No matter how hard we try to control all the circumstances of our lives, eventually, things get a little out of control. Your boss increases your workload, the kids are riddled with extracurricular …
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 …
I’ve been doing a lot of research lately on human metabolism and I’ve noticed a lot of inconsistencies in the data available. There seem to be a lot of misconceptions about metabolism, especially …
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 186 of Running Lean. My name is Patrick McGilvray, The Weight Loss Coach for Runners and today, Demystifying Metabolism. So I’ve been doing a lot of research lately on human metabolism.
And I’ve noticed a lot of inconsistencies in the data that’s available out there. There seem to be a lot of misconceptions about metabolism, especially when it comes to you know people who want to lose weight.
So today, I want to take some time to address some of the most common myths and misconceptions around human metabolism. I did an entire episode on Fixing Your Metabolism that was Episode 141. So you can definitely check that one out.
I won’t be rehashing all of that here today. Today, I’m going to focus on demystifying metabolism. So you can separate fact from fiction and make better choices to improve your overall health and fitness.
But first, if you’re anything like most runners, you’re probably really good at being an endurance badass. You’re amazing at getting out there pounding out the miles on the roads or on the trails. But when it comes to being strong, if you’re like most runners, you probably fall a little bit short.
Building and maintaining strength is essential to improving your running performance and your overall health and hitting your weight loss goals. But most runners just don’t do it or they just don’t do it well.
So building strength is probably the second biggest driver when it comes to improving your body composition after nutrition. So if you want to lose fat and gain muscle, you have to be doing some sort of resistance training regularly because lean runners are strong runners.
So some of the benefits that you will experience, if you participate in some sort of regular resistance training, you’ll lose more weight and faster, you’ll be at a much lower risk of injury from running, your endurance will improve, you can actually run longer before you get fatigued, you will run faster, your power to weight ratio goes up making you a more powerful runner.
And evidence has shown that you actually live longer. People that do regular strength training tend to live longer than those who don’t. So it’s one of the best things you can do for your overall health and fitness and to change your body composition is to get stronger. Regular strength training will help you burn more fat and gain lean muscle the more weight you lose, you’ll run more injury free you’ll be able to run longer and run faster and live longer.
All these things are amazing. If you want to learn exactly how to become a stronger, faster, leaner runner, join the Running Lean Coaching Project. That is my unique weight loss coaching program for runners. Just go to runningleancoaching.com/join to learn more about that.
And if you just want a little help getting started with all this stuff, I’ve got this great training program that I put together, you can watch it for free, it’s called Five Simple Steps To Becoming A Leaner Stronger Runner. Just go to runningleancoaching.com and click on Free Training to get started.
Alright, let’s talk about demystifying metabolism. So I want to start with what is metabolism? So metabolism is a term that describes all the chemical reactions in your body that keep your body alive and functioning.
It’s also responsible for converting nutrients from the foods that you eat into fuel. So this provides your body with the energy it needs to breathe and move, digest foods, circulate blood, repair damaged tissues and cells and so much more.
So the faster your metabolism is, the more calories your body tends to need. Metabolism is the reason why some people can eat a lot without gaining weight while others seem to need less to accumulate fat. The speed of your metabolism is commonly known as your metabolic rate or resting metabolic rate.
It’s the number of calories you burn in a given amount of time, okay, and some people talk about it as calorie expenditure. So, the first myth I kind of want to address here is that metabolism is not just about calories. So many people consider metabolism only under the scope of calories and weight.
And you know, for the most part we are talking about that, but you have to understand that metabolism encompasses all chemical reactions in the body, from absorption of light to the creation of usable ATP energy to body temperature regulation to hormone production to balance of fluids and hydration in the body to your circadian rhythm and so much more.
So if it’s a function of the body, it’s likely to be related to metabolism in some way or another. Okay, so just understand that metabolism is about a lot more than just burning calories.
Okay, the next myth I wanted to address is that eating more often will increase your metabolism. So eating small, frequent meals throughout the day will help boost your metabolism. And the idea is pretty simple. Because whenever we eat food, our body does burn some calories to break the food down to absorb the nutrients. This is called the thermic effect of food.
So if we are constantly eating, wouldn’t our bodies constantly be burning calories? It just doesn’t quite work that way. Okay, so eating small meals throughout the day may help you with portion control, but it doesn’t really speed up your metabolism.
Researchers have studied people eating six meals a day compared to people eating three meals a day, and they found that there really wasn’t any difference in a 24 hour fat oxidation rate. So this is one measure of metabolism, okay.
They actually found that people that eat more often throughout the day, have increased feelings of hunger and tend to eat more in general, okay. So understand that there is a temporary boost in your metabolic rate when you’re eating food, all right.
But eating six small meals over the course of a day isn’t really going to cause any kind of overall increase in your metabolism. In fact, it’s going to probably cause you more hunger, and cause you to eat more food overall. Okay, so eating more often does not increase your metabolism.
Another big myth that a lot of people adhere to is that your metabolism slows down as you get older. And this is sort of true, but I want to break this down, so you fully understand what this means. Okay, so a lot of people will just say, well, I’m older, and so my metabolism has slowed down.
And you can pick any age, and people will tell me this, because I talk to people all the time in their 40s 50s 60s 70s, whatever. And they just tell me, oh, yeah, my metabolism, my metabolism has slowed down. So I tend to put on more weight.
Okay, so they’ve done some studies recently in like 2021. And they’ve shown that this is not really the case, okay. So the rate at which your body burns energy, your metabolism is thought to decline during middle age as people gradually lose muscle mass, okay.
So they did a study where they looked at total energy expenditure, including energy burned at rest, to perform basic functions like digesting food as well as energy burned during physical activity. And they looked at like 6400 people ranging in age from eight days old to 95 years old, okay, they looked at their height, their weight, their body fat percentage. So they calculated average metabolic rates for men, women and different people in different age groups.
And the data indicated that there were some differences in metabolism based on four distinct periods in people’s lives. So the first is from infancy to one year old, this is where your metabolic rate surge is, okay? It was about 50% higher than it will be during adulthood.
So this is a huge surge in your metabolism, which makes sense. You’ve just been born, you got to, you know, grow bones and get a big brain and all these things, your metabolism is super high during that first year of life, okay. Then, from age one to age 20, this is like the second period that we’re talking about here. Your metabolism decreases by about 3% a year. Okay, so your metabolism is actually decreasing from one until you hit age 20.
But then, from age 20 to age 60, they’ve shown that your metabolism really doesn’t change. It stays pretty consistent. Okay. After age 60, and this is the fourth period, metabolism decreases by 0.7% annually, which is not insignificant, but it’s not as much as people think. Okay.
So infancy to one year old, your metabolism is surging, it’s about 50% higher than it will be during adulthood from one to 20 when it decreases by about 3% a year. From 20 to 60 doesn’t change. And then after 60, it decreases by around 0.7% annually.
And something interesting about this is that there are ways to actually prevent that deep annual decrease after age 60. And it’s more likely changes in lifestyle, like eating the proper diet, staying active and maintaining lean muscle mass all have positive effects on your metabolism after age 60.
So even though the data is saying like, oh, you know, the average tends to be a 0.7% annual decrease after age 60, you can still offset that by resistance training by staying active. And by eating healthy, getting enough sleep and exercise and good relationships. And all that stuff helps do good mental health helps with all that stuff, too.
