Sometimes, I have a bunch of thoughts that I want to share with you here on the podcast and I’ll create an episode for each one of those random thoughts. This is a great way of taking a deep dive …
It’s officially the Holiday Season and that means it’s time to gain a bunch of weight over the next 30 days and start the new year feeling like crap, right? I know it seems kinda crazy when I say …
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 204 of Running Lean. My name is Patrick McGilvray, the weight loss coach for runners and today, five tips to avoid gaining weight this holiday season. So it’s officially the holiday season. And that means it’s time to gain a bunch of weight over the next 30 days and start the new year feeling like crap, right?
I know it seems kind of crazy when I say that out loud, but the truth is, though, that’s the way most people do it. Most people gain a bunch of weight during the holidays. And then at some point, they swear a solemn oath that they’ll get back on track in January.
And I know what this feels like. I’ve done this many, many times. I also know how terrible it feels when January comes around. And you have to lose a bunch of weight just to get back to where you were before Thanksgiving. So in this episode, I’m gonna offer a better approach for this whole time of the year.
Okay, I have five tips to avoid gaining weight this holiday season. But first, I talk a lot about losing weight and improving your health and fitness here on the podcast. And I know all of this can feel a little overwhelming.
So, if you’re looking for a good place to start I’ve created a free hour long training just for you called Five Simple Steps To Becoming A Leaner Stronger Runner. In this training video you’re going to learn how to fuel your body properly so you can lose weight and improve your running, because there is an answer, you can do both.
You’re going to learn how important strength is in your fitness journey. You’re going to learn how to make changes that are actually sustainable for you, and so much more. So, if you’re ready to get leaner and stronger 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 and click on Free Training.
Okay, so this is actually a replay episode that I did, I think about a year ago. I always like to talk about this topic around this time of the year, the holidays and how most people gain weight during the holidays.
And I started looking through my notes and I thought this episode is perfect I’m just going to replay this episode, so that’s what you’re getting today. You’re getting a replay of this episode from last year. But it’s important information, and I think you’re going to get a lot out of it. And it offers a very different approach to the holidays, different from the way most people do it.
Just because you’ve done something in the past doesn’t mean you have to continue doing that going forward. Okay, so this year, this holiday season I want to challenge you to do something different. Okay, so listen to this episode, I think you’re going to get a lot of it. You’re going to get at least five, okay, it’s called Five Tips To Avoid Gaining Weight This Holiday Season.
But this is just one of those things I feel very strongly that there is a much better way to approach the holidays, you don’t have to gain weight, you don’t have to slip into old habits, you don’t have to start the New Year feeling like crap.
There is a better way to do it. So, anyway, always always if you’re looking for help with any of this stuff, you can reach out to me. We can talk about coaching, just head over to my website runningleancoaching.com and click on Work With Me.
So anyway, without further ado here are my Five Tips To Avoid Gaining Weight This Holiday Season.
Okay, so today, I got these tips for you. I got some tips to help you avoid gaining weight this holiday season. I’ve been thinking about this for a while now. And so many people think that this time of the year they will automatically gain weight. In fact, so many people think this because the average adult American says that they expect to gain around seven pounds during the holidays. That’s a lot of weight to gain in a month, right.
And one in four of those people say that they’re still carrying extra weight from the previous year. And so you know, let’s just say it’s a few pounds, I mean, you’re this is just this time of the year, you’re just going to be continually gaining weight. And if you multiply this by 10 or 20 years, this is a big problem. This can be a huge problem, right?
So, let’s stop this trend right now. Let’s take control of our health and our fitness and our weight for once. Don’t be average. Don’t be the average American. You know, I’ve talked to so many people about changing their diet and eating differently and maybe, you know, giving up things like sugar and grains. And people are like well, but I don’t want to be different. I just want to be able to do what everybody else is doing.
And I’m like to listen, listen, what everybody else is doing isn’t working, there’s like 78% of people in this country have some sort of metabolic dysfunction? Do you really want to be one of the normal people? Do you really want to be one of the average Americans? And this applies to other countries as well. But I say no, I say let’s be, let’s be the minority, let’s be different.
Embrace that, like, don’t be normal, don’t be average. Okay. So instead of expecting to gain a bunch of weight during the holidays, we need to have a different approach, you got to do things differently than the way most people are doing things. And yeah, that means that you might not be indulging in all the Christmas cookies, and all the booze at the parties and all this other stuff that other people are doing.
But guess what, you’re gonna feel so much better when January 1 comes around, and you haven’t gained that seven pounds. And that’s kind of average, I think some people gain more, you know, 10-12 pounds. So for me, here’s kind of the way I used to do it. So this time of the year was always the, well it’s still is pretty much the offseason for running.
And so we’ll do a full marathon. And then we sort of take a break from running. But for me, I never really changed my diet, like I just kept eating the same amounts of food and the same types of food. And of course, I was eating a ton of sugar and a ton of carbs. And so this time of the year, I would always gain weight.
And I would always gain 5-10 pounds somewhere in that range. And then I would always tell myself that yeah, come January 1, everything’s going to change, I’m going to get serious, I’m going to lose weight, I’m going to, you know, start focusing on eating better, and all this other stuff.
And guess what, January 1 would come around, and I would sort of start some of that stuff, I would kinda maybe watch my calories, or start adding food into a food tracking app. And you know, you know, going lower fat and trying to exercise more, and all the things that we’ve tried that really don’t work long term. And I might do it for a short amount of time. But then it became problematic, it became frustrating, became too tedious, and I would just stop doing it. And I would always, you know, I might lose a few of those pounds, but I would always gain a few extra pounds every year, during this time of the year.
And you know, you do that for 10 years. And, you know, I found myself 40, more than 40 pounds overweight. And I was eating what I thought was a really clean diet. You know, I was plant based and I was just eating a ton of carbs. I was a carb-atarian, let’s just say it that way. Eating nothing but sugar and carbs, and running a lot. I was running and training for marathons and ultra marathons.
And it wasn’t that I wasn’t exercising, I was going to the gym two or three times a week, doing yoga a couple of times a week, like I had a regular exercise regimen, I was running like crazy every year. And still I would gain weight during the holiday season. And I couldn’t, couldn’t lose it. And that just kept you know, adding on and packing on more weight and more weight.
So there’s a better way to do this, there’s a better way to get through the holidays. And, and I’m going to give you a few tips here for you to apply and actually take action on because these tips are great. If if you’re listening to this and you’re like, oh, these sound great, Patrick, that’s one thing.
It’s a whole other thing if you take action and actually do what I’m going to suggest that you do here today. Because if you do what I suggest you do here today, you’re gonna get through the holidays in a much different way than somebody who doesn’t take action. Any kind of program like this, anytime we’re talking about improving yourself, it requires something on your part.
You’re not just going to lose weight by listening to somebody talk about what to do, right? You’ve got to take action, you got to do this stuff. Okay? So if you’re the kind of person who loves getting into action and loves, you know, doing, you know, these kinds of tips, then do it. I want to encourage you to just start today.
So here’s the tips I’m gonna give you tip number one, and this is probably the one that most people won’t do. And this is why I’m sort of prefacing this by saying like you have to take action here because most people don’t want to do this. And that is to create a vision for who you want to be on January 1, create a vision for who you want to be on January 1.
How do you want to show up for yourself? How do you want to feel about yourself? How do you want to look? How do you want to feel mentally, emotionally, physically? How do you want to have approached this holiday season? Like, I really want you to get detailed about this future version of yourself. So we’re only talking about 30 days in the future. As we record this, it’s December 1. And so we’ve got, you know, what, 31 days, 32 days, something like that until January 1. So create a vision today.
And I want to encourage you not to just think about this, but to actually write it down. So grab a piece of paper, grab a journal, whatever it is that you want to use, do it on your computer, it doesn’t really matter. But write down in detail as much as you want. How do you want to show up for yourself on January 1, who do you want to be?
Most people don’t do this. Most people are just like, yeah, yeah, whatever, I want to feel good, but whatever. But they don’t really spend any time really thinking about this. But here’s something that’s very interesting. There’s this very powerful thing that happens, when you start thinking about who you want to be in the future, your subconscious mind will actually start moving you in the direction of that vision, your subconscious mind will actually get on board with this plan.
Everything that we want for ourselves, we first have to create in our mind, there’s not one thing on this planet that’s been created that hasn’t first been a thought and a vision, you know, think about things like a rocket ship, or an airplane or the iPhone, all these things were first an idea and a thought.
And then they were written down, and they were then you know, expanded upon, you know, so all these things that we want for ourselves have to start with a thought they have to start with a detailed vision. And when we create this vision for ourselves, it’s important that you get into that emotional state of how you want to feel on January 1.
Do you want to feel like you are regretting your decisions over the last 30 days? Do you want to feel like you have fallen behind or fallen off the wagon, or let yourself down? Or do you want to feel like you’ve built some confidence in yourself, you’ve built some trust in yourself, you said you were going to do some things, and you actually did them. Because that is available to you.
But you first have to start with a vision, you have to start with a detailed accounting of how you want to show up on January one. So don’t skip this step. Do it, I’m gonna encourage you to just do it, write it down, it’ll take you 10 or 15 minutes, spend about that much time writing free, write just as much as you want, or as little as you want. But do this step. Okay.
So that’s step number one, create a vision for who you want to be, and how you want to show up for yourself, and how you want to feel that’s the important part. Because once we get into that emotional state of how we want to feel, we can access that throughout the month, you know, you might have a day where you wake up and you’re like, I really don’t feel like running today, or I really don’t feel like you know, sticking to my plan my food plan today or whatever, you’re gonna be like, oh, but you know what that feeling that I want on January 1? I’m only gonna get that feeling.
If I stick to this plan, if I go out and run, if I go lift weights or whatever. So make sure that you get into that emotional state of how you want to feel on January 1, okay? That’s a very, very powerful state to be in. Okay, that’s how all visions come to life is just creating that vision getting into that emotional state. Okay, so that’s step number one.
The next tip I have for you, after you create a vision, you have to have a plan. You have to have a plan. Most people think that they will just sort of wing it. And I’m just going to tell you right now winging it does not work. If you think well, I’ll just kind of like I’ll get through the holidays, it’ll be fine. I’m not too concerned about it.
But if you’ve got some weight to lose, and you really want to make some changes and you want to get through this unscathed, you want to, you know, show up on January 1 really feeling good about yourself. You have to have a plan. Okay? So that means that you need to write down what you’re going to do to get to that vision that you have for yourself on January 1.
So you have a vision, great, how are you going to achieve that vision? You have to have a plan. I’m going to not eat sugar this month, that’s a plan. I’m going to, you know, work out every day, that’s a plan, I’m going to do yoga three times a week, I’m going to strength train twice a week, I’m going to run three times a week, I’m going to, you know, eat, you know, a good amount of protein at each meal, these are all plans, and you write these things down.
And there’s things that are going to happen this month. So we got holiday parties, we got a couple of holidays, really, we’re only talking about a couple days here, we got like Christmas, and New Year’s right, and then maybe New Year’s Eve, right? So maybe, or maybe even Christmas Eve for some people.
So three or four days really is all we’re talking about, you know, from here on out. So, plan those days, then if you have holiday parties, you’re gonna be going to or family’s gonna be in town or whatever, plan for that stuff, make a detailed plan of how you’re going to achieve your vision for yourself.
And this is what I do with all my clients. We work together on a plan and we get very detailed about what they’re going to eat and what they’re not going to eat, when they’re going to work out, when they’re not, when they’re going to recover. And we put together a detailed plan. And then obviously, you have to work the plan, you have to actually stick to the plan.
But you’re more likely to stick to the plan when you’ve created that vision for yourself. And then you’ve written it down. And then you’ve also written down a plan. I know what I’m doing. I’ve got it written down. You can look at it every day and say, okay, what am I doing today, and then just follow the plan. It seems almost too simple. Create a plan, and then stick to the plan no matter what. But that’s how simple it is. Create a plan and then stick to the plan no matter what.
And it’s that no matter what part that’s kind of important, right? For example, I am working on running every day during the holidays. So if you’re part of the Running Lean Facebook group, and if you’re not, you can join us just search for Running Lean community on Facebook. We are doing the running through the holidays challenge right now, which is to run every day, outside from Thanksgiving Day through New Year’s Day. And that’s 39 days of running.
