Sometimes, I have a bunch of thoughts that I want to share with you here on the podcast and I’ll create an episode for each one of those random thoughts. This is a great way of taking a deep dive …
Most people come up with all sorts of excuses, reasons, and stories for why they can’t accomplish something hard. You set out to lose weight so you change your diet but you eventually slip back …
It’s officially the Holiday Season and that means it’s time to gain a bunch of weight over the next 30 days and start the new year feeling like crap, right? I know it seems kinda crazy when I say …
My name is Patrick McGilvray, and I’m an experienced marathoner, ultra runner, Sports Nutritionist, Master Life Coach, and weight loss coach for runners. I’ve dedicated my life to helping runners just like you properly fuel your body and your mind. So you can get leaner, get stronger, run faster, and run longer than you ever thought possible. This is Running Lean.
Hey there, and welcome to episode 204 of Running Lean. My name is Patrick McGilvray, the weight loss coach for runners and today, five tips to avoid gaining weight this holiday season. So it’s officially the holiday season. And that means it’s time to gain a bunch of weight over the next 30 days and start the new year feeling like crap, right?
I know it seems kind of crazy when I say that out loud, but the truth is, though, that’s the way most people do it. Most people gain a bunch of weight during the holidays. And then at some point, they swear a solemn oath that they’ll get back on track in January.
And I know what this feels like. I’ve done this many, many times. I also know how terrible it feels when January comes around. And you have to lose a bunch of weight just to get back to where you were before Thanksgiving. So in this episode, I’m gonna offer a better approach for this whole time of the year.
Okay, I have five tips to avoid gaining weight this holiday season. But first, I talk a lot about losing weight and improving your health and fitness here on the podcast. And I know all of this can feel a little overwhelming.
So, if you’re looking for a good place to start I’ve created a free hour long training just for you called Five Simple Steps To Becoming A Leaner Stronger Runner. In this training video you’re going to learn how to fuel your body properly so you can lose weight and improve your running, because there is an answer, you can do both.
You’re going to learn how important strength is in your fitness journey. You’re going to learn how to make changes that are actually sustainable for you, and so much more. So, if you’re ready to get leaner and stronger and become the healthiest, most badass version of yourself then you need to check out this free training right now. Just go to runningleancoaching.com and click on Free Training.
Okay, so this is actually a replay episode that I did, I think about a year ago. I always like to talk about this topic around this time of the year, the holidays and how most people gain weight during the holidays.
And I started looking through my notes and I thought this episode is perfect I’m just going to replay this episode, so that’s what you’re getting today. You’re getting a replay of this episode from last year. But it’s important information, and I think you’re going to get a lot out of it. And it offers a very different approach to the holidays, different from the way most people do it.
Just because you’ve done something in the past doesn’t mean you have to continue doing that going forward. Okay, so this year, this holiday season I want to challenge you to do something different. Okay, so listen to this episode, I think you’re going to get a lot of it. You’re going to get at least five, okay, it’s called Five Tips To Avoid Gaining Weight This Holiday Season.
But this is just one of those things I feel very strongly that there is a much better way to approach the holidays, you don’t have to gain weight, you don’t have to slip into old habits, you don’t have to start the New Year feeling like crap.
There is a better way to do it. So, anyway, always always if you’re looking for help with any of this stuff, you can reach out to me. We can talk about coaching, just head over to my website runningleancoaching.com and click on Work With Me.
So anyway, without further ado here are my Five Tips To Avoid Gaining Weight This Holiday Season.
Okay, so today, I got these tips for you. I got some tips to help you avoid gaining weight this holiday season. I’ve been thinking about this for a while now. And so many people think that this time of the year they will automatically gain weight. In fact, so many people think this because the average adult American says that they expect to gain around seven pounds during the holidays. That’s a lot of weight to gain in a month, right.
And one in four of those people say that they’re still carrying extra weight from the previous year. And so you know, let’s just say it’s a few pounds, I mean, you’re this is just this time of the year, you’re just going to be continually gaining weight. And if you multiply this by 10 or 20 years, this is a big problem. This can be a huge problem, right?
