Nutrition is going to be the number one driver of your body composition. If you’re a runner and you want to lose weight, you have to get your nutrition game on point. The thinking that just …
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 177 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 1: Nutrition.
So nutrition is going to be the number one driver of your body composition. If you’re a runner and you want to lose weight, you have to get your nutrition game on point. The thinking that just running more is going to solve the weight problem for you is outdated. And frankly, it just doesn’t work.
There’s a lot more going on when it comes to weight loss; the types of foods we eat, the timing of our meals, what happens in our bodies, when we eat certain foods and so much more. There’s a lot to consider here. So don’t worry, I’m gonna break this all down here for you today.
My hope is that by the end of this episode, you’ll have a much clearer understanding of just how important nutrition is for weight loss, even if you’re a runner, especially if you’re a runner. And this is part one of a three part series called Weight Loss Principles Every Runner Needs To Know.
Part two will be focused on exercise principles. And part three will be all about the mindset principles runners need to focus on in order to lose weight and keep it off for good.
But first, if you’re a runner, and you struggle to lose weight, then I have just the thing to help you get started on the right track. I put together a brand new fun and free training just for you called Five Simple Steps To Becoming A Leaner, Stronger Runner. I will teach you how to lose weight the right way and keep it off for good without running a million miles a week.
Here’s some of the things that you’ll learn in this in depth training. You’ll learn why running more and eating less is not an effective way to lose weight. You’ll learn the one thing runners don’t do properly when they’re trying to lose weight.
You’ll learn the best fuel to use to improve your endurance and improve your weight loss. You’ll learn the mindset shifts required to make these changes last, and you’ll learn the surprising key to losing weight and keep it off for good and a lot more.
You’re going to learn how to crush your weight loss goals and your running goals directly from me, The Weight Loss Coach for Runners. And 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 food and diets and nutrition and exercise.
It’s about becoming the healthiest version of yourself from the inside out. It’s about changing your mindset and creating new habits that last for life. Are you ready to get leaner and stronger, run faster and longer and become the healthiest, most badass version of yourself? If yes, then you’ve got to check out this free training now.
Just go to runningleancoaching.com and click on Free Training. Do not put this off, there’s never going to be a better time to do this to get started on your weight loss journey than today, just go to runningleancoaching.com and click on free training.
So when I started thinking about putting together this episode on weight loss principles every runner needs to know I started listing out all the principles I thought were important. And my list got massively huge. So I decided to split it up into three parts.
So today we’re going to be focusing on nutrition principles. Next week, we’ll talk about exercise principles. And then the following week, all talk all about mindset principles. So today is going to be focused on nutrition and the nutrition principles that you need to understand if you want to lose weight.
If you’re a runner, and you want to lose weight these are the principles that you really have to understand. And it’s not a list of every nutrition principle possible. But it is a pretty comprehensive list. There’s a lot that I’m gonna be talking about here today.
And these are the ones that I talk about with my clients the most and the ones that we focus on the most, and the ones that seem to have the biggest impact on your weight loss. So that’s why I’m kind of focusing on these here today.
I don’t have these in any particular order. They’re not numbered or anything like that. I don’t know if there’s 12 or 18 principles here. I don’t even know, I didn’t even count them but the thing is that these are all important and they will all contribute to your overall health and fitness and especially to your weight loss journey. Cool.
Okay, so let’s just get into this, I’ll just start rattling off these principles. The first one is this. And you’ve heard me say this before, but I thought it was like one of the most important. So I’m just gonna lay it on you right now. And that principle is this: you cannot outrun a bad diet.
I know that we’ve heard for decades that you know, cardio is king. And especially the sugar companies will tell you this, right, just move more, eat less and move more, and you’re fine. The real thing that we have to understand, though, is that the biggest driver of your weight, the biggest driver of your overall body composition is not cardio, it is nutrition.
I work with runners who are in massive amounts of training, who are training for ultra marathons, and who gain weight during a training cycle. This happened to me several times, I was training for ultra marathons and was gaining weight. And I was like, this does not make sense. I’m not eating a ton more, what’s going on here?
And it had a lot to do with the types of foods I was eating, which I’ll talk about here in a minute. I had a client a while back, who was running at least three miles a day. So he was doing at least a 5k every single day. And he had done this for seven straight years.