And it’s just, you know, just gotta run at least a mile each day. So some days, I’m running one mile, some days, I’m running 2, 3, 4, 5, whatever. But the other day, I did not run during the day, I had a busy day. And I wasn’t able to get outside and you know, it gets dark early, it gets dark at like 5:30. And this is like 7pm and it was raining. And it was cold. And it was windy. And I did not feel like running. Not at all did I feel like running.
I had already eaten dinner and stuff. And I’m like, oh my god, I forgot I have to run still. And so you know what I did? I put on my running shoes, and I put on a rain jacket and I just headed out the door. And I got my mile in outside in the rain and the wind and the cold. And I have to tell you that it didn’t feel awesome. When I was out there I was you know, I had to put a headlamp on and you know, watch out for debris in the streets and roads and stuff like that.
But I did it, and I felt good about myself because I stuck to my plan. So I had a plan to run every day. That’s a plan. And then I stuck to the plan no matter what even though I didn’t feel like it. It could have been so easy for me to just say screw it. I am not doing this. I don’t feel like it. And it’s cold and it’s raining and I could have used all the excuses.
But I didn’t do that. I had a plan and I stuck to the plan no matter what. Okay? It’s that no matter what part that’s important, okay, so create a vision and have a plan and then stick to the plan no matter what. Cool.
Alright, my third tip is this. You’ve got to manage stress, you cannot go through this holiday season super stressed out about everything you just can’t. Stress will cause you to hold on to body fat. Stress will cause you to gain weight. The stress response is a glucose response. Being stressed out will spike your blood sugar, will spike your insulin levels and will put you into fat storage mode. And if you’re chronically stressed out and a lot of people are during the holidays, they stay kind of in this chronic state of stress from Thanksgiving through January 1.
I’m going to tell you right now it is going to be very difficult for you to lose weight, in fact, you will probably gain some weight just based on being stressed out during the holidays. So you have to have a stress management regimen, you have to have some sort of routine that you’re doing regularly like every single day to keep stress levels to a minimum.
Because if you don’t, you’re going to have a very hard time losing weight or have a hard time maintaining your weight during the holidays. So there are two types of stress. There’s the stress that we put on our bodies when we work out and maybe we lift weights or we go for a run. And maybe we do some sprint intervals or something like that.
This is called acute stress. And this is the good kind of stress. This is a positive type of stress, we stress our body, we stress a muscle, we stress our cardiovascular system. And then we have a positive adaptation because of that stress. So our muscles get stronger, our cardiovascular system improves, our speed improves, we raise our lactate threshold. So when we put acute stress on our bodies, this is acute and short term, very short term stress, this is a positive thing, this is a good thing we want to stress ourselves out in that way.
The kind of stress that we don’t want to be engaging in is like we’re constantly thinking about, you know, work or relationships or family issues. And we’re just constantly, you know, in a state of chronic stress, chronic stress is the kind of stress that is going to cause us to have that glucose response and cause us to keep our insulin levels high. You know, cortisol is a stress hormone.
When cortisol is high, our body is in that fight or flight mode, we’re in that sympathetic mode. Remember, the sympathetic mode is stress sympathetic for stress s for stress, the parasympathetic mode is, is peace, P for peace. So parasympathetic is when we are calm and relaxed and at peace and the sympathetic nervous system is when we are stressed out.
So we want to tap more into that parasympathetic nervous system and reduce the amount of stress we’re in. So that means that we can’t wait until we’re super stressed out to start working on it and that we have to work on it continuously. That means you have to have some sort of stress relief plan in place every single day.
Some of the things you can do to help reduce stress, meditation, journaling, going for a walk, going for a run, doing some yoga, just taking a nap. Maybe. Naps are very underrated, by the way. Getting enough sleep is super important. Getting good quality sleep, you know, we need seven, eight hours of sleep most of us as adults.
Just doing anything, playing a game, laughing, going to see a movie, doing something with friends, doing something with family, just being silly with your kids, anything like that is going to help to reduce stress, you need to figure out what works for you, everybody’s different. So figure out what works for you and what you can do every single day to make stress management a priority.
Because if you do that, I guarantee you, you’re gonna have a much easier time getting through the holidays and your body won’t be holding on to as much body weight, you won’t be holding on to as much fat you’ll be able to burn fat, we always want to be burning fat, not storing fat. So you’ll get into fat burning mode instead of fat storing mode. And you’ll get through the holidays without all that extra weight.
Okay, so that’s tip number three is to manage stress, and you have to do it every single day. You can’t wait until you’re stressed out to start working on it, you have to manage stress every single day.
And this brings me to my fourth tip, which is to exercise daily. So not only does daily exercise help with stress management, it also helps you to burn fat, you know, so obviously exercise can be helpful to fat burning, especially if you’re doing the lower intensity exercise, you know, you stay in that zone one, zone two, you know, you’re in that aerobic zone. That’s what’s considered sort of the fat burning zone, right?
So if you’re doing some sort of exercise every day, go out and run a few miles. Really easy. Go for some, you know, do a power walk, do some yoga, walk the dogs, play with the kids. It doesn’t have to be something intense but do something every day. And I promise you, you are going to not only feel better, but you’re going to help you to maintain your weight and probably help you to lose a little bit if that’s, you know, one of your goals here.
So, one of the reasons why we want to exercise every day is that when we exercise we get our dose of dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin, and endorphins. So we get that rush of feel good hormones, and neurotransmitters. And when we have these feel good chemicals kind of running through our body, it puts us in a better mood, it helps us stay in that parasympathetic nervous system state. And we feel good.
It’s not only a good way to manage stress, but it’s a way of keeping our body feeling happy, like it improves our mood as well. You know, also more burning fat, you know, like I said, but it’s just this way of continually feeling good and feeling good about ourselves and feeling good about who we are and what we’re doing. And it’s such a better way to go through the holidays feeling good, as opposed to being, you know, super stressed out and freaking out about all the junk you’re eating and all this other stuff.
So when you’re in a good mood, you tend to make better decisions, when you’re exercising every day, you tend to build some momentum and want to keep exercising, it helps you to, you know, stay on track with your food plan, when you’re exercising daily. This is one of the big reasons why we have this running through the holidays challenge going on right now is because I want to encourage you to get outside every day, and do some exercise and the outside part is important.
During the winter, we tend you know, the days get shorter, and we tend to spend a lot more time indoors, the days are shorter, it’s darker in the morning is darker in the evening, there’s not as much sunlight during the day, we need to get outside and get some sun in our eyeballs, like we need to, you know, have that sun in our face on our bodies, if we can, it’s so important for us to you know, be outside in the elements in the sun.
And it helps to put us in that, you know, good mood, it helps with our serotonin levels. You know, we build serotonin during the day. And that’s what helps to create melatonin to help us sleep better at night. It helps with our circadian rhythms and helps us to sleep, you know, improve our sleep quality during the night when we can get outside into the sun every day.
So I know a lot of days around here, you know, I’m in Cincinnati, and a lot of days around here in the wintertime, it’s just gray, and dark. And there’s no sun. But those days that there is sun, take advantage of that and get outside. We’ve had a lot of gray days here. And then this morning, I went for a run and had to bring my sunglasses with me because it was so beautiful out, very, very cold, very cold.
But the sun was shining and it felt so amazing to be outside and to see the sun and to be in the sun. So exercise daily, put together you know, make exercise daily part of your plan. You know, make it part of your plan, part of your daily plan. And you’re going to get through the holidays feeling so much better about yourself, okay.
And then my last tip is going to be this when it comes to nutrition. We’re all a little bit different. And it’s hard for me to make some recommendations as here’s what you should eat or whatever. So I’m going to give you this tip. And I think this is one of the most powerful tips around nutrition that I can give you and it’s one that is underrated and something that most people just don’t do or maybe they’re not aware of, or they think it would be too hard.
But it’s this, skip some meals, skip some meals, you don’t have to eat three meals a day, every single day all the time. You don’t have to eat three meals a day, plus three snacks a day, plus dessert every single day, you really don’t have to eat that much skip breakfast, skip breakfast and lunch one day.
Skip snacking, skip dessert, like just pick something that you think would work for you. And you don’t have to do this every single day. But just consider skipping some meals. You know, there’s a lot of benefits that you’ll gain from exercising in the fasted state, which means that, you know, if you exercise in the morning, don’t you don’t have to fuel up before you get outside and run.
Just skip it, just skip fueling, you know and try some what we call intermittent fasting. And when people hear that word fasting, they’re like, oh my gosh, that’s, you know, I’m gonna die. I can’t do that. It’s like, dude, no, listen, it’s just like, skip breakfast is our target about here. It’s not that big of a deal.
You know, we’ve been doing this as human beings for millions of years. We didn’t eat all the time. We didn’t have snacks. We didn’t eat dessert, like there were no three meals a day, kind of a deal. Like a lot of times, and a lot of cultures, they eat like once a day, maybe twice a day. And so I think we’ve, you know, in the Western world, we’re under this impression that we have to eat a lot, just all the time. And it’s just not true.
Like we just don’t need to eat that often. Okay, so, one thing I did recently is Thanksgiving Day. And so that was Thursday and then a couple days later on Saturday we did another Thanksgiving with my girlfriend and our kids, well, we all got together. And so we did like two different Thanksgivings, super fun.
But each of those days, I only ate that one meal each day. So I ate one big meal on Thanksgiving, and then one big meal on that Saturday, and I just skipped breakfast, I typically eat twice a day, you know, I’ll have a pretty good sized breakfast around noon, and then I eat dinner around 6pm, 7pm, something like that.
And, and that’s usually good for me. But some days, I just skip that first meal. And, and I feel so much better when I, you know, can skip a meal and, and then I can maybe eat a little bit more at that second meal and still be in a bit of a deficit and still not be overeating and still not be eating, you know, a ton of calories that day.
So for me, it feels really good to skip a meal every now and then. And this is one of the simplest things that you can do to help manage your weight and help you to not gain weight during the holidays. It’s just like, pick a few days a week here and there and skip some of these meals. And you might be surprised how good you feel. You might be surprised how much easier it is to exercise in that fasted state and take advantage of the adrenaline that you get from exercising in the fasted state.
So you actually, you know, people think, oh, I won’t have the energy. But now your body will produce the glucose that you need, your body will produce the adrenaline that you need to be able to actually work out a little bit harder. And then there’s another positive benefit from exercising in the fasted state, which is an increase in growth hormone.
So after exercise, your body will produce more growth hormone, which will help you to recover faster. So not only can you exercise harder in a fasted state, but you can also recover faster. So these are good benefits. And you don’t have to do this all the time. But try it every now and then and see how it goes for you.
Okay, so quick recap, you know of my five tips to avoid gaining weight this holiday season. Number one, create a vision. Who do you want to be on January 1? How do you want to feel and write it down.
Okay, number two, have a plan. Write down your plan. And then write down your plan every week and consult your plan. And make sure you’re staying on track with your plan no matter what.
Number three, you have to manage stress and it has to be something you do every single day.
Number four exercise daily. Get outside if you can do whatever it takes to move your body and to release the endorphins and get the dopamine and the serotonin and all those good feeling chemicals that you get. So power walk yoga, walk the dog, play with the kids, go for a run, lift some weights, swim, bike, whatever you need to do, but do something every day. Do it outside if you can get in the sun.
And then lastly, skip some meals here and there. You don’t have to eat all the time. This is like intermittent fasting simplified, right? It doesn’t have to be complicated. You don’t have to do some sort of long three day fast or anything like that. Just like skip a meal here and there. And you might be surprised how much easier it is to get through the holidays without gaining weight.
Cool. All right, you guys, I hope you take some action on these tips here and actually do these things because I guarantee you it’s going to make a difference on how you show up for yourself on January 1. Okay, 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 diets and dietary advice, there is a lot of conflicting information out there. For every study that shows that one particular food is bad for you, there’s another study showing …
I recently sat down with Dr. Marvin Merrit and had an awesome conversation about what it means to be a healthy human being. In the world of health and fitness, there is a lot of information out …
My name is Patrick McGilvray, and I’m an experienced marathoner, ultra runner, Sports Nutritionist, Master Life Coach, and weight loss coach for runners. I’ve dedicated my life to helping runners just like you properly fuel your body and your mind. So you can get leaner, get stronger, run faster, and run longer than you ever thought possible. This is Running Lean.