Okay, the other myth that’s sort of correlated with this is that menopause causes your metabolism to slow down. And so many women talk about this, that, oh, you know, I’ve hit menopause. And so I’m just gonna, I’ve just gained a bunch of weight. So we’re talking about perimenopausal and postmenopausal women, just understand that the same principles apply, as you get older.
You know, so they did the studies on men and women, and from ages, you know, all the way up to 95 years old. So lots of menopausal women and postmenopausal women. So just going through menopause does not mean you’ll automatically gain weight, whether you are a male or female, whether you’re going through menopause or not.
As you get older, you know, you need to stay active, get good sleep, maintain muscle mass, practice healthy eating habits, get in plenty of protein, that kind of stuff, and you should keep your metabolism going pretty well. Okay, regardless of menopause or age. Cool.
I know that was a big one. A lot of people don’t understand that. And these are pretty new studies. So this is good data that’s coming out here. Love this. Right. Alright, the next myth I want to address is that active people have higher metabolisms.
Okay, so this one is sort of true and false. So I’m gonna, I’m gonna start with why it’s sort of true. So, exercise will temporarily increase your metabolism, but it only lasts about a day or so. Okay, so you might think, oh, yeah, well just exercise every day. And that’ll keep your metabolism going. And that’ll raise your metabolism.
And yes, that’s kind of true, it will. But you have to understand that, you know, your body also needs enough rest and recovery. And if you don’t give your body enough rest and recovery, you are going to chronically elevate stress hormones in your body, you’re going to put your body into this state of chronic stress. And that will actually slow your metabolism down.
So I do know people who love to do these running streaks, and they run three or five, five miles every day, no matter what, and they never give themselves a rest. I’m a little concerned that they’re constantly in a state of stress and slowing their metabolism down.
I’ve told the story about a client of mine who was running at least five kg every day for something like seven straight years and gained about 50 pounds in the process. That shows me that running every day does not really increase your metabolism all that much. Or maybe putting yourself in a state of chronic stress is doing the opposite, having the opposite effect that you know that slight gain in your metabolism has okay.
And this is one of the reasons why I say you can’t outrun a bad diet because exercise alone isn’t going to move the needle that much from a metabolism standpoint. Okay. So, interesting studies they have done on Hadza hunter-gatherers in Tanzania.
So these are groups of people who are very lean, very active, very active people. And it was always thought that their resting metabolic rate was much higher than the typical, you know, American, or whatever. And it turns out that they’re burning about the same number of calories that we do per day.
So Hadza men and women, they walk like four to seven miles a day. They hunt wild game, they harvest honey, they’re digging for tubers, they’re picking berries, they’re fetching water and firewood. They get more activity in a day than the standard American gets in a week.
And surprisingly, the researchers have found that the Hadza don’t burn more calories than the average adults in the US and other industrialized countries. Hadza men burn about 2500 calories a day, Hadza women it’s about 1900. This tracks perfectly with what we know here in the US like what the average Americans, men and women burn per day, the resting metabolic rate.
So, it appears that human energy expenditure is pretty tightly controlled, right? The human body seems to adjust to physical activity by saving energy saving calories on other physiological processes to keep total energy expenditure in check. So your body’s really good at maintaining homeostasis.
And if you’re used to burning 2500 calories, you know, it doesn’t matter how much more activity you’re doing, it’s going to slow some things down. So you’re constantly just burning that 2500 calories. It’s just something interesting to think about. Because being more active isn’t really going to increase your overall metabolism.
Like I said, it does increase your metabolism for a short period of time. Another thing to keep in mind about this is that most of the energy that you burn in a day is really from your resting metabolism, your resting metabolic rate.
So there are three main ways that your body burns energy or uses energy each day. So there’s your resting metabolic rate, your basal metabolism. So this is energy used for your body’s basic functioning, while you’re at rest, you’re sitting on the couch, your body is actually just burning calories. Cool, right?
You can sit there and watch Netflix and know that your body is burning, you know, let’s say it’s around 2500 calories a day. So you know, let’s say it’s just around 100 calories an hour. Cool. Okay, you can go for a run, or you can sit on the couch watching Netflix, and you’re burning about the same amount of calories. So just understand that.
And then number two, the energy, there’s energy used when you break down foods. So this is called the thermic effect of food. I talked about this earlier, when you ingest food, your body actually has to use energy to digest that food. And the thermic effect of food is highest when you’re eating protein.
So you’re going to burn more calories when you eat protein than when you eat carbohydrates and fat. And then thirdly, there’s energy that you use in physical activity. So you have your basal metabolic rate or your resting metabolism, you have the energy used to break down food thermic effect of food, T.F. And then there’s energy used during physical activity.
Your resting metabolism, though, accounts for a huge amount of the total calories you burn each day. Physical activity accounts for about, let’s say about 20% and your resting metabolism. It counts for like 60 to 80% of your total energy. And that digesting of food is just about 10%.
Okay, so think about this. 60 to 80% of your total energy each day is just your resting metabolism, okay. So just understand that when it comes to, you know, trying to outrun your diet or trying to out exercise to get your metabolism, you’re still going to be not really doing much, you’re not moving the needle much compared to what your resting metabolic rate looks like. Okay, all right.
Next myth is that thin people just have naturally faster metabolisms. And this is just not true. So it actually takes more energy for a larger body to function compared to a smaller body. So an overweight person tends to have a faster metabolism than a thin person.
Very overweight people tend to burn way more calories at rest. And they tend to lose weight much faster compared to leaner individuals. So it takes more energy to carry more mass even if, let’s say you kept to people with different body weights and you kept them in bed for an extended period of time.
The heavier person will just have a higher resting metabolic rate just based on their size alone, okay? Also understand that body composition does matter here. Okay, so at a given body weight, someone with a higher amount of lean mass, so lean mass is your connective tissues, muscle and bone.
You really can’t change bone size, you really can’t change your connective tissue size that I’m aware of. But you can control muscle size, okay? So your lean mass, really the one thing that we can concentrate on and actually physically change is our muscle mass. So somebody with a higher amount of muscle mass will burn more calories than someone with less muscle mass.
So think of an athlete and a non athlete with identical body weights, the athlete with a more muscular physique will actually have a higher metabolism. So carrying more lean muscle actually increases your metabolism, this is a good thing.
Similarly, a lean muscular person who weighs 120 pounds, and has a healthy amount of lean mass will have a relatively fast metabolism. But another person who weighs the exact same amount 120 pounds, who has more fat will actually have a slower metabolism.
Okay, so increasing muscle mass is a great way to naturally increase your metabolism. And that’s one of the reasons why I talk about strength training so much. If you’re somebody that wants to, you know, lose weight, improve your body composition, get stronger, improve running, all those things, definitely want to focus on strength training, resistance training to build muscle and build lean muscle.
Okay, next myth, your metabolism cannot change because it’s just genetic. So, understand that your resting metabolism is likely genetic, but you can change your metabolism, you can increase your lean muscle mass, like we just talked about.
Muscle burns more calories at rest, the more muscle you have, the higher your metabolism. Unfortunately, a lot of people don’t want to take responsibility, they don’t want to do the work to improve their metabolism by doing something like resistance training, because it takes some work, it takes some time to get stronger to grow muscles. Okay?
