When it comes to eating healthy and losing weight, people think you have 3 choices: Struggle, suffer, or give in. You might want to stick to a healthy eating plan through the holidays but feel like …
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 152 of Running Lean.
My name is Patrick McGilvray, the weight loss coach for runners and today I’m talking about struggling, suffering and giving in when it comes to eating healthy and losing weight. A lot of people, runners especially, think that you have basically three choices, you can either struggle, suffer, or just give him.
So you might want to stick to a healthy eating plan, you know, through the holidays. But you feel like you’re either going to have to struggle to stay on that plan, or suffer your way through it. Or just say screw it and give in to all those cravings for carbage.
But what if there was another option? What if you didn’t have to suffer or struggle? What if you never gave in to those food cravings? Today I’m talking about how we’re not really stuck with this, these three options of struggling suffering and giving in how you can make healthy eating actually enjoyable, and maybe even fun, and stick to your plan. Cool.
Instead of struggling or suffering your way through the holidays this year, why don’t you do something different with coaching you and I will create a plan just for you. One that feels good to you when you actually have some say in how we structure it and one that you feel good about. And then I hope you stick to that plan.
If you want to show up on January 1, next year actually feeling good about yourself for a change. Instead of regretting all of your decisions over the last 40 days, then you might be ready for the Running Lean coaching project.
This is my unique weight loss coaching program for runners where the project as always is you to learn more, just go to runningleancoaching.com/apply. And get started, you’ll fill out a quick application, you and I will jump on a zoom, we’ll see if this is a good fit for you. If it is then we can get you started right away. Cool. Just go to runningleancoaching.com/apply. And I’ll see you in the Running Lean coaching project.
Okay, this topic came to me recently because I’ve been hearing a lot of people struggling and a lot of people kind of suffering, a lot of people giving in to these temptations. Now we are officially into the holiday season here, especially in the US where if you’re listening to this, the day this episode comes out, it’ll be the day after Thanksgiving.
And so Thanksgiving is kind of the official or maybe unofficial kickoff of the holidays here in the US. So if you are in the US or in a part of the world that celebrates, you know, Christmas and all that stuff, then we are getting into this season where it’s challenging for a lot of people, this is a time of the year that can be very stressful for a lot of people.
There’s a lot of tempting foods out there. There’s holiday parties, there’s weird working schedules, there’s a lot of time off, and we sort of get out of our routine. And it can be very stressful and very detrimental.
If you are somebody that’s trying to lose weight or get healthy or change your exercise regimen or change your body composition, whatever it is you want for yourself. This is the time of the year where most people fall off the wagon, right.
Another thing to consider is that for most runners, this is considered the offseason because we are getting into the winter. We’ve had our fall races, we’ve had our fall marathons and half marathons. And now we sort of have a little bit of time off before marathons. Training actually begins again in January, at least here in the US.
So this is the time of the year where a lot of people just sort of go off the rails, eat a bunch of junk, gain a bunch of weight, and come January one they feel terrible about themselves. Yeah, have you ever done this before? This used to be my go to every single year, I would run a couple marathons every year, you know, run that fall marathon, and then I’d be like, heck yeah, I’m taking some time off.
So I would stop training. You run a little bit here and there, but pretty much stopped the level of intensity of training that I had been doing for most of the year. And then it basically eat whatever I wanted to. And then by January 1 I would always gain, like 10-15 pounds. Yeah, that’s a lot of weight gain, in really a short amount of time, really, we’re only talking about two months, maybe.
Okay, so, for me, this was always something where I would start the new year at a deficit, let’s start the new year like having to make up a bunch of ground, just to get back to normal just to get back to where I was, you know, before I started, you know, binging out and going crazy on all the garbage that I was eating at the time.
And this, this was problematic, because I would do this, you know, every year, and I would never really get back to where I was. So I just kept gaining weight, and every year, I would just gain a bunch of weight. And this time of the year was a time where I would gain the most amount of weight, because it was the offseason because it was the holidays, because it was stressful.
And all the reasons I can tell you all the reasons, all the stories, all the excuses for why I did what I did. But at the end of the day, it just boils down to me having some really bad habits and eating the wrong kinds of foods and, and really not understanding how all this was affecting me. So we don’t want to do this, this is not really a good way to go, right?