Hey there, and welcome to episode 201 of Running Lean. My name is Patrick McGilvray, The Weight Loss Coach for Runners and today, reversing disease through nutrition and exercise with Dr. Marvin Merrit.
So I recently sat down with Dr. Marvin, and we had this awesome conversation about what it means to be a healthy human being. In the world of health and fitness. There’s a lot of confusing information out there. And it can feel pretty overwhelming. And a lot of this information can even be contradictory.
Okay, so how do you know what you should be doing? Well, rest assured that Dr. Marvin and I break it all down for you. And we offer up some very clear strategies for reversing disease, using nutrition and exercise so that you can become the healthiest version of yourself yet.
But first, I know I talk a lot about losing weight, and improving your health and fitness. And I know that all the stuff that even I talk about here can feel a little overwhelming.
That’s why I created a free training just for you. It’s called Five Simple Steps To Becoming A Leaner Stronger Runner. I wanted to make it easy for you, I wanted to break it all down, put all the stuff that I’ve been talking about here on the podcast for over 200 episodes now and give you some really actionable strategies.
So in this training video, you’re going to learn how to fuel your body properly so that you can lose weight and improve your running. You’re going to learn the incredibly important role that strength plays in being a lean healthy runner.
You’re going to learn how to make changes that are actually sustainable, because that is what it’s all about. We’re not interested in short term fixes. We want sustainability with our diet, and so much more. So if you’re ready to get leaner and get stronger, run faster and run longer than ever before. If you’re ready to become the healthiest, most badass version of yourself yet, then check out this free training.
It’s called Five Simple Steps To Becoming A Leaner Stronger Runner. You can find it by going to my website, runningleancoaching.com and click on Free Training.
Okay, without further ado, let’s just get into this conversation. So much fun talking to Dr. Marvin, reversing disease through nutrition and exercise with Dr. Marvin Merrit.
Okay, today, I’ve got Dr. Marvin here, Marvin Merrit and Marvin reached out to me on Facebook, right?
Dr. Marvin Merrit
And you were sharing with me that you teach a lot of the same concepts and principles that I talked about on my podcast, and I share on social media and things like that. And you said, hey, this would be a great kind of collaboration, or maybe we can have a conversation about this.
So we got on a call and you and I had a great conversation where I thought, man, we should really record this, you know, and do a podcast on this because you come out with this healthy eating and healthy lifestyle, from a little bit of a different perspective, being a doctor.
And I typically don’t talk a lot about, about the health, I’m sorry about the medical side of things because I’m not a doctor. I do quote a lot of doctors and I read a lot of the research and I and I understand a lot of the concepts.
And I absolutely know how a lot of these healthy principles can help us with medical conditions. But it’s you know, I don’t like to talk about that stuff, because I don’t have that MD after my name, you know. So that’s where you come in. And I want to just kind of talk to you about, you know, those, the medical side of things and how healthy eating and exercising can help us.
So first of all, before we get into all that stuff, just give us a little bit of background on who you are, and how you got to where you are today with all this stuff.
Sure. Well, basically I’m a kid from New Jersey. I went to college as an undergrad at a small liberal arts college in Iowa. Upon graduation from there, I attended Life University where I got my Doctorate, and I’ve been a practicing physician for almost 40 years.
My practice has taken many manifestations over the years. And now I kind of focus a lot on treating my patients very well. realistically very naturally, through exercise through diet and through nutritional supplements to manage what we call metabolic syndrome, which is type two diabetes, hyperlipidemia, which has high cholesterol, high triglycerides, and hypertension, which we commonly refer to as high blood pressure.
And being that these are all lifestyle diseases, people can go ahead and make that conscious decision. Do I want to live healthy? Do I want to eat healthy? Do I want to increase my exercise?
Because all of those combined together will help with the better control of all of these diseases that many people suffer from not just here in the United States, but around the world and just about all modern countries.
Yeah, and when you say that lifestyle diseases, I think that is spot on, because these are things that are caused by lifestyle. Right?
Exactly, exactly. You know, you, you eat poorly, you know, it’s the old story garbage in garbage out, you eat poorly, you’re going to end up with high cholesterol, there’s just no way around it.
You eat too much saturated fats, too much greasy foods, the fried chicken, the French fries, you’re going to end up with high cholesterol levels.
You eat a lot of products that have hidden sodium in it. And I say hidden sodium, because it’s okay to add a little bit of salt at the table, especially if you’re working out, you’re sweating, you want to replace some of those electrolytes.
But there’s so many foods that have hidden sodium in it because sodium for ages has been used as a preservative. And when you start reading things that are in a can, or things that are in a jar, you see all of this hidden sodium in there in its chemical names, such as, you know, sodium benzoate, you know, people don’t know what sodium benzoate is, they just see that it’s another chemical.
But without fully understanding the labels that are on the containers of the foods that we eat, they don’t realize what they actually have. So that’s where it all comes into play.
Yeah, and I’m gonna reel it back here in just a second. But I have to tell you, I saw this very funny meme once. And I love this, it really sums it up. It’s a guy, you know, talking to his doctor.
And the doctor says, well, you have all these lifestyle diseases. And the guy says to the doctor, okay, I guess I need to change my lifestyle. And the doctor says, oh, no, here’s a pill.
And I think that sort of sums up the medical, the general medical answer to these lifestyle diseases, which is take this drug, take that drug, don’t change your lifestyle, don’t worry about that. That’s all fine. Just, you know, take these drugs.
What’s your take on that? Like, how do you approach things differently than just prescribing medication for people who have these issues?
What it really comes down to and it’s something that that you talk about is people have to be willing to be uncomfortable, they have to be willing to change their diet, they have to be willing to cut out the starchy carbohydrates, the breads, the cakes, the cookies, that candies, the ice cream, you know, the things that are the comfort foods, they have to be willing to get up off the sofa and move, whether it’s run, walk, ride a bicycle, you know, whatever the case, may be getting the pool and swim a couple of laps, just do something physical every single day, they have to be willing to do that.
And, and it’s, it’s all changing that comfort level, people have to be uncomfortable. There’s nothing wrong with okay, you go out for dinner with your, you know, whoever on a Saturday night and you want to have a little bit of something that you don’t normally eat, that’s okay.
But when you do it every day, that’s what gets them into the position that they’re in. And by doing that, that’s the way they’re able to lower and eventually get off some of these medications like the Metformin and the Glipizide. And, and that’s just for diabetes.
Or you know, the medications that we use for high cholesterol, the statins, which are horrible drugs to start out with, because people have so many side effects with them.
And then the hypertension medications, the ACE inhibitors that yeah, great. So it’s going to help lower your blood pressure, but it’s going to give you a chronic cough for the rest of your life. Why put those into your body when you can put natural healthy foods into your body and reverse all of these situations that you have?
And it’s like I always tell my patients, you know, you can keep a diary, and you can fudge that diary all you want. You can come in and talk to me and you can tell me any story you want. Blood doesn’t lie. When I run your blood, I know the truth.
Yeah, that’s cool. So you see a lot of these metabolic syndrome issues with people and you treat them naturally and you see good results. Do you see a lot of reversal of these diseases?
Yeah, I actually do. If you if you get them off, you know, again, the starchy carbohydrates, fruits and vegetables are okay, but you get them off those starchy carbohydrates, all of those carbohydrates turn to glucose, that’s how we metabolize them, the glucose gets in the blood, and that’s going to raise your blood glucose levels.
Now when it gets a little bit too high, that eventually is going to get stored in the liver. And that’s going to get stored as glycogen. Glycogen is good, because we break that down between meals, we break that down when we exercise.
However, if you don’t do that, then that glycogen is eventually going to turn to triglycerides, triglycerides will get them back into the blood, those can clog some arteries, specifically arteries in the heart.
And that’s how people end up with myocardial infarction, heart attacks, they end up with blockages in the carotid arteries, and it just becomes a vicious vicious cycle.
So what I tried to do is change their diets, get them off the carbs, get them off the fats, get them taking some good healthy supplements to help alleviate some of these problems, such as red yeast rice. Red yeast rice is a natural statin. It’s been used for hundreds of years. Okay.
But most doctors don’t want to use it. And I don’t want to get into the whole theories behind, you know, drug reps and you know, and drug labs and things like that. But they are more prone to prescribe a medication than to use something natural because there’s an incentive there to write that prescription.
Yeah, I hate that it works that way. So you mentioned like lowering fat intake. What do you mean by that? And like, what do you consider like good, healthy fats?
Okay, so good, healthy fats. Good healthy fats are going to come from things like olive oil. I use a lot of olive oil when I personally cook, because it’s a good healthy fat because you can’t deep fry in it, you just saute in it. Other good healthy fats, avocados, good healthy fats, all your nuts, good healthy fats. Okay, those are all things that are healthy for us.
What’s not healthy is all the processed oils, all the seed oils, while those seed oils are these heavy oils that we just don’t digest well. And because we don’t digest them, well, now they end up getting stored.
And that’s how people also end up suffering from what we call fatty liver disease. The too much of the saturated fats, the fats get stored in the liver, and the liver becomes filled with fat.
It’s reversible, because the liver is one of the most versatile organs that we have in the human body. So we’re able to reverse that. But again, it’s getting off those fats and changing the diet up.
Yeah, I tell people, generally speaking to stay away from those seed oils, canola oil, you know, that kind of stuff. Whatever is considered like vegetable oils, you know, because they were designed to be something that was like heart healthy, and they’re sold and marketed as being heart healthy. But I think there’s other implications that eating that stuff. There’s like some long term studies that have been done that have shown that this stuff is just toxic for your body.
It’s extremely toxic. You know, if you remember years ago, they used to say, oh, stop eating eggs, eggs are high and cholesterol. But when you take a look at an egg, an egg is almost the perfect food.
It has protein, it has some fat, okay, it has a little bit of carbohydrate in it. And again, in moderation eating a couple of eggs a week is almost the perfect food. So there’s nothing wrong with that.
Where again utilizing these these vegetable oils, the corn oils. Canola oils. You know, those, those just do not metabolize well in the body. And one of the other things I tell my patients, olive oil aside, the lighter the color of the oil, the healthier it is for you, because it’s not as heavy.
So if you use something like sunflower oil, sunflower oil is a very, very light colored oil. It’s good for you, you can utilize it. It metabolizes well in the human body. You can’t fry in it, deep fry in it, because it won’t hold up, it’ll break down. So those types of oils, those are the oils that tend to be more healthy for us.
And then how do you figure olive oil and things like that play in? Because olive oil is pretty dark, usually.
Olive oil is pretty dark, but olive oil is purified. And that’s the nice thing about it, you get that extra virgin olive oil, which is the better of the olive oils. And that’s been purified. And that because you can’t deep fry in it. You can only saute like some vegetables or a chicken breast or something like that. It’s not going to be soaked in that oil.
Whereas you take something like a vegetable oil, or an animal based oil like lard and you drop your chicken breast covered in you know whatever coating you put it in and you fry it in there for 10 minutes or so, that oil just soaks right into the meat. It soaks right into that breading. And now you’re eating that oil on top of it. And that’s where the downfall comes.
Gotcha. Gotcha. And so let’s talk a little bit about the exercise side of things. So tell me a little bit about your history because I know you’re a runner, right?
Yeah, yeah, I run, I cycle. I actually, I was a wrestler. I wrestled in college, I wrestled in high school. I was a lifeguard on the Jersey Shore. That’s the way I worked my way through college.
I’ve always been very, very active. You know, and I picked up running probably about 10 years ago, I got this bug to, I started out walking. And I said, you know, I’ll let me try a little bit of running. And one thing led to the next and before I knew what I was doing, 5K’s and 10K’s and then a triathlon and said, Well, that’s a lot of fun.
So I started doing more and more, I’m just letting through the whole lifestyle of it. And, you know, realize that, you know, you can’t smoke, you can’t drink heavily, you can’t eat poorly, to participate in these sports, it just doesn’t, it doesn’t work with our bodies.
