Most people are afraid of being uncomfortable. I think this is a real shame since getting uncomfortable is the only way to achieve anything worthwhile in this life. But it happens all the …
My name is Patrick McGilvray. And I’m an experienced marathoner, ultra runner, Master Life Coach, and weight loss coach for runners. I’ve learned that running more and eating less does not work for weight loss, and that there’s a better way. Now I help runners like you to get leaner and get stronger, so you can run faster and run longer than you ever thought possible. This is Running Lean.
Hey there, and welcome to episode number 43 of Running Lean. My name is Patrick McGilvray, the weight loss coach for runners. And today I want to talk about how to embrace discomfort. Most people are just afraid of being uncomfortable. Let’s face it. I think this is a real shame, though, because getting uncomfortable is really the only way that you’re going to achieve anything worthwhile in your life.
But I see it happening all the time, people will willingly trade away their big goals and their dreams just so they can avoid any kind of discomfort just so they can stay comfortable. Here’s the thing though, the only thing that stands between you and your goals is the discomfort of getting them. So in this episode of the podcast, I will explore what it means to embrace discomfort, and why it’s such an important factor in achieving everything you want in your life.
But first, let’s talk about the Running Lean community on Facebook. This is a positive energetic, encouraging informative group of like minded runners that goes hand in hand with this podcast. And I have a big announcement for you. If you are not currently part of the Running Lean community on Facebook, I would encourage you to jump in there as soon as you can, because I am doing something next Sunday November the first that I’ve never done before.
And you have to be in the group in order to check it out. I’m doing an epic training event. You will not want to miss this. The event is called Getting Lean, How To Transform Your Body Into A Lean, Fat Burning Machine. So you can run without bonking, lose weight without calorie counting, and develop the habits required to make it all last for a lifetime.
So I’m sharing my proprietary kind of six part framework for becoming a lean running machine. This is the exact framework that I use with my coaching clients. I’m pulling back the curtain. I’m sharing it all with you.
That will be Sunday, November the first at 4pm, Eastern time in the Running Lean community on Facebook, it’s free to join, you have nothing to lose. You do not want to miss this event though. It’s going to be awesome. So just go on Facebook and search for Running Lean community. And join us on Sunday, November 1 For this epic event. Okay, let’s talk about our Running Lean manifesto.
So today, the principle I’m sharing with you is to embrace discomfort. So what is the Running Lean manifesto? Well, a few months back, I created a list of things that were important to me: my guiding principles. So a manifesto is a list of guiding principles, it’s a set of values to live by, these guiding principles have become my North Star.
As long as I’m following these principles, I know I’m living the kind of life that I want to live in that I’m heading towards my goals. And I want to share this with you because I want you to adopt this as your guiding list of guiding principles as well.
So your manifesto is a blueprint that you can live your life by. It’ll help to keep you on track, help you keep moving in the direction of your goals, your dreams, everything that you want to achieve. So it’s just, it’s always easy to see where you are by checking out where you are in accordance with these principles.
Am I where I’m supposed to be? Am I following these principles? Yes or no? It’s pretty easy to know. Okay, if so, following this list of principles, having this manifesto actually gives my life meaning and purpose and drives me forward.
So here’s what the Running Lean manifesto is. Number one is eat real food. Number two is live vibrantly. Number three is to thrive in your body. Number four, embrace discomfort. Number five, run because you love it. Number six, love yourself unconditionally. Number seven, think, feel and act with purpose. And number eight to be an example of what’s possible.
So I’ve been sharing a few of these. And over the next few episodes, I’ll share the rest of them taking a little bit of a deep dive into each one of these principles. And again, my hope is that these become your guiding principles, too, that these help you to create the meaningful life that you want for yourself.
So today, we’re talking about the fourth principle from the Running Lean Manifesto: embrace discomfort. And I did an episode a few episodes back called Embracing The Suck, episode number 35 of the podcast, which is just a different riff on this same topic, but it’s definitely worth checking out.
I got a lot of good feedback from that episode. But it will help to round out this whole idea of embracing discomfort. Okay, so let’s get into this. Here’s the problem as I see it. We all expect life to be comfortable all the time. We want to stay comfortable.