You want to start the new year, instead of feeling bad and coming from a deficit and having to make up this ground. You want to start the new year feeling good about yourself, not feeling bad about yourself. Because when you start the new year, and you feel bad about yourself, here’s what you’ve done over the last 40 days or so, you’ve broken down the trust in yourself.
So when I say you know, how do you build up trust in yourself? What I’m talking about is, you say you’re gonna do something and then you do it. So you say you’re gonna stick to your food plan, and you do what you say you’re gonna stick to your running schedule, and you do it. When you don’t do that, you break down that trust in yourself.
When you say you’re going to do something, and then you fail, and you give up and you don’t do that thing. You subconsciously break down your ability to trust yourself to stay on track, you lose confidence, you lose momentum, you have all this ground to make up, you’re not making progress anymore, you’re actually going backwards. And all of this feels terrible.
And yet, so many people do this anyway. And then they struggle come the New Year to just get back to their normal state. They’re like, You know what they’re used to. I don’t think this is a good idea, we do not want to take this approach over the next 40 days or so. So there’s roughly 39 or 40 days between Thanksgiving Day and New Year’s Day.
And I think this is a great opportunity for us to get focused on what we can do to stay consistent, and to honor the commitments we make to ourselves and to build trust in ourselves. Because the opposite is also true. When you say you’re going to do something and you do it, you build trust in yourself, you build confidence in yourself that you can actually stick to your plan. And this is where you start to make progress towards your goals, you maybe start to lose weight, maybe you start to improve your running, you get faster, maybe you’re lifting weights, and you get stronger, and then you build momentum.
And all this momentum helps you have more confidence in it. And it motivates you to keep going and then you can start the new year feeling amazing. And making all this progress and having had your own back these last 40 days. That’s what I really want for you. And for me and for all of us. Because I know that that is what you want for yourself.
I know that you want to get through the holidays and you want to feel like you’ve done a good job and you’ve honored your commitments to yourself. You’ve built momentum, you’ve built confidence, you’ve built trust in yourself and you’ve made progress. That’s where I think you want to be, right?
So why not do that? Why not make that your priority? But the problem is most people, they don’t do that. Most people just have this idea of like yeah, I’m gonna I’m going to start the new year feeling great and then they just give in, you know, they struggle they suffer they give in through the whole 40 days of the holidays.
And really what are the holidays we have? Thanksgiving Day. You can count New Year’s Eve and or I’m sorry, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. So really we’re talking five days, five days. Some of those are like half days, like New Year’s Eve and Christmas Eve.
So, like four days we’re talking about here, it’s so when we talk about the holidays, it’s like four days, right? Don’t make it seem like every day is a party between now and the end of the year, because it isn’t, and it shouldn’t be. Okay. But here’s the thing.
Most people, they struggle, they suffer, or they just give in, they have all these excuses, all these stories, all these reasons. As if all this stuff is automatic, it’s set in stone, it’s absolute, it is the truth, it’s not the truth. It’s just what you’re choosing to believe. It’s what you’re choosing to believe to be true.
Think about that for a minute, the things you think are true, like, losing weight is hard, I have to suffer my way through this. It’s going to be a struggle, I always give in all those things are just things that you are choosing to believe. I want you to think about that and really let that sink in. You’re just choosing to believe those things.
So when we talk about struggling, what I hear from people, I hear them struggling, and I hear them say this is really hard. It’s hard for me to do this, I just can’t do it. I can’t seem to get motivated, I can’t stick with it. And they struggle and they struggle and they struggle and it’s in it and it creates a really negative state of being. Okay.
And then there’s people that they may not actually feel like they’re struggling, they might stick with the plan, but they suffer their way through it. All right, well, I’m going to do this thing. I’m going to stick with this plan and eat this good food, but I won’t like it. I’m not going to be happy, it’s going to suck. Is that how we want to go through life? No, no, no, no.
But they’re like, hanging on like, like white knuckling it right? They’re hating every minute of it. They’re in a crappy mood all the time, they’re resentful, they’re angry, they’re pissed off, because they can eat all this good food that everybody else is eating, they can’t do what everybody else is doing. And so they feel terrible. And they suffer and they suffer. Alright, so you can do that you can suffer, you can struggle, all you want.