And he’s probably still going seven straight years of running at least three miles a day. That is a lot of running. And he gained like 15 pounds in the process. That’s crazy, right? So you cannot outrun a bad diet, what you eat is way more important than how much you run. And I’m going to get into this, you know, and several of these principles, you’ll understand this more as we go but just understand that running more is not the answer. Okay.
So the second principle you have to understand is that if you want to lose weight, you have to burn fat. And, I mean, we all know this, like intellectually, but we don’t put our bodies into a state of fat burning. We eat the kind of diet that really keeps our body storing fat. So I want to explain this process really quickly here.
When you eat certain foods, like sugar, for example, this will spike your blood sugar, this will also cause a spike in the hormone insulin. When insulin gets produced in a high amount, it will drive that blood sugar down and you’ll kind of feel terrible, and you’ll want to eat more sugar so you can feel normal again, right? So that’s one part of it.
The other thing is though, every time insulin is present, your body is holding on to fat in its fat cells. So insulin is like the jailer that has locked up your fat, and it’s fat cells. And you cannot, you know, burn fat, you cannot lose weight while your insulin levels are high all the time.
So really, what you want to do is you want to eat the kind of diet that keeps your blood sugar regulated, pretty normalized, and you got to get your body into fat burning mode and get out of fat storing mode.
Okay, so we are naturally good fat burners, human beings. But we’ve gotten very far away from that, especially in the last 50 years or so. We started eating more processed food, more junk food, a lot more snacking, a lot more sugar, and we are just storing and storing and storing that fat.
Well as humans, you know, we evolved to store some body fat, and that’s good for us. It’s good to store some body fat, it helps us insulate us in the wintertime. But it’s also a good fuel source. For times of famine, you can survive for a long time off of your own stored body fat.
But we never put our bodies in the state where we can actually burn that fat. All we’re doing is just adding more wood to the woodpile, so to speak. So we just keep making that woodpile larger, but we’re not using that wood as fuel that fat as fuel.
So really, you have to understand that there is a fat burning state that your body needs to be in, versus a fat storage state that your body might be in, right? And in order to get the fat burning optimized, you have to eat a diet that regulates your blood sugar a little better. Okay.
The next principle is the order in which your body burns fuel, you have to understand that we metabolize certain macronutrients in a certain order. And this is important because I’m going to shed some light on what foods you want to kind of focus on here.
So, the order that we metabolize different nutrients is like this. First is alcohol. So that’s the first thing that gets metabolized. So, if you drank a couple drinks of alcohol, let’s say you have a couple of drinks on a Wednesday night, and then that is going to slow down or stop your fat burning from happening while your body is processing that alcohol.
And it takes about 48 hours, 48 to 72 hours for your body to metabolize that alcohol fully, and get you back into fat burning mode. Okay, so if you’re trying to lose weight, maybe take a break from alcohol, that’s something to consider. So alcohol is number one.
Number two is sugar. As long as sugar is available as a fuel source, your body will use it, it loves using sugar as fuel, it’s very easy for your body to use sugar as fuel. The problem is it doesn’t utilize it 100% gram for gram of sugar.
You eat a chocolate bar, some of that is going to be used for fuel. And some of that is going to be stored in your fat cells to be used as fuel later. You know, you drink a Big Gulp, which I don’t know if you guys know what that is. But it’s a giant soda, a giant sugary drink and you drink that drink, your body cannot process that much sugar all at once.
I don’t even know how many teaspoons of sugar is in something like that, but it’s probably a lot. My guess is that it’s way more than your body can metabolize at once. So you’re going to store some of that as body fat, and which is normal, that’s the way your body’s supposed to work.
The problem is that you’re not going to be able to burn that until you kind of get rid of that sugar. So we’ve burned alcohol first as fuel, then we burned sugar.
The next thing we can use as fuel is what we call exogenous fat. So that is fat that you eat. So if you eat, you know, some bacon, and then you go for a run, you might be using some of that exogenous fat as fuel, which is fine. You know, fat is not a bad fuel source.
Most people won’t be really good at burning fat until you get fat adapted until you’ve trained your body to become fat adapted. But you can use exogenous fat as fuel to some extent. Okay, the next order of metabolites that your body will use as fuel would be stored body fat.
So this is important to understand, because we want to limit the amount of alcohol and sugar. And the exogenous fat is not as big a deal because once your body gets good at burning fat, you’re going to be burning more stored body fat anyway. But we want to, you know, limit the amount of sugar and alcohol especially that we are consuming in order for our body to kind of force our body to use its own stored body fat as fuel, okay?
