Most people come up with all sorts of excuses, reasons, and stories for why they can’t accomplish something hard. You set out to lose weight so you change your diet but you eventually slip back …
One of the toughest things about losing weight and keeping it off for good is developing a healthy relationship with food. I work with runners every day who admittedly have a very unhealthy …
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 202 of Running Lean. My name is Patrick McGilvray, The Weight Loss Coach for Runners, and today, Unraveling Unhealthy Thought Patterns.
So one of the toughest things about losing weight and keeping it off for good is developing a healthy relationship with it. I work with runners every day who admittedly have a very unhealthy relationship with food, they overeat, they’re constantly making unhealthy choices.
They know what to do, they’re doing something different all the time, and they generally feel very out of control around food.
If this sounds like you, rest assured there’s nothing wrong with you. You’ve just developed some unhealthy thought patterns about food. So one of the most beneficial things you can do for yourself is begin to recognize and then start unraveling those unhealthy thought patterns.
That’s what this episode is all about. So stick around, I think you’ll find some very helpful tips throughout this podcast.
But first, I talk a lot about losing weight and improving your health and your fitness. And I know all the stuff I talked about here can feel a little overwhelming. If you’re looking for a good place to start, I’ve created a free hour-long training called Five Simple Steps To Becoming A Leaner Stronger Runner.
In this training video, you’ll learn how to fuel your body properly to lose weight and improve your running, you’ll learn the incredibly important role that strength plays in being a lean healthy runner.
And you’ll learn how to make changes that are actually sustainable, and a lot more. If you’re ready to get started, get leaner, get stronger, run faster, run longer, and become the healthiest, most badass version of yourself, then check out this free training now go to my website runningleancoaching.com and click on free training and get started. Cool.
All right, let’s talk about this unraveling unhealthy thought patterns. So when it comes to things like losing weight and trying to keep it off for good, there is a big problem out there.
And people talk about that this diet isn’t sustainable, this diet isn’t sustainable. And honestly, any diet can be sustainable, it’s the one that you stick to the one that you can do consistently is going to be the one that works for you.
And it’s going to be the one that is sustainable for you. But a lot of people blame the diet as being wrong, or this one doesn’t work when in reality, it’s all about you. What are you willing to stick to? What are you willing to do consistently?
And so one of the things I work with, with the people that I that I do coaching with is understanding that it’s not about the diet necessarily. Now, of course, there are some things we can do that will help to lose weight. And we want to get you eating whole foods and get you off of the junk food and the processed foods and sugars and seed oils and things like that.
But how do you do this consistently? How do you do this for for life? You know, that’s where the real magic happens when you get to this place where this just becomes pretty automatic for you. And it’s no longer work and it’s no longer effort.
And one thing that stops a lot of people from getting to that place where they’ve developed good healthy eating habits is their own mind. You know, it’s their own thoughts about food, it’s their own thoughts about whether they can sustain this or not, it’s their own thoughts about how they failed in the past and how they’ve tried everything, and nothing ever works for them.
And all these thought patterns are just that they are thoughts in your head. And not necessarily true. They’ve just been things that you’ve been telling yourself for a long time. And so you believe them to be true.
But they are not necessarily the truth. Okay, so we have to understand that the way that each one of us sees the world is a little bit differently.
We see the world based on our own thoughts, feelings, past experiences, and all kinds of other factors. And no two people really see the world the same way. No two people, you know, experience a diet the same way no two people experience food nutrition, and exercise the same way.
So just understand that you are an individual. You have your own thought patterns that you’ve been practicing for decades, decades. And it’s really hard to undo that. It’s really hard to even see that that’s what you’re doing because you just believe all this stuff to be true about how things work.
If you feel out of control around food, you’re gonna see that that’s just an automatic thing for you that when there’s donuts sitting there, you can’t help yourself, you eat the doughnuts.
When in reality, there’s more going on there, you’re not automatic, you’re not a robot, you haven’t been programmed, please sort of programmed yourself in a way to just eat the doughnuts. But there’s a thought and a feeling and an action happening.
And those things happen before you pick up the doughnut and put it in your mouth. There are thoughts and feelings about that donut that are happening in that moment. That happened very fast.
And when I talk about thought patterns, thought patterns, our thoughts and feelings that lead to actions, thoughts, and feelings that drive our actions, those are thought patterns. And you’re really good at doing some thought patterns.
Think about how you tie your shoes in the morning, or in the afternoon or whatever. You don’t even think about it anymore. You’ve developed a thought pattern about how to tie your shoes.
But when you were like four or five years old, and you’re learning how to tie your shoes, you’re in kindergarten, whatever. It took some thought you had to, you know, make the loop and then put it around this, wait, look, no, wait, I did it wrong, that was supposed to go under here.
And it took some thought and some effort and it was hard. And it took a while to do that. Now you can tie your shoes without even thinking about it, you don’t have to think about it, it’s become an automated behavior for you.
Driving a car is the same way. It’s an automated behavior. There are lots of things that we do in our lives that have become automated behaviors. But they weren’t always that way. eating donuts, when you see donuts is not an automated behavior.
I mean, it’s kind of automated, but there’s always something going on, there’s thoughts and feelings that are driving those actions. And we want to start to break this stuff down.
We want to start unraveling the thought patterns that are not serving us the unhealthy ones. The other ones like tying your shoes, who cares, just keep tying your shoes without thinking about it. That’s fine. That’s an automated behavior. You don’t need to break that down and journal about it.
And you know, you know, it’s not causing you any problems most likely, you know, driving a car, you don’t have to really think about that you just do it. So you don’t really need to break it all down. Oh, what am I thinking about backing up in this moment about, you know, parking in this spot, you know, or whatever, like, you don’t have to think about it, just do it.
But there are some thought patterns that are unhealthy, especially when it comes to food. Why is that? Why are there so many unhealthy thought patterns around food? My guess is that it’s just one of those things where we’ve used food.
For years and years and decades, we’ve used food as an emotional management tool, we’ve used food to make ourselves feel better, to soothe ourselves when we’re down to destress us when we feel stressed out to make us feel better when we’re not feeling good.
And you’ve just developed these habits that feel really natural, and really automatic, and, and really out of control. When in reality, you’ve just been practicing thought patterns and actions. And we got to start practicing those things. Okay?
It’s learned behavior that’s going on here. These are things that you have learned. Over time, you’ve taught yourself how to handle stress by using food. You’ve taught yourself that when you see donuts, you eat the doughnuts.
When you see the pizza, you eat the pizza, you haven’t taught yourself that you can have self-control, that when you see the pizza, you don’t have to eat it. That’s no big deal. But that is a thought pattern as well right there.
So let’s break down what we’re talking about here a little bit. So you have some context of what I’m talking about here. So when we talk about thought patterns, I want you to understand there are several layers to this.
The first layer is the circumstance layer or just the stuff that’s going around us in our lives. So everything that’s not you, is just a circumstance in your life. So if you’re you know, sitting at home and you’re in and your kids are running around and your husband is in the kitchen, you know yelling at you about something, that’s all circumstances, you don’t really have control over that stuff.
And maybe a little bit of control over the kids, probably not the husband, but there’s a little bit of control out there, but pretty much know right? Your boss, what your boss says or does or thinks about you what other people do or say or think about you the actions of other people, you have no control over any of that stuff.
All you have control over is your own thoughts, feelings and actions. You don’t have control over anything else in this world. Sorry, I hate to break it to you but that’s reality.
All the circumstances are a lot of our lives are just that they are just circumstances. It’s just the situation we happen to be in at the moment. So if somebody brings in doughnuts to the break room, that’s just a circumstance, it’s not good. It’s not bad. It’s not positive or negative. It’s not healthy or unhealthy. It’s just neutral.
It’s just a circumstance, it’s neutral. You’re making a split decision about what that means to you. In that moment, you’re making a really quick assessment of that situation.
And you’re assigning, whether that’s good or bad, you’re assigning, whether it’s positive or negative, whether it’s healthy or unhealthy. Doughnuts in the break room is a neutral circumstance, it’s not healthy or unhealthy. It’s just what it is, you don’t have to eat those things.
If you don’t eat them, then it’s healthy. If you choose to eat them that might be unhealthy if you do it all the time, the occasional donut is fine. Please understand, donuts, they’re amazing. I love donuts, but I eat them very rarely, I can’t remember the last time I ate a doughnut.
But every now and then eat a doughnut. It’s not a big deal. But we have to get into this place where it’s not an automatic behavior anymore. So anyway, circumstances are the stuff in our lives that we do not have control over and it’s all around us food is going to be around us all the time.
You can’t blame the fact that there’s food there on the reason why you ate it. That’s not why you’re eating the food, you’re eating the food because you have a thought and a feeling about it.
And that is the pattern that I’m talking about here. So the circumstance is how there’s doughnuts in the break room, then you have a thought about it. Oh, I bet those donuts would taste really good right now. I’ve been good all week. And this is my reward.
Or I worked out this morning, I ran five miles, I can do a donut. Like you have all these thoughts about what that donut means, oh, that’s gonna taste so amazing. And then those thoughts cause you to have a feeling. And that feeling is going to be like a craving; that’s a feeling, a craving is a feeling.
So you have this desire, that’s a feeling. You have this desire and this craving to now eat the doughnut. And you think that, that feeling that desire that wanting that craving is just because the doughnuts are there? And it’s no, it’s not just because they’re there, it’s because of your thoughts about the donuts.