So genetics is at play here, it does provide a predisposition for metabolism. But environmental and lifestyle habits will actually have a positive effect on your metabolism, right. So it doesn’t matter the genes that you’re provided with, it’s always within your ability to improve your metabolic function, and to not necessarily let those genes express themselves to their fullest extent.
Okay, and then this leads me to the last myth I want to talk about today, which is that we can’t control our metabolism. So it’s easy to just blame your metabolism when you’re having trouble losing weight or something like that.
But studies have shown that we do have more control over our metabolism than we previously thought. Some stuff like strength training, getting good quality sleep each night helps to improve your metabolism, reducing stress, drinking more water, consistent resistance training, especially as you get older, building more lean muscle will help with that. Eating less often, these are things we’ve talked about here today.
Maybe just eat two or three times a day, eating enough food each day making sure that you’re getting enough quality protein each day, all these things can help to keep your metabolism going and could lead to improvements in your metabolism even as you get older. Okay.
And then the last thing I’m going to talk about here is, you know, we’re talking about metabolism and burning calories, but we have to think about what we are burning, what calories are we burning, you know, what is the substrate that we are burning?
And eating a diet high in sugar and carbs means that you’re mostly burning glucose, glycogen, sugar and carbs. Okay? If your goal is to lose weight, this is going to make it kind of difficult for you. Losing weight means you want to be burning mostly fat.
So when you ditch the sugar, you ditch the carbs and you get fat adapted, you train your body to be really good at burning fat. This means that you will burn more fat during exercise, but also at rest. So the factors that affect how your metabolism functions, that I’ve talked about here today, can increase either carbohydrate metabolism or fat metabolism.
Obviously, we want to increase our fat metabolism. So as an endurance athlete who also wants to lose fat, you want to increase your fat oxidation. The typical runners’ diet of all the sugar and carbs is probably not going to get you there. Okay. Your body always wants to prioritize that carbohydrate and glucose metabolism.
So ditch that stuff, get your body burning fat. That is the first step. That way when you do increase your metabolism, you will naturally be burning more fat, which is good. Burning fat is how you lose weight. Burning fat is how you improve your endurance as a runner.
Cool. I hope this has been helpful. That’s all I got for you today. Love you all, keep on Running Lean and I’ll talk to you soon.
One of the most important concepts you need to learn if you want to take back control of eating is the desire scale. This is a tool we have recently started using in The Coaching Project and it’s …
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 174 of Running Lean. My name is Patrick McGilvray, The Weight Loss Coach for Runners and today: The Desire Scale. One of the most important concepts you need to learn if you want to take back control of eating is the desire scale. This is a tool we’ve started using recently in the coaching project. And it’s been so well received that I thought I’d share it with you guys here today.
So when you’re trying to lose weight, sticking to your food plan is what makes or breaks your progress. If you’re constantly giving into temptations, losing weight is going to be very difficult and feel pretty miserable.
Instead, if you can take back control of what foods you eat, when you eat, how much, how often, et cetera, that losing weight will be much easier and a heck of a lot more fun. So in this episode, I explain the desire scale, what it is, how it works, and how it might just be the key to your weight loss success.
So today’s episode is all about the desire scale. And this is a concept that I taught live on a Coaching Project group call recently. And if you’re not familiar, the Coaching Project is my lifetime access coaching program where you get live coaching with me every week. You also get to be part of an amazing community of runners of all abilities, who are all working on becoming their best selves.
This isn’t just for elite athletes. If you’re a runner, meaning you run, and you would love to lose weight and learn how to keep it off for good, then you have to check out the Coaching Project. We focus on nutrition, strength, endurance and mindset to help you become the healthiest and most badass version of yourself. Whatever that looks like for you.
Some people want to lose 50 pounds, other people just want to run faster or run longer. And then there’s a few people who just would love to change their whole relationship with food, maybe get off the sugar train once and for all. If you’re a runner, and you struggle to lose weight, don’t know what to do from a nutrition standpoint, and would love to learn how to eat healthy and maintain that as a lifestyle, then you are a perfect fit for the Coaching Project. To learn more and sign up now just go to runningleancoaching.com/join.
So how do you lose weight? And these concepts apply, whether you’re a runner or not, runners are not magically exempt from these principles. Okay, if you want to lose weight, you have to change what you’re doing, right? You’ve got to change what you’re eating, maybe stop eating certain foods and maybe start eating other foods, maybe cut back on the sugar and maybe increase your protein.
So you have to kind of change what you’re doing a lot. A lot of times it means that we have to restrict ourselves from certain foods. Let’s say you love eating pizza, and you love eating ice cream and you eat these things all the time like pizza a couple times a week. Ice cream is a nightly event after dinner, you know, you’re like, “Oh, I just need to eat some ice cream every night. That’s just the way I am. That’s the way it is.”
If this is your default, then you’re probably gonna have to change that. If you decide, hey, I want to lose some weight. So I probably need to cut out the sugar, I need to cut out the, you know, carbs, the grains, you know, so I’m gonna stop eating pizza, and I’m going to stop eating ice cream, I’ll do those two things.
Well, this is going to feel terrible. At first, okay. Restriction is kind of required. If you want to lose weight, if you want to change what you’re doing, you’re gonna have to do things differently and it’s going to feel a little restrictive at the beginning.
Now in my program, the way I do things with my clients is we restrict in stages. So we might cut out sugar first, we might reduce our overall carbohydrate intake, we might reduce some other types of foods. But we do these things in stages so that it doesn’t feel too terrible. Okay, just FYI.
But there is going to be some level of restriction and some level of man, this feels terrible. At the beginning, especially right after a while you get used to this stuff, not that big of a deal. But at the beginning especially, it’s going to feel tough, and it’s okay, this is normal.
This is just your brain doing what it does. Your brain is always seeking pleasure and avoiding pain. You know what pleasure feels like to your brain? Ice cream and pizza. You know what pain feels like? Not eating pizza and ice cream. But you have to understand that the thing that’s actually driving that behavior, there’s an emotion that’s driving that behavior of feeling and that feeling is desire.
So what is desire? A desire is a feeling of wanting to have something or wishing for something to happen. It’s a feeling of wanting to have something, it’s a feeling, it’s an emotion. And as we know, feelings and emotions are created by your thoughts.
It’s not the thing itself that’s driving you to want it, it is your thoughts about the thing. For example, pizza, just sitting there has no effect on you whatsoever. And if you’re somebody who has never eaten pizza in their life, or just doesn’t like pizza, and looking at a pizza, they’re not really going to feel anything.
But if you love pizza, and you look at pizza, and you say, “Oh my god, that is going to be an amazing experience. If I eat this pizza…” that’s a thought. And so that feeling that desire is being created by you.
And so you might be kind of really thinking about this pizza a lot and smelling it, and imagining what it’s going to feel like and your mouth and the cheese and the crust and all this stuff. And you can create a pretty intense, a pretty intense desire, just by thinking about something, okay.
So sometimes the desire can be pretty strong. Sometimes it’s not so much. For example, my girlfriend, Cathy, she keeps this bowl of dark chocolate on her dining room table. And it looks pretty, you know, it’s in a pretty little bowl and, and I’ll go over there sometimes, and I’ll look at that bowl.