So you want to get really good at burning your own stored body fat. So the typical way we think about this is just think of a fuel tank, and at the top of the tank is sugar and at the bottom of the tank is like your own stored body fat. And you got to get rid of that sugar first you got to like get rid of that as a fuel source, you got to burn through that. And then you can start tapping into that stored body fat, okay.
So this is why it matters, the kinds of foods that you eat matter, more than just like calories, you know, calories do matter. We’ll talk about that in a minute. But just understand that it is important to eat the right kinds of foods and not go too crazy on the sugar side of things especially, or alcohol. Okay.
Next principle, what you eat is more important than how much you eat. So the types of foods you eat, like I just was explaining here, matter more than the number of calories. Yes, calories do matter. But typically, the right diet will help to regulate caloric intake, and do that in a way that is nice and easy and sort of effortless.
You know, if you’re eating the kind of diet where you feel pretty full throughout the day, and you’re not having these crazy cravings and over desire for sugary carbohydrate laden foods, then, you know, you’re going to feel more satiated and you’re going to be less hungry throughout the day and you’ll probably naturally just drive those cravings down and drive the number of calories that you’re eating down, which is fine, right?
The wrong diet, on the other hand, though, tons of carbs and tons of sugar will make you crave more of that stuff. It will drive hunger up, it will cause you to overeat. It’s very easy to overeat carbohydrates, refined carbohydrates, especially.
And sugar especially because your body will respond to those things, and will release some hormones that make it very difficult for your body to regulate your hunger signals. Like ghrelin is the hunger signal, and it actually ramps up that signaling of that hormone when you eat more sugar.
Leptin is the fullness hormone. And that gets down regulated when you’re eating a lot of sugar and carbohydrates, right. But if you’re eating more protein, and you know less on the on the refined carbohydrate side of things, your hormones start to work the way they’re supposed to, insulin won’t be produced in a great amount, and your leptin and ghrelin will be in check, your blood sugars will be regulated, and you’ll feel more satiated and full throughout the day.
So just understand that what you eat, the types of foods you eat is going to make a bigger impact than just trying to focus on the number of calories that you’re eating.
Okay, next principle is this, the typical runner’s diet just doesn’t work. So the typical runner’s diet, I talk about this, half jokingly, but really not is that it’s all carbs, it’s all sugar. So we do carb loading in the days leading up to runs. And then you know, the morning of or we’re loading up with carbs before we run, and then we’re fueling with carbs during the run. And then after the run, we need to recover. So we eat a bunch more carbs.
And then basically, every day is just like, I’m gonna eat as many carbs as I want, because I run and it just doesn’t work. Or if it did work for you in the past, it probably doesn’t anymore. Or for some people, it really does not work at all, ever. So we just have to understand that that typical diet of like beer and donuts, and burgers, it just doesn’t work, you know.
So we have to understand that if you’re the kind of person that is a little more carbohydrate sensitive, that you’re a little bit intolerant to carbohydrates, then just get rid of that stuff. That’s all, get rid of that stuff. There’s a way we can do this that will absolutely help you to fuel your running and lose weight and do it all. And there’s an answer.
You know, there’s a way of doing this that will allow you to hit all your goals, your weight loss goal and your running goals simultaneously, right? But we just have to understand that that typical runner’s diet is probably not going to work for you. Okay.
Next principle. The goal here is to eat a diet that helps to regulate your blood sugar. Now, I kind of talked about this a little bit, that insulin spikes, that constant insulin spiking and crashing will cause massive hunger, you’ll never feel satiated.
It causes overeating, it causes poor running performance too. So you get those blood sugar spikes and crashes, insulin is high all the time you’re hungry all the time, running becomes more difficult. You need a lot of fuel for running, you’re constantly hitting the wall because you don’t have enough fuel.
It takes longer to recover from those harder workouts, sleep becomes compromised. You don’t have all day energy, you kind of crash in the afternoons, right? Focus and concentration are impaired and you’re gaining weight. So this is all what happens when you eat that typical runner’s diet, that diet that is spiking your blood sugar constantly, right?
So we want to make sure that we are doing the opposite of that, right? Get to a diet that helps to regulate your blood sugar, and helps you to keep your blood sugar normalized. This is going to be key, okay. And it’s a little bit different for each person. But I’m going to give you some examples and some ideas of what to do here in a second, okay.