I know lots of people who don’t eat donuts who see it on and they’re like, no big deal. Like I can look at donuts and be like, no big deal most of the time. But I understand that if I start to have those thoughts about how amazing that’s going to taste and how it’s gonna make me feel good because it’s a bunch of sugar and, and fried dough.
Oh my gosh, like sugar and fried dough together? Oh, yeah, that’s gonna taste good. That’s gonna light up my dopamine receptors, you know, that’s gonna make me feel amazing, you know, for a short period of time, then I’ll probably feel terrible.
So our thoughts are what’s causing those feelings that desire, the craving, the wanting, those are all feelings. Other feelings we have are our stress, anger, sadness, and anxiety. Those are all feelings as well, their emotions, feelings, and emotions, they’re interchangeable.
So we have circumstances in our life, and we have thoughts about those circumstances, those thoughts cause us to feel certain feelings or emotions. And it’s those emotions and feelings that drive our actions. So then when we feel the desire, we want to eat the donut so that we can enjoy that, you know, and, you know, take part in that feeling.
When we feel sad, we want to eat something that makes us feel better. So that sadness will drive actions, the anger that we have will drive us to take action, you know, maybe lash out at somebody.
Or, you know, like you’re in traffic and somebody cuts you off and you flip them off out the window or something like that. Like, that feeling of anger is what’s driving that action, not what that person did, because that what that person did is a neutral circumstance. They cut you off in traffic, but who cares, big deal.
Some people are like whatever. Other people get all upset and road rage happens. You know, road rage is caused by people’s feelings. Rage is a feeling. Okay? So circumstances are neutral, we have thoughts about them. That’s what creates the feelings that we have inside those feelings drive our actions, and the actions we take will create results in our lives.
Right, you don’t have results in your life if you don’t take action. So the behaviors we engage in will cause us to have some sort of a result the actions that we take on a regular basis will cause long-term results.
So if your goal is to lose weight, and you’ve cut out sugar, and every day you abstain from eating sugar, that action will get you the result of losing weight. For example, if your goal is to lose weight, and you’ve abstained from eating sugar, but you can’t stop yourself from eating sugar every single day, that’s going to cause a different result, you’re going to probably gain weight in that process.
I’m guessing that result is not in alignment with what you want for yourself. Okay, so that would be what I call a misaligned result, you know, so misaligned actions will produce misaligned results, and aligned actions will produce aligned results.
So you want to be taking actions that are in alignment with your long-term goals. Okay. So the results that we’re getting are not due to our circumstances, but they’re due to our thoughts feelings, and actions.
So whether you’re able to walk away from the pizza, or walk away from the doughnuts in the break, room or not, has to do with those thought, feeling action patterns that you’ve been practicing and practicing forever.
You know, one of the best ways to create a habit is to repeatedly do something over and over and over and over again. And we’ve repeatedly done the same things. We’ve had a feeling we get stressed out, and we go to the cabinet, and we look for something crunchy or salty or sugary to eat.
Nobody stress eats, like broccoli out of the fridge or leftover chicken or something like that. I’ve never heard anybody say that. They’re like, oh, I got to stop the snack and like, what are you snacking on? Is it like, hard-boiled eggs? Or chicken? They’re like, oh, no, I’m going for the salty stuff, crunchy stuff. I’m like, yeah, I know, I know what you’re doing.
But if you’re really hungry at that moment, you know, a piece of cheese would satisfy you or, you know, some leftovers from the night before.
Instead, no, we’re going for those things that light up our dopamine centers that make us feel good. And usually, it’s the stuff that’s unhealthy for us, right? So you’ve just developed these coping mechanisms. And the coping mechanisms are just thought patterns.
That’s all they are thoughts, feelings, and actions. So you have to understand that this process happens in a split second, once you’ve developed good habits, kind of like tying your shoe, right, you can tie your shoe very quickly, you don’t have to think about you just do it.
Same thing with food, we’ve developed these thoughts, feelings, and action patterns that happen so fast, that we just do them automatically without even knowing that this process is happening.
So one of the biggest keys to unraveling all this for you now that you understand the pattern is to start to become aware that you’re doing it, that’s all just start to become aware of what you are doing and the and the and the thoughts and feelings that you’re having that precede the actions that you’re taking.
So when you’re about to grab that donut, just pause, and hit the pause button for just a moment. And ask yourself what is the thought and feeling that’s driving me to reach for the doughnut right now.
That little step right there is going to go a long way in helping you to start to change your relationship with food to stop, start to help you change these thought-feeling-action patterns, and start to develop some other patterns, which is I see the donuts, I have a thought about the donuts. They look amazing.
But they taste great. You have a feeling like a desire that happens. And then you take the action of not eating the doughnut. That’s a different thought pattern altogether.
What if the thought was instead, I bet those donuts taste great? But you know what, that is not on my plan today. So I’m not doing the doughnuts, maybe another time.
That’s a thought you could have. What feeling might that thought cause? Oh, it might cause you to feel proud of yourself for sticking to your plan in that moment. And if you’re proud of yourself in that moment, and you and you’ve boosted your confidence a little bit.
That’s another feeling, by the way, pride, confidence, those are all emotions. That’s going to drive a different action, the action is going to be I’m sticking to my plan. I brought my lunch today. I don’t need to eat doughnuts, my body isn’t that stuff.
So you can see that your thought-feeling-action patterns can shift over time and go from being unhealthy, you know, thought patterns to healthy thought patterns. And when you start to break it down and hit that pause button, you can really start to go a long way in developing those new thought patterns and those new behaviors and start to repeat those behaviors over and over and over again and develop those as your new habits.
Okay, now this whole process begins As with that self-awareness of like, here’s what’s going on. The doughnuts are just a neutral thing in my life, they don’t have any control over me. I’m always in control, I have agency.
You know, I’m making decisions on my own here. I love it. I think Tony Robbins said, “The direction of your life is determined by tiny little moments of decision.” Tiny little moments of decision, thousands of them.
It’s not about one big decision, oh, I’m gonna change my diet. It’s not that it’s about those tiny little moments of decision that you make, over and over and over and over and over again, thousands of them.
That’s what makes big change in your life, that can change the whole direction of your life, you can go from being an unhealthy person with an unhealthy relationship with food to somebody who is healthy, fit, feels good about themselves has confidence and has completely changed their relationship with food.
All it requires is lots and lots and lots of repetition of these tiny little moments of decision, hitting that pause button, and becoming aware of the thoughts and feelings that are driving that action that you’re about to take.
Okay, that is your work for this week, is to hit that pause button and start to see what it is that’s driving this behavior. Why am I choosing this decision at this moment?
Really ask yourself that, sometimes it helps to stop and write a few things down. That’s not always the case. It’s not always practical to do that. But if you can stop and write some things down, that’s very helpful.
But if you can’t, you know, maybe just think about it, like what am I thinking and feeling right now in this moment? Is this a behavior that I’ve been practicing for a long time? And how can I make a better decision in this moment, okay, that is step number one.
And when you do that, you’re going to be on your way to becoming a different person. Because once you start practicing these things regularly, and you start changing those thought patterns on a regular basis, and you start doing things differently consistently over time, you can become an entirely different person, for the better, cool.
And as always, if you’re looking for help with any stuff, we can talk about coaching, just go to my website runningleancoaching.com, and click on Work With Me.
You’ll fill out a short little application we’ll get on a zoom, we’ll talk about what coaching might look like for you and we’ll just see if it’s a good fit. Cool. That’s all I got for you today. Love you all, keep on Running Lean, and I will 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.
Have you ever caught yourself eating something that you know is bad for you, but you do it anyway? Have you ever changed your eating patterns for a period of time and then found yourself going back …
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 197 of Running Lean. My name is Patrick McGilvray, The Weight Loss Coach for Runners and today, Why You Keep Going Back For More.
So have you ever caught yourself eating something that you know is not good for you, but you do it anyway? Or maybe you’ve changed your eating patterns for a period of time and then you find yourself going back to the junk food you used to eat even though you know, you probably should steer clear of it.
This was me for sure. I found myself going back for more to the junk food I used to eat even after long periods of healthy eating. Why do we do this? And what can we do to stop it from happening in the future?
In this episode, I hope to shed some light on why you keep going back for more of the foods you should probably not be eating and what to do to stop it. And this includes over eating, eating to excess. Okay.
But first, if you want a little bit of help getting started with all the stuff that I talked about here on the podcast, I put together a free training that you can check out it’s called Five Simple Steps To Becoming A Leaner Stronger Runner.
I put together the last three years of podcast materials, everything that I’ve taught here on the podcast, I kind of distilled it all down into about a one hour training that’s totally free, you can go through it, you can find it on my website, just go to runningleancoaching.com click on Free Training.
But the goal of this is to teach you how to lose weight and keep it off for good as a runner. A lot of coaches, a lot of dietitians, a lot of nutritionists out there, they have advice for losing weight, but it’s really not geared towards runners.
And this is where I specialize in helping you as a runner, not only, you know, improve your running and get stronger, run longer distances, run faster, but also to be able to change your body composition for the better to lose the weight to get leaner.
A lot of people say you can’t do that, or you shouldn’t do that. I disagree. I wholeheartedly disagree. And you can learn at least a good chunk of how to get started with all this stuff by going through this free training. Like I said, it’s just about an hour of your time. That’s called Five Simple Steps To Becoming A Leaner Stronger Runner. Check it out, go to runningleancoaching.com click on Free Training. And I hope you enjoy it.