And I’ll just be like, I don’t even want that, you know, I mean, I love chocolate, don’t get me wrong. And sometimes I just don’t even want it. I’ll look at it, I’ll be like, doesn’t even look good to me right now. Other times, I’ll look at that, and I’ll be like, woof, I’m gonna, I’m gonna eat some chocolate. And it’s okay.
But it’s interesting, because the desire is not the same all the time, it has a lot to do with what’s going on with me, not not necessarily what’s going on in that bowl, the bowl is not changing, the chocolate is just sitting there. That’s just a circumstance, the pizza, the ice cream, they’re just sitting there. But there are things that can affect the intensity of our desire.
So some of these things could be stress. Stress can have an effect on people’s desire. And I hear this all the time, just about everyday, somebody tells me how stressed out they are. And that’s why they couldn’t stick to their plan. And that’s why they haven’t been exercising. And that’s why they can’t not eat the ice cream every night.
The boss yells at you at work, you know, you got this deadline to or you know, you got passed up for promotion or something like that. So there’s a stressful situation, and you come home and all you want to do is eat. Right? The pizza isn’t causing you the desire, it’s the stress that’s causing that desire to be amplified.
Lack of sleep can do the same thing. When you’re tired your guard is down, right? You don’t have the same amount of willpower. You know, willpower is not something we want to rely on anyway. But when you’re tired, when you haven’t slept well, that also puts your body in a state of stress. But that can make that desire increase in intensity as well.
Being bored. How many people have I talked to you, oh my gosh, that tells me they’re just bored. And you know, they work from home. They sit around all day, and they just get bored and they wander into the kitchen and start opening cabinets until they find something that looks good. They’re not really even hungry. They’re just bored. And so they eat out of boredom. But that boredom can kind of increase that intensity of the desire.
There’s other emotions like anger, frustration, anxiety, these will all increase your level of desire, your intensity of that desire. It’s kind of like turning a knob, a volume knob and you’re turning up the intensity because you’re experiencing these, what we would call, like intense negative emotions, right?
Then there’s other things that can have an effect on our, on our intensity levels of our desire, which is things like peer pressure people, you know, you’re in a group of people and everybody’s eating the pizza or drinking margaritas or something and you’re feeling like oh my gosh, I’m just and they’re like saying, “Come on, it’s fine. Just have some. You don’t need to stay on your diet. Come on, you’re on vacation, whatever.”
That can feel like, you know, let your guard down and that can increase that desire as well. And then there’s like marketing messages that we get from the world out there on social media, billboards, magazines, television, commercials, all that stuff. You know, they make the food look so amazingly delicious. By the way, those burgers that you see in the commercials, they never ever look anything like that in real life, am I right?
Look at a Wendy’s burger on the commercial and then look at it in person. It’s like what the? This is not what I expected this to look like. Okay, now all these things I just mentioned stress, lack of sleep, boredom, anger, frustration, anxiety, peer pressure, marketing messages, all these things are neutral.
Really, when you think about it, all of these things are emotional responses to your circumstances. Okay? So all of these things are just emotions, they are you taking your circumstances of your life, and you’re coming up with thoughts about those situations.
I’m angry, because I’m frustrated, because I’m anxious, because I’m stressed out because, and you’re taking all these things, and you or the marketing messages, for example, or peer pressure, these are just outside circumstances that are creating the desire inside of you. So you have thoughts about what’s going on.
You’re stressed out, you’re, you know, bored, you’re tired. And you’re starting to have these thoughts that you know, if I just eat some pizza, or eat some ice cream that’s going to make this feel better. And so that’s what increases the desire, okay?
So it isn’t those things themselves that are increasing. And I want to make sure that this is very clear: that you are always in control. This is all about your thoughts and feelings, your thoughts and your emotions, okay? Desire is just another emotional response. It’s an emotional response to outside circumstances.
But I understand it can feel really intense, and it can feel very uncomfortable. And most people, when they experience this amount of desire, they want to make it go away, right away, they want to make it go away immediately. They want to satisfy that desire as soon as possible.
So some examples of this, like, so you’ve had a stressful day at work. And you’ve eaten dinner, and you’ve maybe even like over eaten at dinner, you’re stuffed, but you don’t care. You just want to eat some ice cream. So you eat some ice cream. That doesn’t make any sense.
Like logically it doesn’t make any sense to eat that. Right? But the desire was there. And you had to like satisfy that desire. Or you’re at the beach with friends, you’re on vacation, everybody else is drinking margaritas. And you kind of told yourself, you were you allowed yourself to have one Margarita per day on vacation like fine, like, that’s fine. You know, you’ve decided that whole time, but then you find yourself drinking like eight as fast as possible. Like downing them, you know? Because you feel overcome by desire.
In both these situations, you feel overcome by desire, it’s intense. It’s real. It feels like an emergency. Like you got to fix this situation right away. But I want you to think about this. What if there wasn’t anything to fix? What if there wasn’t a problem? You’re seeing desire as a problem. But what if it wasn’t a problem? What if it was just neutral?
What if you could learn how to turn down the volume of that desire? So if your desire for ice cream is usually at a 10, or an 11? What if it was a 3? Would that be better? One of the biggest keys to losing weight and keeping it off is learning how to control your desires.
So if you love ice cream, and you love eating ice cream, and you eat ice cream every single night, and you just have to have it every single night, you can’t go night without it. The desire is super strong. And every night you just give in to that desire, you cannot stop yourself. This is an automatic behavior. Now you feel out of control.
What if you could turn down the volume of that desire until it was no longer something that was so compelling for you? What if it was on the same level as something that was like eggplant? I used this example on the call the other night. I do not necessarily like eggplant. I don’t really hate it. But I don’t really like it. I think it’s weird.
I don’t know why they call it eggplant. It doesn’t look like an egg. It’s got a weird texture. I’ve eaten a lot of eggplant in my life. Like eggplant parmesan, for example. You know, you got some sauce and some cheese and it’s alright. It’s okay, but I’d rather just put some chicken in there instead of eggplant, or mushrooms, anything except for this eggplant stuff. It’s weird. I think it’s weird.
So if you put eggplant in front of me and you make eggplant and you put it front of me, I’ll eat it but I’ll just be like, Man, no big deal. I really couldn’t care less about it. I’ll eat it if I have to. Don’t hate it. I don’t think it’s gross or anything like that. It’s just weird. And really, there’s no desire there. I don’t have any desire or cravings for eggplant.
I never tell people I’m trying to moderate my eggplant consumption. I just have zero desire for eggplant. Okay, so what if you felt the same way about ice cream? What if you could take it or leave it? What if there was no intense desire? No cravings? What if peer pressure didn’t matter? You know, if somebody tries to peer pressure me into eating eggplant, I don’t care, I’m not eating it.
So your desire for ice cream can be, “I could care less.” You would no longer be fighting the urge to eat the ice cream. There’s no more urge. Why? What would that do for you? I think that would be pretty amazing.
Another example is I used to smoke cigarettes and I couldn’t go like an hour without a cigarette, I’d smoke about a pack a day. And I did this for like 10 or 15 years, I quit some time in there and picked it back up again. So maybe 15 years off and on.
But once I quit, and it took a little while, but once I quit, the desire is gone. I don’t crave cigarettes anymore. I don’t want cigarettes anymore. Something that used to be part of my life, I could not go without. Now I couldn’t care less, cigarettes are eggplant to me now. Right? You could put a carton of cigarettes in front of me, I have no desire to smoke a cigarette ever again. And I never thought it could be like that.