So, let’s stop this trend right now. Let’s take control of our health and our fitness and our weight for once. Don’t be average. Don’t be the average American. You know, I’ve talked to so many people about changing their diet and eating differently and maybe, you know, giving up things like sugar and grains. And people are like well, but I don’t want to be different. I just want to be able to do what everybody else is doing.
And I’m like to listen, listen, what everybody else is doing isn’t working, there’s like 78% of people in this country have some sort of metabolic dysfunction? Do you really want to be one of the normal people? Do you really want to be one of the average Americans? And this applies to other countries as well. But I say no, I say let’s be, let’s be the minority, let’s be different.
Embrace that, like, don’t be normal, don’t be average. Okay. So instead of expecting to gain a bunch of weight during the holidays, we need to have a different approach, you got to do things differently than the way most people are doing things. And yeah, that means that you might not be indulging in all the Christmas cookies, and all the booze at the parties and all this other stuff that other people are doing.
But guess what, you’re gonna feel so much better when January 1 comes around, and you haven’t gained that seven pounds. And that’s kind of average, I think some people gain more, you know, 10-12 pounds. So for me, here’s kind of the way I used to do it. So this time of the year was always the, well it’s still is pretty much the offseason for running.
And so we’ll do a full marathon. And then we sort of take a break from running. But for me, I never really changed my diet, like I just kept eating the same amounts of food and the same types of food. And of course, I was eating a ton of sugar and a ton of carbs. And so this time of the year, I would always gain weight.
And I would always gain 5-10 pounds somewhere in that range. And then I would always tell myself that yeah, come January 1, everything’s going to change, I’m going to get serious, I’m going to lose weight, I’m going to, you know, start focusing on eating better, and all this other stuff.
And guess what, January 1 would come around, and I would sort of start some of that stuff, I would kinda maybe watch my calories, or start adding food into a food tracking app. And you know, you know, going lower fat and trying to exercise more, and all the things that we’ve tried that really don’t work long term. And I might do it for a short amount of time. But then it became problematic, it became frustrating, became too tedious, and I would just stop doing it. And I would always, you know, I might lose a few of those pounds, but I would always gain a few extra pounds every year, during this time of the year.
And you know, you do that for 10 years. And, you know, I found myself 40, more than 40 pounds overweight. And I was eating what I thought was a really clean diet. You know, I was plant based and I was just eating a ton of carbs. I was a carb-atarian, let’s just say it that way. Eating nothing but sugar and carbs, and running a lot. I was running and training for marathons and ultra marathons.
And it wasn’t that I wasn’t exercising, I was going to the gym two or three times a week, doing yoga a couple of times a week, like I had a regular exercise regimen, I was running like crazy every year. And still I would gain weight during the holiday season. And I couldn’t, couldn’t lose it. And that just kept you know, adding on and packing on more weight and more weight.
So there’s a better way to do this, there’s a better way to get through the holidays. And, and I’m going to give you a few tips here for you to apply and actually take action on because these tips are great. If if you’re listening to this and you’re like, oh, these sound great, Patrick, that’s one thing.
It’s a whole other thing if you take action and actually do what I’m going to suggest that you do here today. Because if you do what I suggest you do here today, you’re gonna get through the holidays in a much different way than somebody who doesn’t take action. Any kind of program like this, anytime we’re talking about improving yourself, it requires something on your part.
You’re not just going to lose weight by listening to somebody talk about what to do, right? You’ve got to take action, you got to do this stuff. Okay? So if you’re the kind of person who loves getting into action and loves, you know, doing, you know, these kinds of tips, then do it. I want to encourage you to just start today.
So here’s the tips I’m gonna give you tip number one, and this is probably the one that most people won’t do. And this is why I’m sort of prefacing this by saying like you have to take action here because most people don’t want to do this. And that is to create a vision for who you want to be on January 1, create a vision for who you want to be on January 1.
How do you want to show up for yourself? How do you want to feel about yourself? How do you want to look? How do you want to feel mentally, emotionally, physically? How do you want to have approached this holiday season? Like, I really want you to get detailed about this future version of yourself. So we’re only talking about 30 days in the future. As we record this, it’s December 1. And so we’ve got, you know, what, 31 days, 32 days, something like that until January 1. So create a vision today.