Next principle is this: all foods in moderation does not work for everyone. So I hear a lot of people, especially dieticians, talk about all foods in moderation, like there should be no foods that are off the table, like you can eat everything, but just moderate, just moderate it. Okay?
This is like telling somebody that has a drinking problem, just moderate your drinking. Why can’t you just moderate it? Why can’t you just control it, just drink like normal people. So I think we have to be very careful when we lump everyone together and say everyone should be able to eat everything that they want. Just do it in moderation.
I don’t hold this belief, this ideology. I believe there are some foods that we should kind of stay away from and that or should be consumed very sparingly. And that some people just have a very hard time doing that in moderation. Some of these foods, so why not just stay away from it? It’s not a big deal.
Like for example, I used to drink alcohol and I don’t anymore I quit like 16 years ago. And for me, I don’t know, I don’t have any desire to drink alcohol anymore. I used to smoke cigarettes, I have no desire to smoke cigarettes again, I stopped smoking cigarettes, I don’t know, 20-25 years ago, something like that. I couldn’t imagine not having a cigarette or having a drink every day. Now, it’s something I don’t ever need to think about.
So what if you took that same approach to something like sugar, where you just, you know, took a break from it for a while, and you got to this place where you just don’t even want it anymore. You just don’t even want it. That’s a great place to be. Okay.
Some people can moderate their sugar intake, and maybe just have, you know, a piece of chocolate every now and then. And it’s no big deal. Some people, they have one piece of chocolate and it’s like they’re off to the races, they start binging on that stuff. That’s kind of an unhealthy relationship with that particular food.
But it’s also something where maybe just stay away from it, at least for a while. And in my coaching program, we do this thing where we help to turn down the volume on our desires for these kinds of foods so that we don’t feel like we have to moderate or we don’t feel like we have to avoid them altogether.
Like we can just take it or leave it because there’s not a big deal anymore. That’s a good place to get to. Okay. So just keep in mind that all foods in moderation, it doesn’t work for everyone. Some people maybe should stay away from some foods, you know, but I’m not saying that everybody has to, okay?
So the next principle is this. You need to avoid what I call the Vile Triumvirate. What is the Vile Triumvirate? The Vile Triumvirate does this. It’s three things, it’s sugar, refined grains and vegetable oils. If you stay away from these three things, I’m telling you right now your health will improve. And you’ll probably start losing weight.
And for some people, it can be pretty dramatic, the health improvements and weight loss that you experience when you just stop doing these three things. So sugar, no one’s going to tell you that sugar is good for you. I don’t care. If you’re a dietitian, if you’re a doctor, if you’re some other type of like health or fitness expert, nobody’s going to tell you that sugar is good for you. It’s not, I think we all know that.
Moderating is hard, and we probably all need to eat a lot less of it. Okay. And listen, you don’t need sugar to run, you don’t need to eat sugar in order to run, you can get fat adapted, you can use your own body fat as fuel. When you get fat adapted, and you are burning fat really effectively, then you can run for long distances with basically almost no fuel doesn’t mean you don’t, you can’t use fuel for running but you don’t need all the sugar to run. Okay, so sugar, all the forms of sugar, just get rid of that.
Refined grains, those are wheat, corn, rice, oats. This stuff, especially when it’s refined, is very concentrated. It’s a very concentrated form of carbohydrate. This spikes your glucose, in some cases, even higher than just eating pure sugar does. That’s crazy, right? So it’s also hard to digest.
Some people have a real problem with this stuff, right? So if you just get rid of that, if you get rid of sugar and refined grains, I’m going to tell you right now that your blood sugar is gonna start to get more normalized, right? So those are the big two.
And then vegetable oils. These are just gross industrial seed oils. Go look up how they make vegetable oil at some point and you’ll never want to eat that stuff again. Okay, it’s disgusting.
Stick with good healthy fats, you know, like olive oil, butter, ghee, coconut oil, that kind of stuff. Those are all good for you. Avocado oil. There’s much better sources of fats and oils out there than using industrial seed oils. Okay, just get away from that stuff.
Okay, so what should you eat? Here’s another principle. I love this one. One of my favorites is eat real food. Just eat real food. That’s it. What’s real food? It’s food that still looks like food. It’s not processed food. It’s maybe minimally processed. It’s not packaged food. Or maybe it’s you know, maybe it’s in a package, but it’s like, doesn’t contain a ton of ingredients, you know.
But what’s interesting is a lot of the processed packaged food tends to have those three ingredients I just talked about: sugar, refined grains and vegetable oils. Like sugar, flour and vegetable oil seem to be the three main ingredients in most junk food.