Another example of this is I’ve been married a couple of times. And both times I was in love. And I couldn’t imagine life without that other person. The desire was there. It was very intense. Now after being divorced from both these people for quite a while now, to me, they’re both eggplant.
Please don’t tell them I said that. But now I could like take it or leave it, right? There’s no intense emotions around these people anymore. It’s like I can see them and be like, Oh, hey, there’s that one person I used to be married to. Like, it doesn’t doesn’t matter to me anymore.
You’ve probably had that experience. Think about a boyfriend or girlfriend that you had back in high school or something you couldn’t live without. And now you’re like, geez, I haven’t even thought about them. But like the desire is no longer there. So what if we can just turn down that desire to where it’s just gone? Wouldn’t that be amazing.
So this can be how you feel about ice cream and margaritas and pizza and french fries and giant pretzels and chocolate and wine or whatever. And listen, this does not mean that you can never have a glass of wine again. Or that means you can never have ice cream again. Or chocolate or whatever, you can. I’m not suggesting that you never eat or drink this stuff again.
But what if we move that desire from 10 to like a 3? Wouldn’t that be amazing? How much easier would it be to stick to your plan and avoid eating junk food? I’m telling you, it’d be a lot easier.
How much weight could you lose? Probably a lot. What could your body look like? How much better would running be for you? I hope you’re beginning to see how powerful this is. Because if you work on this, and start learning how to turn down the volume of that desire, losing weight will be an extremely more pleasant experience.
Now you can do it the other way where your desire is always at like a 10 or an 11. This one goes to 11. That was me with Ben and Jerry’s ice cream, for sure. But trying not to eat ice cream when your desire for ice cream is at an 11, that’s a very terrible place to be. I’ve been there, that is not fun. This is the miserable way to try to lose weight. That’s the hard way.
The easy way is turning down the volume on the desire and just its eggplant. Okay.
So how do you do that? How do you turn down the volume of the desire so I’m going to share with you one of the tools that we use in the Coaching Project and this is something that is very simple for you to wrap your head around and it will begin the process of turning down the volume of that desire.
And this tool is called The Desire Scale. So The Desire Scale is how you rate the level of desire you are experiencing at any given point in time. So think of this as a scale of like, you know, 0 to 10. For me, like I said, eggplant is like a zero. I have zero desire for eggplant.
If I was starving, I’d probably have a higher desire, maybe a two or something for eggplant, I’d probably rather just fast for a week than eat eggplant. You know what I mean? Anyway, so, 0 to 10. Zero is like no desire completely neutral. 10 is like the strongest desire you can imagine, right?
So, let’s use this example. I just finished dinner, but I want ice cream, but it’s not on my plant. Like, I ate chicken and broccoli for dinner. And that’s just that’s what I had on my plan. That’s what I was gonna eat. And I’m not eating ice cream, but you really want the ice cream after dinner.
So the first thing I want you to do, you’re gonna ask yourself three questions. First, what’s the desire level? On the desire scale 0 to 10? What is it? A four? Is it a seven? What does this feel like? Is this a nine? Get really good at understanding the number.
If you can just come up with a number in your mind to correlate with how you’re feeling inside, this is going to be huge for you? Okay. So the first question is, what’s the level of the desire? Is it a 2 or a 3 or a 10? Whatever. Make sure you lock in that number. Okay?
Second question. What’s the emotion driving the desire? Because there’s always something underneath the surface, there’s always something pushing up that desire, it’s typically going to be some other emotion. And so you need to name it.
What is the word that describes that emotion? Is it stress, boredom, anger, anxiety, frustration, loneliness, guilt, shame, whatever it is fear. What is the one word? That is the emotion that’s under the desire? What’s driving that desire? What’s pushing that desire up? Okay, step one. Your first question is, what’s it on the desire scale, 0 to 10? Two, what is the emotion driving the desire? What’s the name?
Third question. Can I wait 20 minutes? Oftentimes, the desire will go away, or diminish greatly in around 10 or 15 minutes. So if you can, wait 20 minutes. And the answer will pretty much always be yes, by the way, you can wait 20 minutes, then you will get through that moment.
And this is huge if you can get through that moment. Okay. So those are the three questions I want you to ask yourself. And then what I want you to do is decide ahead of time on a number, where if your desire is above that number, you’re going to go ahead and like eat the ice cream. So let’s say you’re going to use 8 as the example.
If you got a number, if you’re feeling the desire to eat ice cream, and it’s above an eight, like if it’s a 9 or a 10, then you’re allowed to eat the ice cream, like you’re going to decide this ahead of time. Here’s why we want to do this. When you’re learning how to change your desire, this is not about never giving in or never eating ice cream again, or making you feel so terrible that you want to, you know murder someone.
We don’t want to do that. So if you’re at this place where you’re just feeling completely out of sorts, and you just really need to eat the ice cream, eat the ice cream. But it’s got to be above that number that you agreed upon ahead of time, right?
You don’t make this decision in the moment, you make this decision ahead of time. And so if you decide that you’re going to eat because the desire’s just too overwhelming for you, then do it and you’ll probably feel a little bit better momentarily. But you need to learn from that experience. Okay.
So here’s why all this works. First thing, you start getting really good at knowing how intense your desire actually is. And this is key. I really, really wanted the ice cream. I just had to have it. So I ate it. Saying that that’s like really vague and arbitrary. What is really, really want the ice cream? What does that even mean? Right?
So we want to become really self aware. We want to start being more objective about our desire. What does this feel like? Is this a two and then you’ll start getting really good at understanding what a two feels like, or what a four feels like or what an eight feels like.
And you’ll start getting really good at knowing when you’re going to give in to that desire and when you can walk away, right when you should hold them and when you should fold them. Right. So you’re gonna get really good at understanding, you know, at what level, you can walk away, and you shouldn’t be able to push that up, you should be able to go, “Well, you know, maybe it’s a four and I can only, I can’t give in if it’s more than that.” But then you start to get really good at like, “No, you know, I can handle a seven, I can handle an eight, that’s fine.”
This is huge right here, right? So you start to become really aware of where you are on the desire scale, what these desires feel like. And you start to become more in control of these desires, and therefore the behaviors around those desires. So the desire is no longer driving all your behavior, you’re not on autopilot any longer, you’re back in control.
So this is really, really huge. The next reason why this works is that you begin to understand the emotions that are driving that desire up. Most people are afraid to talk about emotions, but guess what, we all have them, get over it, start dealing with them, start understanding that the reason you want ice cream has nothing to do with being hungry.
It’s all about how pissed off you are that Kevin got the promotion at work instead of you. Stupid jerk, Kevin, that’s why you’re wanting ice cream has nothing to do with the fact that the ice cream is just sitting there, okay? So you get really good at understanding the emotions that are driving your desire and driving your behavior.
Those underlying emotions are huge, if you start to get a hold of what that feels like, you are no longer on autopilot, right, you are taking back control, right? Lastly, you begin to practice, not giving in to every little spark of desire. So you’ll learn how to make better decisions in every moment of your life.
So whether there’s a desire to eat or drink something, you know, that you can handle like not doing it, you don’t really actually want it but you, you start to understand that this is just a little bit of a desire. And I can make a good decision here.