And I want to encourage you not to just think about this, but to actually write it down. So grab a piece of paper, grab a journal, whatever it is that you want to use, do it on your computer, it doesn’t really matter. But write down in detail as much as you want. How do you want to show up for yourself on January 1, who do you want to be?
Most people don’t do this. Most people are just like, yeah, yeah, whatever, I want to feel good, but whatever. But they don’t really spend any time really thinking about this. But here’s something that’s very interesting. There’s this very powerful thing that happens, when you start thinking about who you want to be in the future, your subconscious mind will actually start moving you in the direction of that vision, your subconscious mind will actually get on board with this plan.
Everything that we want for ourselves, we first have to create in our mind, there’s not one thing on this planet that’s been created that hasn’t first been a thought and a vision, you know, think about things like a rocket ship, or an airplane or the iPhone, all these things were first an idea and a thought.
And then they were written down, and they were then you know, expanded upon, you know, so all these things that we want for ourselves have to start with a thought they have to start with a detailed vision. And when we create this vision for ourselves, it’s important that you get into that emotional state of how you want to feel on January 1.
Do you want to feel like you are regretting your decisions over the last 30 days? Do you want to feel like you have fallen behind or fallen off the wagon, or let yourself down? Or do you want to feel like you’ve built some confidence in yourself, you’ve built some trust in yourself, you said you were going to do some things, and you actually did them. Because that is available to you.
But you first have to start with a vision, you have to start with a detailed accounting of how you want to show up on January one. So don’t skip this step. Do it, I’m gonna encourage you to just do it, write it down, it’ll take you 10 or 15 minutes, spend about that much time writing free, write just as much as you want, or as little as you want. But do this step. Okay.
So that’s step number one, create a vision for who you want to be, and how you want to show up for yourself, and how you want to feel that’s the important part. Because once we get into that emotional state of how we want to feel, we can access that throughout the month, you know, you might have a day where you wake up and you’re like, I really don’t feel like running today, or I really don’t feel like you know, sticking to my plan my food plan today or whatever, you’re gonna be like, oh, but you know what that feeling that I want on January 1? I’m only gonna get that feeling.
If I stick to this plan, if I go out and run, if I go lift weights or whatever. So make sure that you get into that emotional state of how you want to feel on January 1, okay? That’s a very, very powerful state to be in. Okay, that’s how all visions come to life is just creating that vision getting into that emotional state. Okay, so that’s step number one.
The next tip I have for you, after you create a vision, you have to have a plan. You have to have a plan. Most people think that they will just sort of wing it. And I’m just going to tell you right now winging it does not work. If you think well, I’ll just kind of like I’ll get through the holidays, it’ll be fine. I’m not too concerned about it.
But if you’ve got some weight to lose, and you really want to make some changes and you want to get through this unscathed, you want to, you know, show up on January 1 really feeling good about yourself. You have to have a plan. Okay? So that means that you need to write down what you’re going to do to get to that vision that you have for yourself on January 1.
So you have a vision, great, how are you going to achieve that vision? You have to have a plan. I’m going to not eat sugar this month, that’s a plan. I’m going to, you know, work out every day, that’s a plan, I’m going to do yoga three times a week, I’m going to strength train twice a week, I’m going to run three times a week, I’m going to, you know, eat, you know, a good amount of protein at each meal, these are all plans, and you write these things down.
And there’s things that are going to happen this month. So we got holiday parties, we got a couple of holidays, really, we’re only talking about a couple days here, we got like Christmas, and New Year’s right, and then maybe New Year’s Eve, right? So maybe, or maybe even Christmas Eve for some people.
So three or four days really is all we’re talking about, you know, from here on out. So, plan those days, then if you have holiday parties, you’re gonna be going to or family’s gonna be in town or whatever, plan for that stuff, make a detailed plan of how you’re going to achieve your vision for yourself.
And this is what I do with all my clients. We work together on a plan and we get very detailed about what they’re going to eat and what they’re not going to eat, when they’re going to work out, when they’re not, when they’re going to recover. And we put together a detailed plan. And then obviously, you have to work the plan, you have to actually stick to the plan.