Okay, let’s get into this topic here. Why you keep going back for more? So one reason that I wanted to share this with you guys is because I’ve been working with a lot of people recently who find themselves slipping back into old patterns or craving the food that they used to eat even though we’ve changed their eating patterns, or their their chronic overeaters, you know, they just keep going back for seconds and thirds and fourths or whatever.
And there’s this idea that you know what, there’s something wrong with us, if we keep going back to the foods that we used to eat when we weren’t eating healthy, or there’s something wrong with us, because we tend to eat past the point of being full. Okay.
This has definitely been my experience in my life. So I can relate to both of these concepts of going back for more, I’ve changed my eating patterns. I started eating really healthy, and then I found myself slipping back into old patterns again, because what I was doing was uncomfortable, it was hard.
And maybe I wasn’t getting the results that I wanted. And then I’ve also been a chronic overeater in my life. This is one of the reasons why it was really hard for me to lose weight. Even though I was eating, you know, I was trying all these different diets, but I was just eating way too much of a lot of the foods even when I was doing the plant based thing.
Of course I was eating nothing but carbs, because that’s basically what a plant based diet is, is basically all carbs, tough to do for some people. Some people love it, and that’s great, more power to you. But for me, it was really challenging because I’m very sensitive to carbohydrates, number one and number two, I tend to overeat. I’m an overeater.
And you know, I don’t think calories are the whole picture. I think calories do come into the equation at some point and they definitely did for me when I would go back for seconds and thirds, and eat until I was way past the point of being full.
You know, there was a Comedian Jim Gaffigan, who used to say, “I don’t stop eating when I’m full. I stop eating when I hate myself.” I was like, Oh, my God, I feel so seen. Because that was definitely me and my experience around food.
And even today, I struggle with this sometimes, you know, I can, I can go out to dinner, I’m eating a nice big steak and maybe, you know, a baked potato or something on the side. And I find myself just eating until I’m past the point of being full. And why do we do this?
So I’m going to give you guys a couple of reasons why I’ve got like five reasons why we keep going back for more. More of the junk food that we’re not supposed to be eating, or we want to try to stay away from, or we’re chronic overeaters. And why we do this, and I want you to think about this in this concept of that there is hope for you that you’re not broken.
I’m certainly not broken, you’re not broken, we all do these things, you might be able to relate to a couple of these things I’m going to share with you here more than others. But we all have done these or some some of these in our lives. And it doesn’t mean that just because you can relate to some of these issues that there isn’t hope for you, there is hope for you like you can change.
Most of the things I’m going to be talking about are learned behaviors, and if a behavior has been learned, it can be unlearned. Alright, so just I want to put a context on this as you’re listening to this episode of you know, that these are things that you have probably taught yourself or been conditioned to over the years and that you can on teach yourself that you can decondition yourself to these patterns.
Okay, so the first one is this. The first one is that the foods that we tend to overeat are the foods that we tend to go back for the junk foods and stuff like that. It just, it feels good to eat that stuff. Let’s be honest, it tastes amazing. And it feels really good. Your brain loves pleasure.
Your brain is always seeking pleasure. Your brain’s job is to seek pleasure and avoid pain. Your brain’s job is to keep you safe, is to avoid discomfort. Seek out comfort, seek the familiar, seek out pleasure. That’s your brain’s job. And you know what does a really good job of that? The comfort foods that you love. Junk food feels amazing, right?
A lot of times, it’s because these foods have been engineered to produce the maximum pleasure possible. That’s why people don’t binge out on broccoli. I hear people all the time. They’re like, oh, I just needed a snack. I’m like, okay, go eat some broccoli. And they’re like, I’m not gonna use broccoli as a snack. And I’m like, yeah, but if you’re really hungry, and you need to eat something, broccoli is great, you know, or some like raw carrots.
People are like, I don’t want raw carrots, I want some chips. I want some nuts. I want a candy bar, I want something that’s sugar, or salt or crunchy or a combination of all those things. Snickers, there you go. It’s got all those things all blended together, right.
But we don’t go for broccoli as a snack because it doesn’t light up our brain the way that this junk food does. So your brain loves pleasure. And this is one of the reasons why it’s really hard to change your diet. Because if you’re used to eating a diet that is full of pleasurable foods, pizza is a great example. You know, pizza is one of those things that like, oh my gosh, it’s like gooey and cheesy, but it’s also all that bread.
The crust is so amazing and chewy and it’s warm. And it’s just like, oh my gosh, that’s a very pleasure inducing food right there. So if you’re somebody that’s eating pizza on the regular, and then and then you switch your diet you’re like okay, pizza’s off the table, you’re gonna be dreaming about pizza. Your brain is gonna be like, where is the pizza, bro? Like, how come you took the pizza away from it? You know I want that pizza. So we seek out pleasure and junk food gives us lots of pleasure.
You know, you got to remember that there’s a dopamine response when you eat these pleasurable foods. Even thinking about the pleasurable foods gives you a dopamine response and it feels good to just think about it. If I start describing the most delicious chewiest pizza crust with the red sauce that’s just hanging off and the pepperoni on top and the melted cheese that’s got just a little bit of burned on there you know I’m you know, I’m talking about right.
You start to drool like your brain is like lighting up right now just even thinking about that just listening to a description of pizza like that will light up your brain and provide a dopamine response, but also when you eat as food, you get oxytocin release, serotonin, endorphins, all the feel good chemicals get released.
And listen, eating pizza, it feels amazing. Eating ice cream feels amazing, eating candy bars feels amazing. All these hyper palatable foods increase this dopamine response to increase the field good hormonal response. And why wouldn’t you crave that stuff, right?
We don’t tend to go back to eating hoards of broccoli or chicken or something like that. Even though that stuff is great for you. That stuff is what your brain and your body actually needs for nutrition to keep you healthy and safe and alive. But that’s not what we crave.
We crave the junk food, we crave the hyper palatable foods, the foods that have been engineered to be amazingly delicious. Okay. So number one, you have to understand that your brain loves pleasure. And that’s just your brain doing what it’s supposed to do. Seek pleasure, avoid pain, you know, it feels painful to your brain.
Eating broccoli feels painful to your brain, because it’s like, oh, I know, it’s good for me. But I really want the pizza, but I mean, the broccoli and so that seems terrible. It’s like a terrible place to be like, who wants to do that?
Okay, so your brain wants to seek pleasure and wants to avoid pain. So there’s your brain doing what it’s supposed to do. So just understand that part of the thing that we’re fighting against here, if you’re trying not to eat this stuff, is that your brain is going to drive you in the direction of the junk food.
Alright, so we got that kind of going against us here. But just listen, that is one of five different reasons why you might be going back for more.
Number two, a lot of times you are using your eyes instead of your body to know when it’s time to stop. And this refers to overeating. So a lot of times we look at our plate, and we look at you know how much is on our plate and we need to finish every bite that’s on that plate no matter what even though we’re full, even though we don’t feel good.
Now, this was me. And this is one of the reasons why it’s been decades of me trying to stop this overeating habit. But it was drilled into me as a kid that I had to finish everything on my plate no matter what or I would get in trouble.
And I had to sit at the table and everybody else left the table was able to go eat their dessert and get on with their life and I had to sit there and eat everything. Eat the tuna fritters that my mom made. I just bring that up because I just thought about, I haven’t thought about tuna fritters in like 40 years, honestly.
But I just thought about those because it was one of those things I was like this gross I don’t want to eat this stuff. You know, just imagine like a crab cake but not as good and it’s tuna instead. Okay, and it’s hot.
But I would have to sit there and eat that stuff. And if I did need it, I couldn’t leave the table. And if you didn’t eat everything on your plate you had you didn’t get dessert either, which doesn’t make any sense. Okay? Like, if you don’t finish all this plate and make yourself miserable, you don’t get more food afterwards.
So these ideas were drilled into my head that it didn’t matter how you felt, it didn’t matter if your body was like you’re full. Like your eyes and what was in front of you had to be devoured no matter what.
This is really, this is weird that we do this to kids. Don’t do this to your kids. If you want to, like help your kids now, don’t do this to them. Let them eat whatever they want. Who cares? You know they’re kids, they’ll figure it out like eat what feels good to you. Oh, you don’t want to eat much. You don’t want to eat the brussel sprouts. Fine. Don’t eat them. It’s fine.
But don’t make your kids eat everything because that is not teaching them good eating habits that’s like disordered eating in a way. Okay. So I was trained that I had to eat everything on my plate no matter what.
And mentally right now it’s really hard for me to leave food uneaten. Like my girlfriend, she’ll go out to dinner, or even eating dinner here, and when she’s done eating, she’s just done. And she’ll sit there and they’ll be like one bite left.
And I’m like, you’re not going to eat that? Oh my god, you’re driving me crazy. Just eat that last bite. I don’t want anymore. I’m done. I mean, I just got to this point where I was done, and then I’m done. I don’t have to keep eating and I’m like, how do you do that? I don’t understand how you do that. That’s not me. I gotta eat whatever is on my plate.
And a lot of times I’ll put too much on my plate but I got to eat it anyway. And so that’s one of those things where I had to really work on that and I’m better about that now. I can leave food. I’ve been better about that lately, especially as we go out to dinner. And you know, you get what they give you on the plate like I don’t have control over that.