Although oddly enough, I’ve seen some weird things on some of these courses that I’ve run with what people do. But, you know, nonetheless, you know, it’s all part of that healthy lifestyle.
And by exercising, that helps you metabolize all of these good foods that you put into your body into energy. And that gives you the energy to go out there and run 5k, to go out there and run 10k, to go out there and jump on a bike for 30-40 miles. And you don’t feel tired afterwards, you feel energized. On top of that, you get that dopamine release on top of it. And it all just ties together. And that’s what I try to get my patients to do.
Yeah, and you have like a running group that you do there. And you’re in Florida, right?
Yes, yes. Yeah. Yeah, what I do is on Saturdays, I know it sounds crazy for a doctor to work on Saturdays. But on Saturdays, I go to my office and where my office is located in Pompano Beach, it’s in an office building kind of off the beaten path, which I kind of like and it’s a beautiful lake right across the street.
So my patients, I have two groups of patients, I have my walker patients and I have my runner patients. My walker patients, I meet them early in the morning. And we’ll go out for a two or three mile walk, a brisk walk and get their heart rate up and exercise and stretching beforehand.
We walk, come back, stretch again, we talk a little bit about our nutrition and any challenges that they face during the week.
And then I get my running group and a little bit later on. And we’ll go out for a 5k a three mile run, not too hard of a pace, running about a 13 minute mile give or take. Because some of them are a little bit slower.
And I don’t like to leave anybody behind. So we’ll slow the group down if we have a slower runner. And same thing stretch beforehand, go for a run stretch afterwards, you know.
And everybody says oh, we should go to Dunkin Donuts for coffee, no let’s not go to Dunkin Donuts for coffee, let’s go get something healthy to eat. The coffee is okay, but the Dunkin Donuts isn’t gonna work. And that’s what I tried to do with them at least two to three Saturdays a month, we get together and we do that.
That’s cool because you’re building this relationship with people where you can share more than you can in a you know, 14 minutes that you have with your patients, you probably spend more time with your patients than a lot of doctors, the traditional doctors that are working for these big insurance companies, they get, you know, certain amount of time they’re allowed to spend with each person. Right?
And that’s it, and then they’re done. But you’re creating these relationships, and you’re having these conversations with people and you’re actually out there running with them. You’re actually out there having breakfast with them. I think that’s really cool.
Yeah, you know, my philosophy has been and to give you a little bit more of the background of how this generation of my practice manifested. Sadly, my mom died from complications of type two diabetes.
And going forward from that I said to myself, I said, you know, and she didn’t take care of herself. That was all part of it I said, people need to be educated. People need to understand because it’s a hidden disease. People don’t really know that they have type two diabetes until something goes really wrong.
Or they just go to the doctor for their annual checkup. And they do blood and they’re, you know, their fasting blood sugar is like 190 or they give a urine and their sugar is like 800 milligrams per deciliter or something like that.
So that’s when they find out about it. For the most part, it’s a silent disease. And because it’s a silent disease, people don’t even realize that something is wrong.
Once they realize something is wrong, then we can get them on the track to doing better, getting better, feeling better, feeling stronger, and reversing most of the symptomatology of type two diabetes. And again, type two diabetes goes hand in hand with high cholesterol, high blood pressure. They all three seem to go together all at the same time.
Yeah, you mentioned that diabetes as being sort of a hidden thing and I know a lot of the visceral fat that people have, you know, visceral fat is that internal fat, it’s growing around your organs and things like that’s the really the bad kind of fat.
And people don’t know that they’re, that they’re getting, they don’t know that they have that. Right. I think it was Professor Tim Noakes, who was a long distance runner, and he was running all these marathons he had done like, I forget how many 72 marathons or something crazy like that.
And went to the doctor and was diagnosed with diabetes. And he was like, that’s impossible. You know, I run all these marathons and, and he sort of, I don’t know if he coined this term or not, but he calls it tofi T-O-F-I, thin on the outside fat on the inside. You know, that is like people who are fit and they’re exercising, and they look pretty good from the outside. But inside, there’s stuff going on, they need to get fixed, you know?
Right. Right. And that’s exactly it. The thin on the outside, they’re fat on the inside, because yeah, you carry this layer of visceral fat. We all do, because we use it for insulation when it’s cold. And you live up there in Ohio, you know about cold
This week for sure, yeah.
You know, it’s, yeah, it’s that body fat, that does help keep us a little bit warmer, which is very, very important. Also, in times of crisis, our bodies will tap into that, you know, internal body fat, but we shouldn’t be carrying enormous amounts of it.
You know, it’s interesting in my, in my, I’m also a college professor, as you know, so when, when I teach, when I teach about the heart, we do dissection. And for years, we used to do these sheep heart dissections.
And one of the things I remember about the sheep hearts is they were very, very fatty, they did some research and sheep actually carry a lot of visceral fat. Granted, they don’t have to worry about diabetes and things like that, like we do, but they carry a lot of visceral fat.
And I still have one of the sheep parts in my lab, and I show my students the sheep part, as compared to a pig heart, which is what we dissect now. Now pigs, they don’t carry visceral fat, they carry body fat, which is a little bit different.
And we take a look at the differences between the two. And I say, can you imagine a human being that has such a poor diet that eats a lot of fat, and they have a heart that looks something like this?
Because they do, they will build up that visceral fat on the heart, which can also compress the heart, which now can result in cardiac conditions. So it all begins to tie in together. It’s how you take care of yourself. How do you choose to live your life? And that’s the bottom line.
Yeah, that’s so interesting. So what are some of the main I guess, what is the right word for it, like complaints or whatever the people are coming to you with? Like, what’s the main things people need fixed? And why are they coming to you?
Okay, basically, my practice is straight referral. I don’t advertise. I don’t belong to any insurance companies or anything like that. In fact, I take absolutely no insurance in my practice.
The reason why I do that is because I want my patients to have a commitment. I feel that if an insurance company is paying for them to come, they don’t really see what the insurance company is paying other than their copay, whether it be $5 $10, whatever.
So I want them to have commitment and commitment comes from them paying me, I make it very reasonable for them. But the thing is, is that when they come in to see me their referral, usually from a friend that has seen me or a relative that has seen me, and yeah, their complaint is, yeah, I’m a type two diabetic, I keep going into my medical doctor, all they do is they keep on increasing and increasing and increasing my medication.
And I don’t feel any better. I’m tired. I’m sluggish and rundown. I’m hungry all the time and drinking, like I own the water company, you know. And those are all the symptoms that you see. And then you have to try to fix that.
So the first thing I always do with these folks is, you know, keep a diet diary for me, okay, I want to know everything that goes in your mouth for the next seven days.
I don’t care if you think it’s minuscule, like a piece of gum, I want to know what it is. And then we start taking examination of that we start breaking it down to see what can we replace it with? What changes can we make?
How can we okay, you like gum? Well, I see you’re chewing bazooka bubble gum, which is high in sugar? Well, you know, let’s, let’s see if we can change that to something that’s a little bit less caustic on the body.
Okay, I’m not a big one in artificial sweeteners and things like that. But I’d rather have them chew a gum that has no sugar in it than a gum that’s all sugar. Okay, so these are just the little changes.
And like you do in your podcast, you know, you make these little steps with these people and make little changes in the diet and make little changes in their exercise. And we just start looking at this week after week, month after month.
And what’s really amazing they see it because they’ll see it in their blood work that hemoglobin A1C went from 11.2 to 9.7 they’re not, you know, normal yet they’re still diabetic. But that’s a significant change. And they feel better.
They get on the scale, and they’ve lost 10-15 pounds, they feel better, the clothes fit better. They realize that when they go out to dinner, they don’t have to eat half a basket of bread, you know, they can walk away from the bread.
And again, that is that psychological motivation that happens with these folks. And really what I do with them, Patrick is I give them 90 days, okay? If in 90 days, they can’t comply with my recommendations, I can’t help them. And I very politely, I verbally discharge them, and I send them a certified letter that they’re discharged, that there’s nothing more I can do for them.
That’s hardcore man.
Yeah, you gotta be, that’s the only way to be because, because otherwise, you’re going to go on to another doctor, and they’re getting another pill, and they’re getting another medication and another prescription.
And then before you know it, they’re taking, I have a friend of mine, sadly, he’s, he’s my age, I’ll be 64. In January, he just turned 64. And he’s a type two diabetic, with all the problems, he will not listen to me.
So he goes to another doctor, he’s on four different diabetes medications, he’s on two different blood pressure medications, and a statin. And that’s just to start out with. And, you know, it’s just, it says, he doesn’t want to be uncomfortable, he’d rather, you know, go out and eat half a pizza.
Yeah, there’s this whole mentality that I think we really have to shift and you’re doing a great job of starting to shift this mentality of, I can just do what I want is I just go to the doctor and get a pill or get, you know, get on some kind of drug that’s going to that’s going to allow me to leave this lead this great, crappy lifestyle.
You know, I was talking to an older woman recently. I think she’s in her 70s. And she’s a type two diabetic and is on diabetes medication, and the doctor wanted to up her medication. And she was eating, you know, some cookies or something like that.
And this is a family member, and my girlfriend was like, hey, you shouldn’t be eating those cookies. You know, you got to go on this. If you got to take this medication, you shouldn’t be eating those cookies. And she said, oh, it’s fine, because the medications are free anyway. And so I don’t have to pay for it. So it’s fine. You know, that’s kind of like that is the wrong mentality. Right?
And that’s why I take no insurance.
Yeah, exactly. And I love that. And the other thing I wanted to say, and one of the reasons why I really wanted to talk to you is because of that approach that you just talked about that you take with your with your patients, which is the same approach that I take with my coaching clients, which is, we’re going to look at what you’re doing today.
And we’re going to make a few modifications, and we’re going to see how you feel. And then we’re going to make a few more modifications and get your body adjusted to those changes. And then we’re going to like, see how you feel.
And then we’re going to just keep going with that process. I don’t have a diet that I’m going to hand over to them, because there’s no way I can know what’s going to work best for them.
Now, of course, I have guidelines like you do, and I have suggestions. But at the end of the day, everybody’s a little bit different. And everybody approaches this a little bit differently.
Yeah, we lower the carbs, Yeah, we tried to get off sugar, we want to stop using sugar as an emotional management tool. Yes, we need to increase the protein intake, especially if your activity levels are pretty high.
But for the most part, this is going to be very individualized for the person I’m working with. And so many doctors or coaches or, you know, trainers, whatever they have this like one diet, you know, in mind, and I just don’t think that works.
And so that’s what I really like, it was kind of refreshing when you and I talked about that, that, you know, you do take a very individualized approach and you work with each person, you treat them, like an individual because they are and you work around where they are and make a few changes and then continue with that process.
And that’s absolutely, you know, I don’t just hand them a diet. I mean, you can go online and there’s a million diets for diabetics. Oh, do this diet. Oh, do that diet. Oh, do the keto diet, do the Atkins diet. You know, and we can go on and on about that. Oh, do Weight Watchers.
But that’s a cookbook, okay. We can’t do a cookbook. We have to make the recipe, individual to everybody’s lifestyle to everybody’s tastes, so to speak. And that’s what I tried to do because what might work for one patient may not work for the other patient.
And we have to find, you know, what’s that happy medium for that particular patient? What are we going to slowly begin to tweak in their diet? What is their, you know, their level of being able to exercise?
Some of them haven’t gotten off the sofa in 20 years, you know, I certainly can’t have going out and running, you know, 5K’s from day one. But you got to find out what their level of activity is.
I deal with a few patients, unfortunately, they’re either widows or widowers, and you know, they’re at home. And, you know, they don’t get out a lot. And I tell them, you know, what, get a dog. The dog needs to be walked. If you get a dog and you walk the dog, well, now you’re getting out there, and you’re doing some exercise.
And sometimes it’s as simple as easy fix as that and now they also have companionship, something that they’re responsible for, and they’re able to go out and do that. And that’s, that’s just a little easy fix that I do with some of our patients, not all of them, because they all can’t have dogs where they live. But those that can, that’s something that I strongly recommend.
