help you I want you to apply the principles I share here on the podcast and make improvements in your life.
And I’m a coach, I work with people every single day. And I help them from a one-on-one standpoint as well. And if you’re ever interested in that, just reach out to me I’m here for you can go to my website runningleancoaching.com, and click on work with me.
But I also want to make sure that I’m sharing a lot of information here on the podcast. And understandably there’s a lot of stuff I share on the podcast that is generalized information. It’s not specific to you as an individual and that’s what I do with my coaching program.
I work with you as an individual. And we put all this stuff together in a way, in a formula or recipe so to speak, that is tailored to you your goals, your needs, your lifestyle, and all that stuff. So what I do share here on the podcast has helped a lot, a lot of people, and I hope that you’re one of them.
Okay, so please reach out to me, and let me know if this is something that has helped you in any way, you can find me on social media, just search for Running Lean Podcast or, you know, Running Lean Coach on social media. And let me know how things have improved for you and how you’ve applied some of these principles. Okay.
One area that I think is very important, and this is why I decided to do this particular episode today is because of the mindset, the mindset is the thing that holds most people back, you know, I talk about running, I talk about strength training, I talk about nutrition, those things are all important.
And, you know, if you want to become a healthy human being, you got to be very consistent with those things. But really, the underlying force that’s driving all of your success that’s driving, all of the change in your life is your mindset.
With the right mindset, you can accomplish anything that you want, the wrong mindset, you’re doomed to failure. Okay, so we’re talking about mindset principles today, that runners need to know that you need to know that you need to apply if you want to make positive changes in your life, to your health, to your fitness, to your presence, to your mood, to the level of satisfaction and happiness that you have in your life. Okay.
So I’m gonna go through this list, I have 20 different mindset principles to share with you today. And I mentioned in the intro that each one of these is, I’ve done a deep dive on a separate podcast for each one of these principles. And in the show notes, if you open up the show notes for this episode, I will put links in there to each of the episodes that I took these from so that you can actually click on the link, and then you can go directly to that show if you want to take a deep dive into each one of these principles.
I’m gonna go through each of these relatively quickly, I’m gonna do a kind of an overview of each of these principles so you understand it. Some might dive into a little bit deeper, but for a deep dive, and each of these, click on the links, and you can go directly to that episode and listen to it.
And you know, usually talk for 20-30 minutes on each of these topics. So these are important. And every one of these principles is something that will help improve your life in some way.
And they’re not all required, I think if you adopted, you know, 80% of these, let’s use the 80/20 rule here, you know, 80% is going to be good, that’s going to be a good amount of principles to apply. And if 20% really don’t speak to you, that’s totally cool.
But start taking some of these principles and start applying them to your life today and see what happens. Okay. So, while I’m talking about these principles here, these mindset principles that I think are so vitally important, think about what it is you are trying to accomplish.
Do you want to lose weight, improve your body composition, get stronger, become a faster runner, and be able to run longer distances? Are you training for your first half marathon marathon ultra marathon? What are your goals from a health and fitness standpoint?
Or maybe this is like, related to your career right now? Maybe you’re starting a business, maybe you’re trying to get a promotion? Maybe you’re trying to improve your relationship? Think about what it is you want to accomplish.
What would success look like for you? And I guarantee you that you can apply these principles to those goals that you have for yourself, regardless of whether they’re related to running, or weight loss or not. Okay, so that’s my little frame that I want to put all this stuff into.
So the number one principle that I think and these are not in any particular order of importance or anything like that, but I just listed them in order of the way I did the podcast. So the earlier ones are going to be the earlier podcasts and the ones towards the end are going to be the later podcasts. That’s all.
Okay, number one is self-awareness. Self-awareness is a principle that you really need to start adopting and start thinking about and start embracing. If you want to make any kind of change in your life. One of the most important things you can do to start any process is to start developing self-awareness.
What does that mean? That means you’re aware of your own thoughts, feelings, and actions. You’re aware of your own behaviors and what is driving those behaviors. Typically, it’s your thoughts and feelings that are driving those behaviors.
Most people don’t do this, they’re not self-aware. Most people go through their lives, thinking that whatever they’re doing is other people’s fault. And that everything is happening to them. And that they don’t have any agency, and they don’t have any ability to change any of these things.
And I have to tell you, that you are in control, you have agency. And the number one step that you can do to start moving towards taking back that control of your life is self-awareness.
What is it you’re thinking about all the time? What’s on your mind? What’s worrying you? What emotions are you experiencing throughout the day? What behaviors are being driven by those emotions?
Start thinking about all this stuff, write it down, I encourage people to write what I call a “thought download”, which is just writing down everything that’s in your head and getting it onto the page.
When you do that, that creates a ton of self-awareness, right? That right there because you can actually look at what’s going on inside that brain of yours. This is a very, very important first step. So self-awareness.
And when you write stuff down, don’t filter any of that stuff, don’t censor it. Don’t try to make it make sense. Just write down what’s going on in your head. All those dark thoughts, write down everything that you’re thinking and feeling.
Do this every day, you’re gonna become a self-awareness ninja, you’re gonna be like, Oh, my God, I’m so in tune with how I’m feeling with what’s going on with me what, you know, what emotions I’m experiencing.
And this right here is huge, it’s gonna go a long way to helping you improve anything, right? You can’t improve something you don’t measure. So you have to build a measure, where are you with the self-awareness thing? Okay, that’s number one.
Number two, you have to learn to love the process. So a lot of people set out to change their diet, let’s say. And they stop eating sugar, and they start eating healthy whole foods. And it’s going pretty, okay, you know, maybe they’ve lost some weight.
Then there’s going to be a point in time, I promise you that this is going to happen, where you are going to experience a setback, or a failure or a stall in your weight loss. And you’re going to get frustrated.
And you’re going to say this isn’t happening fast enough. And you’re going to start to get start to feel like a failure, and you’re going to want to just quit. Because what you’re doing here is you’re basing the way you feel on the results that you’re getting, or not getting, or how fast it’s taking or not taking.
And we have to stop doing that we have to just dive into the process of change, and commit to the process of change and love the process of change. You want to change your diet, you gotta love that new diet, you want to get faster as a runner, you got to love speed work, you got to commit to learning to love that process.
And stop focusing on the results, the results will absolutely happen if you stick with it. And of course, there are changes that need to be made here and there along the way, which is fine. There’s no such thing as a straight path from point A to point B, it’s going to take a while to get there and it’s going to be circuitous.
It’s going to be backwards and forwards and you’re gonna get up and you’re gonna fall down and you’re gonna get up again. And this is the way that life works. There’s no such thing as success without a bunch of failures along the way.
So we have to learn to love the process of change. If you do that, the results will absolutely happen eventually. But if you’re pissed off about the process, if you’re pissed off about the food you have to eat or the fact that you have to run faster or whatever, you’re going to be miserable, and you won’t get the results because you’re going to end up just quit. So learn to love the process.
Number three, you have to avoid self-sabotage. Self-sabotage is one of those things that people do. I used to, and I see it every single day. And I and I can see it in you. It’s hard to see it in yourself, but I can see it in you.
And that’s one thing I love about coaching people is they start telling me a story about how you know they weren’t able to stick to their diet plan because of this and that and I’m just like, in my mind, I’m going self-sabotage, self-sabotage, self-sabotage. Like I could just see it happening.
And so again, this is like goes back to that self-awareness principle, where if you start to develop self-awareness, you can actually start to see when you begin to self-sabotage. Self-sabotage is a tricky thing. Things like procrastination, like when you’re delaying doing something because it’s hard. That can be self-sabotage.
When you don’t start something because you think you’re gonna fail at it. Oh, why would I even bother to try to lose weight because every time I do I fail? That’s self-sabotage.
I even see people do things where, let’s say they’ve, you know, they’re, they’re losing weight, and they get to some big number like, you know, they want to get under 200 pounds, I work with a lot of guys who want to, they just want to be under 200 pounds again, you know, and they get really close to that number. They’re like 202, 203, 201. And then all of a sudden, the weight starts to creep up a little bit to three to a five to six.
And they’re like, I don’t understand what’s happening. And we dive into it a little bit. And what happens is getting to that 199 number that feels really uncomfortable. And so subconsciously, your brain is going to self-sabotage because it doesn’t want you to be uncomfortable, your brain just wants you to be safe and comfortable and do the things you’ve been doing.
And to be at 190, and it feels super weird and uncomfortable because you haven’t been there since like high school, right? So you got to be aware of that though, you got to be aware that this is something that will probably happen.
I see it with most people I work with, they get to some round number 150, 175 to under whatever that number is for you. And they will begin to self-sabotage. To avoid that feeling of discomfort, the discomfort is just being in the one hundreds again, 199 or whatever it is.
You gotta avoid the self-sabotage, you got to be aware of what you’re doing. Be aware of your thoughts and feelings that are driving the behavior. Again, this is huge, huge, huge, okay, but watch the self-sabotage.
Number four, you have to make healthy habits stick, and healthy habits are how you accomplish all the good stuff you want for yourself, you want to get stronger, you need a healthy habit of hitting the gym a few times a week, every week, consistently.
You want to get faster, you need a healthy habit of running faster on a regular basis. You want to lose weight, you have to have a healthy habit of eating the right kinds of foods, even if you go out to dinner, even if you’re on vacation, even if it’s Thanksgiving, or Christmas or whatever.
Of course, there are some exceptions here and there. But for the most part, when you develop habits, it’s so much easier to stick to your plan because it’s just what you do when you have developed good habits.
Then going to the gym is a no-brainer because that’s just what you do. I go to the gym five days a week. It took me a while to get in the habit of doing that. But once I did, it’s like I look forward to it. Now, even leg day, I used to hate leg day.
I even talked about this recently on a podcast, I was like, oh, I hate leg day. But now I love it, it’s actually my favorite day because I can feel my legs getting stronger. And I can see the results. And I’m like, Yeah, bring it on, let’s lift some heavy weights today.
So you have to make healthy habits stick. And you have to learn how to do that. And you know, that requires getting your reps in, it requires a lot of discomfort, you got to get uncomfortable doing these things. Because for a while it’s going to feel uncomfortable, it’s not going to feel like a habit, it’s going to feel like work.
You know, getting up early to run four days a week or whatever is hard. You know, especially if you got kids, you’re trying to get this in before you go to work. That’s hard to do, it’s gonna be really uncomfortable. But once you do it for a while, it’s going to be no big deal. It’s just who you are and what you do.
So many people I work with love getting up at like four o’clock in the morning and they work out. I don’t get up that early, just FYI, but they love it. And I’m like good for you. Because they can get their workout in and then the kids get up, they can have time with their kids or husband before they go to work or wife or whatever. And then they feel much better about their day and it has become a habit.
Do you think getting up at four o’clock in the morning is easy? No, it is not, especially when you first start out doing that. But over time, it gets easier. Not suggesting you get up at four o’clock in the morning. But you have to learn how to make everything that you do that you want to do consistently has to become a habit.
Speaking of which, one of the best ways to develop a habit is what I’m going to call making decisions ahead of time. This is mindset. Principle number five. When you make decisions ahead of time, you’re using that thinking part of your brain, your pre-frontal cortex, when you make decisions in the moment you’re using your primitive brain, your amygdala, that’s like your fight or flight center.
That’s responsible for making those questionable decisions because you’re using that primitive part of your brain that just wants to feel good and wants to avoid pain.
So you’re seeking pleasure avoiding pain, that’s your amygdala is responsible for those kinds of decisions. Like there’s doughnuts, Heck, yeah. Like that’s a decision made with your amygdala.
When you decide ahead of time when you when you planned your lunch the day before. And you know you’re gonna have you know, chicken and broccoli and that’s what you’re eating for lunch and you brought it with you and you’ve made that decision ahead of time you planned it. You wrote it down. You prepped for it, you brought that you’re going to eat the chicken, the broccoli that you promised you.
And that’s how you’re going to make these healthy habits stick is going to be writing things down making decisions in advance 24 hours in advance has to be and I tell people this all the time you do this, I promise you, you’re gonna stick to that plan. Much, much easier to stick to the plan when you’ve decided in advance, okay?
Number six, the all-or-nothing mentality just has to go. This is not about all or nothing. One big problem people have when they set out to change their diet is they they have this thing thinking of like, they’re never going to be able to eat, you know, their favorite food again, like they’re never gonna have a piece of pizza in their life, or they’re never gonna be able to eat a french fry.