So you’re making decisions ahead of time about what numbers like whatever your trigger number is. So let’s say you decide it’s an eight. But then in the moment, you’re like, Oh, this is only about a four. So that means it’s a no go. So you don’t have to give in to that. And you begin to learn that you can wait 20 minutes from the desire and it will just go away pretty much, usually, this is great.
This is something that you can do every single day and practice this. And this is how you actually turn the knob. This is how you turn down the volume of that desire. Now, this is not something where you’re going to do it one time, and it’s going to be like, “Oh, I’m fixed.” You got to practice this. You got to do it every day. Right?
Practice it. Get good at it. Because in time, you can get so good at understanding how your brain works and how desire works that you can look at a lot of things used to think you couldn’t live without like ice cream and pizza and be like, huh, eggplant. Cool. All right. That’s all I got for you today. Love you all, keep on Running Lean, and I will talk to you soon.
If you’re a runner and you’ve been struggling to lose weight or you keep losing and gaining the same 10 pounds over and over again. Or you’re finally ready to get to your natural weight and stay there for good this time then I have something you will love. I’ve created a powerful new training just for you called Running Lean For Life. You’ll learn exactly how to transform yourself into a lean fat-burning running machine. So you can run without bonking, lose weight without calorie counting and develop the habits required to make it last for life. To get this free training right now go to runningleanpodcast.com/leanforlife and start your transformation today.
Have you ever felt hungry? I know stupid question, of course, you have. We’ve all felt hungry, we all know exactly what hunger feels like. But did you know that not all hunger is “real” …
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 162 of Running Lean. My name is Patrick McGilvray, the weight loss coach for runners and today, understanding the different types of hunger. Have you ever felt hungry? I know, stupid question. Of course, you have. We’ve all felt hungry. We all know exactly what hunger feels like. But did you know that not all hunger is quote unquote, real hunger?
Sometimes what you think is real hunger is just a mental or emotional response to your current situation. Stress, boredom, even certain social situations can cause you to feel the need to eat. But are you experiencing real hunger in those situations. So today, I’m going to break it all down for you and help you understand that there are different types of hunger so that you can take back control of how often and how much you eat. Because understanding the different types of hunger is key to you being able to lose weight and keep it off for good.
But first, if you’ve ever tried to lose weight in the past, then you probably know that most diets fail. They fail because diets are looked at as a temporary change in behavior. Even the saying I’m going on a diet implies that at some point in time, you’re going to be going off that diet, right? Diets are marketed to you as a short-term solution to get the weight off.
And then there’s this promise that you can kind of go back to doing what you’re doing before. This is a bunch of BS, and it just never ever works. Okay. In my coaching program, we do things differently. Instead of focusing on a diet, we focus on breaking old habits, and creating healthy new ones, you’ll learn exactly how to make healthy choices that can become your new way of life. Stop going on a diet and start making sustainable changes to your lifestyle.
If you want to learn more about this, you will learn exactly how to do this, you want some help with this. Just go to runningleancoaching.com/apply Learn more on apply for coaching that’s runningleancoaching.com/apply. I hope to see you in the Running Lean coaching project.
Okay, so let’s talk about this. Understanding the different types of hunger. why I’m bringing this up today is because I think there’s some misconceptions out there about what it means to be hungry. I talk to people every single day, who struggle sometimes with eating, and it feels very out of control. It feels very automatic. Like they don’t have control over their eating because they they’re feeling hungry. And they’ll tell me this all the time.
They say, well, you know, I was hungry, so I had to eat something. And I always challenge that with people, I always ask them, you know what was going on right before that? Why did they make that decision? Why did they feel like they were out of out of control in that moment, like what was going on around that?
And a lot of times we can get to kind of the root of why they were feeling hungry in that moment, or whether it was actual hunger or not real hunger versus these other types of hunger that I’m talking about today. This is important because you have to get good at differentiating these different types of hunger. You got to get good at this because you most likely need to change your relationship with.
If you’re like most people in the Western world, you have been conditioned over most of your life, to eat a lot and eat often during the day. And this is due to all kinds of situations and different reasons. And it’s different for different people. But for the most part, there’s like emotional reasons why we eat there’s social situations, situations where we eat, there’s peer pressure while we’re there, stress and that’s why we eat.
So, there’s a lot of conditioned eating that’s been going on in our lives, especially here in the United States, right? So, if you’re the kind of person that has just conditioned yourself to eat every time you feel this little urge this little nudge this little bit of hunger, then changing that is going to help you completely change your relationship with food. If you’re somebody that’s had a hard time losing weight in the past, it could be because your hunger signals are messing with you.
And you need to get good at understanding these different types of hunger so that you can start changing that whole way that you think and feel about food and nutrition and diet and all that stuff. Okay? So, instead of eating just because you feel hungry, every time you feel hungry, you need to understand that there are different types of hunger and there’s like a real hunger and then there’s like, kind of false hunger, right?
And there’s these times when, you know, we feel like we need to eat something, but it’s really just an automatic kind of learned behavior, right? And so this is like being on autopilot, when you just find yourself reaching for food and eating it sort of unconsciously, you got to change this autopilot behavior if you want to lose weight, and if you want to be able to keep it off for good.
So, it doesn’t matter so much what you do in the short term, days, weeks, months, but over the long term for years is what makes the biggest difference. And to learn the difference between real hunger and what’s you know, like false hunger, then this is going to go so far in you being able to sustain a healthy lifestyle to sustain a healthy relationship with food. Hunger is rarely ever an emergency.
We, human beings, we can go three minutes without air, three days without water, and three weeks without food. This is like the rule of threes. You learn this in like boy scouts or whatever, three weeks without food. So, for us here in the Western world, we eat every single day. The fact that you could literally go three weeks without food and be fine. This means that hunger for us is almost never ever an emergency. Just think about that for a minute. Okay?
I’m not saying you should go three weeks without, let’s make that very clear. In fact, I think there’s some benefit to some extended fasting, maybe for one to three days or something like that. But you know, beyond that, it’s really not necessary. I’ve done a three day fast in the past, and I never felt like I was going to die. I didn’t feel terrible.
I never felt like I was it was an emergency situation. I was thinking about food a bit towards the end. And that first meal when I broke my fast was pretty amazing. But I don’t think it’s necessary to go three days or four days or five days or three weeks without food. But what if you didn’t treat every time you got hungry as an emergency? How would that change your whole relationship with food?
Most people cannot go a few hours without food because they feel like they’re going to die. And your brain is probably telling you in those moments that if we don’t need something right now we’re going to, you know, a murder somebody or die. And a lot of this has to do with the diet that people are eating the types of foods they’re eating, change the way certain hormones get expressed.
So processed foods, highly refined carbs, tons of sugar, this is going to really mess up your hunger signals. These foods are not satiating. In fact, they do the opposite. They make you feel really hungry all day long. Those foods high in refined carbs and sugars will suppress your satiating hormone like leptin, and they increase your hunger hormone ghrelin, which makes you feel more hungry, not feel satisfied with the food that you’re eating.
And so this is what kind of ramps up those hunger signals. That’s why eating a very high carbohydrate or a very high sugar diet is really hard to lose weight that way because you are super hungry all the time. So, if you get off of those types of foods and just start eating whole foods, more, you know protein, more fat and get off the sugars, then you’re going to do yourself a big favor and that’s going to go a long way in sort of resetting your, your hunger hormones and your satiety hormones back to baseline.