And this kind of makes sense from an evolutionary standpoint, we as humans have evolved to avoid pain and seek pleasure. And this served us really well, as we were evolving as humans, as we were hunter gatherers.
When we were faced with an actual danger, like a saber toothed Tiger, we were programmed, we’ve programmed our brains to run away, that served us really well. It kept us alive. Understanding that there’s danger. And you know, wanting to avoid that danger, wanting to avoid pain, and seeking pleasure is good. It’s a good thing.
But today, there’s no saber toothed Tiger. But we still see danger all around us. Right, we see danger in work stress, we see danger and fear in the way people talk to us. We see danger in fear in people’s comments that they make online. Our primitive brain still wants to avoid pain, and is always trying to seek pleasure.
So we’re always still trying to kind of feel good all the time. Even though there isn’t any real danger out there. Or a focus of our energy is always on just being happy all the time, if that is our only goal in life, just be happy all the time, feel good all the time. The problem here is that this is not the way life works. This is not reality.
Reality is different. Reality is this life is kind of 50/50 when you accept only the good stuff in life, and you reject all the quote unquote, bad stuff in life, you are basically miserable 50% of the time. So 50/50 means that half the time, life’s gonna be pretty good, you’re going to feel good things, you’re going to kind of go your way, and the other half the time, not so much.
Things aren’t going to go your way, you’re not going to feel good. You’re going to experience good emotions, about half the time. And then you’re going to experience some negative emotions about half the time. That’s just the way life is. 50/50 means that we embrace all of it though, because this is what it means to be a human being.
The human experience is not just feeling good all the time. The human experience is experiencing all of it, the good and the bad, not just the good stuff. Okay. When we only accept the good and want to reject all the bad, we are in so much turmoil. We put ourselves through so much turmoil, because we’re not accepting half of the way life is. Okay.
Here’s an example from my own life. Honestly, every day when I wake up, I feel some level of discomfort. And no, not just because I’m 53 years old. I wake up and I feel some amount of fear and anxiety every day, because I have to show up. I have to show up to coach people, to create this podcast, to run my business, to run.
You know to go out there and run miles and miles. I have to show up to work out to stay fit. I show up every day in a way that I want to practice all of these principles and everything that I do. And I have to say that it’s not always comfortable, it is uncomfortable. So I wake up and I feel uncomfortable.
And I’m putting myself out there, you know, especially as a person who does a podcast with a following, and a big Facebook group, you know, I’m putting myself out there every single day. And here’s the thing about me, I’m an introvert, this is not comfortable for me. It’s not.
But you know what? I do it anyway. If I rejected discomfort, I would just stay in bed all day and watch Netflix. That’s comfort for me. That’s easy. That’s what’s safe. That’s what feels good. But that’s just my primitive brain, trying to avoid the pain and seek pleasure. That is not what I do.
Why don’t I just do that? Why don’t I just stay in bed? Why don’t I just watch Netflix all day? Why do I put myself out there like this, even though it’s uncomfortable? Here’s why. Because I decided that my job is to make a difference. My job is to be an example of what’s possible.
My job is to become more, to create change. Do you think I could do that? Do you think I could do my job if I’m in bed watching Netflix all day? I wish I could. But that’s not how this stuff works. That’s not how life works. It’s because I want more for myself. It’s because I want to become more that I’m willing to embrace this discomfort of putting myself out there.
Because that discomfort, that’s what it takes to become more, that’s what it takes to get there. Discomfort is the price you have to pay. If you want to achieve more. The cost of achieving your goals is discomfort. You cannot be, do, or have more without experiencing some amount of discomfort. You just can’t.
You know if being, doing, or having more was comfortable, you’d already have it. If it was easy, you’d already have it. Everything you want, but don’t already have lies outside of your comfort zone. And it’s precisely because it’s so hard and uncomfortable. That makes it so worth it. I know I hate how that works, too. But that’s the way it works.
Losing weight is hard. It’s an uncomfortable process to go through. No one would disagree with that. But when you embrace the discomfort instead of rejecting it when you put in the work, and you get to that goal. What an amazing accomplishment. What an amazing feeling that is.