And I’m good about like leaving some behind. Sometimes I don’t, sometimes I do. So, there’s this idea that you can’t trust your body to know what’s best for you, you because you’ve been conditioned to go by other rules, you know, you can only trust the conditioning that you’ve been exposed to, you know, and so, this is a, this is a big problem, you know, this is something that we have to undo this whole clean plate club, you got to be a member of the clean plate club.
No, you don’t. And a lot of this is just families, you know, bless my parents, you know, they were trying to try their best, they did their best, they had a bunch of kids, you know, I was always the problem child too.
And, you know, I have four siblings, and they would, I was always, always the one in trouble. I know, hard to imagine. But I was the one that would get what I thought was getting picked on all the time, but I was just, I was rebellious, you know.
But I have this conditioning, this family conditioning of overeating, really. And to this day, it still lingers here and there, sometimes it creeps it’s ugly head every now and then. But just understand that, you know, you got to start listening to your body. And when you’re feeling full, or even before you feel full, like when you feel like satiated, it’s time to stop, okay. So that’s number two, using your eyes instead of your body to know when it’s time to stop.
Number three, you believe that more is better. So if a little food is good for you, then more is great for you, right? This is the same issue that alcoholics and drug addicts have. So they think that, you know, if one drink makes you feel good, or if one hit or pill or whatever makes you feel good, then two or three drinks or 10 is going to be better, or 10 hits or pills or whatever is gonna make you feel better.
And so we think that since we’re eating a little bit of french fries, or a little bit of pizza is good for us, or it feels good, then eating the entire pizza is great. You know, we don’t want to, we don’t want to find it. And we don’t want this good feeling to end, we’re getting this dopamine response, we’re getting all these, you know, chemicals released, that feel really good.
And we don’t want that. And we want it to feel even better. So we think that eating more food, going back for more and more and more, is going to feel better and better and better. And again, this is conditioning. It’s not really genetics, we are not genetically predisposed to overeat, we’re not genetically predisposed to eat until we’re uncomfortable.
This is something that you have learned. Because you think if I stop eating halfway through this pizza, then this good feeling is going to end, it’s going to go away. And honestly, the only thing that happens is you start to feel really terrible. And then you feel really awful. And you and you do sort of hate yourself, you know.
And it’s one of those things where the behavior is so ingrained in us and again, these are just things that we’ve been conditioned to over the years we’ve trained ourselves to do these things. You’ve got to be able to unlearn this, we have to be able to learn better behaviors and start practicing eating to satiety, not to uncomfortableness, okay.
So we believe that more is better. And more is not always better, more is just more, and a lot of times more is worse. But it feels like more is better. Again, this is our brain sort of tricking us, okay.
Number four is this and I know that we have all thought this before, that I’ve already blown it for today so I might as well just keep going, right? So I ate the cupcake. You know, my kids wanted, you know, we take cupcakes to school. So I like made cupcakes, and I was just gonna get into the garage, but I had one.
And then I was like, you know what I’ve already blown it for today. So I’m just gonna go ahead and eat 10 more cupcakes and the entire pizza and all the ice cream in the house, right. And because I’ve already blown it for today, or, you know, I’ve already had like one piece of pizza, I might as well eat the entire pizza.
This is why so many diets fail because people don’t have any strategies in place to be able to deal with these occasional setbacks or fails or whatever you want to call them. And I believe that we have to build some of these exceptions into our plan.
So if you have a healthy eating food plan, there should be some exceptions in there every now and then it’s like, yeah, you can have a couple pieces of pizza, you can have the Ben and Jerry’s ice cream. But you got to do these things in a very intentional and purposeful way. You got to do them mindfully.
You don’t want to do them because you’re reacting to how you’re feeling in the moment. You want to plan them ahead of time. One of the strategies that I work with all my clients on is planning, like plan ahead and then stick to the plan and plan ahead and stick with the plan. Don’t make decisions in the moment because we tend to not make good decisions in the moment.
Another rule that I think everybody needs to follow is, you never have two bad meals in a row or two cheat meals in a row. You can blow it with one meal, you can eat a cupcake, fine, okay, you blew it with that meal, you failed, great. Next meal, you’re back on track, that’s it.
Another way of looking at this is divide your day into four quarters, you might lose a quarter, but never lose the day. So if you blow it in quarter number three, and you had you know, some cupcakes or you had a piece of pizza, whatever, great, don’t blow the next quarter. Right, get back on track with the next meal. And that’s it. If you just kind of adhere to that right there.
This one can take care of itself pretty easily. But you have to be disciplined about that. And you can’t get into this attitude of like, well, I’ve blown it for today. I might as well just, you know, keep going. Or here’s another one I’ve heard people say is like I’ve already blown it for today, so I’m just gonna, like, make the next week a total eating binge fest, like, oh, I’ve gone one day, so I might as well go and blow the whole week.
Like don’t do that, but a lot of people do that. A lot of people do that. Right? Oh, you know, I was going great with my nutrition plan until work got really stressful. And then I had this one meal that was no good. And then that ruined everything. And now I’m back to eating garbage every single day. Like really, one meal can do that to you. It really can, it can set you back.
And then you think, you know, well look at me, I’m a failure, I can’t do this. So I might as well just go back to doing what I used to do. Just a piece of crap. And you know, you’re not, you’re not, you just made a bad decision, or, you know, you had a slip up whatever could get back on track with the next meal.
And again, I like to build in some of these, whatever you call it, cheat meals, you know, I like to call it the release valve. Like, we have this pent up craving sometimes for stuff and you know, talk about pizza, like just because that’s my thing. I love pizza.
And every now and then I gotta eat some pizza. Because that craving can get a little bit out of control sometimes. And every now and then I’m like, I’m just gonna go eat a couple of pieces of pizza. And then I’m fine. You know, I’ve had pizza twice this year. I know it’s crazy. And I just had some recently and it was so good. And I was like, This is so good. I’m glad I don’t do this all the time anymore. But it was so good to do it every now and then.
Okay, so don’t get into this attitude of a balloon offer today might as well just keep going or bonus for today. So might as well just blow the whole week, don’t do that. Get back on track with the next meal. Okay, that was number four.
Number five is this marketing and social pressures. So here’s the reality. The food companies do not care about your health, they don’t care about your well being, they want to make money. And the way they do that is they get you to eat more food, that is their goal.
They care about their bottom line. That’s it, it’s a business, and they’re making billions of dollars. And so they make this hyper palatable food that you keep going back for more and, and they know what they’re doing.
They spend billions of dollars on research and marketing to make sure that you crave the junk food, right, and then you keep eating it that you keep going back for more and more and more, even though, you know, it’s not good for you. They know it’s not good for you. They don’t care.
Okay, so if you think the food companies are putting stuff out there that is good for you, you’re wrong. They don’t care. It’s not good for you, they know what they’re doing. And they market this stuff to you. And they make you think that you have to eat this stuff.
Are you like some kind of weirdo? And our friends do this too. Our friends sort of like treat us like we’re weird if we’re eating, you know, good, healthy food, like we’re the weird ones. What? Really?
So there’s people in our lives, usually it’s the people that are closest to us who mean well, but they treat us like we’re in middle school. You know, they’re like, Oh, it’s okay, honey, just have one piece of pizza. It’s not going to kill you. You deserve it. You’ve been good all week. Have some fun. Live a little, let your hair down. Don’t be such a Debbie Downer.
Have you had anybody in your life that’s like this? Some people call them food pushers. And a lot of times they’re, they’re well meaning. They mean well, they’re trying to be positive and just say like, hey, have a little bit of fun. You deserve it. It’s okay.
You know, but what they’re doing is they’re putting pressure on you to do something you don’t want to do. And you don’t want to eat the junk food and they’re pressuring you into doing it and so a lot of times you do. You slipped back into it, you go back for more because they want you to, because that makes them feel good.
If you’re doing what they’re doing, and then they don’t feel so bad about themselves, because they’re like, oh, as long as you’re doing it with me, you know. But for those of us who have difficulty controlling how much we eat, saying no to certain foods, this is me totally.
You know, people in our lives that are like this are going to keep us going back for more. Doesn’t matter how much discipline we have, or how much willpower we’re using, we will keep going back for more because we’re feeling pressured by the people who are closest to us.
And again, they mean well, but we have to ignore that. And we have to stand up for ourselves in those situations. And listen, willpower, like discipline is great, willpower is a finite resource, though willpower diminishes as the day goes on, like you only have so much willpower, think of it as like a fuel tank.
And by the end of the day, that fuel tank is pretty low, you don’t have much willpower in the evening, you have a lot more in the morning, right. And then by the evening, it’s gone, right? It’s because it’s like, you’re tired, you just want to like chill out or whatever, like, your willpower is gone in the evenings.
And that’s when a lot of people, you know, go out with friends. And then that’s when the social pressures happen, and they want you to drink and then once you start drinking, you’re, you’re making even poor choices around food. And a lot of people blow it at night, like they do great all day long. And then they blow it at night because of this lack of willpower because the willpower kind of diminishes as the day goes on.
So I’m not saying you gotta avoid your friends, but just understand that, you know, you got food companies who are marketing food to us and putting pressure on us to kind of eat this food, we got friends and family who are kind of pressuring us to eat this food. It’s hard.
This is a hard one right to navigate around all this stuff. But I guess you just got to be okay, being the weirdo at the table, the one person who’s not partaking in the alcohol, the one person who’s not partaking in the junk food, and you got to be okay with that. It doesn’t feel good, it feels uncomfortable. But sometimes we got to just get used to being uncomfortable in those situations, it’ll get easier after a while.