Or they’re never gonna be able to eat Ben and Jerry’s or chocolate or whatever it is, whatever your thing is. And I just have to tell you that I don’t think that’s, I don’t think that’s rooted in reality.
First of all, because you’re going to do that, you’re going to eat the french fries, you’re going to eat the burger, you’re going to eat the pizza. So this all-or-nothing mentality has to go out the window. And instead, I like to employ the, what I call the 90/10 principle when it comes to food because I think the 80/20 is a little too lenient.
If you’re trying to lose weight, and you need to stick to a healthy food plan, then I think 80/20 is a little too loosey-goosey there. Okay, so let’s go with about 90/10. 90/10 equals about one meal a week.
One meal a week, do what you want, eat some pizza, have some ice cream, whatever, it’s fine. It helps to kind of release some of that pressure. It’s like a release valve, you get this one meal where you can just eat some pizza and have a little bit ice cream. Okay, good. Now get back on track the next meal.
Don’t ever have two bad meals in a row. Don’t ever miss two workouts in a row. But this all-or-nothing mentality has to go. It’s like, oh, I’m either eating all healthy foods every day for the rest of my life. Or I’m not.
Another area a lot of people struggle with is in drinking alcohol. And they think that they either have to drink all the time or never drink. And there’s an in-between there. There are lots of people who drink very moderately, maybe once a week, maybe once a month, maybe not even that often, maybe a couple times a year. Why not? Why can’t that be a reality for you? It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Okay, so let’s just throw that one out the window.
Number seven. This is gonna sound contrarian, but it is not weight loss is not the goal. If you’re overweight, and you’re like, okay, I need to lose 30 pounds. Your goal, you might be thinking your goal is to lose weight. That’s not really what the goal is.
The goal is for you to become as healthy as possible. The goal is for you to get to this place where your body is operating the way it’s supposed to operate, that your body is functioning the way it’s supposed to function as a human being.
I always talk about fat-burning. Fat burning, we have to turn fat burning back on because this is our natural state as human beings we burn fat. When we’re burning fat, we feel better, we lose the weight, running improves, our mood improves our energy levels throughout the day improves our ability to concentrate and think clearly improves.
We need to get back to that natural state. And also when you get healthy, and your body is burning fat and you’re operating on all cylinders, your hormones are all regulated, your blood sugar’s regulated, and you just feel better you’re in, you’re in the best shape of your life, you’re feeling amazing.
And of course, we want to add in strength training and running and other things too. But the goal is not the weight loss, the weight loss is a side effect of becoming the healthiest version of yourself. So that is really the goal.
So that’s what I want you to focus on, don’t focus on “I have to lose 30 pounds” because when we do that, we’re like, okay, I just got to get this weight off as fast as possible. I’m going to go on the cabbage soup diet, which I don’t even know if that’s a thing, but it sounds terrible.
I’m going to just lose the weight as fast as I can. This is not sustainable. Can you eat cabbage soup the rest of your life? No, and nobody would want to be around you if you did. Anyway, think about that for a minute.
Okay, now put that image in your mind. So the goal is not to lose weight and lose it as fast as possible goal is to become the healthiest version of yourself and be able to sustain that long term.
So stop focusing on weight loss. I know sounds contrarian, right? Focus on becoming the healthiest version of yourself, the weight loss will happen as a beautiful little side effect.
Number eight, you have to break the habit of being you. What do I mean by that? That means that you have a certain way that you see the world we all do. We all have what is called a model of the world. So we all experience reality differently. It’s pretty, pretty trippy.
You know, the way that I see things is based on my past, my family of origin, one where I was brought up, my religious beliefs or non-religious beliefs, my goals, my successes, the people, I spend time with, the things I watched, the things I listened to, the books I read all that stuff and, and you have a whole different set of criteria that you are filtering the world through.
So your model of the world is going to look different from my model of the world. And I love this example of two people standing at the ocean. So you got two people standing at the ocean. One is looking out over the ocean and thinking, oh my god, this is the most beautiful, serene place, I love the ocean so much.
That’s me, by the way, I love the ocean. I need to live by the ocean, I just need to do that for the rest of my life. I just need to be by the ocean, and I’d be so much happier. Anyway, I’m in the Midwest, it’s cold, it gets cold in the wintertime. I don’t like that.
So two people standing by the ocean one thinks it’s beautiful, serene, loves it, and the other person is deathly afraid of the ocean. Why is that? Why do they have such different thoughts and experiences about the ocean?
Why do they see it as being one sees it as being blissful, and peaceful, and beautiful? And the other sees it as being dangerous? And it brings up all kinds of fear.
Well, maybe the one person used to be a surfer. And they surfed every day, and they loved it. And they just loved being in the water. And they love floating in the ocean and have lived by the ocean their whole life. And it’s just like a very calm, serene place to be, it’s their happy place. Again, that’s kind of me.
The other person maybe had a near-death experience as a kid, they like almost drowned in the ocean and were told never to go back in and that the ocean is dangerous and to stay away from it.
And just that simple, little act, that little bit of trauma maybe and the reinforcement from parental figures, authority figures, whatever, could really cause them to have completely different ways of looking at this thing that everybody would just agree is just water, you know. So that’s just an example.
But think about this, everybody in our lives has a different way of filtering the world. And I bump into this all the time with my girlfriend because we have different ways of seeing things.
I’m like, Oh, my God, this show we’re watching is so amazing, or this movie or this piece of artwork or whatever. And she’s like, no I don’t get it. I don’t like it. And I’m like how? You’re crazy. This is the best movie I’ve ever seen. Like, it’s just we just see things differently. I’m usually right though, just by the way.
Okay, so we got to break the habit of like being ourselves, we got to break the habit of doing the same things all the time, using the same filter to see everything, we got to open ourselves up to seeing things a little bit differently, we got to open ourselves up to doing things differently.
If you get up and do the same things every single day, and you do them the same way, you’re never going to break out of that you’re never going to expand past your own comfort zone, like we got to get out of the comfort zone.
That means doing things differently. That means pushing yourself everything you want, but don’t already have lies outside your comfort zone. So you got to break the habit of being you and you got to start to become someone else.
And I don’t mean like you got to put on a wig and like glasses and a fake mustache or something like that. But you have to start changing, we should always be changing and evolving and growing and becoming more.
And so that means that you got to break the habit of just doing things the same way every single day, start doing something different start, you know, pushing past your horizons, start changing your habits and start doing things differently and start becoming that different person.
I always tell people that I love it when they set a big goal like running their first marathon because they can’t run a marathon today, maybe their longest run is like five miles, and they want to be able to run a marathon. It’s going to require a lot of work, you know, four months or so of training, and they’re going to have to become a different person that process and just doing the training and showing up at the starting line of that event.
They’ll be a different person than they are today. What is that for you? What is that going to look like for you? What can you be in six months from now? Who do you want to be you got to be somebody different. And you need to work towards that. Okay, it’s got to break the habit of being you.
Number nine, you have to overcome your limiting beliefs. This kind of ties into what I was just talking about. But we all have limiting beliefs about ourselves. Limiting beliefs just means that there are things that limit our potential.
So there are things that we believe about ourselves that are actually holding us back. So it’s things like I can never lose weight because I’ve never been able to do it in the past. Um, I don’t have any willpower. I’m just a sugar junkie, you know, I have a sweet tooth so there’s nothing I can do about it.
Those are all limiting beliefs because they’re limiting your potential, or I could never run a marathon, or I can never qualify for Boston, I’ve heard people telling me this.
I had a woman I worked with a long time ago. And she told me that she wasn’t a real runner. She never felt like a real runner. And this was really holding her back. And I asked her about her running and she said that she’s been running every day 5k at least every day for like, five years. But she’s been a streaker, she’s had this long-running streak. And I’m like, what the what? Like you are absolutely.
What a limiting belief that is, though, that I’m not a real runner. Because I can’t run fast like some people are, I can’t qualify for Boston, stop doing that to yourself, stop having these limiting beliefs.
Take a look at what things you believe about yourself. And see where you can make some changes there and let go of some of that stuff. Just drop it like a rock, okay?
Number ten, you have to choose your struggle, you can choose the struggle of being unhealthy, being overweight, and not feeling good about yourself. Because that is a struggle, you can go through your life struggling with all of that, you can go through your life struggling with not living up to your potential, you can go through your life struggling with how you feel about yourself.
There’s another struggle you can choose though, that is the struggle of getting up early and going to the gym. That’s a struggle. That’s hard to do, of sticking to your food plan when everybody else around you is eating pizza or doughnuts in the break room.
And it’s going to be a struggle to not eat that stuff in that moment because you chose chicken and broccoli for lunch. That’s a struggle. Choose that struggle, though, because that one is actually going to improve your life.
Choose the struggle of going to the gym and lifting heavy weights that hurt, it hurts to lift heavy weights, it’s hard. I was at the gym this morning. And I was listening to a podcast and I was lifting weights and doing a bunch of reps. And I’m listening to my podcast, with the noise-cancelling headphones on, so I can’t really hear other people too much. And I can’t hear myself either.
So if I’m making noises, if I’m talking, I can’t really hear myself too well, I have to take out my ear pods, whatever you call those things if I want to talk to somebody, but anyway, I noticed today that I was doing all these reps, and I was grunting and like making noises.
And I kind of caught myself and I was like I think I’m being a little too loud here. But it was kind of funny because it was a struggle. It was hard. And I sort of caught myself. And you know, I had my eyes closed and I was grimacing on my face. And I was like, ah, you know, and making noises.
And people around me probably heard it because it’s pretty loud. But whatever. I mean, that’s what you do when you’re at the gym. But that’s a struggle going to the gym every day, lifting those heavy weights, it’s a struggle. But what do you get in return, you get a better body composition, you get more energy, you feel better, your metabolism improves, your ability to burn, fat improves, your running improves, you get faster, you get stronger, you can run longer distances, you look better naked, all that stuff because you struggled at the gym.
Instead of struggling by just sitting on the couch feeling sorry for yourself, don’t do that, choose your struggle every single day.
That leads me to number eleven, which is battling the resistance because this is going to happen. As soon as you start to do something different, the resistance is going to rear its ugly head, it’s going to come up and it’s going to be there and you’re going to be like, I really want to do this.
But that’s the resistance, oh, I really want to lose weight. But you know, changing my diet is hard. Or I really want to get stronger, but going to the gym, you know, I don’t want to pay for a gym membership or just too many people that gym, well, this is all resistance. It’s just excuses.
It’s BS, it’s your mind saying I don’t want to do anything that’s uncomfortable. Remember, your brain has one job, keep you safe, avoid pain, and seek pleasure. That’s it. It wants the familiar and it will, it will avoid the unfamiliar and seek the familiar every single time.
And all this stuff is called the resistance and Steven Pressfield talks about that in his book, The War of Art, I would definitely check it out if you guys are interested. It’s a it’s a great book. It’s about breaking through blocks, and you know, for creative people, but really, it applies to everybody.
And he really does a good job of talking about the resistance. So you have to go to battle with the resistance every day. Because it’s going to show up you’re going to be like I don’t feel like running today because blah blah, blah. That’s the resistance coming up.
You know, I talk to people all the time who want to work with me, and we have a conversation we get on Zoom we have a conversation. And I tell them all the reasons you know, or all the things that they can accomplish and they’re telling me all the reasons why maybe they can’t do it or it’s not the right time. That’s the resistance. It’s the right time. There’s no right time, right?
If you want to start and you want to change, today’s the day to do it, now is the right time. But that resistance comes up here like, well, maybe I’ll wait till after the holidays, like what you’re gonna wait like three months before you change something?
No, start today, you got to go to battle against the resistance. Every single day, every time that shows up, you got to beat that foe, okay?
Number twelve, is you got to get into the gain and out of the gap. So this is the gap versus the gain mentality, right? When we talk about the gap, that is the gap between where you are today.
And where you want to be, there’s a gap there, I want to lose 40 pounds, I want to be healthier, I want to change my eating habits. So there’s a gap between where you are today, because you’re not there.
I want to run a 9-minute mile instead of a 10-minute mile. There’s a gap there. When you focus on the gap, you’re constantly focused on where you are not. You’re constantly focused on the fact that you are not where you want to be. And I see this all the time with people who are trying to lose weight.