Not everybody likes dogs, Marvin, okay. You can walk your lizard if you need to. There you go. Yeah. Well, from an exercise standpoint, what do you see as sort of the best types of exercises that kind of across the board, most people should do or get the best benefits from doing regularly,
There should always be a balance between aerobic or cardio exercise and strength training. Again, very similar to the things that you talk about in your podcasts, you know, we talked about, you know, cardio exercise, again, it doesn’t have to be running, but walking, walking at a good pace, you know, not walking, like you’re going through the mall, shopping, but walking at a good pace.
And then some strength training and strength training doesn’t necessarily have to mean, you know, go to the gym and spend hours and hours on end in the gym. All it means is, go on Amazon, get some bands, you know, and, and start doing that.
Some of my patients, I’ll actually, you know, I have the bands in my office. I want to say I sell to them, I sell them for what I paid for it off of Amazon. It’s just a convenience thing. It’s like, here, let me show you how to do this. And I’ll show them a half a dozen exercises to do with the bands, maybe some arm curls, maybe some overhead presses, some, you know, deltoid work, just some things like that.
And I have them worked with bands, sometimes they’ll come to the office on the Saturday sessions, I’ll have them bring their bands with them. And as a group, we’ll do some band exercises. And that’s it just something to get them physically moving again.
Yeah, I love that. And I’m a big fan of strength training, especially like actually being intentional about getting stronger muscles. Because as we get older, and I know you probably work with a lot of older people that, you know, one of the biggest issues with older people is that their muscle mass really declines, you know, they start getting very weak.
And then their bone mass also gets pretty weak. And then they fall and they have complications. And that leads to all kinds of issues because now they’re completely immobile, they can’t do anything. So building muscle, building strong muscles, building a strong skeletal system, skeletal muscle and bone sport. It’s so huge. Oh my god, it’s gonna put years and years and maybe decades on your life.
It’s sustaining. You know, without getting too scientific, we have what’s known as Wolf’s law. And Wolf’s law states that the more stress you place on your skeletal system, the healthier your skeletal system is going to be.
And this is something that I find with my female patients is that as they get older, they suffer from what’s known as osteopenia, which is a loss of bone mass. Okay. So I put them on calcium and magnesium that helps with the with the bone mass a little bit from nutritional standpoint.
But they get that way because they haven’t done much in the way of exercise. Now you start putting more stress on the skeletal system by having them exercise a bit, and it’s not so much that you reverse the osteopenia, slowly osteopenia, so it doesn’t progress to a severe case of osteoporosis. And that’s what you really want to prevent. Because you don’t want this poor woman stepping off the curb and the pressure is just right. And boom, she breaks a hip. That’s the thing you don’t want.
Yeah, what’s the difference between osteopenia and osteoporosis?
Yeah, osteopenia is when you start losing bone mass. Osteoporosis is where the bone actually gets eaten away, and you lose all of this calcium. And it almost looks like in osteoporosis, if you look at it under the microscope, it almost looks like moths have eaten away at the bone, like moths will eat away at a cloth. That’s what it’s like. Osteopenia, you just start seeing on an x-ray, how the bone mass is getting thinner and thinner and thinner. And then it can lead to the next.
Wow, okay, interesting. Just learn something. That’s cool. So yeah, I think strength is like so huge. It’s like one of the best things you can do for yourself. And I think that if as we get older, if we continue building strong muscles and supporting strong bones, then you’re you’re going to live longer, you’re going to have a better quality of life, you’re less likely to get injured from doing normal day to day things, especially those of us who love to run. And you can run as you get I know people who run marathons in their 90s, you know.
Yeah, there’s a video that I showed to my students when I’m teaching. It was done by PBS, and it showcases an 87 year old man doing the triathlon Escape from Alcatraz. I mean, that’s one of the toughest triathlons because you’re swimming across San Francisco Bay for a mile and a half, followed by I think it’s 20 miles on the bike, and then an eight mile run. And he’s 87. I mean, that’s pretty big. I want to be back. I want to be him. That’s my goal.
That’s no joke right there. That’s,
That’s my goal. Yeah. That’s my goal.
That is amazing. Yeah, that San Francisco Bay is brutal. That is brutal. It’s a little stretch of ocean swim. Can’t imagine. People swim in that and they get seasick from this swimming because there’s so much up and down movement. This has been really good.
So let me ask you this. If people wanted to try to find you, how could they reach out to you and, and be able to find you and learn more about you and how they might be able to hook up with you?
Sure, they can email me and email@example.com. But that’s one way they can call me. And I can give you my cell phone number. I have no issue with that. I always ask though, if you want to reach out to me text me before calling.
I’ll always get back and my phone number is 954-649-5280 Just text me before calling tell me what you need me for. And I’ll be more than happy to, you know, if I’m with patients or teaching, I’ll just politely text you back that I’ll get back to you. But I’ll always get back to people and I always do. That’s just the way I am. That’s the two easiest ways to get hold of me.
Okay, cool. And do you work with people that are not local to Pompano Beach area?
Yes, absolutely. I can do it. You know, via telehealth, you know, no problem with that at all.
Cool. Cool. What’s next for you? I know you just did a race about a week ago. Right? What did you do?
Yeah, I did the Danger Point 5k I had a personal best that 3550. Which I was pretty happy with in my ripe old age. I think next I’m probably going to do the jingle bell jog on Christmas Eve. Okay, I’ll do that next.
And I’ll keep training but I’ll take a little bit of time off from from racing because I want to do the In April the Los Olas Triathlon, which is down here that’s, well it takes place on Fort Lauderdale beach and they call it the Los Olas Triathlon because it crosses Los Olas Boulevard which is pretty famous down here.
Cool. Is that a sprint triathlon? Yeah. Cool. You swim in the ocean?
Oh, yeah, swimming the ocean. And then we’ll see where the spring in the summer takes me. There’s usually a couple of events that pop up. Last year I did the July 4 triathlon. It was a great weekend. Actually a great couple of weeks, I did the Memorial Day 5k followed by the July 4th triathlon, which was on July second, followed by the July 4th 5k, on July 4th, so it was a nice quick couple of weeks and then finished up the end of August with the Iguana Man 5K.
So I try to stay active. I tried to do you know, 5675 k’s a year, two, three triathlons, maybe a duathalon depending on how the water is.
Cool. You are an example of what is possible, Marvin, I love it. Keep up the good work seriously. You’re doing some work in this world. And you’re helping people get healthier and helping people live longer and helping people figure out how to do all this because it’s confusing.
And there’s a lot of information out there that’s just like, it’s a lot of conflicting information, a lot of confusing information and it’s very overwhelming for people. So to have somebody like you where people can go and, you know, do a consult with you like even you know, over Zoom or however you do it. That’s awesome.
Because that gives people an opportunity to start to see that things can be different for them and they don’t have to be on medication for the rest of their life. Just because you have one of these lifestyle diseases, it’s not a death sentence. It doesn’t mean you can’t improve with the right diet and exercise.
So hats off to you, my friend for doing good work. Keep it up. Thank you for taking some time to chat with me here today. It’s been really fun.
I enjoyed it. I enjoyed it a lot. Patrick, thank you so much for having me.
There have been some eye-opening discoveries recently around dietary advice doled out by influencers on social media. It turns out that the food and beverage industry has been paying registered …
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 195 of Running Lean. My name is Patrick McGilvray, The Weight Loss Coach for Runners and today, taking control of your food choices.
There have been some eye opening discoveries recently around dietary advice doled out by social media influencers. And it turns out that the food and beverage industry has been paying registered dietitians to promote diet soda and sugar and supplements on Tiktok and Instagram. And while this may not come as a big surprise, it speaks to a much bigger issue.
The food industry is deliberately confusing us into eating more junk foods, so they make more money at the expense of our health and well being. In this episode, I’m going to shine a light on this quite alarming topic, in my opinion, and explain why it’s important to know who’s paying who to say what, and encourage you to take control of your own food choices.
But first, if you want a little bit of help getting started with all this stuff that I talked about here on the podcast, with improving your body composition, maybe losing some of that fat weight and gaining some muscle, getting stronger, running faster, running longer.
I’ve put together a brand new training just for you. It’s called Five Simple Steps To Becoming A Leaner Stronger Runner. In this training, I’m going to teach you how to lose weight the right way and how to keep it off for good without running a million miles a week.
You’re gonna learn why running more and eating less really doesn’t work when it comes to losing weight and keeping it off. I’m going to talk about one thing runners don’t do when they’re trying to lose weight, that they should be doing the fuel to use to improve your endurance and weight loss. The mind shift sets required to make these changes last and more and more and more.
So if you want to learn how to crush your weight loss goals and your running goals, then you’re ready to get leaner, get stronger, run faster, run longer, and become the healthiest, most badass version of yourself. Check out this free training it’s called Five Simple Steps To Becoming A Leaner Stronger Runner, just go to runningleancoaching.com and click on Free Training. Super simple. Cool.
Okay, so taking control of your food choices. So I came across a really interesting investigative article recently that showed that the food industry is paying influencer dieticians to shape our eating habits. Registered Dietitians are being paid to post videos to promote diet soda, sugar and supplements on Instagram, and Tiktok.
So the food beverage and dietary supplement industries are paying dozens of registered dietitians that could collectively have like millions of social media followers to help sell their products and deliver industry friendly messages on Instagram and Tiktok.
According to this analysis by the Washington Post and the examination, which is a new nonprofit newsroom that specializes in global health reporting. So the analysis of thousands of posts found that companies and industry groups paid dieticians for content that encouraged viewers to eat candy, eat ice cream, and downplay the health risks of highly processed foods and pushed unproven supplements.
Messages that run counter to decades of scientific evidence about healthy eating. The review found that among 68 dietitians with 10,000 or more social media followers on Tiktok, and Instagram, about half had promoted food, beverages or supplements to their combined 11 million followers within the last year.
One particular registered dietitian from Vancouver, British Columbia, posted videos of herself eating ice cream and peanut butter cups, while telling people that denying themselves sugary foods will only make cravings worse.
These and other posts were paid for by the Canadian Sugar Institute. The trade group, which is funded by sugar producers, includes the videos on its Instagram page to in one video This woman held a glazed doughnut and chocolate chip cookie and she mocked advice to reduce sugar intake.
She said, “The best ways to cut sugar are with a knife with my hands and even with my teeth.” Another Dietitian with a large social media following from Vancouver posted a video on Instagram where she added a lollipop to a dinner plate.
And she told parents the strategy will prevent sweets obsession, and to help kids develop healthier eating relationships with food. And another Instagram video she told parents that they can make Halloween less stressful by allowing kids to eat as much candy as they want when they’re done trick or treating.
And she said this helps decrease the stash and makes it less of a big deal she wrote in the text alongside the video. Yes, they may barf but that’s a great life lesson for them. She was also paid by the Canadian Sugar Institute to promote these posts to create these posts and promote them.
Since last year, The Sugar Group has paid at least a dozen registered dietitians to post videos about sugar on Instagram. One person said if your kiddo is obsessed with sweets, they likely need more access to sweets rather than less. Wow, okay.
The food and beverage industry has for years nurtured a close relationship with the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AMD). This is the trade group that oversees registered dieticians, which has accepted millions of dollars in donations from leading producers of soda, candy, and ultra processed foods including Coca Cola, PepsiCo and Nestle.
The Academy has allowed these companies to provide continuing education courses to its dieticians and has invested in food industry stocks to the academy sponsors are American beverage, and Tate and Lyle, one of the world’s largest producers of high fructose corn syrup, and other sweeteners.
So I just read a few blurbs from the article that came out about a week ago or so in the Washington Post, and I was really blown away by this. Like I know that registered dieticians AMD has been funded by these sugar companies and by the food industry, I’ve known about that.
I’ve also known that they teach their registered dieticians and give them courses on proper nutrition. And I’m using finger quotes proper nutrition meaning like, eat lots of sugar, it’s fine for you sugar isn’t bad. You know, you know, drink diet soda, that’s fine.
Kids should be eating more sugar, like all these things, in my opinion, are kind of crazy, right? The sugar, the food industry, sugar industry, food industry is blatantly influencing our food choices. They have billions of dollars to spend on marketing, and advertising. And they’re very influential.
They are supporting the community of registered dieticians out there. And now listen, not all registered dietitians buy into this. There’s a lot that don’t, but a lot of them do. The food industry also pays scientists to write research papers to promote their products as the healthier choices.