But what that usually leads to is giving in and it leads to quitting. As it is too hard, I can’t do it, I’m just not going to do it anymore. I quit. I’m just going to give in. I’m having cravings for pizza. So I’m going to eat pizza. I’m having cravings for pie and cookies, and alcohol. And I’m just going to give in because it’s easier, and it feels good. And it’s not hard. And you know, I don’t have to suffer anymore.
And so a lot of people will just say screw it or, you know, why bother, you know, it’s too hard. And they just walk away from what they want for themselves, right? They walk away from the process of actually improving their life, improving their health, improving their well being and improving their fitness. Because the struggling, the suffering is just too much, it’s too hard. And so that usually leads to quitting.
So this might be your default behavior, you may have conditioned yourself over the years over the decades, to struggle to say it’s too hard to say you can’t do it to say you could never stick with it, to suffer your way through it, hate every minute of it. Be resentful, be angry all the time. And then quit. This may be what you’ve done over and over and over again. You’ve conditioned yourself to behave in certain ways, in certain situations.
But now, you want something more for yourself, you want to improve your body composition, you want to lose weight, you want to get stronger, you want to improve your running, or maybe you just want to start running, you want to be a consistent runner. So these are things that you want for yourself that you may not have right now. But in order to get there, you cannot continue struggling, you cannot continue with the suffering and obviously, quitting is not going to get you there.
So if you’ve conditioned yourself to act in certain ways, and behave in certain ways and feel certain things and think certain things, you’re gonna have to do some work here, you’re gonna have to decondition yourself, you’re gonna have to decondition yourself and change your default behavior because your default behavior kind of sucks and it’s not working for you.
Struggling, suffering, giving in. If this is your default behavior, that’s pretty sucky behavior. Sorry, but it is you who has to change that. You got to change that right now. And so you just got to change what you do. Right Easy, easy peasy. Just change your default behavior. That’s sarcasm in case you can’t tell. It’s not easy to do. It’s a simple concept. But it is not easy to do.
And it’s just because of your conditioning, it’s because you’ve been doing the same thing for a lot of time, decades, that it becomes very difficult to change that because you just think that this is who you are at your core. And there’s nothing you can do about it. That is what we call a limiting belief, because it limits you, it keeps you stuck, it keeps you small, it keeps you from making any kind of progress that keeps you from growing.
And a lot of times people choose those limiting types of behavior, life limiting types of beliefs, because it’s easier than actually doing the work of change, change is hard. Change is uncomfortable. Nobody wants to do the work to change. But I’m telling you right now, if you can decondition yourself. And if you can change that default behavior, you are going to be a total badass, you can do anything that you want for yourself.
So really, what you have to do is you have to undo your conditioning. And it really starts with your mindset. Your mindset is your foundation, it’s the foundation that everything you want for yourself is built upon. Everything good that you want for yourself that you don’t already have, is built upon a solid foundation of the right mindset. With the right mindset, you can accomplish anything that you want.
The opposite is also true with the wrong mindset, it’s going to be very difficult to make any kind of progress to stick with anything to accomplish anything at all, it’s going to be very difficult with the wrong mindset. So we have to fix the mindset, struggling, suffering, this is just your mindset, this is something you are choosing, it may not seem like it, it may feel like it’s you know, just happening to you.
It may feel automatic, but I’m telling you, this is a state of being that you’re in that you are choosing. And you might be thinking, why would I choose this? Why would I choose a crappy mindset? Why do I choose a crappy state of being? Why would we do this? It sounds kind of ridiculous, right? But I see this every single day: people choosing the struggle, people choosing to suffer. Why?
Why would you do this? It feels terrible. It creates all sorts of negativity, it creates all sorts of stress in your life, it is very uncomfortable, very uncomfortable place to be. So why would you choose this? Well, I’ll tell you why. Because there’s another type of discomfort, the type of discomfort that comes with sticking to your plan no matter what. When you feel like eating a bunch of junk food and you don’t, that is very uncomfortable.
But that’s a different kind of discomfort. It’s the kind of discomfort that you’re not used to. It’s the kind of discomfort that is unfamiliar to you. The kind of discomfort you’re familiar with is the struggling in the suffering and the giving it that’s what you’re used to. That’s familiar to you. That’s your comfort zone. That sort of discomfort is in your comfort zone.
I know it sounds kind of weird, but it’s true. You’re used to that. It’s like putting on that warm cozy sweater in the winter, like, ooh, this feels good. Even though it makes you feel terrible. You’re choosing the struggling, you’re choosing the suffering because that level of that type of discomfort is something you’re familiar with.