We’re working together for a period of time and they’re like, but I’m still not at x weight. I’m still not there. I’m not there. I’m not there. I’m not there. I’m like you got to stop focusing on that. Let’s look back and look at your progress instead.
What have you gained? You know, how is your mindset different? How are your energy levels? How are you sleeping? How are your clothes fitting? How are your measurements, your inches?
How many inches have you lost? Yeah, the scale might be going a little bit slow or whatever, who cares? Let’s focus on all the gains you’ve made. You’ve changed your relationship with food, you no longer crave the junk food like you used to. That’s a magical place to be.
Focus on the gain, stop focusing on the gap. Okay, focus on where you have made gains, focus on the progress you’ve made and stop focusing on where you are not. That’s number twelve.
Number thirteen is you got to get yourself immersed into this world, whatever that looks like for you. If you want to change, you want to make some big changes in your life, you have to immerse yourself in the world.
When I was training for Ironman, this was 10 years ago now. I immersed myself in the world of long-distance triathlon. And I read books and I listened to podcasts and I watched videos I was on YouTube.
I was on blogs, I was reading all kinds of articles, I was listening to podcasts and listening to audiobooks and talking to other people and spending time with other people who are into triathlon and training with people who are doing triathlon I immersed myself in this world of triathlon.
I had a training partner, we talked about this stuff all the time. And I encourage people to do the same thing. And I kind of created my coaching program that follows this principle where we immerse you in this world of other people who are all doing the same things.
So there are group coaching calls, where we all spend time talking about what’s working, what isn’t, what improvements have we made, you get to hear from other people, you get immersed in this world of, of people who are trying to lose weight and get stronger and run faster, run longer, they’re feeling good about themselves, it’s such a positive environment to be in, then you get the one on one coaching with me.
So you get this other layer of support and guidance, and encouragement. And then I have a bunch of training materials online, I’ve got this private podcast feed that you can listen to that’s not this podcast you’re listening to. This is like all the stuff I teach on the group coaching calls.
And so you have like literally hundreds of hours of trainings that you can be listening to. So you can really immerse yourself in this world of eating right and losing weight and doing it the right way and getting stronger and improving.
You’re running and all this stuff, right? So immerse yourself in whatever that looks like for you just get into it, do it all, okay?
Number fourteen, you have to live in integrity with yourself. That means that you do what you say you’re going to do. That means if you get up in the morning, and you have a run scheduled for today that you’re going to you’re going to do that run.
That if you are trying to eat healthy and you’ve got a healthy food plan you’re trying to stick to that means when you go out of town for that work trip you stick to that healthy food plan.
Because what happens is the opposite for most people, most people do the opposite. They are not in integrity with themselves. They think you know what I mean? I’m out of town, nobody’s gonna know that I’m not sticking to my food plan. So I’m just gonna eat whatever.
And then when they do that they they told themselves before they went on this trip that they were going to eat healthy. But then when they got there, they’re like, whatever, I’m just gonna eat the pizza like everybody else is eating in the Fettuccine Alfredo or whatever.
What happens in that moment is that they kind of break down that trust in themselves, they break down the integrity, they’re trying to build with themselves, and they no longer have the confidence to be able to stick with it, because they keep breaking these promises they made to themselves.
Being in integrity with yourself means you keep the promises that you make to yourself means you honor the commitments that you make to yourself and to others, but really to yourself.
It’s easier to keep commitments to other people because you got somebody there sort of holding you accountable. That’s another reason why I love coaching people because, you know, they got to show up and tell me what they did or didn’t do. And they’re way more likely to stick to a plan when they gotta report to me on a regular basis, tell you what.
Living in integrity means that you are in integrity with yourself, because it’s easy to just do whatever when nobody’s watching, right? Being integrity means doing the right thing, even when no one’s around to watch to see what you did.
So you got to build this trust in yourself, you got to build this integrity with yourself. That means making a plan and sticking to the plan, even when you don’t feel like it. When you do this on a regular basis, I promise you, you’re going to build so much trust in yourself and so much self-confidence that sticking to the plan is going to be no big deal.
Alright, number fifteen, happiness is overrated. Let’s stop chasing happiness, okay? Because here’s what happens when you’re chasing happiness. You’re going after feeling good. So what do we do when we’re chasing happiness, we eat to feel better, we drink alcohol to feel better, we do drugs to feel better, we shop to feel better.
We do all kinds of unhealthy behaviors because we just want to feel good, we just want to be happy. Here’s a fact, life is not supposed to be happy all the time. It just isn’t. That’s just not the way life is designed.
It’s like 50/50, like for half the time you feel pretty good half the time not so much. So stop trying to avoid half of your life, stop trying to avoid the 50% of life that’s not perfect, or whatever that isn’t like, quote unquote happy according to the movies or to Hollywood or the television shows or whatever.
Just accept the fact that you’re going to be unhappy sometimes. And it’s okay, it doesn’t mean anything’s wrong, it means you’re working, you’re operating the way you’re supposed to, as a human being.
So stop chasing happiness, it leads to all kinds of addiction, and all kinds of bad behaviors. Instead, just accept the fact that life is 50/50 and then move on from there. Okay.
Number sixteen, the other side of endurance. So when we talk about endurance we’re talking about most people think of, you know, running an ultra marathon, you know, oh, endurance, yeah, you got to be able to run for 24 hours straight and be able to run 100 miles or whatever.
Yeah, that is endurance, you know, running a marathon requires endurance, you got to build endurance. And I think building endurance is one of the best things you can do for yourself from a cardiovascular standpoint, and increasing your endurance.
And that could just mean like running a 5k, it could be running five miles a few times a week, and that’s perfectly fine. That’s how you build endurance. And then you could always build upon that if you want to if you want to improve that.
But there’s another side of endurance. And that’s the endurance of sticking with the plan. And we’ve talked a lot about sticking with the plan today. So far, it’s it’s a big mindset principle, a lot of stuff I do with the people I work with, is helping them stick with the plan.
Because it’s one thing to have a plan, and you probably know what to do, it’s a whole other thing to stick with the plan, right? So the other side of endurance is being able to have the endurance to stick with a plan, even when it’s hard. And that means that you endure, you know, days and weeks and months and years of being a healthy eater of somebody that exercises regularly.
Endurance isn’t just about running endurance is about you know, creating good habits and then seeing them out for the long haul, spell sustainability. Okay, so practice that kind of endurance. It’s great that you’re out there running long miles. apply that same principle, though, that you push through like you push through a long run, apply that same principle to sticking with your diet for example, okay.
Number seventeen, you have to overcome your fear of success. So many people tell me that they fear failure when they start out with something like this like I’m I really want to change my diet and lose weight but I’m so afraid I’m gonna fail. And and I get that because maybe they failed a lot in the past.
But the other thing that people fear is success, they fear being successful, they fear losing the weight because then they say, well, okay, I was able to lose some weight. But what if I can’t maintain it? What if I can’t keep it off, because I’ve tried this in the past, and it hasn’t worked?
I’ve tried this in the past, and I’ve been able to lose weight, but then it came back again, you know, or whatever. Fear of success is a real thing. And people are really afraid of who they are going to become when they accomplish X, Y, Z, whatever that is, you know, qualify for Boston, run your first marathon lose a bunch of weight. Because it’s different, and it’s uncomfortable, and you’re becoming a different person in that process. And that can be very scary.
You know, if I told you like, okay, you’re going to work with me, and in six months, you’re going to be a different person, you’re going to be like, whoa, whoa, whoa, dude, I don’t know about that. Right?
And I’m like, no, you’re gonna be able to lose the weight, you’re gonna run faster, we’re gonna get you stronger, your body composition is gonna improve, you’re gonna stand in front of a mirror naked and be like, alright, I like what I see here.
That’s scary for people, because they’re like, oh, my gosh, I don’t know what that’s like, for me, I’ve never been there before. That’s scary, okay, you got to get over that. Embrace the suck of the process and just get over the fact that it’s going to be uncomfortable. And stop using the fear of success as an excuse to not start something, it’s totally worth it, by the way.
Number eighteen, the key to success is consistent aligned action, there’s nothing more to it than taking consistent aligned action. When you do that, you will make progress. When you make progress, you will feel more motivated to continue taking consistent aligned action.
The only way you’re gonna get results is through your actions, not through your thoughts, not through how you feel. The only way you get results is by taking action. And the action has to be aligned with your goals.
So think about that long-term goal that you have to lose 40 pounds, you need to take actions that are aligned with that goal. So eating cake for breakfast and dinner is going to be something that is misaligned, that is misaligned with that goal of losing weight.
And when you take misaligned action, you’re going to get misaligned results you’ll gain weight instead. If you eat cake for breakfast and dinner, instead you need to take aligned action. Focus on protein, and keep the carbs in check.
Don’t eat junk food, don’t eat processed foods, and stay away from sugar, that’s aligned action that’ll get you to your goals. And the consistent part is pretty self-explanatory. But you can’t just do it once, you have to continually do this.
So consistent aligned action, what are those actions that are in alignment with your goal, make a list, what are the things you’re going to do that are going to get you to that goal, it’s just steps, you know, it’s just steps on a ladder.
Let’s say you want to get to the top of the ladder, just take one step at a time, then you’ll eventually get there. But you have to do it consistently, you can’t just do it a few times, it has to be something you do on a regular basis.
Number nineteen, increasing your emotional tolerance, you have to be able to tolerate having emotions that talked about this on a recent podcast. So having emotional tolerance means that there’s going to be times when you let’s say, want to eat pizza when everybody else is eating pizza, but you’re not gonna eat the pizza.
And you’re gonna feel a little stressed out about that, and you’re gonna feel like a fear of missing out FOMO you know, you’re gonna feel desire for that pizza, because it’s sitting right there. And all these emotions that you’re experiencing can feel very intense, they can feel very strong.
And you think the only answer is just to eat the pizza to make those feelings go away. So you’ve got to get rid of the feelings, like I don’t want to tolerate these emotions anymore. So I gotta get rid of that. So I’m just getting the pizza and it does work, those emotions will go away.
But what if you increased your ability to tolerate experiencing those emotions? What if you were able to just have those emotions, you were able to feel desire, and you’re able to feel, you know, FOMO and you’re able to feel stress or whatever it is, and you just, were okay with that?
I mean, it doesn’t feel good. It’s not supposed to. But what if you were just okay with that? It’s a game-changer. When you increase your emotional tolerance, you’re able to stick with the plan.
You’re able to get through those moments where you would normally stress eat, or eat because you’re, you know, sad or angry or whatever. Your ability to tolerate your own emotions is just part of being a human being.
And it’s something you have to work on. It has to be something you work on every day you practice it again. It’s easier. I do this all the time. There are lots of times where I’m sitting there and I’m thinking, I really want to eat that. Still. It’s been years since I’ve had certain foods and I’m like, I still want that.
And I just don’t do it. And I feel a little bad, I feel a little uncomfortable. And it’s okay, I’m just, I’ve, I’ve developed a high tolerance for experiencing these emotions, okay. Fear is a big one. People are afraid to feel fear. What if you just felt the fear and you just did the thing anyway? It’s crazy what you can accomplish.
Okay, number twenty, and the last one I want to share with you today is the n equals one principle. And that means that you are an experiment of one. Everything that I’ve talked about here, on the podcast for the last four years, everything that you hear from other quote, unquote, like experts out there in the field of health and nutrition, and running and strength training, or whatever, you can listen to all the experts out there.
But it all boils down to you being an experiment of one, that what other people do the way that they do, it is not necessarily going to work for you. And that’s why I do coaching instead of handing over a document and telling you what to do.
Because there isn’t a document or a book, or a podcast, or an article that you can read that is going to give you the exact formula that is going to work for you. There is no such thing. We’re all different.
We all have our own, you know, cultures and our own lifestyles and our own food preferences and the ways we like to exercise our own goals, our own families like we have so many things that are unique to us that no two people are going to do any of this stuff the same way.
So you got to figure it out. I know you probably don’t want to hear that. But it’s true. You have to figure out what works for you and what doesn’t, you’re always an experiment. But this is actually good news. Because it means that you can try some things that may work and may not.
And if they don’t, then try something else. Don’t give up, keep going. But it’s always going to be n equals one. That means that the number of people in the experiment is one. And that is you. You are the experiment. Okay.