And the idea here is to keep us confused, right to make it impossible, for you really know what’s healthy and what’s not. Because if they keep us confused, then we buy more of their junk food. And I’m just going to call soda diet soda and sugar industry a bunch of junk food because I think it is because they make more money and it’s all about the bottom line.
And so they’ll spend billions of dollars, you know, in marketing and advertising and influencing to make it really confusing for us as human beings who are concerned about our health, right? They just want to sell you more of their foods so they make the food hyper palatable by loading it up with sugar and grains and vegetable oils and they don’t care about your health.
They just want to sell more food and they know this hyper palatable food. This highly processed food is amazing, tastes amazing and it’s really hard to stop eating it once you start and they know that you are going to crave this stuff so they make more and more and more of it. And you know they are just concerned about making more money regardless of whether it’s good for you or not.
Over the years, they’ve convinced us that things like meat and eggs are bad for us. And sugar and grains are good. So they don’t make money off of meat and eggs, right? I mean, there are companies that do, but it’s not highly subsidized like the sugar industry. Highly processed foods full of sugar and grains sell like crazy and they’re super cheap to make. This stuff is super cheap. So the profit margins are a lot higher than a steak or eggs or whatever.
A lot of these companies receive subsidies from the government to grow more grains to the federal government, at least here in the US has long subsidized America’s farmers, significantly affecting our food supply and what we eat as a whole.
The most highly subsidized crops corn, soy, wheat and rice are the most abundantly produced and most consumed, often in the form of these ultra processed foods. Sugar is also highly subsidized, which drives up prices even though sugar is widely over consumed.
Fruit and vegetables, on the other hand, receive very little subsidization. And Americans eat much less produce than recommended, we eat much more sugar than we should and much less fruit and vegetables than we should.
So this is all to say, listen, if you think that the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has your best interests in mind, think again, if you think the US government considers your health a priority, think again.
Even the healthcare industry here in the US is highly influenced by the pharmaceutical industry. Your doctor’s job isn’t to get you as healthy as possible. It’s to sell more drugs. Hey, Doc, I’m suffering from all these diseases of lifestyle, should I change my lifestyle? And the doc says, hey, no, here’s a pill that you can take every day for the rest of your life instead.
Listen, the cards are stacked against us. Okay, it’s time that you take things into your own hands, it’s time to take back control of your own food choices and your own health. How do you do this? You’ve got to make your own decisions about what you feel is good for you, and what you feel is healthy for you and what isn’t.
And if you’re paying attention to people on social media, fine, but no, who’s paying them to say what they’re saying. Now, full disclosure about me, I have zero paid relationships, I do zero advertising of any kind of food products or supplements or anything like that. I don’t receive any money from anybody.
I have this coaching business that I freaking love. And that’s it. The only thing you’re gonna hear me talk about from a promotion standpoint here. I have on occasion mentioned certain supplements like LMNT, which is a sugar free electrolyte drink mix. I mentioned it because I use it. I like it. And it works great.
But I don’t have a paid relationship with them. I don’t advertise their products. You know, like I said, if I mentioned something, it’s because I recommend it to my clients and I use it.
And by the way, there’s another electrolyte drink that I really love. It’s called Redmond Real Light. And it’s by Redmond, the salt company. And so they make this electrolyte drink that is really tasty. And it comes in a little tub. So you can scoop out the amount that you want, which is a little bit different than LMNT which comes in packets. So they’re like pre portioned packets.
Anyway, that’s about the extent of my promotion right there. So you got to pay attention to who’s paying who to say what, right. Someone mentions a study, be sure to see who funded the study. I recently came across a study on the health benefits of canola oil. And then I skipped to the end and I see that this study quote unquote study was funded by The Canola Council.
And listen, canola oil, it’s a highly refined industrial seed oil. It’s been linked to higher inflammation, negative impacts on memory and heart health. It’s just not something I believe is healthy. Even if some of the stuff they’re talking about isn’t quite true. There’s enough evidence out there to say it’s probably best to stay away from canola oil and other industrial seed oils like that.
So pay attention to who’s saying what. Pay attention, who’s paying for the study? Who’s paying for the message? Who’s paying for that health care advice that your doctors are giving you? Is it the pharmaceutical industry? Does he have a certain number of, you know, prescriptions he has to write for pills every month? I don’t know. I just don’t know.
But I’m just telling you, we have to take things in our own hands. Right, you have agency in your life, you’re in charge of your own health. If eating candy for dinner, giving your kids candy with their dinner sounds like a bunch of BS to you then go with your gut on that one. Okay?
If you think eating steak and eggs for breakfast sounds good, and that feels good. It helps you to stay lean and strong, keeps you full all day, helps you lose weight and improves your blood markers. Do that, okay?
My suggestion is always like, let’s eat more like we always have been as human beings. You know, two and a half million years of evolution, humans have been eating kind of the same things, meat, eggs, fruits, vegetables, dairy, nuts, seeds, legumes, and we’ve we’ve not had highly processed foods loaded with sugar, and grains and seed oils, those things are new, those things have only been around for 50 to 100 years or so. Maybe less in some cases.
And so for the food industry to say this stuff is really awesome for you, you should be eating more highly processed foods that have sugar, grains and seed oils in them. I would just say like, I don’t know about that. And I would just question that. It doesn’t mean you can never eat a piece of pizza again, or never eat a candy bar or whatever. Like it’s okay to do that.
I mean, but geez, we got to be careful. And don’t confuse like the occasional Snickers with thinking that that’s healthy for you. Right. And a lot of these messages that they’re promoting out there are saying, hey, this stuff is actually healthy for you that canola oil, the refined grains, the sugar, and I just I don’t I don’t feel good about that doesn’t feel right to me.
And listen, it doesn’t matter what like diet you follow, you know, if you want to eat more plant based, and that feels good to you, and that works for you. And that promotes good health for you do that if you want to eat more of an animal based diet, and that makes you feel good. And that promotes good health for you, do that.
That part to me is less important than staying away from the stuff that is clearly junk food that is clearly processed that is clearly not healthy for you. The right diet is one that works for you, you know the one that you feel good about, but you have to take control here.
You can see what people are talking about out there on the internet. But be mindful and be skeptical. I think having healthy skepticism is really good for you. You know, it’s a good thing to look at who’s paying for these people to say these things, right?
Take back control of your health, take back control of your food choices. Do what feels right for you to become the healthiest and most badass version of yourself yet. Okay. That is your charge for this week. Take back control.
Okay, and as always, if you’re looking for help with any of this stuff, we can talk about coaching, just head over to runningleancoaching.com and click on Work With Me, fill out an application, we’ll have a conversation and we’ll see if coaching is a good fit for you. If it is great. If not, that’s cool, too. All right. 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 losing weight, there are many, many approaches you can take - some of them will work while others definitely will not. Runners especially need to be mindful of their approach to …
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 193 of Running Lean. My name is Patrick McGilvray, The Weight Loss Coach for Runners and today, Five Dieting Disasters Runners Need To Avoid. So, when it comes to losing weight, there are many many approaches you can take.
Some of them will work, others definitely will not. Runners especially need to be mindful of their approach to weight loss because certain methods might help you lose weight, but will drastically impair your running performance.
So in this episode, I’m going to go over five dieting disasters that runners need to avoid if you want to lose weight without completely destroying your running performance. I’ll be talking about things like calorie restrictive diets.
The problem with the types of foods you might be turning to carbohydrate management, overtraining, one size fits all approaches. So I think there’s going to be something for everyone in this episode.
But first, I talked to a lot of people who want and need help figuring out this whole nutrition exercise stuff so they can lose weight and keep it off for good. And they want to change, they want to do something about it. But instead, they put it off, they say things like I need to think about it. Or maybe later, maybe now’s not the right time.
But if you’ve been thinking about this for a long time, now, you know that you’re going to have to eventually do something differently, or else nothing is going to change for you. Right, nothing changes, if nothing changes, right.
So thinking more about it or delaying this decision isn’t going to do anything, you have to take action. So you have to make a decision, and you have to take action, the only thing guaranteed to not work is to just do nothing.
And a lot of people continually put things off, because they’re afraid, because they fear failure, or they feel fear, the kind of changes that you’re going to have to make when you take on something like changing your diet.
And the truth is, yeah, you’re gonna have to sort of become a different person in this process. But think about this, where do you see yourself in, let’s say six months time, what would that different person look like?
Because if you do nothing, you’re probably going to still be right where you are, maybe struggling with your weight or your body composition, your energy levels, still wishing you felt better regretting that you didn’t start six months ago, right. But if you took some action and started now, in six months, you’re going to be six months closer to your goal, wait six months of having practiced good habits, having developed good habits, six months closer to that most badass version of yourself.
So don’t put it off. If this is something that you want for yourself, take action, make a decision. And if you want some help from me, great. If you want to do this on your own, I think that’s amazing, too. But I’m here for you.
If you want a little bit of help, just go to runningleancoaching.com and click on Work With Me. And then you can fill out a little application, you and I will get on a Zoom call, we’ll have a conversation and see if coaching is a good fit for you. If it is, great. If it’s not, that’s cool, too. I want the best for you. That’s it, whether you want to work with me or not, it’s okay.
But I do want you to stop thinking about it, stop putting it off and just take some action and do something today. Okay. One thing you can do right now is if you just want a little bit of help getting started with all this stuff, you can take some action.
And check out the free training that I created. It’s called Five Simple Steps To Becoming A Leaner, Stronger Runner. And in this free training I put together I will teach you how to lose weight the right way and keep it off for good without running a million miles a week.
Some of the things that you’re going to learn is why running more and eating less does not work when you’re trying to lose weight. Some of the things that runners don’t do properly when they’re trying to lose weight, the best fuel to use to improve your endurance and you know, get weight loss really working for you.
And then I talked about the mindset shifts required to make these things last for life. So there’s a lot more in that training. I spent a lot of time putting it together. It kind of takes everything I teach on the podcast and combines it into about an hour long training. So definitely check it out.
Just go to runningleancoaching.com and click on Free Training and then you can go through that, and that’ll get you started on the right track. And if again, if you want a little bit of help moving forward with this stuff, you can always apply for coaching with me. Cool.
Okay, let’s talk about five dieting disasters that runners need to avoid. And the reason this came up is because I’ve been hearing a lot about a lot of different types of diets. Recently, I listen to a lot of books, I listen to a lot of podcasts, and read a lot of books on diet, nutrition, exercise, running.
And one thing that keeps coming up is that all of these diets that are out there are kind of designed for the general public. And they’re really not specifically designed for runners. And so the first dieting disaster I want to talk about is cutting calories.
And this is one of those things, cutting calories is one of those traditional ways of losing weight that a lot of people ascribe to that is, unfortunately, just not really good for runners, it really just doesn’t work for us as runners actually, it really doesn’t work for most people. I’ll get into that in just a second.
But just understand that as runners we have special needs, we are special. We need to make sure that we have the energy that we need, and the fuel that we need to power us through some long workouts, some long runs, some tough workouts, some higher intensity workouts.
And honestly, if you’re in a calorie deficit all the time, this is going to be kind of a problem. So cutting calories is one of the dieting disasters I think you absolutely want to avoid. So here’s a couple of problems with this. Yes, if you cut calories, you can lose weight, but you’re not really fueling your body properly.
If you are constantly in a calorie deficit, right, you’re not going to have enough fuel to properly not only fuel for your workouts, but recover from your workouts, which is probably even more important because running is catabolic.
Running breaks down muscle, just like lifting weights is catabolic. When you lift weights at the gym, you are breaking down muscle, you’re tearing muscle fibers, in order to get your body back into an anabolic state where you are building and maintaining muscle, you need to get enough rest, you need to make sure that you’re providing enough fuel enough calories, enough protein to build that muscle back up.
And unfortunately, a lot of these calorie deficit diets will not give you the proper amount of calories that you need and the proper amount of protein especially in order to get back into that anabolic state where you’re maintaining and actually building muscle.
Okay, so you’re constantly breaking down your body, you’re breaking down tissues, you’re breaking down muscle, and this is going to dramatically impair your progress as a runner. So when you’re in an anabolic state, you’re building and maintaining muscle mass. When you’re in a catabolic state, you’re breaking down or losing overall muscle mass.