Okay, so those are the five reasons why we typically keep going back for more, and then just understand that there are some things we can do about this. Like, I know, this feels daunting, it probably feels like oh my gosh, Patrick, like this sounds terrible. Like how am I supposed to overcome all this stuff, there’s all this pressure, there’s all these things, you know, working against me here.
The first step though, is just understanding that you have this self awareness about all of this. A lot of times is self awareness and understanding what’s happening within you and to you from the outside world.
Just having that self awareness is enough to keep you from going back for more for like slipping into those old patterns. Right. Another thing is, like I mentioned earlier, is having a plan, you gotta have a plan, make a plan, what’s your food situation? What are you eating tomorrow? What times are you eating? What are you eating, for lunch, dinner, whatever, make a plan, make it ahead of time and stick to the plan. Right? That’s it. Most people don’t do that. They just wing it every day.
If you want to change your habits around food, winging it, it’s probably what you’ve done your whole life. So don’t do that. You got to have a plan, and you got to stick to the plan.
And it’s like training yourself to practice good habits like new behaviors and behaviors, winging it is not how you do it, though. Because you’re never going to be able to like lose the weight, keep it off change eating patterns, if you’re winging it every day.
So make a plan, stick to the plan, make a plan, stick to the plan, right? Once I started doing this, I started, like seeing results consistently. Because the only way you’re gonna see consistent results is if you do something consistently, you got to stick to your plan consistently. And then you’ll get consistent results. And eventually you’ll get your goals.
Most people they just wing it every day, they get some results. And then they slide backwards. And then they get some of these backwards, they say why should I even bother? This is demotivating. Right?
Consistent results will keep you in the game. They’ll keep you motivated, keep you going forward. And eventually you’ll reach your goals, if you can stick with it long enough. There’s a big mindset shift though, right?
Because you’re you got to switch from being reactionary, like reactive to the world around you to being proactive and actively making a plan and sticking to it. That’s a very different way to do this, to go through life. Most people don’t do it, that’s why they fail.
So we got to switch from allowing the world around you to dictate your actions and behaviors to using your own mind, your own principles, your own goals, your own beliefs to guide your decisions and your actions and your behaviors.
Okay, so we don’t want to be driven by what’s going on out there but what’s going on inside by our own body, our own thoughts, beliefs, our own emotions, all of that, okay? So it takes time. It’s not something that’s gonna, you know, you’re gonna be, you’re gonna make a decision and you’re gonna say, Oh, I just want to change how I feel about food. And it’s going to happen overnight.
No, it takes some time. Alright, it’s, it feels daunting, but I promise you, there is hope you can do this. You got to give it some time, you got to embrace the discomfort of change, because that’s going to be ever present.
But if you can stick with it long enough, you will get the results that you want, I promise you and again, as always, if you’re looking for some help with any of this, we can talk about coaching, this is what I do. I help people navigate this stuff every single day. And we have fun doing it too by the way.
Just head over to runningleancoaching.com and click on Work With Me. Click on that link. You can fill out a short little application, get on a call. We’ll talk about coaching and how it might help you. And if it seems like a good fit for you, great. If not, that’s cool, too. Okay, cool. 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 …
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 email@example.com, 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.
Your mindset is one of the most powerful tools you have at your disposal. But most people do not spend any time at all working on improving their mindset. This is crazy to me because without the …
Hey there, and welcome to episode 179 of Running Lean. My name is Patrick McGilvray, The Weight Loss Coach for Runners and today: Weight Loss Principles Every Runner Needs To Know, Part Three: Mindset.
Your mindset is one of the most powerful tools you have at your disposal. But most people do not spend any time at all working on improving their mindset. This is crazy to me because without the right mindset, doing things like losing weight and keeping it off becomes nearly impossible.
However, armed with the right mindset, losing weight becomes easy, and effortless and your success is basically inevitable. Everything you want for yourself but don’t already have requires a shift in your mindset in order to get it. Change happens from the inside out, okay?
This inner work, this mindset work, is the most important and most powerful work you can do for yourself. So today, I’m going to lay out a whole bunch of mindset principles that you absolutely need to know if you want to lose weight and keep it off.
And again, this is part three of my three part series called Weight Loss Principles Every Runner Needs To Know. Part One focused on nutrition principles. Part Two was all about the exercise principles you need to focus on in order to lose weight, get stronger and become the most badass version of yourself. Cool.
Alright, but first, if you have ever struggled to lose weight and keep it off, I want you to know that there is nothing wrong with you. You are not alone, you’ve probably just been given the wrong advice, or you’re just not following any kind of plan. Alright, and it’s okay. I get it. I’ve been there, we’ve all been there.
But if you’re ready to actually do something different to actually do something to change, and follow a plan that was custom built for you and have someone there supporting you every step of the way, then I’ve got you covered. I created The Coaching Project with you in mind.
The Coaching Project is my lifetime access weight loss coaching program designed specifically for runners. You and I will work closely together to put together a custom nutrition and exercise plan to get you to your goals.
Then we meet regularly to see what’s working and what’s not and then course correct if needed. One thing you need to understand about coaching is that it’s not a one size fits all approach. There just isn’t one diet or one exercise plan that works for everyone. There just isn’t.
You are an individual, you have your own goals, needs and your own lifestyle. And I want to meet you where you are. What works for others may not work for you. So why try to force yourself into some cookie cutter program that isn’t made for you and probably won’t work for you?
So if you’re ready to stop struggling and start getting results, check out the coaching project just go to runningleancoaching.com/join to learn more. I would love to see you in The Coaching Project.
Okay, let’s get into this, the most important mindset principles runners need to know in order to lose weight and keep it off. This is like my favorite topic. As a coach I’ve worked with a lot of runners and helped them develop the mindset that allows them to to become their most badass selves to lose weight, get stronger, run faster, and become their best selves.
And the mindset work is probably the most important work that you have to do if you want to lose weight and keep it off. If you want to live a happy, healthy lifestyle easily and effortlessly, this all requires a big shift in your mindset.
Your mindset is the foundation of everything that you do. Everything that you do is built upon this foundation. With the wrong mindset though you are doomed to failure. But with the right mindset, you’d become basically unstoppable. There’s nothing you can’t do.
So I’m gonna go over a few mindset principles that runners need to know in order to lose weight and keep it off. Okay, there’s more than a few. This is very challenging for me to narrow down this list. But I don’t know, I have like 18 or 19 principles I want to share with you today. I just couldn’t I couldn’t choose just a few.
So I hope you’ll enjoy, but let’s start with the first one, and these are in no particular order, by the way. But the first one is this: your environment is everything. So when we talk about changing your environment in order to promote healthy changes in your life, like if you want to create new healthy habits, you got to change your environment.
This means changing things like what foods you keep in the kitchen and the fridge and the pantry. What’s in that snack cupboard? Do you even have a snack cupboard? You probably don’t need one. But your environment is more than just your kitchen.
Your environment is the books you read, the movies you watch, the podcasts you listen to, the audio books you listen to, the TV shows you watch. All of these things have an influence on you as a person and what you choose to do and not do and how you live your life.
We are very influenced by all these outside influences that come into us. What about the people you spend time with? You know, they say you’re the sum of the five people you spend the most time with?
Who do you follow on social media? What friends do you spend time with? What family members do you spend time with? You may have some toxic family members that you probably shouldn’t spend as much time with. I know sometimes that’s out of our control.
But sometimes you need to just say like I’m not gonna go over to Aunt Janet’s because she’s a little cuckoo, you know, or whatever you need to do. But these people have an influence on you, even the people you follow on social media, right?
So make sure that the people in your life are supporting you, they have your back. There are positive influences on your life, okay? They say you’re the sum of the five people you spend the most time with.
If you spend time with five marathon runners, you’ll probably be the sixth. If you spend time with five lean, strong human beings, five faster runners, five people who are into self improvement, you’ll probably be the sixth.
Conversely, if you spend time with five couch potatoes, five junk food junkies, you’ll probably be the sixth. Okay, so your environment is everything. It really is everything, okay?
Next one, your feelings are not in charge. Okay? And you are not your feelings. So don’t allow your feelings to drive your actions. Your brain is a powerful thing, that we don’t use it, we allow ourselves to be driven by our feelings a lot of the time.
So for example, if you’re having a stressful day, you’re feeling very stressed out about what you want to do, you just want to go drink a bunch of alcohol or eat some junk food. But listen to your mind, your mind is smarter than your feelings, your mind knows what’s good for you.
Your mind should be driving the bus, your feelings can come along for the ride, but they’re a passenger, they’re sitting in a passenger seat, they’re not allowed to drive. And we think we have to do things a certain way. Because we feel a certain way. This is just not true.
You don’t have to do anything, you can just have a feeling. So instead of being driven by your feelings, use that intuitive voice that you have inside you. Your intuition knows what’s right, or what’s wrong in any particular moment.
So let’s say you had a stressful day and you just want to eat cake for dinner. This is a feeling that’s dictating a behavior. But in that moment, there’s a part of you that’s like, this is not right. I shouldn’t be eating cake for dinner. That’s not who I want to be. That’s your intuitive voice. That’s your intuition. Listen to that voice.
Okay, your feelings are not in charge. Listen to that voice of reason. Let that drive your actions. Don’t let your feelings drive the bus. Okay? If you get good at this, this is a game changer for every aspect of your life.