But you’re more likely to stick to the plan when you’ve created that vision for yourself. And then you’ve written it down. And then you’ve also written down a plan. I know what I’m doing. I’ve got it written down. You can look at it every day and say, okay, what am I doing today, and then just follow the plan. It seems almost too simple. Create a plan, and then stick to the plan no matter what. But that’s how simple it is. Create a plan and then stick to the plan no matter what.
And it’s that no matter what part that’s kind of important, right? For example, I am working on running every day during the holidays. So if you’re part of the Running Lean Facebook group, and if you’re not, you can join us just search for Running Lean community on Facebook. We are doing the running through the holidays challenge right now, which is to run every day, outside from Thanksgiving Day through New Year’s Day. And that’s 39 days of running.
And it’s just, you know, just gotta run at least a mile each day. So some days, I’m running one mile, some days, I’m running 2, 3, 4, 5, whatever. But the other day, I did not run during the day, I had a busy day. And I wasn’t able to get outside and you know, it gets dark early, it gets dark at like 5:30. And this is like 7pm and it was raining. And it was cold. And it was windy. And I did not feel like running. Not at all did I feel like running.
I had already eaten dinner and stuff. And I’m like, oh my god, I forgot I have to run still. And so you know what I did? I put on my running shoes, and I put on a rain jacket and I just headed out the door. And I got my mile in outside in the rain and the wind and the cold. And I have to tell you that it didn’t feel awesome. When I was out there I was you know, I had to put a headlamp on and you know, watch out for debris in the streets and roads and stuff like that.
But I did it, and I felt good about myself because I stuck to my plan. So I had a plan to run every day. That’s a plan. And then I stuck to the plan no matter what even though I didn’t feel like it. It could have been so easy for me to just say screw it. I am not doing this. I don’t feel like it. And it’s cold and it’s raining and I could have used all the excuses.
But I didn’t do that. I had a plan and I stuck to the plan no matter what. Okay? It’s that no matter what part that’s important, okay, so create a vision and have a plan and then stick to the plan no matter what. Cool.
Alright, my third tip is this. You’ve got to manage stress, you cannot go through this holiday season super stressed out about everything you just can’t. Stress will cause you to hold on to body fat. Stress will cause you to gain weight. The stress response is a glucose response. Being stressed out will spike your blood sugar, will spike your insulin levels and will put you into fat storage mode. And if you’re chronically stressed out and a lot of people are during the holidays, they stay kind of in this chronic state of stress from Thanksgiving through January 1.
I’m going to tell you right now it is going to be very difficult for you to lose weight, in fact, you will probably gain some weight just based on being stressed out during the holidays. So you have to have a stress management regimen, you have to have some sort of routine that you’re doing regularly like every single day to keep stress levels to a minimum.
Because if you don’t, you’re going to have a very hard time losing weight or have a hard time maintaining your weight during the holidays. So there are two types of stress. There’s the stress that we put on our bodies when we work out and maybe we lift weights or we go for a run. And maybe we do some sprint intervals or something like that.
This is called acute stress. And this is the good kind of stress. This is a positive type of stress, we stress our body, we stress a muscle, we stress our cardiovascular system. And then we have a positive adaptation because of that stress. So our muscles get stronger, our cardiovascular system improves, our speed improves, we raise our lactate threshold. So when we put acute stress on our bodies, this is acute and short term, very short term stress, this is a positive thing, this is a good thing we want to stress ourselves out in that way.
The kind of stress that we don’t want to be engaging in is like we’re constantly thinking about, you know, work or relationships or family issues. And we’re just constantly, you know, in a state of chronic stress, chronic stress is the kind of stress that is going to cause us to have that glucose response and cause us to keep our insulin levels high. You know, cortisol is a stress hormone.
When cortisol is high, our body is in that fight or flight mode, we’re in that sympathetic mode. Remember, the sympathetic mode is stress sympathetic for stress s for stress, the parasympathetic mode is, is peace, P for peace. So parasympathetic is when we are calm and relaxed and at peace and the sympathetic nervous system is when we are stressed out.