So if you just stop eating processed packaged foods, you’re going to get a lot of that out of your diet. So that’s awesome, right? So food that still looks like food, you should be able to recognize that our ancestors should be able to recognize it. Oh, this is an apple. Oh, those are berries. That’s fish. That’s meat. That’s beans. That’s cheese. That’s potato. That’s some nuts, right? Just eat stuff like that, and you’ll be fine.
Honestly, there’s so much you can do with that kind of food that this doesn’t have to be complicated, you guys. Like you don’t have to make some crazy, complicated recipe every time you eat something. My diet is so simple and so easy. I’m almost embarrassed to talk about it. Because it’s so ridiculously simple.
You probably think like, I’m some, like, I’m a prisoner or something like for lunch today, I had a bunch of egg whites and salt. That was my lunch. Okay, that’s it. And it was amazingly delicious. Tonight, I’m having a big piece of meat and some sweet potatoes and some salad. Like that’s dinner. That’s it. It’s very simple, very simple. It doesn’t have to be complicated.
Okay, so real food, eat real food, food that looks like food, food, our ancestors would recognize food that doesn’t come in a package. You know, for the most part, sometimes I get the packaged, like frozen broccoli or something like that, right food that doesn’t have a million ingredients. Or at least you know, it has a few ingredients, and you can pronounce them all.
And you know what? Each of them is food that doesn’t come with all the marketing messages, right? If you’re eating packaged food, chances are it’s got some kind of marketing message, a bunch of ingredients, processed stuff, like just just stay away from that for the most part, okay?
If you just stick to these things, here we go: meat, fish, fruit, vegetables, eggs, dairy, tubers, potatoes, that kind of stuff. Nuts, seeds, healthy fats, salt, spices, just eat that stuff. Boom, you’re good to go. Okay.
All right, next principle, say no to snacking. You don’t need to eat all the time. What happens when you eat all the time is that every time you eat some food, even though it might be not sugar, but it’s some food, you know, it will, you know, raise your blood sugar a little bit. And again, we want to keep your blood sugar pretty regulated, right.
So if you keep your blood sugar lower, most of the time and you’re not snacking constantly, you’re eating like six or eight times a day, then your blood sugar is going to be pretty chill most of the day, which means your body is going to be burning fat most of the day. Right.
So just one of the easiest ways you can keep your meals spaced out and give your body a chance to tap into that stored body fat as fuel is to just stop snacking. You don’t need to snack. Snacking is not hunger. It’s not real hunger.
Real hunger means you can sit down and eat a meal. And if you’re thinking like, oh, I’m hungry, I should eat something. Can you eat a meal? If the answer is no, then don’t eat something. If the answer is I want like six nuts. That’s not hunger. Come on.
Snacking is almost always an emotional event anyway, like you’re bored, you’re lonely, you’re anxious, you’re stressed out, you’re tired, you’re angry, whatever. It’s some kind of emotion is driving that trip to the pantry. So just understand that you don’t need to snack. Okay, you’ll be okay. Give your body a chance to burn fat. Do that instead, right?
Listen, snacking wasn’t a thing until like the 1950s between 1950 and like today, you know, here especially in the US, we’ve just become a nation of snackers. And the food industry, they introduced all these packaged snacks that cater to our basic cravings for sugar, salt and fat.
And by the 80s, by the 1980s, people were eating snacks everywhere at home, at work, at school, while in the car, walking down the sidewalk. We did not evolve to snack all day long, right? This was never a thing until like the 50s. Right? It is a relatively new thing. You don’t need to snack just stop doing that. Okay, say no to snacking. The people who tell you you need a snack all day long is the food industry that’s telling you that and they want you to buy more food.
Okay, this leads me to my next principle, which is this. The food companies do not care about your health. They just don’t. They don’t care that you’re healthy. They don’t care that you’re lean and strong. They just want you to eat more of their garbage. That’s it. They do not care about you know, your health, you are not their priority.
Their priority is selling more food. So they make their foods hyper palatable. That means they are so amazingly delicious that you crave them day and night. Their goal is to sell as much food as possible. How do they do that? They just make it irresistible.
You cannot say no, you can’t stop. They even say it on the package. You know? “Once you pop you can’t stop. You can’t eat just one.” Right? They just tell you right there, like here’s what we’re doing to you, we’re gonna make it so that you cannot eat just one of these chips or whatever it is. They just care about making money and their bottom line.