All right, the next principle is this: you have to know the difference between knowledge and know how. So knowledge is knowing about something. Know how is knowing how to do that thing.
So for example, if you read books on how to swim, and you listen to, you know, podcasts about how to swim, and you read all these books, are you a swimmer? No, of course not because you’ve never been in the water. You’ve never practiced.
You’ve never, like gotten from one end of the pool to the other without having to stop and be like, oh my god, this is super hard. I did this when I was learning how to swim because I decided I was going to do my first triathlon some years ago and I signed up for a half Ironman. Who does that? Right?
I’ve never done a triathlon in my life and I’m like, I’m gonna sign up for half Ironman, how hard could it be? It’s a half, it’s a half thing, you know, so it can’t be that hard. But I really didn’t know how to swim I kind of assumed, but I wasn’t good at swimming at all. I couldn’t make it across the pool without having to stop and like catch my breath or whatever.
So I got on YouTube, and I read some books and I learned the principles of swimming but It wasn’t until I got into the pool and I practiced that, that I actually knew how to do it, it took me a long time to get good at the right form, because you have to be able to breathe on both sides.
And you have to be able to look up out of the water and sight where you’re going and keep yourself going in a straight line. Because when you’re swimming in open water, there’s no black line at the bottom of the lake or whatever to keep you on track. So you have to be able to look and so you’ve got to practice all this stuff, knowing how to do it is completely different than actually doing it. Okay.
So you got to know the difference between knowledge and know how. And when I coach people, I always kind of tell them, like, coaching is like 20% knowledge, yeah, I’m going to show you what to do to show you how to do it. But it’s like 80% application, it’s 80%, practicing these principles, it’s 80% doing the thing.
That’s how you become good at something. That’s how you develop good habits. That’s how you become a good swimmer. You know, you’ve got to practice that good form over and over and over again. But reading a book on it does not give you what you need, you’ve got to do the thing, and you’ve got to spend time doing it. Okay, so this applies.
Specifically, we’re talking about weight loss here. So we’re talking about sticking to the food plan, what works for you, what doesn’t work for you? How do you work in all this running that you want to do? How do you train for this event? And stick to your food plan and lose weight, if that’s what you want for yourself?
So it’s 20% knowledge and like, 80% application, okay, but the know how is in the doing. It’s in the practicing. It’s in the repetition. Okay.
That leads me to my next principle, which is this: You crave what you repeatedly do. So the things that are easy for you, and that you enjoy doing are probably the things you do regularly. So if you’re somebody who goes to the gym regularly, like I go to the gym most days, right?
So right now I’m in this phase where I’m going to the gym like five days a week, and I love it. I love it. There was a time in my life where going to the gym one day a week would have sucked. And I would have been like, this is stupid, I can’t believe I would have to force myself to go because I didn’t love it, because I wasn’t doing it regularly.
But those things that we continually do. We get good at, they start to fill us with joy, and we crave those things. All right. So maybe you’re somebody who runs marathons regularly, you begin to crave the training and the feeling of crossing that finish line.
Let’s look at the other side of this though. If you repeatedly eat junk food, you’re going to keep craving it more and more and more. Instead, if you start eating healthy food repeatedly, guess what? That begins to be what you crave.
I will tell you right now I crave certain foods that seem crazy to me. That like few years ago, I would have been like, who is this person, you know, like a good salad with some crispy vegetables on there. And a big steak like that is something that sounds amazing to me.
Now, if you’re not somebody that likes to eat salad, and likes to eat steak, whatever do, you do you it’s fine. But this healthy, simple food right now, I crave it, you know? So as human beings, the reason why this kind of works for us is that we perceive anything familiar as good.
So anything that seems familiar to us that we do repeatedly, we see that as good, anything unfamiliar, we see as bad. Even if that thing is not actually good for us like eating junk food as an example, right? We do this repeatedly and our brain’s just like this is good, because we do it all the time.
But we know it’s not good for us. But your brain doesn’t care. It just sees that as good because it’s something you do repeatedly. Okay. So the more you do something, the more familiar it becomes, and the more your brain perceives it as good so you begin to crave it, you crave what you repeatedly do. So choose those things wisely. Okay.
Next principle, I’ve talked about this once or twice before, embrace the suck. Listen, change is uncomfortable. Change is hard. And change, it just plain sucks sometimes. And in the ultra running community, we talk about this a lot.
There’s this concept called ‘embrace the suck’ because the suck is that point that will happen at some point during your race where you’re going to feel terrible. I don’t know when it’s going to happen. Let’s say you’re doing a 50 miler. It could happen at mile 30 or 45 or minus eight, I don’t know, but at some point, it’s going to suck. And it’s better to know this in advance to accept it. To embrace it, don’t wish it didn’t suck, don’t don’t wish it was easier because it isn’t going to be.
So accept it and embrace it. That’s the only way you’re gonna get through it. What we do here, when we’re trying to change our diet, lose weight, create better habits, become healthier, get stronger, this stuff is not easy. If it was easy, I wouldn’t have a job, I wouldn’t do what I do.
This is hard work. But it’s in the hard work that we grow, it’s in the hard work that we evolve, and we become our best selves. So don’t try to avoid the suck, don’t try to make it easier, don’t wish it was easier. You know, embrace the suck, because it will always be a part of the process. Okay?
Next principle, you have to commit to the process of change. If you want to lose weight, let’s say you wanna lose 40 pounds, and all your energy is focused on 40 pounds, I gotta get to this goal weight by this date, I’m just, you know, kind of got to hit that 40 pounds, I got 40 pounds lose.
If you just focused all of your energy on this one long term goal, you’re just going to feel kind of miserable all the time. I’m just telling you right now from experience of helping people through this kind of thing and seeing people with these weight loss goals.
And I’m just telling you that it is a miserable place to be if all you’re focused on is hitting that goal. Because your weight changes, it fluctuates, it goes up and down. And it’s just sometimes the the date that we have for a goal isn’t realistic, you know, it’s like I’m gonna lose 40 pounds in the next 60 days. I don’t think that’s realistic. I mean, it might happen. But what if it doesn’t, then you’re just disappointed. So let’s just scrap all that out.
I want you to instead commit to the process of change. What does that mean? That means doing the stuff you need to do today, and just focus on that, focus on the process of change, focus on your plan, the steps that you’re taking.
What are you doing today to move yourself towards that goal? Are you skipping dessert? Are you eating more protein, doing a HIIT workout, lifting heavy weights, saying no to fried food and sugary treats? Yeah, do those things just focus on that be in the moment, focus on the process of change instead of the end result.
Because I’ll tell you what, you’re going to enjoy that process way, way more if you just focus on the process of change, okay. And when you do this, your goal becomes inevitable, it may take a little bit longer than you want, or it may not take as long as you think it just takes what it takes, we’re all different, but you’re going to enjoy the process so much more.
So just commit to that process of change and not focused all your energy on the end result. Which leads me to my next principle, which is the gap versus the gain, you’ve got to be focused on the gain, not the gap. So the gap, what is the gap? The gap is when you’re focused on where you’re not. So let’s say you want to lose those 40 pounds.
The gap is, you know that you have 40 pounds to lose, you have 40 pounds, that 40 pounds is the gap from where you are today to where you want to be in the future. And when all of our attention and energy is focused on what we don’t have, what we haven’t accomplished, how far we have to go, that is not a good place to be.
Because you’re going to get down on yourself, you’re going to feel frustrated, it’s going to feel like this is a never ending journey. And you’re just focused on the wrong thing. Instead, I want you to focus on the gain, what’s the gain?
The gain is every little success that you have along the way. When you focus on your little successes, and these could be oh, I lost a half a pound this week. Or it could be that my pants fit a little bit better. Or, oh, I can get into those shorts that I wore last, that I couldn’t wear last summer, you know, or I just feel like I have a lot of energy today. That’s a good thing.
When we focus on the positives on the gains that we’ve made along the way, we feel more motivated to keep going. We feel more confident that this is working. We’re no longer focused on what isn’t working. We’re focused on what is and it’s like just shifting into this whole new positive mindset instead of this negative one. So stop focusing on the gap, the gap doesn’t matter.
Focus on the gain, focus on those little things you do every single day that feel good and that move you inch by inch closer to that goal. You’re going to be much happier and enjoy the process much more if you do this, okay?
Okay, next principle, it’s okay to be the weirdo at the table. I love this one. Because we are so worried about trying to fit in, and please other people, and go along, just get along with everyone just do what everybody else is doing. Stop doing that. Okay?
If you’re somebody who is like working on their weight and trying to improve their health, and you’re not just not eating junk food, but you’re going out with some friends, and they’re all want to order a bunch of junk for dinner or something like that, or a bunch of alcohol or something, you do not have to go along with that.
If you choose in that moment, though, that everybody else is getting, you know, garbage food, you know, but you’re choosing to eat a salad or, or not have the drink when everybody else is drinking, you’re going to feel like you’re a little left out like you’re the outsider, like you don’t fit in.
They may even say something to you like, Hey, why aren’t you drinking? Hey, why aren’t you eating pizza like everybody else? You know, what’s wrong with you? Come on, just live a little, you get a little peer pressure going on there.
But they may just think you’re the weirdo at the table. And I want to encourage you to just be the weirdo at the table. It’s okay. Listen, you don’t want to be like everyone else. 88% of Americans suffer from some sort of metabolic dysfunction.