So we want to tap more into that parasympathetic nervous system and reduce the amount of stress we’re in. So that means that we can’t wait until we’re super stressed out to start working on it and that we have to work on it continuously. That means you have to have some sort of stress relief plan in place every single day.
Some of the things you can do to help reduce stress, meditation, journaling, going for a walk, going for a run, doing some yoga, just taking a nap. Maybe. Naps are very underrated, by the way. Getting enough sleep is super important. Getting good quality sleep, you know, we need seven, eight hours of sleep most of us as adults.
Just doing anything, playing a game, laughing, going to see a movie, doing something with friends, doing something with family, just being silly with your kids, anything like that is going to help to reduce stress, you need to figure out what works for you, everybody’s different. So figure out what works for you and what you can do every single day to make stress management a priority.
Because if you do that, I guarantee you, you’re gonna have a much easier time getting through the holidays and your body won’t be holding on to as much body weight, you won’t be holding on to as much fat you’ll be able to burn fat, we always want to be burning fat, not storing fat. So you’ll get into fat burning mode instead of fat storing mode. And you’ll get through the holidays without all that extra weight.
Okay, so that’s tip number three is to manage stress, and you have to do it every single day. You can’t wait until you’re stressed out to start working on it, you have to manage stress every single day.
And this brings me to my fourth tip, which is to exercise daily. So not only does daily exercise help with stress management, it also helps you to burn fat, you know, so obviously exercise can be helpful to fat burning, especially if you’re doing the lower intensity exercise, you know, you stay in that zone one, zone two, you know, you’re in that aerobic zone. That’s what’s considered sort of the fat burning zone, right?
So if you’re doing some sort of exercise every day, go out and run a few miles. Really easy. Go for some, you know, do a power walk, do some yoga, walk the dogs, play with the kids. It doesn’t have to be something intense but do something every day. And I promise you, you are going to not only feel better, but you’re going to help you to maintain your weight and probably help you to lose a little bit if that’s, you know, one of your goals here.
So, one of the reasons why we want to exercise every day is that when we exercise we get our dose of dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin, and endorphins. So we get that rush of feel good hormones, and neurotransmitters. And when we have these feel good chemicals kind of running through our body, it puts us in a better mood, it helps us stay in that parasympathetic nervous system state. And we feel good.
It’s not only a good way to manage stress, but it’s a way of keeping our body feeling happy, like it improves our mood as well. You know, also more burning fat, you know, like I said, but it’s just this way of continually feeling good and feeling good about ourselves and feeling good about who we are and what we’re doing. And it’s such a better way to go through the holidays feeling good, as opposed to being, you know, super stressed out and freaking out about all the junk you’re eating and all this other stuff.
So when you’re in a good mood, you tend to make better decisions, when you’re exercising every day, you tend to build some momentum and want to keep exercising, it helps you to, you know, stay on track with your food plan, when you’re exercising daily. This is one of the big reasons why we have this running through the holidays challenge going on right now is because I want to encourage you to get outside every day, and do some exercise and the outside part is important.
During the winter, we tend you know, the days get shorter, and we tend to spend a lot more time indoors, the days are shorter, it’s darker in the morning is darker in the evening, there’s not as much sunlight during the day, we need to get outside and get some sun in our eyeballs, like we need to, you know, have that sun in our face on our bodies, if we can, it’s so important for us to you know, be outside in the elements in the sun.
And it helps to put us in that, you know, good mood, it helps with our serotonin levels. You know, we build serotonin during the day. And that’s what helps to create melatonin to help us sleep better at night. It helps with our circadian rhythms and helps us to sleep, you know, improve our sleep quality during the night when we can get outside into the sun every day.
So I know a lot of days around here, you know, I’m in Cincinnati, and a lot of days around here in the wintertime, it’s just gray, and dark. And there’s no sun. But those days that there is sun, take advantage of that and get outside. We’ve had a lot of gray days here. And then this morning, I went for a run and had to bring my sunglasses with me because it was so beautiful out, very, very cold, very cold.
But the sun was shining and it felt so amazing to be outside and to see the sun and to be in the sun. So exercise daily, put together you know, make exercise daily part of your plan. You know, make it part of your plan, part of your daily plan. And you’re going to get through the holidays feeling so much better about yourself, okay.