Okay, so the other type of discomfort is the type where you have to stick to your food plan or stick to your exercise plan or go run outside even though it’s cold out. Those things feel uncomfortable, but in a different way in a way that you’re just not used to.
So here’s something I’m going to offer you: which one of these levels of discomfort do you want to focus on because you get to choose? Choose your discomfort. Choose how you want to struggle or suffer. What if you chose the discomfort of sticking to your plan no matter what. Ooh, now we’re getting somewhere right?
What if you put aside the discomfort of struggling and put aside the discomfort of suffering and just embrace the discomfort of sticking to the plan. What if you created a plan and then stuck to the plan no matter what even though it was uncomfortable? Right. This is a totally different mindset. This is a complete mindset shift that most people are not willing to even think about.
They’re not willing to even consider it because it doesn’t feel good. Now, first thing, and the most important thing is you have to have a plan. Most people don’t have a plan, they just wing it. Right? Most people wing it all the time. Well, you know, just figure it out later, I’ll figure it out. I’ll just, what am I going to eat for Thanksgiving? What am I going to eat for Christmas? What am I going to do about running? I’ll just figure it out later.
No, you have to have a plan. Have a plan. Plan your runs, plan your workouts, plan your meals. What does your running plan look like this week? What do your meals look like this week? What are you eating for dinner tomorrow? How are you handling that holiday party that’s coming up in a couple of weeks? When are you doing your strength training this week? What is your plan, plan everything and then stick to the plan no matter what.
And by the way, that’s it, that no matter what part that’s most important. The people I work with my clients, we make a plan. Every one of my clients has a plan, we put together a plan. That’s different. It’s different for everybody. Everybody’s plan is a little bit different. But we put together a personalized plan, and then we stick to the plan. And if they don’t stick to the plan, they have to tell me why I hold them accountable. And we talk through it, we decide how maybe next time we can do things differently.
How do we handle this situation better the next time it comes around, and then the next time that type of thing happens they do they handle it better, and it gets a little bit easier. And the more they stick to their plan, the more progress they make, the more confidence they build, the more they build that trust in themselves. And the more they build good habits. And they know that they can get through just about anything.
This is a big part of why coaching works so well, is because we’re creating a personalized plan and then helping you stick to the plan no matter what. And with this approach, there’s not much struggle, there’s not much suffering, and there’s really no giving in that maybe, maybe occasionally, and especially at the beginning, there’s a little bit of a, there’s a bit of a process of like committing to the change and then getting used to the change.
And again, it’s an uncomfortable process. Nobody does this perfectly. And it does happen occasionally where there might be some giving in. But we learn from the experience and we act differently next time. And over time, all of this just gets easier and easier. And the struggling, the suffering and the giving in become a thing of the past, it just doesn’t happen anymore. This is all about building new habits.
You have to build new habits, you have to do things that feel good to you that they may feel bad at the beginning, they may feel uncomfortable at the beginning. But eventually they will feel good to you. They should start to feel easy and effortless and feel sustainable for you. And there’s probably something you’ve never really experienced before because you either struggled, suffered or just gave in so you quit before the actual magic happened. Right?
So we’re getting into this season we’re getting in this holiday season, it’s can be a very tough time of the year for a lot of people, I get that. You know people deal with family issues. Maybe they’ve lost somebody, there’s some loneliness, there’s some stress, there’s anxiety, there’s financial issues and on and on.
Don’t add to the stress of the season because it’s, it’s already kind of stressful. Don’t add to that stress by going completely off the rails from a food and exercise standpoint. Make a plan and then stick to your plan no matter what. Stop it with all the struggling, stop it with the suffering. That mindset is not going to get you anywhere. And definitely stop giving in, don’t give in. Don’t quit. We keep going. Relentless forward progress, we keep moving forward.
And listen, if you want some help with this, I am absolutely here for you just go to my website runningleancoaching.com/apply and I’ll help you start the new year feeling good about yourself feeling confident and having made a bunch of progress towards your health and fitness goals. Instead of regretting everything you’ve done for the last 40 days and having to make up a bunch of ground. We don’t want to do that. Okay, so reach out to me, I’m here for you. That’s all I got for you today. Love you all, keep on Running Lean and I will talk to you soon.
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