Okay, so that in itself is going to help you a lot. But just because you feel hungry does not mean that it’s an emergency. You don’t have to eat something. We look at hunger as a sign thing that we have to eat right now.
But what if you could just like be a little hungry for a couple of hours, or even like, a few minutes. Sometimes we can’t even go a few minutes; when we feel hungry, we just have to do something about it right away. But listen, when you get good at this, when you start to understand that there are different types of hunger, and you can really tell the difference between ‘Do I really need something right now? Or is this just like me being bored, you know?’. Then this is a game changer for you.
Because you no longer feel this urgent need to eat all the time, you’re no longer eating out of habit and doesn’t feel out of control anymore. You’re not eating because of emotions, or social cues, you’re back in control, and you’re eating like a healthy human being should. Okay, so let’s look at the different types of hunger. So you can start to recognize, you know, what each of these looks like, I think you’ve probably experienced all of these I think we all have.
And something I need to say here, everyone’s a little bit different. And for each of these different types of hunger, you know, we’re all going to experience these a little bit different. And there’s also some crossover here.
So sometimes you might be actually hungry, and you’re in a social situation, and you’re wanting a reward. So just understand that sometimes there’s a little bit of a crossover here, and that’s okay. But just start tuning in to your own body, your own thoughts, your own feelings. So you understand this whole picture and how it relates to you. And your goals. If you’re somebody that wants to lose weight, and you want to be able to keep it off, then understanding this is going to be super key for you to be successful with that. Okay.
So the first one I want to talk about is one that I’m calling withdrawal hunger. So withdrawal hunger is something that most people experience when they start to get off of certain types of foods, usually sugar. So when you cut out sugar, let’s say you just decide you’re going to stop eating sugar, your brain is going to miss the dopamine and all the you know all the oxytocin and the serotonin, all the good feeling hormones that you get when you eat these highly refined carbohydrates like sugar, your brain is going to miss that.
And so this is going to feel pretty terrible at first because your body has become kind of, you know, accustomed to eating sugar. And if you just stop eating sugar, you’re going to experience some withdrawal symptoms, okay? One of those things is like physical hunger. Right? So this is going to happen, when you get off foods that are high in sugar and carbs, especially the ultra processed and ultra refined carbs, you’re going to feel some withdrawal hunger, okay.
This usually just lasts a few days, maybe three to five days or something like that, until your hunger hormones start to calm down, the ghrelin starts to kind of normalize. But then something else kind of happens, it becomes more psychological in nature. So you’re going to still experience some of this, this hunger, you’ve probably gotten over the physical withdrawal, maybe after the first five to seven days.
But now there’s this like mental and emotional withdrawal that’s happening. So your brain is like, oh, yeah, like our body is fine. But our brain is like, oh, man, where’s that dopamine we used to get, you know? And so this kind of feels like real hunger, but it isn’t, okay. It’s just an imbalance of hormones. Again, it’s like ghrelin and leptin going crazy.
And this is kind of to be expected when you cut out those junk foods when you cut out all the sugars. And maybe you start out on a little bit of a lower carb way of eating. You’re going to experience some of this withdrawal, hunger, okay? Kind of feels like real hunger, but it’s really not. It’s just a withdrawal from sugar, all right?
So understand that you really don’t have to do much about that. Just understand that this is going to be part of the process. When I talk about embracing the suck of changing your diet. This is one of the things that we have to deal with. Okay, you’re gonna have some withdrawal symptoms, but you can get through it.
Alright, the second type of hunger is something you use, you’re going to know this one. This is a craving or an urge for something specific and you know that this is a craving or an urge because you are craving a certain specific food and maybe pizza or french fries or ice cream or like warm chocolate chip cookies right out of the oven.
Like when you get yourself thinking about something like that. That’s a craving. Now, this is going to kind of start to create maybe some of that, you know, rumbling in your stomach and you’re going to be like, oh, I’m really hungry. I have to eat pizza right now. But you don’t have to eat pizza right now. It’s just something that you’re kind of mentally creating, you’re creating this, this desire in your mind for this specific food.
Here’s an example of this just this morning, totally out of the blue. I’m like in the shower. You know, and I just had this craving for pizza. And I’m just like, what the hell? This is like for a very specific type of pizza from a place here in Cincinnati called Dewey’s pizza, amazing pizza, by the way, and there’s a specific pizza there called the Don Corleone, red sauce, mozzarella, cheese, pepperoni, salami, ham, oregano, it’s oh, my God is like so amazing.
I had to look it up here just to kind of see is that the right name for it, and there’s a picture of it there. And that even increased my craving even more. But just out of the blue, I have this craving for this pizza. And this is not real hunger. This is like I’m recording this in the morning, I’m not hungry. I just got back from a run, I’m really not even feeling hungry right now. I’m not going to go and eat pizza, you know, in the morning here.
But this is just something that came to me as a thought: it was a mental craving, it’s a mental urge to go and eat some pizza. So urges and cravings, they kind of come on fast, they come on pretty quickly. It’s just like I experienced this morning standing in the shower, it’s like out of the blue, I have this thought, wouldn’t pizza be good right now?
And then they kind of leave just as fast, they don’t really stick around for very long, it’s just a thought that you have maybe creates that desire inside of you, but then it goes away. So just give it a few minutes. And usually that will go away. Okay, but if you’re having a specific craving or urge for a specific type of food, whether it’s ice cream, or you know, french fries or whatever, just know that not real hunger, and you don’t have to do anything about that. Okay, just let it go. Get back to what you were doing. Give it a few minutes, and chances are, it’s going to go away pretty quickly. Okay.
Now, another type of hunger. And this is a big one. This is one that we all can relate to. I’m sure this is called reward hunger or emotional hunger. And this is where we want to eat some food to feel better. So typically, this is in response to some emotional state that we’re in usually some kind of negative emotional state that we’re in, we might be feeling bored, or anxious, or tired, or lonely or stressed out. And you know what we want to do we want to go eat something because we know that if we eat something, we’re going to feel better.
We don’t have to feel as much of that stress or anger if we just eat something and kind of numb ourselves a little bit. And what do you go for when you’re looking for a reward? When you’re looking to solve that emotional problem, you don’t go for like some raw broccoli, I’m guessing you go for those highly refined carbohydrates. You want the pizza, you want the french fries, you want the cookies, the Oreos, the ice cream, the candy, right?
People don’t emotionally eat raw vegetables, typically, okay. So you’re looking for a reward, you want that dopamine hit, you’re looking for something to make you feel better. Your brain is doing what it does, naturally, which is seeking pleasure. And avoiding pain, the pain that you’re perceiving is this emotional state that you’re in, I’m stressed out about work, I’m bored here sitting at home working. really angry about the situation or whatever negative emotion it is.
And you just want to find something pleasurable to kind of replace that. This is not real hunger. This is one that you have got to get good at recognizing because we all do this. And it feels very automatic. It feels like you’re not in control. It feels like you just go to the fridge and you just start eating stuff and you don’t even think about it. You know, or you grab a bag of potato chips. And before you know it you’re like how did how to eat this whole bag of potato chips? I didn’t even realize I was doing this.