I put myself through a lot of discomfort this year, getting to my goal weight. So I’ve told this story before but you know, I had put on like 40 pounds over the last couple of years. Even though I was eating what I thought was a great diet. I was eating a plant-based diet. But I was addicted to sugar.
So earlier this year, I was like I have to figure this out. And so I did all the research, I read all the books, I listened to all the experts, I attended seminars, workshops, I got training on not just the physical aspects of weight loss, but the mental aspect and the emotional side of things, too.
I went all in on creating change for myself. And honestly, this was a very uncomfortable period for me. I stopped eating sugar, and carbohydrates. Basically, I stopped eating processed foods. And I even went back to eating meat again, which was a whole nother uncomfortable place to be. This was a big decision for me, by the way.
And I did a whole podcast about that. Because it was a big uncomfortable thing for me to go through. So you can check that out when I can’t remember what number that is, but it’s called why I decided to start eating meat again. But I did all of these things.
And all of these things, you know, not eating sugar, not eating processed foods. Going back to eating meat again. All these things went against everything I was believing in up to that point. It was a very uncomfortable transition period for me. But I knew that the only way through it was to embrace the discomfort and go all in on it.
And here’s the thing, we runners, we are pros at embracing discomfort seriously. We do it all the time training for a marathon. Come on, that is a very uncomfortable thing to go through. Running every day, maybe you’re doing a run streak and you run every single day. That’s uncomfortable. Getting up early in the morning and running in the cold, or the rain or the snow, or the ice or the heat of the summer. I mean, just getting up early every Saturday morning to run. That is uncomfortable.
We put ourselves as runners, we put ourselves through all kinds of misery on purpose, we get super uncomfortable. We willingly suffer through months and months of training, just so we can say we ran a half marathon or a full marathon or an ultra or whatever your goal is.
I remember training for 100 miler a few years back, and I put in the training, it was like a year long training now, but you could probably do it shorter. But that’s how long I chose to do it. So I trained like for a year. And at the peak of my training, I was doing 30 mile runs on Saturdays, and then 20 mile runs on Sundays.
That’s uncomfortable, to be honest with you. Runners are pros at embracing discomfort. Right? We do it all the time. We’re good at it. We actually brag about it. But here’s the crazy thing. As soon as I suggest that, maybe you stop eating sugar, so you can actually become a super healthy human being and maybe lose those extra 40 pounds you’ve been carrying around. You’re like, oh, this is too hard, Patrick, this feels uncomfortable.
And I just laugh because I’m like, this is ridiculous. You’ll happily endure 17 weeks of marathon training and all the discomfort that comes with it: the painful, long runs in the dark, the black toenails, the sore legs, the long hours out in the elements, the blisters, that chafing, GI issues, all the struggling, all the suffering. You’re all in on all of that. All that discomfort, 100%. No problem.
But when I say like, hey, maybe quit eating sugar. And you do and you experience a few moments, a day where you’re having a craving like, I could probably go for something sweet right about now. And those cravings actually go away after the first week or so by the way. But when you experience a little craving for something sweet, you’re like, Oh, my God, I can’t do this. It’s too hard. It’s too uncomfortable.
Why is there such a disconnect there? Why do we have such a cognitive dissonance when it comes to this? This is fascinating to me. I believe that it’s all about deciding what’s important to you. You know, my best guess is that you’ve made marathon training, your number one priority, which is fine. That’s an important decision. And it’s a big goal. And it takes a big commitment.
So you made a decision at one point that you’re gonna go all in, you’re gonna run a marathon. And here’s your training schedule, and you are all in on that decision, no matter what, no matter how much discomfort you are going to experience, you are crossing the finish line on this date.
You know, when you run your marathon, you decided at some point that embracing the discomfort of training and of running that race was the price that you had to pay to reach that goal to get across that finish line. What if you decided that you were going to go all in on losing that weight? What would that look like for you?
What if you committed to that goal, the same way that you commit to training for a marathon? What if you decided to go all in and actually just embrace that discomfort of losing weight? How would you show up differently? How would you show up for yourself? What would you start doing differently? Maybe what would you stop doing? Because here’s the thing, you get to decide.