We’re talking overweight, heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity, high cholesterol, all that stuff. These are all lifestyle diseases. And they call it metabolic dysfunction, or metabolic disease. You want to be in the 12%. The different the, the outlier, the weirdo, that is not like everybody else, okay? Just own it. Just own it.
Like be okay being the weirdo at the table. All right. Don’t be like everybody else. And we can’t please other people by our actions, you know, like, it doesn’t matter. Like, you could be the perfect person. And somebody’s not gonna like you. So it doesn’t matter, like, stop trying to please other people. It just doesn’t work. I wish it did. But it doesn’t.
Okay, next principle is this: the 90/10 rule. I love this one. I hope you do too. So we don’t have to do everything 100% perfectly. Nobody does, not even me, honestly. Instead, you’ve got to take a day off every now and then from your workouts or have a piece of cake or a piece of pizza every now and then.
Otherwise, you know, you might feel discouraged and miserable, we don’t want to be discouraged and miserable. So when I’m working with clients, I try to encourage them to follow the 90/10 rule when it comes to diet and even exercise, primarily diet.
That means that 90% or 90% of the time you are like on the money, you’re not eating sugar, you’re not eating a bunch of processed junk food, no fried food, no vegetable oil, nothing like that, right.
But then there’s that 10% of the time where you can have the cake, or a sugary treat, or some pizza or a beer or a doughnut or whatever, do what makes you happy. Right? If you can do this the right way, and this is very important, you have to be able to do this right where you can allow yourself to binge out on junk food because you have one donut gotta be able to practice restraint, right, there’s a right way and a wrong way to do cheat meals.
But if you can do this the right way, and you have a plan that you know is working for you 90% of the time, then this is something that might be sustainable for you. Right. So if we talk about 10% of your meals can be a little bit of a cheat meal kind of a thing. That means that we’re talking about one meal per week. That’s it.
So this isn’t a cheat day, this isn’t a cheat week or a cheat month. This is a cheat meal, like once a week. So I’ll tell you like and I don’t do this once a week, but probably once or twice a month I get like tacos, that’s my thing. I just love tacos full of chips and salsa and guacamole and, and I get tacos.
And so that is what I consider my cheat meal. I do that once every other week or something like that. And it makes it so enjoyable to live this way. You know because the other 90% of the tim my diet is on point. Right?
But then I get to you know, enjoy something that is hyper palatable food that’s Uber delicious. I know it’s not super good for me. But at the same time it’s so small the amount of tortilla chips that I eat versus you know how much good clean food I’m eating that it doesn’t have a big effect on me. Okay.
Which leads me to my next principle: Whatever you do, it has to be sustainable for you. That means that it has to be enjoyable for you, or else you won’t want to do it. And if you don’t want to do it, and it’s a miserable process, and you feel like you’re deprived all the time, you’re not going to stick with it.
Sustainability means that you have a plan that you follow for life, like this is not short term. This is for good, right? not temporary. This is just how you do things from here on out. Okay. So this has to do with the foods you eat, how you exercise, all that stuff.
So if you’re trying to follow some plan that says you can never have sugar again, in any form the rest of your life, and you have to run every single day. Like, to me that sounds terrible. Because there’s going to be a moment where I’m going to be like, oh, it’s like Christmas, I really want to have this Christmas cookie that my kids made for me or something.
Or, you know, I’m kind of tired. And I feel like I need to take a day off, but I can’t because I’m on this plan. Like that’s not sustainable. Right? So whatever you have to do, you have to enjoy it. And it has to be sustainable.
That’s why when I work with new people, we come up with a plan and we always have the discussion about what foods do you love. Let’s talk about that. Let’s talk about putting together a plan that includes a lot of those foods that you love, so that you’re more likely to stick with it.
Which leads me into my next principle, which is consistency beats perfection. Do not focus on perfection. Nobody does this perfectly. Instead, focus on consistent consistency. Over time, that’s what’s gonna get you there. That’s what’s gonna make a huge difference for you. Okay?
When you focus on perfection, you beat yourself up every time you go off the plan. And this leads to self doubt, and a lack of motivation and giving up on yourself. Instead, practice consistency, you make a plan, and then you stick to the plan even when you don’t feel like it. It’s that simple.
You don’t go ballistic on yourself if you mess up because you are going to mess up and it’s okay. Here’s a good rule of thumb to follow: never have two cheat meals in a row. Never miss two workouts in a row.
That means if you do have that one cheat meal that next meal, you are right back on plan again. That means if you missed that workout, the next scheduled workout you make that workout no matter what.
You know, maybe you didn’t feel like running because you were super tired. It’s not a big deal. But you got to hit that next workout no matter what. Same with the food plan, right next meal, you’re back on track. Consistency over time is what’s going to get you there because nobody does it perfectly. So don’t think you have to do it perfectly. And don’t think that anybody does it perfectly, because nobody does.
Alright, next principle is this, you have to take radical responsibility. So this means that you cannot be a blamer or a complainer. Most people have a very hard time sticking with some kind of a diet or exercise plan. And they will have all kinds of stories and reasons and excuses. And they will blame everything and everyone else for why they can’t stick to their plan.
I had a job change, or my hours changed at work, or my kids are home for the summer or my husband doesn’t eat the same foods as me or is too cold outside, or it’s too hot outside, or Mercury’s in retrograde or whatever. These are all just excuses. And I could go on and on. I’ve heard every excuse in the world, you know.
And I want to tell you to just stop it with the stories. Stop it with the reasons stop it with the excuses, stop blaming everybody else. Start taking radical responsibility for your own results or lack of results. If you want to lose weight, and you want to maybe run faster, and you really want this for yourself, then take the responsibility of doing the work to get those things. No excuses.
No more blaming anyone or anything that’s outside of you. If it’s to be it’s up to me. Have you heard that quote before? I don’t know who said that. But I love it. If it’s to be it’s up to me that means you got to do it. It’s your fault. If it works, it’s your fault. If it doesn’t work, it’s your fault. Just take responsibility, good or bad.
If you’re getting good results take responsibility. If you’re not, take responsibility. Don’t blame anybody else. So here’s the thing: when you start doing this, when you start taking radical responsibility for every result you’re getting or not getting in your life, it becomes a game changer.
This is like total freedom for you because you’re no longer allowing anything outside of you to control what you’re doing or not doing or stop you from becoming who you truly want to be. This is a very beautiful empowering place to be, okay? People who take radical responsibility, get results, period. Okay?
Next principle, coaching is only for people who can’t do it on their own. So this is actually a myth. This is not something that I want you to follow. But I want you to just hear me on this. I hear people talk about coaching. And they think that coaching means that it is only for people who have no willpower, no discipline, and who just can’t do stuff on their own.
And I just have to tell you, this is not true at all. I was always somebody who’s very disciplined, I trained for an Ironman Ironman on my own. I trained for a 50 mile race on my own, 100 mile race on my own, countless marathons, countless ultra marathons, all on my own. And I was fine with all that I did great with all that.
Now, there was a blind spot that I had, when it came to nutrition, I did not have a plan that was working for me, I didn’t know what to do. And I didn’t have anybody helping me. And I thought I could figure it out myself. And I just couldn’t, I tried everything. And I really couldn’t.
Nothing really clicked for me until I got some coaching. Once I got some coaching, I had a custom plan that was designed for me, I had a lot of say in how I wanted to make this work. And I began doing the mindset work I needed to do to make this a lifestyle. And that was never going to happen on my own.
I learned a lot of the mindset principles I’m sharing with you today from various coaches that I’ve worked with. And doing this inner work has been the game changer for me. And the other thing I have to tell you is that the best coaches have coaches.
I work with a lot of coaches, there’s a lot of people that are clients of mine who coach other people. Some of them coach them on health and nutrition and diet and running and exercise. Some of them are life coaches and things like that. The point is, though, the best coaches have coaches.
So coaching isn’t just for people who can’t do it on their own, coaching is for anybody that wants to improve, and that wants the help and the guidance and the support to basically make those results inevitable. Okay.
Which leads me to my next principle, which is this change happens from the inside out, right? It’s this inner work, these mindset principles I’m sharing with you today, for example, this is the inner work that you have to do, you cannot expect to change by simply like, Oh, I’m just going to run more miles or I’m going to eat, you know, these 10 foods.
Yeah, you’ll change temporarily, like some of that you might be able to lose some weight, if you change your diet a little bit. But permanent change, it’s a whole different thing, a whole different thing. You have to fix your mindset. If you want long lasting change to happen, you have to do the inner work.
That’s why so much of my coaching program is focused on this inner work, on the mindset work. Because change happens from the inside out, it doesn’t happen the other way around. It doesn’t happen from the outside in. It’s not like oh, I’m going to make all these changes and I’m going to lose this weight. And I’m going to run faster, I’m gonna get stronger. And then I’ll have this great mindset.
Nope, it happens the other way around. You improve your mindset. First, you adopt a powerful, successful mindset. And then you become powerful and successful because of that. Okay, so just remember that change happens from the inside out, not the other way around.
Alright, next principle is this: you need to become an emotional badass. So human beings, we are emotional beings. It’s normal and natural for us to experience a wide variety of emotions and we have emotions that we call negative and some that we call positive.
We love the positive emotions you know love joy, happiness, ecstasy, calmness, peacefulness. These are all what we would consider positive emotions. But we hate the negative ones, fear stress, anxiety, guilt, shame.