So reward, hunger, reward or emotional hunger is one of those things where you have to understand what’s happening in that moment. Understand why you’re doing that. And you got to get good at stopping that automatic behavior. And really, when you’re feeling that urge to eat something in that moment, you just don’t have to do anything. about it, you can just sit there and not eat anything and just feel the emotion.
Yeah, you can just be bored. You can just feel stressed, you can just be angry, doesn’t matter, you don’t have to eat to feel better. There are other ways of dealing with those emotions. There’s other ways of trying to soothe yourself or reward yourself that don’t involve, you know, eating junk food. Okay? This one is probably the one that we do most often. And a lot of times, people don’t even realize they realize that they’re doing it.
So this is what I want you to really start to notice within yourself, am I eating because I’m bored? Am I eating because I’m stressed out? Or I’m eating because I’m actually hungry?
Okay, another one, which is pretty interesting, I think is what I’m calling social hunger. So this is where you’re in a social situation. And you’re just eating because that’s what everybody else is doing. So I want to say like, maybe this would be peer pressure, but it’s not even people like telling you that you should eat something. Although that does happen sometimes in social situations where people are like, oh, you’re not eating anything here, try this, eat this. Come on, you know, they’re trying to push their food onto you. And you can just say, no, thank you in that situation.
But a lot of times we’re eating because everybody else is eating. Right? How many social events have you been to where there’s no food, right? Zero, everything we do involves food at some point, right? Pretty much. So this is a situation where people are eating around you. And because we, as human beings are essentially herd animals, you know, we like to do what everybody else is doing.
We don’t want to stand out. We don’t want to be the weird one at the party. You know, we just want to do what everyone else is doing. We see everybody else eating. And so we want to fit in. And we do this so automatically. And it’s so much like engrained and kind of in our DNA. We don’t even realize we’re doing it. But we may not even be hungry. But we’re just sitting there eating around the snack table just like everybody else, you know, just because that’s what everyone else is doing. Okay?
This isn’t real hunger. We’re just doing it to fit in. We’re doing it because everyone else is doing it. Have you ever noticed that like when you’re sitting at a table and somebody like grabs their phone, and they start looking at it, and you see everybody else at the table, grab their phones start looking at their phone, it’s like this, this like, cue, it’s a social cue when somebody picks up their phone that everybody else does.
And it’s the same thing with food in the social situations. If somebody starts eating something, then everybody else is kind of following along. And I hear this a lot when people talk about being at work. And there’ll be like, yeah, so I’m at work, and everybody’s snacking around me. So it’s really hard for me not to snap. But I want to encourage you to just like do your own thing.
Be the lone wolf in that situation. You don’t have to go along with the herd mentality here. Do your own thing, be an individual, take a stand, be different. It’s okay to be weird. It’s okay. Like, what everybody else is doing is nest is not necessarily good, right? what everybody else is doing is they’re eating unhealthy junk food, they’re overweight, they’re, they’re not going to live as long.
If you just look at the trends here in the United States, there’s a lot of unhealthy eating behaviors out there. There’s a lot of disease, a lot of obesity, there’s a lot of, you know, lifestyle diseases caused by you know, diet and lack of exercise and things like that. Don’t be normal, be different. Okay.
So and then the last type of hunger I want to talk about here is what is real hunger. So these other things I’ve talked about here are not necessarily real hunger. Now, you might be feeling actually hungry in a social situation, fine, whatever. But just understand that that’s not always the case. What is real hunger? Well, real hunger is when your body has this physiological need to replace fuel. Like you need fuel. Right?
It’s kind of like, you know, your car is running low on gas, like you got to put gas in that car. It’s not going to keep going anymore, right? But you know, having you know, three quarters of a tank doesn’t mean you got to fill up the tank, right? So it’s kind of the same way with food like when we’re when our gas gauge so to speak, dips low enough, then we actually need to replace that fuel. And real hunger comes on kind of slowly. It never feels urgent and never feels like a craving.
It doesn’t you know happen, you know in every situation It gradually increases that kind of comes on like a wave like a slow, gentle wave. And it happens a couple of times a day, typically once or twice a day. So we as humans, we’re not meant to eat all day long. Our systems are not designed to be digesting food and metabolizing food 24 hours a day, our systems are designed to metabolize food once or twice a day. And that’s plenty for most people.
I think that, you know, there’s probably some outliers that need a little bit more often, but for the most part, we can do just fine on eating once or twice a day. That means that you should be naturally really hungry a couple times a day. Not all day long. You know, and you’ll know that it’s real hunger, because you could sit down and eat a meal, you feel like eating some chicken and a salad and some broccoli, like not just a couple of cookies, or a handful of nuts. That’s not real hunger. If a handful of nuts sounds good to you, that’s just emotional. You know, that’s just a reward type of hunger. That is not the need to eat a meal, that is not the need to refuel.
So you might do a hard workout and you get hungry afterwards. That’s your body sending signals to replace spent fuel. And you got to like replace the fuel totally fine. That’s real hunger. Interestingly, a lot of people do not get hungry right after a workout. So working out, exercise, can act as an appetite suppressant in a lot of people. And this is definitely true for me, I usually do not feel hungry right after a workout, a long run, or a hard workout at the gym.
I usually need to wait a couple of hours after that exercise session in order to, you know, kind of feel like I’m ready to eat. Right. So even you know, when you work out, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to eat like right away. I know that. Back in the day, people used to say like, Oh, you got to eat right after you workout right after every run, you got to eat something right away. And you just don’t have to do that.
And I’ve gotten really good at just kind of understanding my body and my hunger signals. And what I need and what works for me, and waiting a couple hours after I work out is is what works for me feels great if I do that. Okay, so I want you to get good at recognizing the difference between real hunger and these other types of hunger, these false hungers so that you can take back control of how often and how much you eat, you’ll completely change your relationship with food, and you’ll be able to lose weight and keep it off for good without all the struggling without all the suffering. Okay, that’s all I got for you today. Love you all keep on Running Lean, and I’ll talk to you soon.
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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 153 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 crazy when I say that out loud. 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’re going to change everything and 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. And listen, if you’re the kind of person who’s ready to make some changes, right now, if you’re the kind of person who doesn’t want to wait until January to actually start improving their health to start losing the weight to start changing their relationship with food to start becoming the healthiest version of yourself, then I want to encourage you to apply for coaching.
There’s no obligation, you can just fill out a quick application, you and I’ll jump on a quick zoom call, we’ll have a conversation, we’ll talk about coaching, I’ll explain exactly what coaching looks like, I’ll explain my approach which is a little different for most coaches, we’ll see if this is a good fit for you. And if it’s a good fit, great if it’s not no harm done, maybe you learned a little bit more about yourself, you maybe learned some tips that can help you get started in the right direction.
But here’s the thing, if you’re ready to change now, don’t wait, you don’t have to wait till January one in order to to begin a program like this or to begin changing the how you feel about yourself, or changing your health or improving your health or improving your running or losing weight, you can start now just go to runningleancoaching.com/apply. Again, fill out that application and you and I can get started, I want to encourage you to just take some action.
Now whatever that looks like, if it’s coaching, great if it’s not, do something today, to start improving yourself to start improving your health to start improving your fitness to become that best version of yourself. Cool. So just you know, go to runningleancoaching.com/apply I would love to have you in the Running Lean coaching project where the project as always, is you.
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.
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