When you set out to reach big goals like losing weight and getting fit, you will eventually come face-to-face with all your fears and insecurities. Even just thinking about changing your diet can …
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 115 of Running Lean. My name is Patrick McGilvray, the weight loss coach for runners and today overcoming weight loss fears and insecurities.
So when it comes to reaching big goals, like losing weight and getting fit, you will eventually come face to face with a bunch of fears and insecurities it’s going to happen. Even just thinking about changing your diet can get you feeling pretty anxious, right?
You might even just say like no thanks to the whole idea. So you don’t have to deal with all the negative stuff that’s bound to come up when you engage in this process.
But I want to offer another approach, I want you to think about what it would feel like to actually deal with all those fears and insecurities instead of trying to avoid them. In this episode, I’m spending some time talking about overcoming these weight loss fears and insecurities.
This is a topic that’s been on my mind a lot lately. And it’s a very powerful thing. It’s a very powerful skill that you can learn if you’re willing to do the work and face your fears head-on.
But first, I wanted to give you a heads up about something cool that’s coming up here. Next week, I am teaching a live workshop, it’s all about how to effectively transform yourself from the inside out into a leaner, stronger, more badass runner, it’s called five simple steps to becoming a leaner, stronger runner.
This will be the most informative and one of the most comprehensive live workshops that I’ve ever taught. I don’t do this kind of thing very often. But I was feeling pretty excited about this topic, and I wanted to share it with you guys.
And I thought, you know, instead of doing a podcast about this, I wanted to teach it live, there’s this real energy when we all get together when we can ask questions, and there’s that interaction. And so it’s gonna be fun, we’re gonna have a good time doing this.
Okay, you’re going to learn how to get leaner, how to become stronger, and how to become the healthiest and most badass version of yourself yet, that is the goal. That’s what I want you to walk away from, with this workshop.
To sign up, just go to runningleancoaching.com/workshop. And it’s next Thursday, the 17th at 8 pm Eastern time. Now I’m going to be doing this a couple more times. I’ll give you more updates on that later.
I can’t really schedule those just yet just because of the whatever scheduling software that I’m using and things like that. So as soon as this one is over, I’ll let you know about that other one that’s coming up, the next one that’s coming up.
So if you can’t make it on the 17th, no worries, I’m gonna give you a couple more opportunities. Cool. If I didn’t mention it, this is free and fun. We’re gonna have fun together. Okay. So to sign up, just go to runningleancoaching.com/workshop, I hope to see you there.
Alright, let’s get into this topic of overcoming weight loss fears and insecurities. This is something that has been on my mind lately, it’s something that I really wanted to take a deep dive into.
Because it’s one of those topics that comes up for every single person, every single person that I work with has this issue come up where they have to deal with the fears and insecurities around their own weight loss journey, whether they can do it or not, you know, whether they have failed in the past or not and all this stuff comes up.
But it’s one of those things that we don’t want to talk about. It’s one of those things we just want to pretend isn’t there. And so what a lot of people do is, you know, they set out to do something like lose weight, you know, they set out to like, make a big lifestyle change like this.
And then all this stuff starts coming up and they just want to avoid it. So it kind of looks like this. Like, let’s say you make a decision that you want to lose some weight. And you embark on some sort of weight loss plan. Like you join a group program, you hire a coach, you know, whatever.
As soon as you decide to make a big change like this, then commit to making that change. That’s when things are gonna start to get all scary for you. Just thinking about changing your diet like making some permanent lifestyle changes, just thinking about it can put you into freakout mode, right?
I want you to know something. There’s nothing wrong with you if this has happened to you or if it’s happening to you right now, this is super normal. It’s just your brain, your brain doing what it does best. It’s trying to keep you safe. It’s trying to keep you comfortable. It’s trying to avoid pain and seek pleasure.
So I want you to do this experiment right now, I just want you to think about this. Think about changing your diet, think about what it would take to lose those 30 pounds or 20 pounds or 50 pounds or whatever it is.
Are you starting to freak out a little bit right now is your heart starting to race orare your palms sweating? If they are, again, this is totally normal. What’s happening here, just thinking about this is starting to put you outside of your comfort zone.