All right. Those are my 20 mindset principles that runners need to know and I think normal people need to know as well. Took me a little longer to go through these today than I thought it would, but that’s cool.
I just want you to know how appreciative I am of you listening to these episodes, I hope you get something out of these.
If you do, reach out and tell me how this has impacted you. I’d love to hear from you. And as always, I love you all. Keep on Running Lean, and I’ll talk to you soon.
When it comes to running tough races, you eventually get to a point where it’s all mind over matter. Your legs hurt, you’re exhausted, and you just want to quit. This is when your emotional …
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 198 of Running Lean. My name is Patrick McGilvray, The Weight Loss Coach for Runners and today I’m talking about increasing your emotional tolerance.
So when it comes to running tough races, you eventually get to this point where it’s kind of mind over matter, right? Your legs hurt, you’re exhausted, you’re ready to give up. This is when your emotional toughness game really has to be on point, you know, or at least you think that you can physically keep going.
But there’s this emotional state that is trying to convince you that you need to stop right now. Like it’s just time to quit, right. And this emotional toughness or emotional tolerance is also required when you want to do other tough things in your life, like not eating the pizza when everybody around you is eating the pizza.
So today’s podcast is all about increasing your emotional tolerance. So you’re better armed to tough it out when things get tough, which they always seem to do. And if you want a little bit of help getting started with everything that I teach here on the podcast, when it comes to losing weight as a runner, being able to keep the weight off for good, not trying to outrun a bad diet, improving your strength, improving your endurance, improving your speed as a runner. And being able to make all of these changes last for good.
I’ve put together a free training that you can check out. It’s called Five Simple Steps To Becoming A Leaner Stronger Runner. I’ll teach you the right way to lose weight and keep it off for good. If you’re ready to become leaner and stronger, run faster and longer and become the healthiest, most badass version of yourself, then you need to check out this free training right now.
Just go to runningleancoaching.com, that’s my website, and click on Free Training. And by the way, it’s free if I didn’t say that it’s free, the training is free. I’ve put together this free training about an hour long. It goes over everything that I teach you on the podcast, definitely check it out runningleancoaching.com and then click on Free Training. Cool.
Okay, so let’s get into this idea of increasing your emotional tolerance. So the first thing to understand is that running is an emotional sport, right? We have all experienced a wide variety of emotions, when we’ve set out to train for a hard event, whether it’s a 5k, or half marathon, marathon, ultra marathon, whatever it is, there’s a there’s going to be a point during some tough race, there are some tough events that you’ve been training for, where it gets emotional.
And during running, there’s this physical toughness about it running, you know, I mean, you got to develop the endurance and develop the speed and develop the strength to be able to, you know, tough it out for 13 miles or 26 miles or whatever.
But then there’s also that emotional toughness, and you’ve probably already developed some emotional toughness, you’ve developed some emotional badass notes, you know, when it comes to running, because I hear from people all the time who tell me, they can sign up for a race and they go and they run their fastest race.
And there’s a point in that race where it becomes really hard. And they want to give up and they want to quit, but there’s this emotional resilience that they have that’s keeping them going. And I’m using the word emotional resilience or emotional toughness as opposed to mental toughness, because I think it is more emotional.
You know, the Mental Toughness part is like thinking, oh, I can do this. I think I can do this. I’m gonna keep going. But the emotional piece is like, you know, that feeling of like not wanting to be a failure. And like, I really just want to give up, I want to quit right now and curl up into a ball and cry right now.
I definitely have experienced that when it comes to running. So I think that as runners, we have developed some emotional toughness around running around certain events. When it comes to something like food, though, what happens there? Why is this so much different for us?
There’s this idea that when it comes to food and changing your diet, let’s say you want to lose weight, and so you’re going to stop eating pizza every night and you’re going to stop eating junk food, you’re going to up eating ice cream for dessert every night, you’re gonna stop eating the french fries every day, whatever it is, there’s this idea that you have to be able to handle some discomfort.
Because when you make a change like that, I promise you, it’s going to be uncomfortable. There’s going to be moments, sometimes a lot of moments where things are going to get uncomfortable for you. And I talk to people all the time, and I say, listen, you got to be able to handle this discomfort, you know, we’re going to stop eating sugar, for example.
And it’s going to be, it’s going to be hard and you’re going to feel uncomfortable, you’re going to want the sugar, your body’s going to crave the sugar, your mind is going to crave the sugar, you’re going to get emotional about all this stuff.
But you got to just lean into that discomfort and not eat the sugar, and be able to accept that emotional discomfort. And people tell me all the time, yep, I got it. No problem, Patrick. And then in reality when that time comes, and they have to say no to the sugar, but they’re craving it and they give in, or they you know, curl up into a ball and cry. Because it’s really hard in the moment.
In theory, it sounds easy enough. But in reality, this is a tough thing to deal with, especially if you’re not used to doing it. If you’re somebody that’s used to eating sugar every day, and you’re going to quit eating sugar for a period of time, that’s going to be hard to do.
If you’re somebody that’s used to drinking alcohol every day, or most days, and then you’re going to give up alcohol for a period of time, that’s going to be hard to do. If you’re somebody that wants to give up eating pizza all the time, not eating the pizza is going to be hard to do.
And it’s an emotional attachment that we have to these foods. It’s an emotional attachment that we have to feeling good. So it’s much harder to not eat the pizza than it is to tough it out for a marathon. Isn’t that interesting. I think that’s kind of crazy in a way.
Like if I just told you like you gotta run a PR when your next marathon. And if you’re in good enough shape, and you’ve done the training, you’re gonna get to a place during that race where it’s gonna be tough, and you’re gonna have to like put on that emotional badass rehab of yours, and you’ll be able to get through it.
But then when I say like, Hey, don’t eat pizza. Tomorrow night, when everybody else is eating pizza around you. That’s hard. It’s like harder for a lot of people, right? It’s interesting to me. So what is this? Is this a lack of willpower? You just don’t have enough willpower? Is it a lack of discipline? Are you just not disciplined enough? Was it a lack of desire? Do you not want it bad enough?
I don’t think it’s any of those things. I think it’s just an emotional tolerance issue more than anything else. So I’m going to ask you this question. What are you willing to feel? Seriously ask yourself that question, what are you willing to feel? What emotions are you willing to accept and just to feel?
You know, emotions we feel in our body, emotions, negative emotions, positive emotions, we feel them in our body, they feel like vibrations in our body, thoughts we experience in our minds and our heads. It’s very mental. It’s very heavy. But emotions we feel in our bodies like this vibration in our body. Some are good, some are not so good. Some feel good, some feel bad.
Anytime you use the word ‘feel’ to describe something that’s an emotional experience, we feel our emotions. Okay, for running, we feel physical pain, we feel physical suffering around food. It’s like emotional pain and emotional suffering. But what if you were willing to feel everything, especially the tough emotions.
Some of these emotions that we experience are deemed as negative emotions. And we don’t want to feel them. We’re taught at an early age that we don’t want to feel bad, we only want to feel good. And so our entire lives, we are chasing good feelings and running away from bad feelings.
So we do things like eat to feel better. We drink alcohol to feel better. We shop, gamble, do drugs, whatever, just because we want to feel better, even though we know those things are not good for us. But we chase after the good feeling. Because we don’t want to experience the bad feeling.
We run away from anything that feels bad, and we run towards anything that feels good. But if you want to change your diet, and you want to stick to a healthy eating plan, you’re going to have to experience some bad feelings.
But if you’re so conditioned to feel good all the time, then it’s going to feel like something is wrong. When you experience that bad feeling. So you’re sitting there at the table. Everybody’s eating pizza, and you’re like, oh my God, I feel bad right now. I don’t fit, this doesn’t feel right.
This feels like there’s something wrong, and I just got to feel better right now. And so you just grabbed the pizza and you start eating and you go, yeah, there we go. Now I feel good.
Don’t tell me you haven’t done that. Because we all have, we have all been there, you’re trying to stick to your diet, but then something happens everybody else is indulging in ice cream, pizza, whatever. And you just go for it, you just dig in, and you feel so much better. Right?
Because it feels good. Feels good to eat that stuff. Here’s the thing, though. Human beings, we are designed to feel all sorts of emotions, all sorts of stuff, right? Some feel good, and some feel bad. And I’m gonna say it’s about 50/50. And that’s the way life is designed. Life is supposed to be 50/50. It doesn’t feel good all the time.
But anytime we feel any kind of negative emotion and we go running away from it, we’re typically running into or chasing after something that is probably not good for us. So we have to accept this fact that life is 50/50 and that we’re gonna feel some negative emotions sometimes. And that’s okay, we’re gonna start, we got to start accepting, feeling bad sometimes.
That’s a crazy concept right there. Just accept that you’re going to feel bad sometimes. What? I know it’s bananas, right? A few years back. And I’ve talked about this before on the podcast here. But a few years back, I was going through a divorce. And this was tough for me. I’ve been with my second wife, that was my second wife, by the way, for like, nine years or whatever.
And we are going through this divorce. And we had been separated. And I was feeling terrible. Like, all the time. You know, I would wake up feeling terrible all day long, I’d feel kind of terrible. There were moments where I was okay. But I mean, I just felt bad a lot. It was tough to go to sleep at night, I was having all these crazy thoughts. And my mind was just racing and all these negative emotions.
Emotionally, I was a wreck. I felt terrible for a long time, for months. But here’s what I did. I, well, I tried to make it go away. And I was using food at the time to try to make it all go away. And I was working with a coach. And I just wanted to feel better. I was working with this coach. And she asked me a question.
At one point, she just said like, why do you think you shouldn’t feel bad? Why do you think you should feel any differently than you do? And I didn’t have an answer for that. I mean, I just, it doesn’t feel good to feel bad, right?
She’s like, yeah, but that right there, like just understanding that what you’re going through is tough, and it’s going to feel bad. And just having the acceptance around. That is what you need to wrap your head around, not trying to feel better, not trying to make the bad feelings go away.
But to accept the feelings, that was a game changer. For me, this changed my perspective on life and emotions and, and so much stuff. And we were just taught that we have to have like a positive attitude and think good thoughts and smile, and everything’s gonna be okay.
And like, no, everything was shit, you know, it was like, not good. And I just had to accept that and just be willing to feel bad. When I accepted this as my reality. And I sort of leaned into the negative emotions of, you know, going through this divorce. I did get through it much quicker. And I stopped having to use food to make myself feel better.
When you stop chasing feeling good all the time everything can change for you, because you’re no longer running away from the negative emotions. Because when you do that, listen, you’re running away from 50% of your life. You’re no longer afraid to feel bad. You can handle anything that comes your way, you become an emotional badass.
So this issue around food, and not wanting to feel uncomfortable at the table when everybody else is eating the pizza up. Think about this. What if you were just willing to feel bad for a little while? What if you’re willing to feel, you know, the desire for the pizza but not eat it? That’s uncomfortable. That’s an uncomfortable feeling, right?
But what if you were just willing to lean into that? What if you were having this craving and this urge to just like eat the pizza and just dig into it, but you didn’t give into that. That’s gonna feel terrible.
But you would get through that meal, and you would feel so much better about yourself. And then you would build a little bit of trust in yourself and a little bit of confidence that you can do this. And then the next time this happens, you’d get through that meal the same way and you’d build a little bit more trust and a little bit more confidence in yourself.
And listen, this doesn’t feel good. I’m not trying to Candy Coat anything here for you. This is a process that actually feels bad. Feeling negative emotions does not feel good. But it is important, I would say it is one of the most important things you can do for yourself.
If you want to change, if there’s anything that you’re going after that is tough, that’s going to take a while, like losing weight, changing your diet, not eating junk food, or even, you know, running that marathon. Those things all require some emotional tolerance, you have to be able to tolerate experiencing all these different emotions.
Now, there’s also the positive side of this, there are good emotions that you feel when you accomplish these goals. Or when you do something, when you feel good about yourself, I hear this all the time from my clients. They say, Oh my gosh, Patrick, I can’t believe I, they had, you know, brought all these doughnuts and bagels or whatever, into the break room. And I just didn’t eat them. And I felt good about myself.
And we call that a win. We call that a victory, you know, you won the day because you didn’t give in to the negative emotions. And that feels great, it feels great to do that. When you tough it out for that marathon and you cross the finish line. And you see that number on the clock and you just PR’d your marathon, that feels amazing. That’s, that’s joyous. That is an amazing elation that you feel.