And then my last tip is going to be this when it comes to nutrition. We’re all a little bit different. And it’s hard for me to make some recommendations as here’s what you should eat or whatever. So I’m going to give you this tip. And I think this is one of the most powerful tips around nutrition that I can give you and it’s one that is underrated and something that most people just don’t do or maybe they’re not aware of, or they think it would be too hard.
But it’s this, skip some meals, skip some meals, you don’t have to eat three meals a day, every single day all the time. You don’t have to eat three meals a day, plus three snacks a day, plus dessert every single day, you really don’t have to eat that much skip breakfast, skip breakfast and lunch one day.
Skip snacking, skip dessert, like just pick something that you think would work for you. And you don’t have to do this every single day. But just consider skipping some meals. You know, there’s a lot of benefits that you’ll gain from exercising in the fasted state, which means that, you know, if you exercise in the morning, don’t you don’t have to fuel up before you get outside and run.
Just skip it, just skip fueling, you know and try some what we call intermittent fasting. And when people hear that word fasting, they’re like, oh my gosh, that’s, you know, I’m gonna die. I can’t do that. It’s like, dude, no, listen, it’s just like, skip breakfast is our target about here. It’s not that big of a deal.
You know, we’ve been doing this as human beings for millions of years. We didn’t eat all the time. We didn’t have snacks. We didn’t eat dessert, like there were no three meals a day, kind of a deal. Like a lot of times, and a lot of cultures, they eat like once a day, maybe twice a day. And so I think we’ve, you know, in the Western world, we’re under this impression that we have to eat a lot, just all the time. And it’s just not true.
Like we just don’t need to eat that often. Okay, so, one thing I did recently is Thanksgiving Day. And so that was Thursday and then a couple days later on Saturday we did another Thanksgiving with my girlfriend and our kids, well, we all got together. And so we did like two different Thanksgivings, super fun.
But each of those days, I only ate that one meal each day. So I ate one big meal on Thanksgiving, and then one big meal on that Saturday, and I just skipped breakfast, I typically eat twice a day, you know, I’ll have a pretty good sized breakfast around noon, and then I eat dinner around 6pm, 7pm, something like that.
And, and that’s usually good for me. But some days, I just skip that first meal. And, and I feel so much better when I, you know, can skip a meal and, and then I can maybe eat a little bit more at that second meal and still be in a bit of a deficit and still not be overeating and still not be eating, you know, a ton of calories that day.
So for me, it feels really good to skip a meal every now and then. And this is one of the simplest things that you can do to help manage your weight and help you to not gain weight during the holidays. It’s just like, pick a few days a week here and there and skip some of these meals. And you might be surprised how good you feel. You might be surprised how much easier it is to exercise in that fasted state and take advantage of the adrenaline that you get from exercising in the fasted state.
So you actually, you know, people think, oh, I won’t have the energy. But now your body will produce the glucose that you need, your body will produce the adrenaline that you need to be able to actually work out a little bit harder. And then there’s another positive benefit from exercising in the fasted state, which is an increase in growth hormone.
So after exercise, your body will produce more growth hormone, which will help you to recover faster. So not only can you exercise harder in a fasted state, but you can also recover faster. So these are good benefits. And you don’t have to do this all the time. But try it every now and then and see how it goes for you.
Okay, so quick recap, you know of my five tips to avoid gaining weight this holiday season. Number one, create a vision. Who do you want to be on January 1? How do you want to feel and write it down.
Okay, number two, have a plan. Write down your plan. And then write down your plan every week and consult your plan. And make sure you’re staying on track with your plan no matter what.
Number three, you have to manage stress and it has to be something you do every single day.
Number four exercise daily. Get outside if you can do whatever it takes to move your body and to release the endorphins and get the dopamine and the serotonin and all those good feeling chemicals that you get. So power walk yoga, walk the dog, play with the kids, go for a run, lift some weights, swim, bike, whatever you need to do, but do something every day. Do it outside if you can get in the sun.
And then lastly, skip some meals here and there. You don’t have to eat all the time. This is like intermittent fasting simplified, right? It doesn’t have to be complicated. You don’t have to do some sort of long three day fast or anything like that. Just like skip a meal here and there. And you might be surprised how much easier it is to get through the holidays without gaining weight.