And this idea of getting outside your comfort zone in order to grow in order to become more. Your brain does not like this idea. Your brain wants to keep you safe. That’s what your brain’s job is.
Your brain is sensing something unfamiliar here. It’s sensing something uncomfortable here. It’s sensing something dangerous. It’s not really dangerous. But it feels unfamiliar and uncomfortable. And so your brain is like, get me out of here, and you go into that freakout mode.
This is why most people just don’t ever start. They never even take on the challenge of you know trying to lose weight or get stronger, get fitter, get leaner run faster, whatever it is. Because just thinking about it seems overwhelming, it seems too hard.
You start to have all these fears and insecurities come bubbling up to the surface, you go into freakout mode, and you’re like, haha, I don’t want anything to do with that. So you just stay where you are.
But when you start to make these uncomfortable changes, when you actually start to do this stuff, your brain senses the danger. And then these fears and insecurities are going to start to come up to the surface, okay? And your thoughts and your feelings are going to come up stuff like, this is going to be so hard.
‘I don’t know if I can do this. I’m going to be hungry all the time. What if this doesn’t work for me? I mean, this never worked for me in the past? Well, what’s gonna be different this time? What if I can’t make it last, right? What if I can’t sustain this? What if it’s not something I can do forever? What if I gain the weight back? I’ve never been able to do this before, it’s always been hard for me. I know I’m going to fail. People are going to judge me, I’m going to lose friends over this.’
And on and on and on. Like, we can just go into this mode of like, thinking about all the insecurities and all the fears and all the anxiety that we have around this topic of wanting to get healthy and do something good for ourselves. And all these thoughts begin to dominate your brain.
And honestly, this is why most people just won’t even start there. It’s just too much for them. There’s too much fear and insecurity there. And the funny thing is they haven’t even done anything yet they haven’t even started.
You’re just like thinking about this and all this stuff comes up. Okay, they haven’t even actually begun the work, they haven’t started changing their habits, they haven’t done anything differently other than just like had these thoughts. So you can see how detrimental this can be for you. Right.
So I’m going to talk about this in two ways. What I’m talking about right now, this is like part one of this because before you even begin the process before you even embark on your weight loss journey before you actually start making any changes, all this stuff’s gonna come up for you.
Right, just thinking about it, all this stuff’s gonna come up for you. So this is kind of like the first part of this, okay? The negative thoughts will come up to the surface, and they can just completely stop you in your tracks, they can keep you from doing anything at all keep you from taking any action keep you from making any progress keep you from ever embarking on this journey.
It’s kind of like, hey, I talk to people all the time who are like, I’d love to run a marathon someday, but I’m too afraid it’s gonna be too hard. The training’s going to be hard, I’ve never been able to run that far before. I just don’t know.
And so they just say, you know, maybe that’s just not for me, and they just don’t do it. Deep down inside, they want that for themselves. But all this stuff is coming up. Before they even get into it.
They haven’t even looked at a training plan. They haven’t started doing the work to start training for a marathon. And they’re already like, convinced they can’t do it. This is what I call pre-failing, right? You’re pre-failing, you’re failing ahead of time. Don’t do that. Don’t do that. Okay.
But this stuff just like thinking about it is going to bring up all this stuff. And you know whether or not you can lose weight, how hard it’s going to be all that. All those thoughts are going to come up. And you’ve got to be careful not to get mired down by all that stuff. It’s just a bunch of negative self-talk, right?
You have to override your brain’s natural functions, you have to override your brain’s default behavior here, right, you’re going to experience some of those thoughts, you’re going to experience some of that fear and some of those insecurities.
But that does not mean you don’t start. It doesn’t mean you can’t do it. You can. You have to feel the fear and do it anyway. You have to understand that in order to make big changes, like to your health and fitness, you’re going to get uncomfortable, it’s going to be uncomfortable, you’re going to have to embrace the suck, okay.
And this is what it means to override your brain’s default functioning, right, you’re still going to have the fears, you’re still gonna have these insecurities. But you move forward anyway. And this takes courage, and it takes determination and discipline.