So you can experience the positive emotions as well. But a lot of times it requires that we are willing to experience the negative ones. And then I remember a couple of marathons that I’ve PR’d or you know, 10K’s or half marathons, whatever. And those were very tough. And there were times when it was very challenging and extremely emotional and very hard and felt like quitting and all that.
And then at the end, crossing the finish line and accomplishing that goal, there was this release of positive emotion, it was just amazing. I actually cried, tears coming out my face, like it was so joyous, like blissful to feel that because I went through, you know, I went through the gauntlet, I did the hard things, I put in the work, I experienced all the negative emotions so I could experience the joy of victory.
You know, the same thing happens when we want to change our diet and stick to healthy eating, we have to go through the gauntlet, sometimes, you know, this isn’t forever. And this isn’t like something that’s gonna like last for months and months and months.
A lot of times we can break these addictions to sugar or junk food in around 30 days or so. But 30 days of like feeling some negative emotions can be kind of tough. You know, that’s why I do what I do as a coach. And I don’t just hand people a document and say, here’s what you do that just do the things on this list. And you’ll be fine. Because we need to talk through what they’re experiencing, we need to talk through how to get through some of those tough times and how to lean into those negative emotions.
So this is your work for this week. It is to allow yourself to experience negative emotions, allow yourself to experience you know what we would call bad feelings, don’t run away from them, lean into them, be willing to experience it all.
Remember, life is 50/50. Half the time you’re going to feel good half the time you’re going to feel bad. Don’t run away from that 50% that feels “bad”. Something else that happens over time when you do this, the bad feelings don’t feel that bad, they become more neutral.
When you’re willing to experience negative emotions and you do this on the regular and you get good at it. They become less emotionally charged, they don’t become so powerful, they become more neutral. This is what I call becoming an emotional badass.
So you build up this emotional tolerance, feeling bad becomes more and more acceptable and more neutral and easier for you to handle, then you can do anything you want. Because you’re willing to experience the negative emotions. You’re willing to experience the whole swath of emotions that we all experience as human beings and you’re not running away from half of your life.
Okay, I know you can do this. But if you want some help, I’m always here for you. Okay, we can talk about coaching, just head over to my website runningleancoaching.com and click on Work With Me. Fill out an application, we can get on a Zoom call. We can talk about coaching, what it looks like. I’ll answer all of your questions. We’ll see if this is a good fit for you. Coo.l
Okay, you guys got this I know you do and that’s all I got for you today. Love you all, keep on Running Lean and I’ll talk to you soon.
A LOT of people are addicted to, or have a troublesome relationship with, sugar. And a LOT of people I work with come to me because they want this problem solved once and for all. The problem is …
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 192 of Running Lean. My name is Patrick McGilvray, The Weight Loss Coach for Runners and today, How Do I Break My Addiction To Sugar?
So a lot of people are addicted to or have a troublesome relationship with sugar. And a lot of people I work with actually come to me because they want this problem solved once and for all. Because if you can solve the sugar addiction problem, there’s a lot that you can do to improve your health.
And it makes a lot of the things that I talked about here much easier, like losing weight and getting stronger and getting fitter, changing your body composition. The problem is that most people don’t know how to break their sugar addiction. And they never get to a place where they can enjoy sugar in moderation.
For some people, that’s a thing. And some people cannot do that. They continue this dysfunctional relationship with sugar even though they know it’s doing more harm than good. But wouldn’t it be great if you didn’t have such a messed up relationship with sugar? How would your life change if you no longer had that constant craving for sugar? How much weight could you lose? How much better would you feel physically mentally and emotionally?
In this episode, I’m gonna explain why sugar has such a powerful grip on us as human beings, and how you can take back control and begin to break your addiction to sugar once and for all. But first, if you’ve ever worked with a coach, then your experience probably looks something like this. Your coach told you what to do. And then you are supposed to do it.
Does that sound familiar? Yes, knowing what to do is a part of coaching. But there’s a lot more to it than that. But this traditional coaching approach is the equivalent of reading a book. So you get the knowledge piece when you read a book, but you don’t get anything else after that.
And the biggest issue I have with this quote unquote, like traditional coaching approach, is that what works for some people won’t necessarily work for everyone. So what works for them may not work for you. That’s why I approach coaching very differently.
Every person I work with is an individual. And so I’m going to treat you like the individual that you are. We all have different metabolisms, different body types, different goals, different lifestyles, different food likes and dislikes, and on and on and on. And so with my approach, you and I work closely together to put together a plan that’s tailored to you, personally.
A plan that fits you and your lifestyle and your goals and is designed to help you accomplish those things that you want for yourself to help you to become that particular person that you want to become which is different than what this other person wants to become. And then as we go through the process of coaching, we continually monitor progress.
It’s a feedback system, we course correct if we need to. And if things are working great, we keep moving on, we keep going through the process. If they aren’t, then we change something. It’s pretty simple.
But most coaches don’t do this because this is hard. And it takes time. And it requires a wealth of experience to do it properly. But I do it this way, because it’s the right way to do coaching. And it means that you get the best results possible period.
This is all about getting results. If we are getting results, great, if not, we change something until we get results. So if you’re looking for more than the traditional one size fits all type of coaching, I’m here for you, you can join my program, the Running Lean Coaching Project. This is my unique weight loss coaching program specifically designed for runners. Just go to runningleancoaching.com/join to learn more.
And if you want a little help, just getting started with all that stuff. I know I talk a lot about a lot of different things here on the podcast. Sometimes I give you some steps that you can get started that I’m going to do today. You know we’re talking about breaking your addiction to sugar. I’m gonna give you a few steps to help you get started.
But if you want more and you really want some help on proper nutrition, and what strength training should look like, what it means to build endurance and mindset, and improve your mindset. I put together a brand new fun training and it’s free.
It’s called Five Simple Steps To Becoming A Leaner Stronger Runner. I’ll teach you the right way to lose weight and keep it off for good. You will learn why running more and eating less doesn’t work. If you’re trying to lose weight and improve your body composition, you’ll learn a couple things that runners don’t really do well, but really need to do well if you want to lose weight.
And we’ll talk about things like endurance and mindset. And then there’s a couple of keys there that I share with you that are maybe surprising for you, maybe something you haven’t really thought about in the past. Everybody that goes through this training tells me that they have learned something that they didn’t really know before. And it just kind of shed some light on some things for them.
So if you want to learn how to crush your weight loss goals and your running goals, and you’re ready to do that, now you can take this free training, it’s about an hour long, it’s a video based training, and you can go through it in your free time. So whenever it’s convenient for you, just go to runningleancoaching.com and click on Free Training. Cool.
Okay, so today’s topic is How Do I Break My Addiction To Sugar? Now, this episode is inspired by a question that was submitted by a listener. Danielle asked the very simple question, how do I break my addiction to sugar? And it’s a very simple question, right? But it has a bit of a complicated answer. And that’s why I’m answering it here in a podcast episode.
So I’m devoting an entire podcast episode to answering this question, as opposed to just, you know, typing a few sentences and sending that off to her because there’s more to it, especially when we talk about sugar and addiction and things like that.
Plus, I think it’s great that we can all benefit from the question and the answer, because I know that she’s not the only person that has this question. In fact, I get questions like this all the time.
And if you have a question that you would like me to answer, if there’s something on your mind where you’re like, man, I really wish you would talk about this, then feel free to send me your questions. I would love your input. I’m always looking for new topics. And really, I do this for you.
So send me your questions, and I will answer them right here on the podcast. Okay.
So if you have questions about weight loss, body composition, running, nutrition, strength training, whatever is on your mind, you can send me questions via Facebook, just find me on Running Lean Coaching on Facebook, Instagram is @RunningLeanCoach, or you can email me firstname.lastname@example.org, any of those methods will work, just shoot off your question to me, and I will answer it here. Okay.
But I’d love to know what you want to learn about what you want more, you know, light shed upon, okay. Okay, so let’s just kind of start talking about this topic today. How do I break my addiction to sugar?
I want to go back a little bit and just talk about a little bit of our history with sugar because I think it’s important to understand that sugar is not something that we have always been consuming as human beings. I mean, we did eat fruit, and we have always, you know, found fruit to eat, we would forage for things like berries, right, and some fruit trees, I would imagine that were available.
Now, the fruit for the last couple of million years, the fruit that we were consuming was very different from the stuff we’re consuming today. The stuff we’re consuming today is mostly sugar, it’s been hybridized, and bred out to be sweeter and juicier and bigger.
And one good, great example is the peach, which used to be about the size of a cherry. So it’s very tiny and had a really bitter taste to it. So if you were to eat a peach from, you know, 500 years ago, it would be really tiny and not very sweet at all.
And you can see that, you know, peaches are the size of softballs now. And they’re super juicy and incredibly sweet and delicious, right? Very satisfying, especially on a hot summer day. Very good, right?
But that’s a big difference. You know, bananas are another example. They used to be very small, and they had these giant seeds in them. And now the seeds and bananas are teeny tiny, like, we just eat them, right? They’re like teeny, tiny little black things, right?
Those are actually the seeds of the bananas, but they used to be much larger, much, much larger, and they would take up most of the inside of the banana. And again, the banana was not very sweet at all. So understand that, you know, consuming fruit for us, you know, that was our form of sugar.
And of course, we would find honey as well. And that was about the sweetest thing that we would consume as human beings. And for millions of years, we did really well without the introduction of any sort of processed and refined sugar.
And then back in the 16th century, sugar started being imported to Europe from the tropics. And so they were starting to import things like coffee and tea and chocolate and rum. Rum is just fermented sugarcane juice, essentially; tobacco, and then sugar.
And all the European empires were kind of built upon these substances, coffee, tea, chocolate, rum, tobacco, sugar. And they call these things ‘drug foods’. Because all of these foods are considered powerful psychoactive, and arguably addictive substances. Coffee, tea, chocolate and tobacco are unique.
And that they’d become more desired when you combine these things with sugar. So sweetening tea and coffee with sugar became wildly popular, and chocolate as well. So if you were to take just 100% pure chocolate and eat that it would be really bitter and really hard to consume, but combine it with some sugar, oh, now we’re talking, right?
So sugar consumption increased throughout the whole colonized world. And anywhere these items were imported the coffee, tea, chocolate sugar became imported too. So it was one of those things that went along for the ride, so to speak.
And something interesting that I found in my research here is that cigarettes were one of those things that benefited from sugar and most people don’t know this, but there’s this process called flue cured.
So flue cured tobacco is where you dry out tobacco leaves in a hot barn, and this kind of releases the natural sugars from the tobacco leaves. But when they started adding sugar to the tobacco leaves, it made smoking cigarettes much easier and more pleasurable and much easier to inhale deeply.
Cigars and pipes, you really cannot inhale those things deeply. If you’ve ever tried to It is awful, because they don’t have the added sugar in the tobacco leaves. So cigars and pipes are not considered as addictive as cigarettes because they don’t soak leaves in sugar.
So they started soaking the leaves in this sugar solution. And they called it a sauce. So they were saucing the tobacco. And in 1913, RJ Reynolds put out Camel cigarettes, which was the first commercially made sugar soft tobacco blend, and it was a big hit.
So big hit. Sugar also carmelizes as it burns, so it made the cigarettes taste sweeter, it was more pleasing. It appealed to women into younger people like adolescents. And so younger people started smoking, women started smoking more, because it was more pleasurable to do. It wasn’t as harsh.
So saucing tobacco is something that they did they added sugar to tobacco to make it more pleasurable and more addictive. And they did this with chewing tobacco as well. And so easier to inhale and more nicotine is delivered. Because you’re inhaling deeper, there’s a bigger rush.
And then it makes the drug the nicotine whatever much more addictive. So it’s really the sugar component from cigarettes that makes it as addictive as it is right. But listen, as human beings, for millions of years, we didn’t need sugar, we did just fine.
We actually thrived as human beings without sugar is not something that we needed for survival and we still don’t, but then things changed once sugar became introduced into the human body, and you can look at Egyptian mummies from thousands of years ago with rotten teeth and distended bellies. And this is because of the introduction of refined grains and sugars into the diet.