The anabolic state happens when you are at rest and when you are fueling. And when you are recovering, when you’re sleeping and things like that catabolism being in that catabolic state happens while you are actively working out especially doing anything that’s high intensity.
So your running performance is going to take a huge hit if you’re constantly in some sort of a calorie deficit, okay, you’ve reduced your overall caloric intake, you’re not recovering from those harder runs. The next run you go out on the next workout that you engage in is going to feel especially hard because you’re not fully recovered from the previous workout.
And so you’re not going to recover fully from this workout. And then this cycle just continues. And this is a way of getting super burned out and really hurting your running performance. And it could lead to injury too, especially if you’re not building muscle actively. If you’re not gaining strength, if you’re losing strength through this process, this can really lead to injury. So this is a big problem. The other thing you have to understand is that this whole idea of calories in calories out, this is not really a sustainable weight loss method.
And I know that this kind of information is disseminated out there from everyone. I listened to so many experts talk about cutting calories as the way to control weight. But it is not sustainable. Studies continually show that cutting calories, yes, is an effective way to lose weight. No doubt about that.
Studies have shown that it’s also the number one least sustainable weight loss method. Why? Because when you are in a calorie deficit, it will actually over time will slow down your metabolism. So your body’s really great at keeping you in homeostasis, which is keeping your body in a balanced state.
So if you reduce energy coming in, over time, your body will reduce the energy that you’re putting out. So if you continually eat in a calorie deficit, your body will slow down your metabolism because it’s saying, hey, we’re only getting 800 calories a day, 1000 calories a day, whatever, we need to slow things down here. So we’re not burning so many calories here, we need to slow down this metabolism to match what’s coming in.
And when you continually do this, your ability to lose weight will eventually stall and stop. And then you cannot continually eat in more of a deficit, because then you’d have to reduce it by a few hundred calories more to get the weight loss going again.
And then you can see why this is completely unsustainable. That’s why shows like The Biggest Loser were great at first. All these people that are pretty overweight, they lose a ton of weight by restricting calories. But eventually they gain it all back.
And then some, in fact, I was doing a little research on this. And there was a study from the NIH, the National Institutes of Health that said that they followed 14 former Biggest Loser contestants over the course of six years. And the participants had all gained back most of the weight that they had lost on the show. And in some cases, they even put on more.
So this is not a sustainable weight loss method, the whole calorie deficit thing. You cannot continually eat in a calorie deficit and expect to, you know, keep performing well as a runner. Okay? I would argue that even as a human being, it’s just not sustainable. So cutting calories is a huge mistake. And I think it’s a disaster that you just need to avoid. Okay. So that’s number one.
Number two is not eating real foods. So runners love their fuel. They love their shakes and their smoothies and their bars and their drinks and their gels and their goos. And all this other stuff, whatever’s quick and easy for a runner, I need my fuel. And so you grab the latest, greatest thing and a little package or whatever.
This can be a real problem because you end up eating a lot of processed food. And processed food is processed food is food that no longer looks like food. It’s like heavily processed food that has been ground up and you ‘ve pulled the certain ingredients out of whole foods and then combined them.
And all you gotta do is look at the back of a package of whatever you’re eating like an energy bar, and look at the ingredients and you’re gonna see tons of ingredients, tons of ingredients you don’t understand, usually tons of sugar, and refined grains like flour.
And there was another study from the NIH that said that when people ate a diet full of ultra processed foods that they just consume more calories and gain more weight than when they just ate minimally processed foods. So just the fact that eating processed food will cause you to gain weight.
I was looking at the back of a Clif Bar recently. Actually, I just looked this up online, I don’t buy Clif Bars anymore. I used to eat this stuff all the time back when I was like 40 or 50 pounds heavier, but I was looking at the ingredients of a Clif Bar.
And I’m just gonna read through a bunch of these ingredients so you understand what I’m talking about. This is processed food. This is highly processed food. And you’re gonna notice a couple things.
The first ingredient is organic brown rice syrup, and they use the word organic in front of everything here to make it sound like it’s healthy, just so you know. Okay, organic brown rice syrup. That’s sugar, by the way. Organic rolled oats, soy protein isolate, organic cane syrup, sugar, organic roasted soy beans, rice flour, cocoa, organic soy flour, organic high oleic sunflower oil, organic cane sugar, sugar, organic oat flour, organic oat fiber.
Why do you need organic oat fiber if you have oat flour and rolled oats in there anyway? Natural flavors. What does that mean? Alkalized cocoa, organic cocoa butter, sunflower oil, salt, barley malt extract, green tea extract, unsweetened chocolate, soy lecithin, baking soda, dye, calcium phosphate, magnesium oxide, ascorbic acid, tocopherol, acetate, beta carotene, NYAS, cinnamon, global, I’m not going to try to pronounce a lot of these words because they’re crazy.
Here’s the thing that I want you to take away from this. This is a highly processed food loaded with sugar. The reason people love Clif bars is because it’s just a candy bar wrapped in a quote unquote healthy package. Look at the word organic on there. Oh, they’re organic. It’s good for you.
If you’re an athlete, you know, they got a picture of somebody like climbing a mountain climbing rock climbing on the package. So of course it’s for the athlete, it’s good for you. It gives you energy. Yeah, it gives you energy. It’s just pure sugar.
Okay, so just understand that this is an ultra processed food. And this is not healthy food. Okay, this is not something that is good for you. And to eat a bunch of stuff like this constantly is a problem. Right? This is going to be a disaster.
So what happens? What if you ditched all the highly processed foods? What if you just ate real food? Well, a couple of things. Number one, eating real food will help you to stay satiated. Protein and fat are filling. And when you eat foods that are high in protein and good quality fats, your body’s getting all the nutrients it needs.
You’re gonna stay more satiated through the day, you’re gonna feel full, your body gets everything it needs, your hunger signals will return to normal. All the sugar and processed food will kind of mess with your hunger signals.
Ghrelin, which is the hunger hormone, gets overproduced when you’re eating foods high in sugar high in carbohydrates. Leptin is the fullness sensor. It’s a fullness hormone. And that gets downregulated and will cause you to stay hungry even after you’ve eaten a bunch of food when you’re eating processed food and carbohydrates and things like that.
So it causes you to stay hungry all the time, which makes controlling your eating really hard to do and you end up just massively overeating. It’s very, very easy to overeat stuff like Clif Bars, right? It’s pretty hard to overeat like chicken or steak or broccoli or eggs like you don’t eat so much. And then you’re like, poof, I’m full.
That’s the way we’re supposed to be. That’s the kind of food we’re supposed to eat. So eating real food will help to reset your hunger and satiety signals, you’ll naturally and easily just kind of eat the right amount of food. Your body is very good at knowing, hey, I should stop eating when you’re eating real food. It doesn’t have those same sensors working properly when you’re eating all this junk food.
All this processed food, especially food, it’s super high in sugar, like a Clif Bar. Okay, so what is real food? Real food is food that still looks like food. You look at it, you’re like, oh, that is an egg that is an avocado. That is a steak. Like you know what that is, your ancestors would recognize that stuff as food.
So examples of real food that we can find in the grocery store would be that stuff that we find around the perimeter of the grocery store. The outside edges of the grocery store stuff like fresh produce fruits and vegetables, meat fish, cheese, dairy, eggs, nuts, seeds, legumes, healthy fats, olive oil, butter, coconut oil, you want to stay away from those toxic seed oils that would include things like canola oil, corn oil, cottonseed oil, soybean oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil, grapeseed oil, rice bran, all these things are toxic and highly highly processed.
And if you understand how they process these quote unquote, like vegetable oils, it’s a horrible process that they go through. This stuff is just not good for you. Stick to real quality healthy fats, okay? Also just stay away from the package foods if it has a label and an ingredient list and a marketing message. I would just say no to that stuff. Okay.
Now sometimes this kind of stuff is okay like, I’ll go to the frozen foods aisle and I love getting like bags of frozen broccoli, or riced cauliflower because I love love riced cauliflower. It’s a good substitute for rice and a lot of dishes and stuff. And to make it myself is a pain in the butt, super messy and a huge pain in the butt so I can just buy that stuff. Yes, it is, quote unquote processed because they’ve chopped up the broccoli and they froze it.
They’ve like shredded the cauliflower or whatever they do to it, they’ve erased it. But it’s minimally processed. If you look at the package, there’s one ingredient, it’s like cauliflower. There’s one ingredient, it’s broccoli. So that kind of stuff is okay. Stay away from the stuff with a package, and a label and a bunch of ingredients, and you’re going to be fine. So just stick with real food, okay, because eating all the processed food is going to be a disaster for you. All right.
Number three, carbohydrate mismanagement. So carbs are not the enemy. And I just did a podcast about this a few weeks ago, you can check out episode 190 and listen to that. And I talk all about carbs and why carbs should be included in our diet, and everybody needs to kind of figure out their own number of cards and things like that.
But just understand that carbs are not the enemy, but carbs need to be managed. You need to control your carbohydrate intake, if you want to improve fat burning, so fat burning will help you to improve your body composition. Because fat burning is how you lose weight, you have to burn fat.
Fat Burning also is how you improve your endurance as a runner, you have to get good at burning fat. So the goal with our diet is to eat the kinds of foods that will help us to keep our body into a fat burning state. Right, so we do eat some carbs, but we don’t want to go crazy on the carbs. We need to manage our carbohydrate intake because carbohydrates are just sugar. And there’s a spectrum there.
Of course, you know, there’s table sugar, and brown rice syrup and cane sugar syrup and things like that, which are super concentrated forms of carbohydrate. And then there’s like, you know, blueberries or a sweet potato, which are carbohydrate, and they’re a little bit higher and carbohydrate, but they’re pretty low, and they don’t spike your blood sugar, okay, but when we consume carbohydrates, sugar, some of that energy is used, or some of that sugar is used for energy, and then some of it is stored as fat.
And depending on the concentration of carbohydrates, it’ll determine how much of that is stored as fat. So eating just pure sugar, if you drink like a big 32 ounce Coca Cola or something like that, that’s going to have like, I don’t know, 28 grams of sugar, or I’m sorry, not 28 grams, probably have like 28 teaspoons of sugar in there or something like that’s crazy.
It’s like a ton of sugar. Most of that’s going to be just stored as fat because your body can’t use that much sugar, right, right all at once. So too many carbs, too much sugar, and your body will not turn on the fat burning system, you will be storing fat.
Because when you raise your blood sugar, which happens when you eat most foods, but especially things that are very concentrated and carbohydrates, you raise your blood sugar quite a bit, insulin gets raised quite a bit and insulin is the gatekeeper, they will keep fat locked up in your fat cells.
So we want to keep insulin levels managed. We want to keep them pretty low most of the time. So fat burning should be your goal. This is our natural state as human beings. Fat Burning is what we’ve always done, we feast and famine, or feasted and fasted. As human beings we’ve had these times in our evolutionary history where we developed this amazing fuel system that can be used in times of famine when we did not have a lot of food available.
So we’d go on a hunt, where you would eat some large animal, let’s just say like a woolly mammoth or something like that. And then we would fast for days because we have this storage system, you know, we’ve stored some of that energy as fat and we can use that for energy. Right.
But nowadays, we’re eating all the time we’re eating tons of processed food, tons of sugar, and we just keep storing the fat and storing the fat we’re not tapping into that stored body fat for fuel and that’s what we want to do. So our goal, from a dietary standpoint, from a nutrition standpoint, from an exercise standpoint is to enhance fat burning, right?
This helps with weight loss. It helps with improving endurance and it helps with your energy throughout the day. If you want all day energy, just burning more fat helps with focus and concentration. All kinds of positive benefits of becoming a good fat burner, okay? Too many carbs. Fat Burning just gets shut down. So carbs don’t need to be eliminated. We just have to manage them properly. Okay.
The other side of this is just not eating enough. So people think, oh, carbs are bad, I just got to stay away from carbs, I’m just going to eat zero carbs. Okay? Some people do really well, eating very few carbs, it’s almost impossible to eat zero because even if you eat like an egg, it’s got like a one or two grams of carbs in there, okay?