But this is the work that you have to do if you want more for yourself. And remember, courage is not the absence of fear. Courage is having the fear, doing the thing anyway, and showing up. Think about a warrior going into battle.
The warrior going into battle is not lacking fear, they have the fear. But they put on their armor, they grab their shield and their sword, and they head into the melee. They embrace the discomfort, they embrace the fear, they do it anyway. It’s not a lack of fear. It’s action in the face of fear. That’s what courage is.
Okay, so part one is all the stuff that’s going to come up when you just start thinking about this right. And before you even get started.
Part two of this process is all the stuff that actually comes up when you stop using food as an emotional management tool. Because when you’re using food, to avoid feeling negative emotions, as soon as you stop doing that, all those negative emotions are going to be right there. Yay.
So all the fear and the stress and the anxiety and the anger and the frustration and all that stuff that you’ve been avoiding. By eating food, now you got to deal with all that stuff. So this is kind of part two of this when you start changing your diet, and you start and you stop using food as a way of coping with life and with stress and with feelings and sadness, and loneliness, or whatever it is you’re experiencing.
When you stop doing that, all that stuff’s gonna come up for you. Okay? All of those same, like negative self-talk, things are going to come up for you except now, you’re not using food as a way of stuffing that down. You’re not using food as a way of dealing with those difficult emotions. So now you’ve got to start feeling your feelings.
And if you’ve never done this before, I’m going to tell you right now, you are not going to like it. Isn’t that awesome? Most people do not like feeling their emotions, not the difficult ones anyway, people don’t mind feeling happy and joyful, excited and loved and stuff like that.
But the negative emotions, the ones that we label as negative like anger, sadness, grief, loneliness, hurt, stress, boredom, are all emotions that we experience, people do not like to feel those things. So what do they eat instead? You know, and some people drink.
Some people just scroll through Instagram mindlessly for hours on end. Some people drink alcohol, some people shop, we do all these things, to try to dull the feelings that we’re experiencing. So we don’t have to feel those things, right we have we are trying to do all these difficult emotions. So you eat.
Instead, you use food to feel better. And listen, it kind of works temporarily, like you get a hit of dopamine. Those pleasure centers in your brain, they get all lit up. And it feels good for a minute, and the strategy of like, eating instead of feeling your feelings, kind of works for a minute.
That doesn’t make you feel better, but only for a minute. It’s very, very brief, very temporary. Once that sugar buzz wears off, or you know, whatever you’ve been eating, all those emotions you’re trying to avoid, they just come back. Plus you get the added benefit of like feeling terrible because you went off your plan and you ate a bunch of junk food and you feel bad about that and you still have those other emotions.
And so what do you do then? You just eat more to try to make yourself feel better and it’s a vicious cycle. It’s never-ending, you’re constantly eating your feelings, trying to avoid your feelings, eating more, feeling bad about yourself, beating yourself up feeling even worse. So then you eat more, and on and on and on, rinse and repeat forever.
So what you’re doing here is you’re just postponing the whole process of actually dealing with your emotions, what you have to do is deal with the emotions, eventually, right, you have to do something about this, right? You’ve got to feel those feelings.
So you’ve set out on your weight loss journey, and you’re no longer using food as an emotional management tool. Awesome. That is good. But now, all your fears and insecurities come up. And you have to finally deal with all of that. This is when the real work begins.
Because if you can get good at handling all of the negative emotions that come up, when you stop eating your feelings, I’m telling you, you can handle just about anything, you become a total emotional badass.
By the way, we’re having some really cool conversations about this in the coaching group right now, this month, we’re talking all about overcoming emotional eating for good, and we’re taking a kind of deep dive into this topic.
And I was talking to one of my clients yesterday about this, and she was like, she didn’t realize what she was doing was emotional eating. So we have this vision in our heads of what emotional eating is.
And it’s like, you know, somebody’s like, in bed with the covers around them with a half-gallon of ice cream and a spoon crying, you know, like, that’s not really the what emotional eating looks like for most people.