Whereas you look at the dental records or not dental records, but the skeletons, you know, the skulls of Neanderthals, and they had perfect teeth. Now we don’t have their bodies so we don’t know if they had like distended bellies or anything like that, they weren’t necessarily overweight, like we don’t know that.
But we can tell from their teeth that they didn’t have rotten teeth. So they weren’t eating sugar because they didn’t have it available. Okay, so one thing we have to understand is that there’s a lot of negative side effects to consuming sugar.
And then we have to also talk about this like is sugar actually an addictive substance? And if you look at some of the data out there, like for example it If you look at the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, at the end, they will say sugar is not addictive.
And from their website, it says neither sugar or any food for that matter is on the DSM five list of addictive substances. So they’re basically saying that you cannot get addicted to sugar. It’s not addictive because it’s not in the DSM five. So what do we think about that?
Well, there’s a journalist, Charles, the man who wrote whether sugar is actually an addictive substance or if people just act like it is, if everyone is acting like it is. And the evidence is pretty clear that it is then the answer to that question becomes pretty clear as well.
And scientists have concluded that sugar is both a nutrient, a carbohydrate, and a psychoactive substance with addictive characteristics. I think that’s pretty clear. I think it is pretty clear what makes a substance addictive.
So there’s lots of ways you can kind of break this down. But here’s three, you crave something intensely, there’s a loss of control over its use, continuing involvement with the substance, despite adverse consequences.
So does something like alcohol fit this description? Do people crave it intensely? Yes. Is there a loss of control over its use? Yes. Is there continued involvement, even though there’s adverse consequences? Yes.
How about tobacco? Absolutely. Opioids? Sure. Definitely sugar. Most definitely. Do people crave sugar intensely? Yes. Do people feel a loss of control over its use? Do they have a hard time not consuming sugar? Absolutely.
Does continuing involvement with sugar, continual consumption of sugar? Does it have adverse consequences on your health? Yes, and your health and your happiness and your mental state, your emotional state? Absolutely.
Too much sugar is linked with tooth decay, consuming more calories, weight gain, high blood pressure, inflammation, diabetes, fatty liver disease, obesity, and all of these things are linked to an increased risk for heart attack and stroke.
So yeah, I’m gonna say there’s a lot of adverse consequences to consuming sugar. Have you ever tried to just quit eating sugar and not been able to do it, despite the fact that it’s causing you issues causing negative health consequences? Lots of people come to me and tell me this.
They’re like, it’s so hard to quit sugar. Even though I know it’s not good for me. Even though when I eat sugar, I don’t feel good. It’s affecting my weight. It’s affecting my health. It’s affecting my running. It’s affecting my body composition. It’s affecting my relationships. state of mind. Yeah, so let’s just agree.
Let’s start from this place right here that yeah, sugar is addictive. It really is. It is an addictive psychoactive substance. So let’s just start with that understanding. Okay. By the way, the AMD the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is funded by the sugar industry. You know, Pepsi, Mars, Candis, and others fund the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
And so they also contribute a lot of articles and a lot of, quote, unquote, studies on how sugar’s not harmful and not addictive and actually good for you. And in my research here, I was looking up some information on sugar and I came across like, I don’t even know the name of it, but it was like the sugar industry’s website.
And it just talks about how great sugar is, how much we love it, and we should be eating it every day. And I’m just like, oh my god, this is crazy, crazy, crazy stuff. So understand that sugar is addictive, okay, and understand that there’s a lot of information out there and a lot of people out there that are trying to tell you that it is and that it’s fine.
I’m gonna let you make up your own mind but I believe firmly and so does the science that sugar is very addictive. Okay, so we have to understand that. And then also we have to understand what we’re getting when we consume sugar.
So sugar has psychoactive effects on the brain similar to drugs like cocaine, sugar can cause your brain to release endorphins and dopamine, which leads to feelings of joy and pleasure. It feels great. Eating sugar, right? This is why we do it. We don’t do it.
Well, I mean, it tastes good, has a great feeling in our mouth. But it also, you know, brings us joy and pleasure. It feels good, just like any other psychoactive drug just like cocaine or tobacco or you know, nicotine or opioids or alcohol, it feels good to consume these substances, right?
But it’s temporary. That good feeling is actually very, very temporary. Just like any other psychoactive substance, there’s an opposite reaction when that substance wears off when the effects of that substance wears off.
So there’s a primary response to the psychoactive substance. And then there’s a secondary response, the primary response is a feeling of joy, pleasure, bliss, it feels good. And this lasts a very short amount of time, maybe 20-30 minutes, 45 minutes, something like that.
It’s very short, when it comes to sugar, other drugs might last longer, other ones are really short, something like cocaine doesn’t last very long at all. Let’s give it about 30 minutes, okay, let’s just say that thing lasts for about 30 minutes, then there is a secondary response.
And that is the opposite. It’s the opposite of that feeling. So instead of feeling pleasure, joy and bliss, it’s depression, anger, anxiety, moodiness, and this can last for like two or three days, two or three days of depressed mood, because of sugar consumption.
Sugar actually fuels anxiety, depression, stress, moodiness, it causes these things. It doesn’t manage it, it doesn’t control it. So it’s a false belief that it’s going to make you feel better. Okay, it does make you feel better, but for a very short amount of time.
But what really happens is there’s that negative that coming down off the substance that causes you to feel worse. And so what do we do? In that situation, when you’re feeling worse, when you start to feel the anxiety of depression, the stress and the moodiness, you go back for more sugar because it’s going to make you feel good again. And then we just keep repeating the cycle over and over and over again, that is what addiction looks like.
You can substitute alcohol, cocaine, opioids, any of that stuff for sugar, and it’s all the same. It’s all the same. So your brain wants you to feel good, your brain thinks that sugar is good for you. Because your brain is always seeking pleasure and avoiding pain.
You’re seeking pleasure and avoiding pain. And so when your brain thinks you need sugar to feel good, it almost feels like a survival instinct to your brain. “I need this, I have to have it. If I don’t have it, I’m going to die.”
And that’s what that coming down off of sugar feels like, oh my god, I’m going to die. I need some sugar, I need to feel better right now. And this is what leads to compulsive behavior, that thing where we keep going back to the substance over and over and over again, even though we’re having a lot of negative side effects from the thing.
So it can cause a short term high burst of energy and feeling good. But then we have that negative side, those negative side effects and some of the signs of the sugar addiction are the negative side effects of sugar are anxiety, depression, bloating, diarrhea. That’s no good.
Cravings, chills, involuntary shaking, muscle aches, headaches, fatigue, nausea, these are just signs that you might be addicted to sugar. So I hope you’re understanding something here today so far.
Anyway, I haven’t even talked about how we break the addiction to sugar, but I hope you’re understanding that this is a powerful thing. It’s a powerful substance, right. So it is very powerful. And we have to change our relationship with sugar and we want to remove that substance from the equation if you want to break the addiction.
Okay, so step one, to breaking your addiction to sugar is to remove the substance completely, there has to be a period of abstinence. This is a hard step, but it is necessary. So if you’re an alcoholic, and you have a problem, you know, drinking, you can check into a rehab or you can stay there for like 30 days, they lock you up, you have no access to alcohol.
They have medical interventions to help you alleviate the withdrawal symptoms. And people can make massive progress by staying away from alcohol for like 30 days, let’s say or other drugs, opioids, same way. What about sugar though? Is that something that is available? Is there like a sugar rehab out there? I don’t think so. Probably not. Maybe there needs to be.
But can you sort of mimic that it’s really hard to do, it’d be really hard to have that kind of an intervention, and to have no access to sugar. It’s everywhere, by the way.
But here’s something that I found really interesting: that there are a lot of symptoms of sugar withdrawal. So when you stop eating sugar, this is why it’s so hard for people to quit sugar, you’re going to experience one or more of these symptoms, and these are all related to the withdrawal of sugar from the system.
So as soon as you remove sugar from your body and stop consuming it, people experience headache, nausea, lightheadedness, dizziness, lethargy, depression, anger, irritability, bloating, muscle aches, moodiness, emotional swings, intense cravings for more sugar, difficulty concentrating, disrupted sleep patterns. This is crazy.
When you stop eating this quote unquote, food, that everyone says is totally fine. When you just stop eating it, you can experience one or more of all these symptoms or all of them. That is crazy, that food should not be a part of your diet, if that’s what you experienced when you don’t eat it. Right? Isn’t that crazy.
So one of the reasons why we want to abstain, we want to have a period of complete abstinence from sugar is because you need to reset your dopamine levels, consuming sugar regularly will actually raise your levels of dopamine and it feels great, I mean, you know, you’re you’re getting more dopamine and your dopamine is constantly raised.
But that means that your baseline dopamine is a lot higher than it should be. And it takes more of the substance to get you back up to baseline. So chronically elevated dopamine levels, means that sugar is going to be something you have a very hard time giving up. Because the more you eat it, the higher your dopamine gets, and you need to eat a lot of it to get back up to that artificially high baseline.
Okay, so you’ve raised your baseline if you’ve consumed sugar for, you know, consistently for a long period of time. So taking a break from sugar will reset your dopamine, it’ll reset your dopamine back to normal levels. And then you’re not going to have the intense cravings anymore. And you won’t need as much dopamine to get you back to feeling good again.
And this process takes some time, it could take 30 days or 90 days, they say that for some depending on the drug you’re using, let’s say you’re addicted to opioids or something like that, you know, it could take 14 months to reset your dopamine levels, you know, this is sugar, it’s probably not going to take as long.
I always suggest you start with a 30 day break and then see how you’re going from there. Most of the people I work with, most of my clients report that after 30 days of abstinence from sugar, their cravings are basically gone. They no longer crave sugar, so they’re not eating it and it’s not eating and it’s not a big deal anymore. This is a good place to be. This is where you want to get to.
You want to turn down the volume of the desire, you want to turn down the volume of the craving. And to do that you have to take a break for a while, 30 days, and see how you’re doing from there. Right? Take a break. Try for 30 days to deal with the withdrawal symptoms, you got to deal with all that list of crazy stuff that I mentioned some of it, you won’t experience some of it, you will.
And I help people get through that period, you know, there’s different things we can do. But the desire for sugar should get turned way down. And then when you’re no longer craving it now, not eating sugar is not a big deal. Because your dopamine level has been reset. You don’t have those cravings there anymore.
You’ve gotten out of that cycle of needing the dopamine and then coming down off the dopamine and then having to get it back up again. And so everything is normalized, right? But that’s not how most people do it. Most people do this, they say oh, I gotta stop eating sugar.
So they take a break for like a week. And then something happens. Somebody brings in some donuts at work and they just like oh my god, their cravings are so intense and they just like eat all the donuts right? And then they are back in the pattern of, you know, craving the dopamine and then you know, getting the sugar high and coming down hard and then wanting it back again.
And maybe they can take another week where they can, I’m just gonna white knuckle through this next week. But then you’re in this vicious cycle of continually keeping dopamine levels artificially raised and continually giving in to those cravings and so that cycle continues.
You never get off the substance, you just keep using it, you just keep getting enough to keep your dopamine levels from getting too low, right? And this is a very hard way to do it. I’m just gonna tell you right now, it’s very hard to do it this way.
And this is where people get frustrated, and they just want to give up. You know, don’t give up. Right? And if you want help, obviously, I can help you with this whole process, right? But do not give up. Right? Because what you’re doing, you’re just reinforcing this habit.
If you want to break a habit, you’ve got to practice the new habit, repeatedly, consistently. So if the habit is eating sugar, every time you eat sugar, you’re reinforcing the habit that I eat sugar to feel good. And every time you don’t do that, you’re reinforcing the habit of I can, I can deal with this feeling I can, I don’t need sugar to feel good.
So you’re either reinforcing the habit of eating sugar or the habit of abstaining from sugar, you’re always reinforcing a habit, one or the other. Which habit Are you reinforcing? Right. So step one, take a break from sugar, and avoid all types of sugar. And I would say even sugar substitutes, because some sugar substitutes can actually elevate your blood sugar and cause a rise in dopamine.
And so they’re not, you’re not really getting the abstinence that we’re talking about here. And some of them will just kind of trick your brain into thinking you’re getting some sugar and increase dopamine. So not everyone responds the same way to sugar substitutes, it’s probably best to just like eliminate them for a period of time, just get off the sweet stuff altogether.