My suggestion for you is that you choose discomfort, whatever that looks like for you. But my suggestion is that you choose discomfort and go for the big stuff. Because you already have all the easy stuff, all the simple stuff. I want you to go after more. I want you to go after all that stuff that lies outside of your comfort zone. Be more, do more, have more, become more, just know that there’s a price that you have to pay to get it and that price is discomfort. That’s it. It’s just discomfort.
Next weekend, I am running a marathon. And the reason that I’m telling you this and that it’s a big deal for me is because about two years ago, I decided that marathons were too hard. I had run 14 marathons, and I was like, marathons suck, right? They’re too long, it takes too long for the training. These runs are way too painful.
You know, plus, you know, you’re out there all day. I decided that I was going to stick to half marathons, you know, you get it all done, like two hours, you never have more than like a 10 or 12 mile training run. You know, after your marathon after your half marathon, you can still walk the next day, like, I could justify all these reasons why I was going to just stop doing marathons and go back to just doing halfs.
And a few months ago, I was out running with some friends. And they’re all talking about creating this marathon in the Fall here and running a full marathon. And I was like, Yeah, you guys enjoy yourselves. You’re crazy. I’m not in. No, thank you. I’m just into halves now.
But then I really started to think about what it is that I really wanted for myself. Did I want to stay comfortable and small? Or did I want to see what I was made of? Did I want to push myself? Do I want to become more?
I decided that yes, I wanted to be more, I wanted more for myself. I didn’t want to settle for the comfortable. I didn’t want to settle for the easier, softer way. I wanted to prove to myself that I can still do hard things. And that meant that I had to embrace the discomfort and go all in. So I started training for a full marathon.
This will be my first full marathon in over two years. And I’m really excited about doing this by the way. It’s going to be fun, I feel good about where I am and in all of this. But I made a decision that I was going to be an example of what’s possible when you embrace discomfort.
So I’ve done all of my runs in the fasted state. That means no food for like 12 hours or so before the run. I’ve taken zero calories, have taken in zero calories during the runs. So I’ve done several 16’s, several 18’s, 20 miles with zero calories and no problems at all, tons of energy. Because I’m fully fat-adapted. And I feel like I’m virtually bonk proof at this point.
And I’m gonna run 26.2 miles in a week. Fasted, zero calories to show you what’s possible. And I have to tell you, I’ve been feeling amazing. I’m kicking ass on my runs, even at 53 years old. That’s right. But here’s the thing.
If I chose during my life if I chose to stay comfortable. If I choose not to embrace discomfort, I would never know what I was capable of. If I had chosen to stay comfortable in my past, I wouldn’t have quit drinking. I wouldn’t have done an Ironman. I wouldn’t have run 100 miles, I wouldn’t have lost 40 pounds. I wouldn’t be running a marathon next week.
If I constantly chose comfort, I wouldn’t be here talking to you on this podcast right now. I’d be at home on the couch watching Netflix wishing that I was more wanting to be more, but instead just staying comfortable and safe instead.
So here’s my call to action for you for this week. I want you to embrace discomfort. What does that look like for you? I want you to think about that and then go all in on the discomfort. be uncomfortable. It’s okay. Please go for the hard stuff too. Don’t go for the easy stuff.
That’s simple stuff that’s like right there within your reach. That easy stuff that’s not where the growth is. Go big. Embrace all the discomfort. And I’ll leave you with this thought: discomfort is temporary, but becoming more is forever.
All right, I’ll be diving into more of these principles from the Running Lean manifesto in the upcoming episodes. So this is really fun sharing this with you guys by the way. And don’t forget next Sunday, November the first I’ve got this epic event that I really want to share with you.
It’s called Getting Lean: How To Trasnform Your Body Into a Lean Fat Burning Machine. So you can run without bonking, lose weight without calorie counting, and develop the habits required to make it last a lifetime. I’ll be sharing my coaching framework for becoming a lean running machine.
That’s over in the Running Lean community on Facebook Sunday, November the first 4pm Eastern, just search for Running Lean on facebook and join us. That’s all I got for you today. Lots of love to each and every one of you, my friends, keep on Running Lean, and I’ll talk to you soon.
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