And so this person was like, “I’m not an emotional eater, you know, but I’ll tell you, I had a really stressful day at work. And you know, I eat when I get stressed out like that, you know, I just go for potato chips, and you know, all these nuts and stuff, and I just can’t stop, I just, you know, it feels better.”
And I said, “Well, that’s emotional eating stress is just a feeling right?”
When you’re stress eating, it’s emotional eating, or you’re eating because you’re bored. That’s emotional, eating out of boredom, feeling bored is just a feeling. It’s an emotion. And so anytime you use food to try to dull whatever emotion you’re feeling, that’s emotional eating, okay?
So the process of overcoming your fears and insecurities around weight loss is actually dealing with your emotions. That’s what it is. That’s the process. That’s how you do it.
You actually have to embrace feeling your emotions, you have to feel your feelings, it means you have to learn how to sit with your feelings, without doing anything to change them. Without doing anything to make them go away. Just feel your feelings.
Does this sound terrible to you? It does for a lot of people. And I used to be this way too. I was like, I don’t want to feel my feelings. So ever since I was a kid, I’m very sensitive. I was a very sensitive kid, I’m still a very sensitive person.
And I used to feel things very deeply, I still do. You know, I had a very acute sense of these emotions, right? I’m just a sensitive person. So when I stopped using food, and alcohol, to numb myself to my feelings, I had to deal with that stuff, right?
I couldn’t handle feeling those negative emotions. So I would eat and drink over them, you know, I drank a lot. So I didn’t have to feel those things. I ate a lot. But then I stopped doing that at some point. And I couldn’t handle the intensity of my emotions.
And so I would freeze, I would withdraw, I would act very passive-aggressive, you could ask both of my ex-wives about this, they can attest to this. But eventually, I had to learn how to deal with all of these emotions that I was experiencing, without using food or alcohol or scrolling through Instagram or whatever.
And I did, I’ve gotten really good at sitting with my emotions and just letting them be there. And letting them sort of process through and not trying to make them go away. Not trying to change them. Not trying to squash them down. Just walking around, feeling my feelings.
And I have to tell you, my emotions are very manageable now. I don’t feel them as intensely as I used to because I’m just allowing them to be there. I’m not trying to make them go away. I’m not trying to change anything. And I don’t have to eat over them.
You know, I can still feel things intensely sometimes, but it’s not a problem for me. I don’t see like having a feeling is like an emergency that I have to fix. And I want you to know this is available for you, you just have to start practicing actually feeling your feelings, right.
Embrace the discomfort of having an emotion without doing anything to change it without eating over it. And just letting it be there. And I have to say this goes for you guys too. Like dudes are generally like, “Really, feel your feelings? Come on, bro. No thanks, don’t I just need to like man up and grow a pair?”
No, this is actually a very powerful skill that we are, none of us are taught men and women alike. We are not taught how to do this. And if you’re a dude, and you’re listening to this right now, I promise you that when you get good at just dealing with your feelings and actually experiencing them and processing them, this is a pretty badass skill.
It’s a badass skill that you have to get good at if you want to accomplish really anything in your life. Because when you do this, men and women, when you do this when you get good at handling your emotions and dealing with them. There’s like nothing you can’t do.
When you’re no longer afraid to feel your feelings, to experience your insecurities. Oh my god is what it means to be free. You have total freedom from emotional eating, you’re in control again.
And I promise you, you can lose a lot of weight this way. And you can keep it off for good. And I say this all the time – losing weight, getting healthy, getting stronger, running faster, all of it. It’s an inside job, right? You have to commit to doing this work.
Because this is how you accomplish big goals like losing weight. This is how you accomplish big goals like getting healthier, getting stronger, and making it last for life. This is how you become that badass that I know you want to be cool. And remember that if you’re ready to overcome your fears and insecurities around losing weight and make it last for life.
If you’re ready to learn the simple steps to becoming a leaner stronger runner then you have to come check out this free live workshop next week, March 17. To sign up just go to runningleancoaching.com/workshop.
I would love to see you there. I promise you’re gonna learn a lot. And we’re gonna have some fun together. Cool. All right, love you all keep on Running Lean. Talk to you soon.
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