And remember, your goal is to reset dopamine levels. And this requires a period of normalized dopamine. Now, we do want to do things to get natural occurring sources of dopamine, that we can kind of create ourselves from things like exercise, running, lifting, weights, meditation, quality, sleep, laughing, all these things give you dopamine, and will help you to feel good, without the huge spikes and crashes. Okay, so that’s step one, gotta eliminate sugar from your diet for a period of time, let’s say 30 days or so.
Step two is going to be the reintroduction stage. So this is where you want to reintroduce some sugar into your system, but you have to do this carefully. So once you’ve reset the dopamine, and you no longer have those sugar cravings, and so you’ve turned down the volume of the desire for sugar, this is a good place to be.
So you can try some reintroduction, you can like try a very small amount of dark chocolate, let’s say like 70% or higher, I like 85% dark chocolate, I love that stuff. It’s so good. If you’re used to eating sugar, 85% dark chocolate, it’s gonna taste very bitter, it’s not going to taste sweet at all.
But if you haven’t had sugar in a while, you eat some 85% dark chocolate, you’re gonna be like, Whoa, this is really sweet. It’s interesting, right? Because you’re not just resetting your dopamine, you’re also resetting your palate. So just a little bit of sugar will taste very sweet.
So you don’t need much at all, which is good, it’s a good place to be right. So try a few pieces of dark chocolate, let’s say for an example and see how you feel. Another kind of tip with this is to eat the sugar with a meal or right after a meal because this will lessen the blood sugar impacted or lessen the dopamine impact.
So consuming sugar after eating other foods like fat and protein dampens the blood sugar response. I like to eat a few pieces of dark chocolate right after I eat my dinner, kind of like a dessert almost. But it is. It’s not like hours after dinner. It’s literally like minutes after dinner.
So I eat my dinner and then maybe I clean up my dishes or whatever, then I grab a couple pieces of dark chocolate. And I don’t have big cravings for more sugar when I do it that way. I don’t have big rises in blood sugar and then crashes and it doesn’t cause huge dopamine spikes and it doesn’t cause that craving which is key, right? So step one abstinence, step two is reintroduction of a very small amount of some kind of sugar. And then try this for 30 days, 60 days something like that.
And listen, this is different for each person. So if you find that when you try reintroducing some sugar, your cravings come back and you start binging out on stuff like that, then we have to look at that. And there may be some other stuff going on. We may have to start a reset start over with a reset.
But eventually we want to get to this place where your relationship with sugar changes like that’s really the goal like to no longer have the cravings because when you don’t crave then you don’t really need it. When you don’t need it, it’s no big deal to not eat it. Okay.
Step three is going to be more of a lifestyle and this is you know, moderation that means that moderation moderating your sugar intake is something you’re going to probably do for the rest to your life, if this is important to you, because your cravings over time are going to fluctuate, sometimes you’re going to have cravings for sugar, sometimes you won’t. And this is normal.
Sugar’s amazing, it’s highly pleasurable, it brings you a lot of joy and pleasure and bliss. And your brain is wired to seek pleasure and avoid pain. So if there’s a bunch of donuts sitting there, you’re gonna want the donuts and it’s okay, it doesn’t mean you’re broken, it doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with you, your brain is just doing what it normally does.
If I see a bunch of old fashioned glazed donuts sitting in front of me, I’m going to want to eat the donut, it doesn’t mean I will eat them. Big difference. But I’m going to want to eat them. Okay. So when you’re feeling some kind of stress in your life, or craving, and you want to feel better, right now, sugar is going to make you feel better. But remember, it’s very temporary.
And there’s that opposite effect, more stress, more anxiety, more depression, whatever. So it doesn’t do what you think it’s going to do. It never does. So your goal in living your life is to moderate your sugar intake. You gotta keep that intake pretty low.
It doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy it on occasions. Everybody wants a piece of birthday cake on their birthday, you don’t eat the birthday salad. That’s no fun. But you have to remember, sugar like alcohol is a powerful psychoactive substance. Use with extreme caution, the dosage matters, okay?
Sugar is not a healthy food. It’s not good for you. It rots your teeth, it has no positive effects on your health or your well being. Except for that temporary feeling of bliss. Just like alcohol, alcohol is a poison, right? There’s no health benefits to drinking alcohol. Is it okay to drink alcohol on occasion in moderation and a little bit? Sure, it’s fine. But just understand it’s not a health food.
But if you find yourself having a drink, and then you feel out of control when you do drink, and increased cravings, inability to stop drinking, and your life starts to spiral out of control, because you’re drinking, that’s a problem.
Sustainless sugar, you’re finding that it’s hard to stop, you’re finding you’re out of control, you’re finding you’re binging you’re finding that you have, you keep going back to sugar, even though you’re having adverse health effects from it, that’s a problem that needs to be fixed. Okay.
And the other side of this is learning how to deal with the emotions, right? We’re learning how to deal with the stress and the anxiety and the things that come up in your life without using any substance without using alcohol without using drugs without using sugar.
And this is a big part of the work that I do with my coaching clients. They learn how to experience their emotions without eating over them. They learn how to lean into the discomfort of having stress or anxiety or fear, frustration, whatever that negative emotion is, they learn how to lean into the discomfort of having that negative emotion without needing to dampen it without needing to make it go away.
This is a key skill that you need to learn as a human being. Because it requires being willing to feel your feelings without doing anything to try to change them. This is not the way we’re conditioned to do things, right? We’re conditioned that if you have a negative emotion, you got to make it go away as fast as possible.
We are very, very quick to want to dampen or remove a negative emotion. But what if you just didn’t do anything? What if you just felt it? What if you just processed it and then moved on with your life?
And that’s what it means to be an emotional badass. You’re no longer afraid of feeling a feeling. It is a skill that you can learn. It’s really a superpower that you can learn and that everyone should learn how to master this superpower here. Okay. So I hope this helps answer your question, Danielle, and please send me your questions and any topics that you want me to cover here on the podcast.
I’d love to hear what you guys are interested in, in learning about, okay. And as always, I can help you through this entire process, ending your addiction to sugar as a huge part of what we do together in The Coaching Project.
If you’re looking for some help, we can talk about it. Just head over to runningleancoaching.com and click on Work With Me. And we can talk about coaching what that would look like for you. Cool. All right. That’s all I got for you today. Love you all, keep on Running Lean, and I’ll talk to you soon.
I work with a lot of runners who are awesome at sticking with their running plans. They get up early on Saturday mornings religiously, regardless of the weather outside. They do the required …
Hey there, and welcome to episode 185 of Running Lean. My name is Patrick McGilvray, The Weight Loss Coach for Runners and today, why it’s so hard to stick to your food plan.
So I work with a lot of runners who are awesome at sticking with their running plans. They get up early on Saturday mornings religiously, regardless of the weather outside, they do all the required speed work every single week, no matter what.
They never miss a workout even when they’re sick. And they should probably take a day or two off. So they’re really good at sticking with this plan, but when it comes to sticking with their diet so that they can lose weight, it all seems to fall apart.
Why is this? Why is it so easy for runners to stick to a very difficult marathon training plan, and it’s so hard to stick to a healthy eating plan? I’ve been thinking about this quite a lot lately. So in this episode, I’m going to explain why it’s so hard to stick to your food plan. And I’m gonna offer up some sound advice for changing this.
Okay, but first, when I first set out to change my diet so that I could lose weight, I did not do things perfectly. In fact, for the first few months, I kept slipping up, I kept reverting back to old eating habits. And I kept getting into cravings that I had for junk food.
And I used to think that every time I got off track, it meant that I was a failure. I thought it meant that I would never get this figured out, I would never lose the weight. I would stay on track for a while and I would slip up and then I would start again.
And I did this over and over and over again. And every time I failed, instead of quitting, I just got back on track as soon as I could. So I never did this perfectly, but I always kept going. I never quit, I never gave up on myself.
So instead of focusing on perfection, I focused on consistency. You won’t do this perfectly either. Actually, spoiler alert, nobody does. Nobody does this perfectly. So don’t aim for perfection. Aim for consistency. The key to losing weight and keeping it off for good is not perfection, but consistency over time.
Practice staying on your plan, practice avoiding those urges to eat junk food, practice being consistent over time, and I promise you, you will get there eventually. And if you want a little help with this, you want a little help practicing consistency, I’m here for you.
Just go to runningleancoaching.com/join to learn more about my unique weight loss coaching program for runners.
Okay, why it’s so hard to stick to your food plan? So really, the big key to accomplishing anything that you want for yourself is to make a plan and then stick to the plan, right? This is so simple. It’s such a simple concept.
And if you’re part of my coaching program, you know I say this all the time. And we actually sort of joke around about it because I say it so much. But really, it’s ‘make a plan and stick to the plan no matter what’. That’s it. That’s the key.
And you guys are so good at doing this when it comes to running. You’re so good at doing this when it comes to training for some big event. You know, I work with runners all the time. And they are great with sticking to their running plan, their cross training, their weightlifting schedule, their stretching, all these things are easy. Like they’re like, oh, yeah, I got it. That’s not a problem at all.
But why is it so hard when it comes to food when it comes to sticking to a food plan so that they can lose weight and get healthier, and improve their life in all kinds of ways? It’s so hard. It’s so hard that most people don’t do it. Most people rarely will take the time and the effort to stick with a food plant to where they actually succeed at losing weight and getting healthier and failing, but some people do. And that’s great, but so many people don’t.
However, they are sticking with a running plan. They’re training for a marathon or ultra marathons and they’re great at that, they never miss a workout. So it’s interesting, isn’t it? I’ve always found this to be very interesting.
And I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately. And I’ve and I’ve got some ideas here that I’m going to get into in just a minute, but I just want you to be thinking about yourself. During this episode, think about where you fall.
In this scheme of mindset here, are you one of those people who was really good at sticking with a training program, but not a food program? And if that’s you, this is definitely going to be something you’re going to want to listen to maybe a couple of times, okay.
So we find it very difficult to stick with a food plan, but find it pretty easy to stick with a running schedule. Even though that running schedule, for all intents and purposes is hard, it is challenging, most people would say, oh my gosh, that is such a hard thing, I could never run a marathon, I could never do the work, I could never run an ultra marathon.
So let’s break this down a little bit. So when you are planning to, let’s say, I’m just going to use the running a marathon as our example here at a training schedule, because that’s pretty difficult, something that requires time and, and it is difficult.
So when you have a training plan written out, so you have a training schedule, you’ve planned this in advance, you know, you’ve signed up for something ahead of time, you’ve got all your training planned out, and you are most likely to stick to that training schedule, like your life depended on it, right?
Why is food so different? Why can’t we just apply that same concept to food? Logically, they are very similar things we’re talking about here. They’re very similar undertakings. Training for a marathon is hard. It requires, you know, a lot of hard work, it requires time, so does losing weight, it requires hard work, it requires time, they both require consistency over time.
They both require you to plan things out in advance and stick to the plan. Even if things aren’t, you know, perfect. Even if the weather is terrible, or, you know, you aren’t at home to make dinner for yourself or whatever, we still stay on track, right?
So logically, they require the same things like making a plan in advance, we have structure around that plan, there are steps involved. So for running, it’s your training schedule, this is a structured rigid thing, and it has very specific steps laid out, you’re going to run five days a week, you’re going to do speed work on these days, here’s when you’re doing your long run every week, you’re going to increase your mileage by so much every week, these are your days off, it’s all laid out for you.
And your food plan can be just as structured, in fact, I encourage you to, to create the structure around your food plan the same way you create the structure around your marathon training plan, eat these things, don’t eat these things. Only eat two, three times a day, cut out snacking, you don’t need to be snacking all the time, make protein your priority, eat mostly whole foods.
Stay away from stuff and packages and processed foods and you know, concentrated forms of carbohydrates. Again, this can be all laid out. It can be very structured and rigid. And it can be something that is all laid out. Right? They’re both the same.
And it’s interesting because looking at these two things on paper, they look identical, right? So what’s the big difference? Why is it so hard to stick with food? And I think that a lot of this boils down to your mindset. And here’s what I mean by this.
The mindset required to train for a marathon and successfully finish that marathon is exactly the same mindset that’s required to stick to a healthy eating plan so that you can lose weight. And I bet you’ve never really thought about it like that before because most people don’t.
They think they’re totally different. There are some differences. I’ll get into that in a second, but listen, here’s what’s required. From a mindset standpoint, to be successful at both running a marathon, you know, training for a marathon and running that and finishing it successfully, and losing weight, they both require a plan.