And the end result of this is we are a nation that is metabolically unhealthy. We’re terribly unhealthy here in the US, right? We’re buying into all these marketing messages from the food companies, you know. And what you need to do is you need to go against that.
You need to go against the grain, and pun very much intended here. You need to take control of your own health and well being and on your own terms, that means do what people are not doing, do what the majority of people are not doing. Okay?
88% of the US population has some form of metabolic disease. They’re overweight, especially in the midsection. They have high blood pressure, high blood sugar, pre diabetes, diabetes, and on and on and on, you do not want to be a part of that 88%. You want to be in the 12%, who are considered metabolically healthy. That’s a very small percentage of the population, right?
But be that weirdo at the table who’s not doing what everybody else is doing. Be okay with that. We’ll talk about this more and when we get into the mindset stuff, but just understand that what everybody else is doing is not working. And the food companies, they don’t care about your health or you know, your weight or anything like that. They just want you to buy more of their junk, okay. Okay, rant over.
So, next principle is this: you are an athlete, so eat like one. This means that you should be eating like an athlete all the time. Whether it’s the offseason, or you’re in peak training mode, II, like an athlete, be intentional about what you’re doing.
Don’t just say like, well, you know, I got this marathon coming up, so I’m just going to kind of do whatever I want. But then afterwards, after this marathon, I’m gonna like really dial in my nutrition, like, don’t do that. Stay on track, always, it’s so much easier to just maintain a healthy lifestyle than it is to like, start and stop. Again, that’s kind of more of a mindset principle. But listen, you do not want to eat like crap for three months, and then try to get back on track just so you can like train for the next race or whatever.
Actual athletes do not do this. And you shouldn’t either. Now I’m not saying you got to train like an athlete, or, you know, you know, these elite athletes who are Olympic quality qualifiers and stuff like that. Like, that’s not what I’m talking about here.
But just like adopt this mindset of like, I am going to take care of myself, my health, my fitness, my running is a priority. And I’m going to eat like it all the time. Yeah, that means that you can have a beer here and there, that means you can eat that doughnut every now and then. But it doesn’t mean that this is like, you know, three months of the year you eat right, the rest of the time you just eat a bunch of junk, right?
If you started acting like an athlete and eating like an athlete, how would things change for you? Think about that.
Okay, next principle is this: there is no one size fits all. There’s not one diet that works for everyone. There just isn’t. Every single person I’ve worked with, I’ve worked with hundreds of runners. And we’ve put together custom nutrition plans for each one. And nobody does this the same. No two people do the same, which is cool.
I mean, it would be awesome if everybody could do it the same because I could like write a book or something and just hand it to you. And you know, you give me 20 bucks, and then we’re good to go. It just doesn’t work that way. It just doesn’t.
And any book that tells you what to do. Just take it with a grain of salt, you know, because it may not work for you. I’ve read all these diet books and listen to so many experts tell me what to do. And I have to tell you that it just doesn’t always work. You know, the South Beach diet, vegan, vegetarian, plant based paleo whatever, I’ve done all these different things. And none of them really worked perfectly for me until I kind of figured things out on my own. Right?
There’s so many factors that make us all individuals like my specific goals, my current diet, the way I exercise day to day, my food preferences, my dietary restrictions, my family and cultural considerations, my work and travel considerations, like there’s so many things to look at, that what somebody else is doing may work for them beautifully, but it may not work for me. Right?
So the goal here is that you have to figure this out. So a big part of what we do in the coaching project is we figure out what works for you. Right, and it does take a little bit of work to get there.
All right, next principle is this: the 90/10 rule. So you’ve probably heard of the 80/20 rule, right? I think that is fine for most things, but when it comes to sticking with your diet I love like more of like a 90/10 better.
I think that we can, most of us, can adhere to that. The 80/20 rule seems to be a little too loosey goosey for people. Okay? So 90/10. That means that 90% of the time you’re going to eat on plan, and then 10% of the time, you can eat a little bit off plan, right? That’s like one meal per week, essentially, is what we’re talking about here the rest of the time, just stick with the plan.
Listen, life is meant to be lived, we should be able to indulge every now and then to celebrate with family and friends. We just got to do it the right way. Food is a big part of our culture and how we come together as human beings, there always has been. It’s important. We celebrate special events in our lives with food, it brings family and friends together. And it’s how we connect. And you should enjoy that.