Some dairy has carbs, if you just ate nothing but meat, which a lot of people love this, like carnivore diet, they’re gonna get close to zero carbs, but probably not zero. And they do okay, and they, they might do fine. I don’t personally think that is the best for everybody. I think there are some people that really do well on that.
I’ve tried it, and it was great for a period of time. And then I felt like I needed just a little bit more in the way of carbohydrates. So I added some more carbs into my diet. But carbs are not necessary, I want to make sure that it is very clear that our body will produce the glucose that we need to keep our brain functioning. And all these people that have been doing carnivore for 5-10 years. They don’t eat anything but meat and salt. And they do really well.
And they’re functioning great, you know, they’re improving their performance, their athletes, whatever. And that’s great for them, doesn’t mean everybody has to do that. Okay. So I think sometimes we can go a little bit too low.
And if you’re somebody who isn’t performing well at super low carbs, then we got to increase those carbs. Some people do well, when they’re 50 grams or less per day, other people feel better when they’re at 100-150 grams per day, something like that. But again, this is still considered kind of low carb, okay?
The average American is somewhere around three to 500 grams of carbs a day, it’s crazy. So a lot of carbs, I couldn’t eat that much today, if I tried. Why? Because I probably could if I really tried. But that is a ton of carbs to eat in a day.
In my opinion, I’ve been doing this low carb thing for years and years, I feel so much better when I keep my carbs pretty low. Right? So some people do well, if they’re super low, let’s say under 20 grams a day, that would be like the carnivore type people, others do something called carb cycling, that might be where you, you for like three or four days in a row, you might do around 50 grams, and then you have a day where you up that to 120 or 150. And then you go back down and every third or fourth day, you increase your carbs, you know, by 100 or 150 grams a day.
And some people do well with something like that. So in the course of a week, you know, your average daily carb intake is a little bit higher than somebody that’s doing, you know, a much lower carb intake. But again, this is individualized, you gotta figure this out for yourself. Okay, carbs will help your body to recover from hard workouts, they help you to get back into that anabolic state so they help you to signal proteins synthesis in order to build muscle.
So insulin is one of the ways that you can activate muscle protein synthesis. Another way of signaling muscle protein synthesis is eating foods high in leucine. Leucine is an amino acid and it helps to activate that protein synthesis so eating foods high in leucine will help you to build and repair muscle things like chicken beef, pork, fish, tofu, can beans, lentils, milk, cheese, cottage cheese, eggs, all these foods are high and leucine.
Anything that has a complete protein typically is going to give you higher amounts of leucine. So eat some carbs, eat the right amount of carbs for you and your goals and it takes a little bit of trial and error sometimes to figure this out. You might do better if you’re eating some carbs to help signal some protein synthesis as well. Okay.
The other problem is that people who just eat the wrong kinds of carbs so it’s easy to say okay, I need to eat a few more carbs every day and then you’re just going crazy on like doughnuts and pasta and muffins and cookies and Clif bars or whatever. And these are all junk carbs right they’re not healthy foods.
Refined sugar is not healthy food. There’s no study out there that is going to show you that sugar has a bunch of health benefits unless it’s sponsored by like the sugar industry like Coca Cola or something like that.
And I have seen those kinds of studies before they’ll be like, sugar is good for you. It’s clean energy and blah, blah, blah. And I’m just going to tell you right now there is not a nutritionist or a dietician, no matter what sort of method they prescribe that they are not going to tell you that sugar is good for you.
Okay, doesn’t mean you can never have sugar but you just got to be really careful with that again, it comes to control management, but the right kinds of carbs are the ones that are not going to spike your blood sugar. Like our goal here is to keep fat burning going.
Our goal here is to keep your blood sugar managed relatively low, not super low. You don’t want to be hypoglycemic. But we got to kind of manage our blood sugar so it’s not constantly spiking and crashing. So the right kinds of carbs and the ones that I like talk to my clients about including in their diet would be things like fruit, berries, dairy, legumes, starchy vegetables, like sweet potatoes, root vegetables.
Again, these are all real foods, they still look like food. Our ancestors look at these things and say, oh, yeah, I know what that is. That is a sweet potato. Oh, yeah, that is a blueberry. Okay, so carbohydrate management is very important.
Number four is increased cortisol. Cortisol is the stress hormone. Your body produces cortisol when you get stressed out, and this is normal. And this is actually good. Because when you’re in this stressful situation, and we’ve evolved to produce cortisol in stressful situations, like the saber toothed tiger comes at us from the jungle, and we’re staying there and we’re like, oh, my gosh, your body raises cortisol raises glucose produces a bunch of blood sugars, so that you can like fight or flight like you couldn’t run away, I would run away if it was me.
Same thing happens when we are under stress, though today. And this stress could be from an inbox full of emails, or financial issues, or work related stuff, or family or relationship stuff. Like there’s so many things that stress us out in society today. And if you’re in the state of chronic stress, where cortisol is chronically raised, this is a big problem. All right.
Cortisol, in small amounts in in short term is fine like it is actually it’s a good thing. Because your body will have an adaptive response to that. So you do a hard workout, you do a hard hit workout, cortisol is gonna go up. As soon as you get into the rest mode, like that’s gonna go back down again. And then cortisol is back to normal, and you’re good to go.
The problem is that we have these lives, you know, stresses that keep us in a chronic state of stress, which keeps cortisol chronically high, which keeps our blood sugar’s chronically elevated, which keeps insulin chronically elevated, which keeps us storing fat. It keeps us from burning fat. So if you want to completely avoid fat burning, just stay stressed out all the time.
So this is like lack of sleep, too many hard workouts, not enough rest and recovery days. One way that a lot of runners will put themselves in a state of chronic stress is doing what I call chronic cardio, this is where you’re just doing all your workouts at that sort of medium hard level of intensity, they’re not easy enough to be easy.
They’re not hard enough to be hard. It’s like you’re doing everything at the high end of zone three or something like that. And it’s just all your workouts are a little too hard. You’re never giving your body a break. You’re never pushing yourself so hard that you’re getting into those higher zones, and you’re never really doing anything that’s easy enough to help you to respond and recover and repair.
So we got to be careful with this chronically elevated stress, chronically elevated cortisol, and chronically elevated glucose peruses, that chronically elevated insulin and then you’re chronically storing fat, right? You cannot burn fat while your body is stressed out.
So you have to manage stress. This means managing your day to day stress. And any sort of exercise undue stress. So you got to prioritize rest and recovery days. You can’t really improve your fitness if you’re out there just cranking out the miles day after day after day, your fitness improves while at rest. So you do hard HIIT workout speed intervals, something like that.
And then the next day you take a rest day, maybe an active recovery day, something like that. Well, that’s when your body has the positive responses and your cardiovascular system improves. Your lactate threshold improves. Same for lifting weights, you don’t get stronger while you’re lifting weights at the gym. That’s when you’re breaking yourself down. You get stronger during the rest and recovery phase, right.
So you have to improve stress. You have to manage stress, you have to improve your sleep quality. Sleep is so important. People don’t understand the importance of sleep but getting enough sleep and getting good quality sleep are super important because if you’re not getting enough sleep you could keep yourself in this state of chronically being stressed out. And stress leads to a lack of sleep. And a lack of sleep creates stress.
So this is a terrible cycle to be in. So you have to manage stress from the outside and you got to manage stress from the inside. And you have to make sure that you are getting quality sleep, whatever it takes, okay? A better approach to running is the 80/20 method. I’ve talked about this before, this is going to help you to keep cortisol at normal levels at 20 just means that 80% of the time, you’re you’re running workouts are going to be pretty easy conversational pace, pretty low zones, one or two 20% of the time, heart zones, 3, 4, 5, where you’re going to be doing speed intervals, you’re going to be doing HIIT workouts, you’re going to be doing tempo runs anything that’s going to really push the needle hard, but that’s only 20% of the time.
And if you kind of stick to that formula, the 80/20 formula, that’s where the magic happens, right. That’s how you improve your endurance, you improve your speed, you improve your strength without burning yourself out. So you do have to include the 20% of hard workouts, but it should only be 20%. It shouldn’t be chronically hard workouts, okay? All right.
And then number five, dieting disaster that runners need to avoid is one size fits all approaches. And I have done all this stuff. I’ve read the books, I’ve tried all the fad diets, I’ve tried everything that’s out there, pretty much. I’ve even experimented with some of these lately, just to see like, hey, this actually sounds interesting. I wonder if this might work.
This diet that somebody wrote out there, you know, the problem with that is that they don’t work. They don’t work for everyone. There’s not one diet that is going to work perfectly for everyone. Why? Because you are an individual. You have your own body, your own metabolism, your own goals, your unique lifestyle, your own culture, food preferences, food likes and dislikes food allergies, you got your own athletic goals, your own training schedule, your own particular body composition goals, your own hormonal makeup, genetics have a factor in this too.
If you think that one fad diet is going to work for you exactly the same as it did for that celebrity who’s selling it, I’m sorry, but you’re just mistaken, it’s not going to work for you. I mean, it might, but there is no one size fits all diet out there. Okay.
That is why I am a coach and I don’t have a book to sell you on how to lose weight, right? Because it just doesn’t work that way. Everybody’s different. And coaching works, where all these other diets fail. Because what I do is I’m going to meet you where you are, and treat you like the individual that you are, we’ll take a look at what you’re doing today.
And then we’ll start making some changes. And this looks a little bit different for each person I work with because we’re starting from where you are. And then we start making some small changes. And we start small, and then we layer things on. And you know, we got to make sure that your body adjusts to each of these changes. But this is the right way to approach any type of dietary intervention, like you can’t just change 27 things all at once.
This is not sustainable, this is very overwhelming, and most people will not stick with it. So when you look at some fad diet out there, and they say okay, here’s the 27 things you need to do. Here’s the food you need, this food’s naughty, here’s the kind of thing, here’s my carbs, calories, how many macros and blah, blah, blah. Like it’s just overwhelming for a lot of people.
So it has to be something that is a progressive approach. I always take an progressive approach with my clients. And coaching is about feedback and results like is this working for you? Yes or no? Are you seeing positive results? Yes or no? If yes, cool. We’re going to keep going. If no, then we need to change something so that we can start getting results again.
And I’ll even say this, and this might sound a little bit arrogant, but coaching pretty much always works as long as you stick with it. As long as we are constantly analyzing results and making changes when necessary. You’ll always be moving towards your goals. You’ll always be getting results as long as we take that approach.
Because it’s not about any particular diet. It’s not about some dogmatic set of principles. Coaching is about what works for you as an individual. Yeah, sometimes it takes a little bit, a little bit of time to figure things out. Sometimes you have some setbacks, sometimes. It just doesn’t work.
But then we get into detective mode and we figure out a solution. And every other diet that’s out there, every other like one size fits all diet. You know, here’s what you do. And if it’s not working, sorry about your luck, you’re probably just doing it wrong. That is not the approach you need to take, you need to take an individualized approach.
And I’m not even saying you got to have a coach to help you through all this stuff. But you do have to constantly be analyzing, is this working for me or not? And if it isn’t, there’s something that has to change, you can’t keep doing the same things and expecting the results to be different, right?
So that is why I don’t just have a document, I can hand it over to you and say, here’s what you’re going to do. And this is going to work perfectly for you. Because there is no such thing. There just really isn’t. Okay. So this is a very dynamic process. It’s a process of trying some things and seeing if it works, and if it does, great, try something you know, later on the next thing, if it’s not working, though, we have to make a change. You can’t just keep doing the same things. Okay?
So you have to take more of a dynamic approach to whatever method you want to take on here. And that’s again, that’s why I do coaching and I don’t just hand over a book or document or something like that.
Okay, so those are the five dieting disasters that runners need to avoid. Number one, cutting calories and number two, not eating real food number three, carbohydrate mismanagement, number four, increased cortisol and number five, the one size fits all approach is just don’t do those things. And you’ll be fine. Cool.
And as always, if you’re looking for some help with any of this stuff, we can talk about it just head over to runningcoaching.com and click on Work Withork with me. We’ll have a conversation, see if coaching is a good fit for you. Okay, that’s all I got for you today. Love you all, keep on Running Lean, and I will talk to you soon.