All these are what we would call negative emotions. And we love feeling the positive emotions but we try to repress the negative ones. We try to push them down. We numb ourselves out to those negative emotions. We don’t want to feel those things, emotions and feelings same things right. So we numb ourselves to those feelings.
And how do we do that? We use food, we use alcohol, we use shopping, sex, gambling, drugs, and on and on and on. There’s so many things, scrolling through social media as a way of numbing ourselves. The two most common ones, and the ones that I help people with a lot, are the food and alcohol.
Those are like the two kind of most common ways that we numb ourselves. So if you’re trying to lose weight, and you’re eating, to make yourself feel better, you got to learn how to stop doing that you got to learn how to stop soothing yourself, or numbing yourself with food, or alcohol.
Because you’ve probably been using food as an emotional management tool for way too long and has to stop. If you want to become healthier, leaner, stronger, you got to change your whole relationship with food. So the real work actually begins when you stop using food as an emotional management tool, when you stop using food to numb yourself when you stop using food to feel better.
Now, you got to feel all these emotions, hmm, that does not feel good. That is the stuff that we actually have to deal with. So when I talk about becoming an emotional badass, that means that you have to get good at having those emotions and experiencing the feelings, that you have all of them without doing anything to make them go away without eating over them. And it sounds easy enough, right?
Okay, you stop emotional eating, you’ve got some emotions you’ve got to deal with, you just deal with those, and then you’re good to go. Sounds easy. But this is the work. This is the hard work and some of the hardest work that we do in the coaching project.
You know, I guarantee that most coaches out there and most programs out there are not going to help you in this area. Especially people that are helping runners and stuff like that, like it’s just not on their radar to help people in this way.
Most coaches don’t know how to help you stop the emotional eating and what to do instead, right. They, most coaches, are just like eat this, don’t eat that. Run this many miles, whatever. I do things a little bit differently, just so you know. So we have feelings. And we have to feel those feelings, we have to be able to feel them, we have to be able to process them, we have to be able to learn from them without eating because of that without drinking because of them.
And honestly, this is probably one of the most important life skills that you can and should learn. Because when you become an emotional badass, you’re no longer afraid to experience any emotion, positive, negative, whatever, like you’re, you’re just like grinding it all on, you become unstoppable. There’s nothing that you can’t do. There’s nothing that you can’t accomplish.
Most people don’t want to try to lose weight because they’re afraid they’re going to fail. And then they’re going to feel bad about themselves. That’s why they don’t do it. They’re afraid they’re going to fail. And they’re going to feel bad about themselves. They’re afraid of a feeling they’re afraid of feeling that feeling.
But what if you weren’t afraid to feel the feeling? There’s just like, nothing you wouldn’t be willing to try. So you got to become an emotional badass, just know that. Okay. Next on my list of principles that every runner needs to know, is the idea of a fixed versus a growth mindset. A fixed mindset.
So this is where your brain and your mindset is basically fixed. This is who I am. This is how I’ve always done things. This is how I will continue to do things I cannot change. And end of story. And I’m being sort of funny about this, but so many people think that their mindset is fixed. That’s just, this is the way I do things.
Oh, I’ve got a sweet tooth. I’m an emotional eater. You know, I’m a stress eater, whatever. But you don’t have to be that way. You can change. But if you’re stuck in that fixed mindset, it is going to stifle your growth, it’s going to cause a lot of stress in your life. It does kind of let you off the hook though.
Because you don’t really have to do anything, or stick with anything because you’re never going to like get better or improve anyway. So you don’t really need to bother with any of that stuff. It basically keeps you stuck and small. The fixed mindset is not where you want to be. You want to adopt a growth mindset.
A growth mindset is like I’m always learning, I’m always growing. I’m always improving. I’m always becoming more. I’m always capable of growth. I’m always open to change and learning and growing. This opens you up to amazing new experiences and opportunities. It helps you to try new things even though you might fail. But you know that you can try because you might also succeed. And so why not just try?
So the growth mindset is one that you have to adopt, if you want to change. If there’s anything you want to improve in your life, you can’t do it with a fixed mindset, you have to have that growth mindset, okay? So you have to adopt that. And you will be able to accomplish great things in your life, right? But with that fixed mindset, you’re going to just kind of stay where you are, you don’t want that.
Alright, next principle is this. Taking aligned action is the key. So this means that you have to take consistent aligned action, if you want to create progress, what is consistent aligned action. So aligned action is actions that are in alignment with your long term goals.
So if you want to lose weight, one of your actions that would be in alignment with that goal is like, I’m just not going to eat ice cream for dessert every night, boom, okay, doing that action. In this case, it’s not doing something that is in alignment with who you want to be. And when you take consistent aligned action, you make progress, you’ll start to see the weight coming off of you. Cool.
Well, making progress helps you to build confidence, you’re like, Oh, I’m doing this, I can actually do this. And that confidence creates motivation to keep going and take more aligned action. And this is the cycle of motivation. This is the cycle that you want to stay in.
All right, taking consistent aligned action, making progress, building confidence, being motivated to continue to take more aligned action, that’s the cycle you want to be in. There is another cycle that most people kind of find themselves in, by the way, and this is the cycle of demotivation, where you take misaligned action, so action that is not in alignment with your long term goals.
I want to lose weight, but you know what, I’m going to eat twice as much ice cream every night for dessert. That would be called misaligned action. Misaligned action causes misaligned results or lack of progress. So you start gaining weight, you want to lose weight, but you’re gaining weight. And that lack of progress causes doubt and worry and uncertainty and a loss of confidence. And that lack of confidence causes you to be demotivated.
So you’re no longer motivated to keep going. So you just quit. Have you ever experienced that? And I know I have. But I want to tell you something. Just don’t do that. Take consistent aligned action. If you’re not taking consistent aligned action, ask yourself why?
Why am I not doing the right thing in this moment? Maybe go back to that intuitive, asking yourself intuitively, like what is right in this moment, okay, because you know, you know what’s right.
Next principle is this: never, ever, ever, ever give up. People who are successful at losing weight, know that it takes some time to get the results that they want. So they don’t quit when they have a weight loss stall or a plateau. They keep going day in and day out. They keep doing the work, they keep showing up for themselves. And they never give up no matter what. They’ve committed to the process of change, and they keep going no matter how long it takes.
What if you adopted this mindset around one key area of your life like weight loss? What could you accomplish? How much weight could you lose? If you just never quit? What if you applied this principle to every area of your life, you could transform yourself into a whole new person no joke.
So commit to becoming the healthiest and most badass version of yourself. And then never, ever, ever give up. You don’t quit when it gets hard. You don’t quit when you get tired. You only quit when you’re done. Okay.
Which leads me to my last principle, which is this there is no finish line, you’re never done. I hope this doesn’t bum you out. Really, I hope it doesn’t. But there is no finish line. This is a lifestyle. You know, weight loss, getting healthy, becoming our best selves isn’t a destination we’re trying to get to, there isn’t a finish line, you’re going to cross and then you’re going to be like, oh, cool, I can rest and relax now and eat whatever I want.
No, it doesn’t work that way. We commit to these principles. We commit to this lifestyle. And it is a lifestyle. It’s the lifestyle that we live our life from here on out. So there is no “done”. There is no finish line. We just keep going. We keep showing up for ourselves because it’s the right thing to do.
We keep improving and growing and evolving and becoming more because it’s the right thing to do. Because we want to constantly transform ourselves. We don’t want to stay where we are. We don’t want to be the same person in 10 years that we are today.
I don’t know about you, but I’m always growing and evolving and I couldn’t look back where I was two three years ago and go, gosh, I’m like a different person today. And it’s because I kept showing up for myself every single day. A day in and day out, week after week, month after month, year after year.
When you have this principle, there is no finish line that this is just the work we do and it continues. This is a game changer because this just becomes a part of your identity. Being healthy, exercising, eating right, it just becomes a part of your identity becomes part of who you are and what you do. It’s not a struggle. It’s not hard. You’re not missing out on anything. It’s just what you do. It’s who you are.
Okay, just remember, there is no finish line, this work continues. Okay. I hope you’ve enjoyed this three part series called Weight Loss Principles Every Runner Needs To Know. You can really listen these three episodes anytime you need a little refresher course on what to do to kind of get yourself back on track.
Next week on the podcast, I’m going to be recapping my recent 12 hour ultra marathon, how I trained for it, my nutrition plan during the event, what went well, what didn’t go so well. lessons I learned and lots more. So that should be a fun one. And be sure to subscribe to the podcast and whatever podcast app you use so you never miss a future episode, okay.
And then if you’re a runner and you’re ready to lose the weight for good, then I have something that you need to check out, I put together a brand new free training program called Five Simple Steps To Becoming A Leaner, Stronger Runner.
I’ll teach you how to lose weight the right way and keep it off for good without the suffering and the deprivation or running a million miles a week. And just like you know, this is about more than just losing weight. It’s about not doing the same things over and over expecting different results.
It’s about changing your whole relationship with diets and nutrition and exercise. It’s about becoming the healthiest version of yourself from the inside out. And it’s about changing your mindset and creating new habits that last for life.
So if you’re ready to get leaner and stronger, if you’re ready to run faster, run longer and become the healthiest version of yourself yet. Check out this free training, just go to runningleancoaching.com and click on Free Training. There’s never going to be a better time than right now to get started, that’s runningleancoaching.com and click on Free Training. That’s all I got for you today. Love you all, keep on Running Lean and I’ll talk to you soon.