But you have to do it the right way. And that means you just don’t do it all the time. Okay. So, and I love this, somebody said this, I love this little quote. And it says, “It matters more what you eat between New Year’s and Christmas than what you eat between Christmas and New Year’s.”
So just think about that 90% of the time, stick to your plan that 10% of the time, you can be a little loosey goosey with it. You can indulge you can enjoy, you can celebrate, just do it the right way. Okay. All right.
Next principle, carbs are not the enemy. Okay, so I talk a lot about sort of the low carb approach to running. And if you if we kind of take a low carb approach, we can tend to lose weight a little easier, okay. But this does not mean zero carbs, right? So you do not need carbs to run, but we don’t avoid them altogether.
You can use carbs to help with running, you can use carbs to help build muscle, to improve your exercise performance, you just gotta do it the right way. The types of carbs that you choose, it matters, the timing of the carbs matters, how much you’re eating, that stuff matters. This is not an excuse to eat junk food 24/7. And there’s whole food types of carbs, like, you know, rice and potatoes and sweet potatoes.
And then there’s like carbage, which is just junk food, you know, is that carbohydrate, super refined carbohydrate, junk food, candy bars and cake and you know, bread and pizza and stuff like that. I mean, that stuff is fine, in moderation, very, very limited. Remember that 10%.
But if you’re using carbs strategically, you want to stick with whole foods, types of carbohydrates, right? And then the timing of how you do it matters, okay, but just understand that carbs are not the enemy and that like, it’s okay to indulge in some carbs here and there and to use them strategically around workouts and things like that. But we just got to be careful with how we do that. Okay.
Next principle, eating fat doesn’t make you fat. Listen, we need fat to live, we need it to survive as human beings, you have to eat that. That is what’s called an essential nutrient. Protein is also an essential nutrient. That means that we have to get it in our diet or we die. So fat and protein are what we call essential nutrients. If we don’t get those in our diet, we will die. There’s just no way around that right.
By the way, there’s a nonessential nutrient called carbohydrates. We don’t need to eat carbohydrates, our brains do need some glucose to function properly, but our liver will actually produce all the glucose that we need on a daily basis. So you could like just never eat carbs again, and you’d probably be fine. I don’t recommend that. I’m not saying you should do that.
I’m just saying like fat and protein, essential nutrients. Carbohydrates, nonessential. Just interesting, right? But there was this huge low fat craze in the 80’s and extended into the 90’s to some degree. Basically, that was like don’t eat fat, fat is bad. People were having all kinds of adverse reactions like being cold all the time. It was affecting their eyesight because they just completely eliminated fat from their diet. You can die if you do that, actually.
And what they ended up doing in the 80’s especially is they replaced a lot of the fat with sugar, you know, so they had these processed foods like, oh, here’s a low here’s no fat yogurt, but it’s like full of sugar, but it says no fat and people were like, oh yeah, let’s gravitate towards that.
How come I’m gaining weight? Well it’s because of all the sugar, right? Just choose healthy fats and I talked about that a little bit earlier. Animal types of fats. If you eat that stuff it is fine. And then you know things like butter and dairy and avocados, nuts, olives, olive oil, coconut oil, all those things are good sources of fat.
Okay. Another principle is this: train low, race high. What does this mean? That means that it In training, we want to, you know, train pretty low carb, okay. But for races, we want to have more carbs. So we want to train low carb and race high carb, high-ish. Okay, once you’re fat-adapted, you don’t need a whole lot of fuel for running and other workouts right? You need a lot less fuel than you think.
So for example, I did a couple of 25 mile runs recently, I’m training for a 12 hour event coming up here in a couple of weeks. And in these 25 mile training runs I did, I only took a few little Muir energy gels with me, which are about 12 grams of carbs, they also have some nut butter in there like almond butter, and some fat and protein, so fat and protein, a little bit of carbs.
And I had like three of them over 25 miles, it was very low in carbs, like I didn’t have to have, you know, a Gu every 30 minutes or whatever. And I was fine because I’m fat adapted because I use my own stored body fat as fuel very effectively. Okay. So just understand that there are benefits to exercising without fuel.
So exercising in that fasted state, you get a lot of benefits, you get improved performance due to more adrenaline being produced, you get a clearer head, better focus and concentration, faster recovery times due to more growth hormone being produced. So there’s lots of reasons why we like to exercise in that fasted state.