But more importantly, they both require sticking to the plan. And that’s kind of what we’re talking about here is focused on sticking to the plan. So the first mindset standpoint that they’re that they both need is this, this has to be something that is important to you. It matters. There’s a reason why you are doing this.
Why are you running a marathon or why do you want to lose the weight? It’s not just to be healthy. It’s probably to prove something to yourself that you can do hard things. It might be so that you can level up and grow and become more, evolve a little bit as a human being.
Maybe it’s to be an example to your kids. Or maybe it’s because you don’t want to die at age 60. Like, you know, you have a family history of that in your family. And yes, of course, to be the healthiest and most badass version of yourself.
So training for a marathon sticking to your food plan, they both require that same mindset, they are both important to you, it matters or, or it has to you, you have to adopt that same mindset across both. Okay.
The next thing I think you need to make sure you are doing, the other mindset you are adopting is that you have to have a clear end result in mind, what is your goal for this marathon? What is your goal for eating healthy? You need a very clear vision for the outcome that you want for yourself.
I want to finish this marathon, I want to finish it feeling good. I mean, relatively speaking, marathons are hard, and you usually feel pretty terrible at the end of it, but feeling good relative to maybe feeling really bad. Maybe not puking at the end too, I don’t know, maybe it’s to PR, or to, you know, qualify for Boston, that is a very clear outcome that you want for the marathon.
Okay, so what’s the clear goal that you can apply to your healthy eating, what’s the clear end result is it to lose weight is it to lose 40 pounds, is it to just feel better about yourself, to feel good about the body that you are carrying around, to have more energy, to wear those clothes you used to wear, to look better naked?
What’s the end result that you want for yourself? Be very clear about that. Because in order to stick to the plan, you need that clear end result in mind, you have to hold that vision of who you want to become at the end of this process.
Both of these things require a little bit of healthy fear of failure too, so you might not complete that marathon, that’s why you stick to the training plan. Training becomes very important. I remember training for things like my 100 miler that was very challenging.
Just you know, thinking about running 100 miles became one of those things where it pushed me through my training so much because I was failing, I had fear of failure, I did not want to fail, I really wanted to succeed at that.
There’s so many things that can go wrong, or training for an Ironman, lots of things can go wrong there because you’re talking about swimming, and I got kicked in the face, like within the first 10 minutes of being in the water almost knocked me out, gave me a black eye, somebody kicked my goggles and smashed my goggles into my eye socket. And just like really kind of gave me a black eye.
And I was like, oh my god, I could die in the water. I haven’t just started this thing, but you know, being out there on the bike, there’s all kinds of things that can go wrong there. And then, of course, running that marathon at the end of it.
So lots of points of failure can happen in these things that we do for ourselves, right? We can also fail at losing weight. And what does that mean? If we fail at losing weight, we tend to beat ourselves up, it means we’ll never be able to accomplish that, or we’ve tried in the past. And we’re afraid we’re gonna fail again, because we keep doing the same, we keep repeating the same things over and over again.
So there’s a little bit of a healthy fear of failure there. I think it kind of moves you away from what you don’t want, I don’t want to fail. I don’t want to be a failure. I don’t want to not succeed at this. So that’s actually not a bad thing.
Okay, that mindset can apply to both your marathon training and to sticking with your food plan as well. Another principle we need to apply here is that listen, both of these things are hard. They are both challenging, they will be tough to complete. They both require some hard work, some discomfort, some discipline, they both require a little bit of pain and suffering.
There’s pain and suffering involved in training for a marathon. Would you agree? Yeah, I think we would all agree with that. There’s some pain and suffering involved with giving up sugar. Or sitting there when everybody else is eating pizza and you have ordered a salad and you’re just gonna eat the salad that requires discipline, it requires grit, and requires enduring a little bit of suffering.
And then lastly, they both take time, like you can’t train for a marathon in two weeks, right? You just, you know, unless you are you’re already trained up but for most people anyway, training for a marathon takes time. It takes months right? And you can’t lose weight by just sticking with your diet for a couple of weeks. Right? These things both take time, months, sometimes years. years of work to succeed.
I know people who start running, and they’ve never run before, and they’re maybe a little bit older, 30s 40s 50s, whatever they’re like, I’m going to start running. And their goal is to run a marathon, but they know it’s going to take them like 18 months, two years or something like that, before, they’re ready to do that, they’re gonna start with a 5k, and then a 10k, and then half marathon, whatever, they’re gonna work their way up, and they, they plan it out.
And they know that if they stay committed and stay focused, and don’t get injured, that they can run that marathon in 18 months or two years. What if you committed to your food plan like that? What if you just said, you know what, it doesn’t matter how long it’s gonna take, I’m committed to this process, I’m gonna stick to this plan, you’d be a total badass, you’d be like, at your ideal weight, eventually, I don’t know how long it’s gonna take 12 months, 18 months, whatever, it doesn’t matter.
The point is that these things both take time. And so just make sure you understand that and apply that same mindset there. Okay. So I hope you can see that the mindset to be successful at both of these is the same, the mindset to stick to your marathon training program is the same as the mindset of sticking to your weight loss plan to your healthy eating plan.
So then, why is it so hard to stick to the food plan, when you have the same mentality around your training schedule, because you might be saying, oh, well, I do all those things. So we can talk about the addictive qualities of some foods. This is something we do have to consider here, sugar in particular.
So there’s certain foods, we call them hyper palatable foods, they are amazingly delicious. And it makes it hard to lose weight when all these foods are around. You know, it makes it hard to give up those kinds of foods because they light up our brain, they make us feel good.
And even with the right plan, and the right amount of structure around your diet and the right mindset, sugar, hyper palatable foods is a tough one. Every person that I work with has a little bit of struggle when they give up sugar, especially if they haven’t done this before.
So we do this because we want to get out of that addictive state that we’ve been in for a while. So we remove the quote unquote drug (the sugar) for a period of time, and then those cravings go way down. The cravings for junk food go away.
When you give up junk food, the cravings for sugar go away. when you give up sugar, stop eating donuts, and you won’t be craving donuts anymore. Stop drinking beer all the time, and you won’t be craving beer anymore.
And so these things don’t become a big deal after some time, but you’ve got to like have a period of abstinence in order to get to that place. But that’s where freedom comes from. That’s where true food freedom happens. Okay. So there are some addictive qualities of some foods that make it a little bit tougher, I get that part. Okay.
Also, there are a lot of marketing messages around food, like, oh, you can’t have a good time unless you’re eating doughnuts and pizza and drinking beer for breakfast, right? We get peer pressure from the big food corporations from friends and family to eat a bunch of junk food. There’s food pushers in our lives who are like, oh, come on, it’s just a little bit.
Just screw the diet for one day, just live a little bit. Enjoy. Can’t you enjoy your life? Come on. It’s my birthday. So please eat all this junk food with me, you know. And then there’s FOMO of course, which goes along with that.
We have fear of missing out like we feel like we’re missing out on something good if we don’t do what everybody else is doing. Okay, so there’s all that that we have to deal with. It makes sticking to the food plan a little bit more difficult, I get that. Also, food is most people’s go-to emotional management tool.
If you have a hard time coping emotionally without food, then it’s going to be harder to stick to a healthy eating plan. So part of what I do with my coaching clients is that we get to this place where we don’t use food as an emotional management tool anymore. And part of eating a healthy eating, diet or eating plan has to involve not using food to numb out to your emotions anymore. It’s a big part of what we do in my coaching practice.
I help runners to stop using food as a way of dealing with their emotions. And listen, if you’re doing this, if this is something that is an issue for you just understand that we all do it. Everybody uses food as an emotional management tool to some degree, okay, but we want to get out of that habit. You’ve just trained yourself over the years to use food to cope with your emotions. That’s it.
We’ve just got to train you and you can do this right. It’s not impossible to do it. But again, this can be a little bit challenging for people, okay, so there’s a few things here that do make, you know, sticking with a healthy food plan a little bit more difficult. And I get that.
But I think the biggest reason why it’s easy to stick to something like a marathon training plan, but not a healthy food plan is this, you haven’t made the decision. If you want to accomplish anything, first thing you have to do is make a decision that you are going to do it, you have to decide, like really decide.
And if you look at the root of the word decide it means to cut off like, you cut off all other options, except for this one, I am going to do X, I am going to stick to my training plan, I’m going to run a successful marathon. Right, you’ve made that decision. And that’s what you’re going to do.
What about food? Have you made that same decision about food? Probably not, I’m guessing. I know that when I personally make a decision to do something, it’s as good as done. If I say I’m going to do something, I do it, period.
16 years ago, I quit drinking. I wasn’t ready to stop for a long time, I knew that drinking was a problem for me. I knew that I had to stop at some point. But I hadn’t made the decision until I did when I did make that decision to stop, I quit and haven’t had any alcohol since then.
So for me, it’s like when I decide I’m going to do something, I do it. Training for an Iron Man. Once I decided I was all in, I knew I was going to do it. It was hard, hard work during all that training. And the race itself is very hard. But I had made that decision early on. And I did it.
Same thing running a 100 mile trail race. Recently, I sat down and did a 12 hour run and talked about that a few weeks ago on the podcast. I decided to do that back in like November or December of 2022. And I did it in May of ‘23. So I decided six months prior that this is something I’m going to do and I knew I was going to do it. Right.
So you have to make a decision, you made a decision to run a marathon, right? You signed up for it, you paid for it. And you committed to doing that race in your mind that is done. You are all in. So you can do this, right?
So sticking to your training plan, that’s a no brainer, right? Because you’ve already made that decision, you’ve decided I am going to do this, I’m going to run this marathon, I’m going to be successful, I’m going to qualify for Boston, I’m going to PR whatever that is.
So now you just have to make that same decision around food, just decide, I’m going to lose 40 pounds, no matter what I am all in, I’m going to put a plan together and I’m going to work the plan and I’m going to stick to it. And I’m not going to stop until I am successful.
I have decided. I’ve cut off all the other options. No other options. Now I’m just gonna do this. I’m gonna stick to the plan. So make that decision. Yeah, I’ve had this conversation with people, and they’ve told me, but Patrick, I’m stuck. I just can’t decide, I can’t do it. I can’t start. And this is all just BS. This is excuses and stories.
And it’s just you deciding that you don’t want to do it. There is a quote that has stuck with me since I first heard it back in 1980 from the band Rush. And it says this, “If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.”
So if you choose to do nothing, you’re making a choice to do nothing. If you decide that you want this for yourself, great. Take action, move forward, but don’t use these excuses about oh, I’m stuck. I can’t do it. I just can’t start.
Think about it like this. I heard another coach use this analogy. And I love it. She was saying like, oh people tell me they’re stuck. And they’re like, oh, I just can’t get up out of this chair. I’m stuck. I can’t get started. I want to go over there. I want to walk across the room, but I can’t because I’m just stuck in this chair. And it sounds ridiculous, right? It’s ridiculous.
But this is what we do all the time. It’s about making that decision and then taking that first step. It’s about just getting up out of the chair, making the decision and then going over there. If that’s what you want for yourself. It’s really that simple. We overcomplicate all of this stuff, okay?
So I hope you understand now why it’s harder to stick to your food plan. Yes, there are a few things that make sticking to a healthy diet a little more challenging than sticking to your training plan. But at the end of the day, I think it boils down to making that decision, decide what you want for yourself, make a plan, and then stick to the plan no matter what.
And that is also the important part is that very last little no matter what, because things will go awry. Your plan will meet challenges, obstacles will be in your way, all the time. This is called life. And it just happens. And that’s okay, we still stick to the plan, or we do our best, you know, plan, plan, plan, plan, plan, and then go with the flow and do the best you can. Right.
But if we decide that we’re going to stick to the plan, no matter what this is, this is all you got to do, is make that decision. Okay, that’s it. That’s how easy this is. It’s not that easy, but it is simple. It’s a very simple concept. Make the decision, make the plan and then stick to the plan no matter what. Okay.
And if you want a little bit of help getting started I’ve got a great training program you can watch for free. It’s called Five Simple Steps To Becoming A Leaner, Stronger Runner. Just go to runningleancoaching.com and click on Free Training to get started. That’s all I got for you today. Love you all, keep on Running Lean and I will talk to you soon.