And it also helps emphasize fat burning, you know, so when you get really good at burning fat, then you go to, to race and you’ve been training low carb, you go to race and you add more carbohydrates for that race. That’s like adding rocket fuel, right, and you’ll get the you can optimize your running performance when you do that. Okay, so train low, race high.
Next principle, at some point, calories do matter. So there’s this concept called CICO. C-I-C-O.
And that stands for calories in, calories out. And this is the energy balance theory, which says, you know, the more energy you consume, the more you need to burn, basically, the cardio in order to maintain that energy balance, okay.
So this is what most people adhere to when they try to lose weight, the energy balance theory, and I tried this for years with an app. And I was tracking all the calories I was eating, like literally every gram of whatever I was eating, and then I was tracking all my exercise. It just wasn’t working. I was gaining weight in the process. Because there’s more to it than that, right.
And stuff we’ve talked about already, hormones like insulin have to be considered, the type of foods you eat have to be considered, all calories are not the same. The human body is not a steam engine. If we are a steam engine, this CICO theory might work, okay, but we’re not.
The human body is a complex, complicated, interconnected multi system living organism and trying to simplify it to work the same as a steam engine is just ridiculous, because it’s not. Right. Okay, all that being said, at some point over consuming calories is going to be a problem.
You have to be mindful not to overeat, you have to stop the automatic eating, the out of control eating, the emotional eating, you have to learn to know when you’re actually hungry and when you’re not. I know this sounds simple. And it is a simple concept. But it’s not easy. Because you’ve probably trained yourself to use food as an emotional management tool, right?
We all have. We all use food to feel better. We use it as a reward. We use it to feel better. We use it to manage our emotions, especially when we’re having negative emotions. We’re feeling really stressed out. Oh, I was doing great until I got really stressed out at work. And then everything went to you know hell in a handbasket?
Well, it’s because you haven’t learned how to deal with those emotional stuff. This is one of the most talked about topics in our coaching program, the coaching project, because everybody has to deal with this. Every single person I’ve worked with has had to deal with this to some degree. Okay.
So yes, at some point, overeating has to be addressed. Calories do matter. But keep in mind, when you change your diet, when you start eating real food, you start getting enough protein, you stop eating all the refined grains and sugar, your hormones start working properly, your blood sugar’s regulated, you’re not going to be hungry all the time. And not eating will be easy.
It’ll be effortless, and overeating will be much less of an issue. Okay? You got to learn how to deal with your emotions without food. And I’m going to talk more about this in our mindset principles episode that’s going to be part three.
So stick around for that one, because that’s going to be good. It’s important. This is one of the most important things that we have to address if you want to lose weight, okay? All right. So that’s what I got for you today.
Those are the principles that I think are the most important when it comes to losing weight as a runner. And remember, this is episode one of a three part series called Weight Loss Principles Every Runner Needs To Know.
And next we’re going to be talking about exercise principles for weight loss like running, walking, resistance, training, rest, recovery, cross training, flexibility, mobility exercises, tons more, all with a focus on, you know, helping you to lose weight guide. So definitely be on the lookout for that one.
And then listen, if you ever want help with all this, consider joining us in the coaching project. That’s my lifetime access, a weight loss coaching program. It’s designed specifically for runners to help you crush your weight loss and your running goals simultaneously.
The three things that you need to succeed at anything are number one, you need knowledge, so you need to know what to do and how to do it. You need the strategies you need, you need the knowledge, okay?
Number two is you need support. You need someone there to have your back, somebody to guide you through the process every step of the way, someone to encourage you and keep you motivated and help you stay on track.
And then number three, you need accountability. You need someone there to hold you accountable, so that you do what you said you’re going to do. Right and my unique weight loss coaching program delivers all three.
The coaching project will help you dial in a custom nutrition plan that works for you, your goals, your lifestyle, you’ll learn how to stay on track, even when you don’t feel like it. You’ll develop the mindset skills necessary to do the hard things. You’ll learn how to do cheat meals the right way, and I use cheat meals in quotes. I don’t really believe in cheat meals.
You’ll learn how to stop the emotional eating, the stress eating, the automatic eating that makes it so hard to lose weight. You’ll learn how to improve your running performance. Whether that means running faster or farther, you’ll be able to basically crush your running goals. And then you’ll just learn how to become a lean, strong fat burning machine right.
So to learn more and sign up today, just go to runningleancoaching.com/join. And I would love to see you in the coaching project. That’s all I got for you today. Love you all keep on Running Lean, and I’ll talk to you soon.