Cool. All right, you guys, I hope you take some action on these tips here and actually do these things because I guarantee you it’s going to make a difference on how you show up for yourself on January 1. Okay, that’s all I got for you today. Love you all, keep on Running Lean and I will talk to you soon.
When it comes to diets and dietary advice, there is a lot of conflicting information out there. For every study that shows that one particular food is bad for you, there’s another study showing …
One of the toughest things about losing weight and keeping it off for good is developing a healthy relationship with food. I work with runners every day who admittedly have a very unhealthy …
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 202 of Running Lean. My name is Patrick McGilvray, The Weight Loss Coach for Runners, and today, Unraveling Unhealthy Thought Patterns.
So one of the toughest things about losing weight and keeping it off for good is developing a healthy relationship with it. I work with runners every day who admittedly have a very unhealthy relationship with food, they overeat, they’re constantly making unhealthy choices.
They know what to do, they’re doing something different all the time, and they generally feel very out of control around food.
If this sounds like you, rest assured there’s nothing wrong with you. You’ve just developed some unhealthy thought patterns about food. So one of the most beneficial things you can do for yourself is begin to recognize and then start unraveling those unhealthy thought patterns.
That’s what this episode is all about. So stick around, I think you’ll find some very helpful tips throughout this podcast.
But first, I talk a lot about losing weight and improving your health and your fitness. And I know all the stuff I talked about here can feel a little overwhelming. If you’re looking for a good place to start, I’ve created a free hour-long training called Five Simple Steps To Becoming A Leaner Stronger Runner.
In this training video, you’ll learn how to fuel your body properly to lose weight and improve your running, you’ll learn the incredibly important role that strength plays in being a lean healthy runner.
And you’ll learn how to make changes that are actually sustainable, and a lot more. If you’re ready to get started, get leaner, get stronger, run faster, run longer, and become the healthiest, most badass version of yourself, then check out this free training now go to my website runningleancoaching.com and click on free training and get started. Cool.
All right, let’s talk about this unraveling unhealthy thought patterns. So when it comes to things like losing weight and trying to keep it off for good, there is a big problem out there.
And people talk about that this diet isn’t sustainable, this diet isn’t sustainable. And honestly, any diet can be sustainable, it’s the one that you stick to the one that you can do consistently is going to be the one that works for you.
And it’s going to be the one that is sustainable for you. But a lot of people blame the diet as being wrong, or this one doesn’t work when in reality, it’s all about you. What are you willing to stick to? What are you willing to do consistently?
And so one of the things I work with, with the people that I that I do coaching with is understanding that it’s not about the diet necessarily. Now, of course, there are some things we can do that will help to lose weight. And we want to get you eating whole foods and get you off of the junk food and the processed foods and sugars and seed oils and things like that.
But how do you do this consistently? How do you do this for for life? You know, that’s where the real magic happens when you get to this place where this just becomes pretty automatic for you. And it’s no longer work and it’s no longer effort.
And one thing that stops a lot of people from getting to that place where they’ve developed good healthy eating habits is their own mind. You know, it’s their own thoughts about food, it’s their own thoughts about whether they can sustain this or not, it’s their own thoughts about how they failed in the past and how they’ve tried everything, and nothing ever works for them.
And all these thought patterns are just that they are thoughts in your head. And not necessarily true. They’ve just been things that you’ve been telling yourself for a long time. And so you believe them to be true.
But they are not necessarily the truth. Okay, so we have to understand that the way that each one of us sees the world is a little bit differently.
We see the world based on our own thoughts, feelings, past experiences, and all kinds of other factors. And no two people really see the world the same way. No two people, you know, experience a diet the same way no two people experience food nutrition, and exercise the same way.
So just understand that you are an individual. You have your own thought patterns that you’ve been practicing for decades, decades. And it’s really hard to undo that. It’s really hard to even see that that’s what you’re doing because you just believe all this stuff to be true about how things work.
If you feel out of control around food, you’re gonna see that that’s just an automatic thing for you that when there’s donuts sitting there, you can’t help yourself, you eat the doughnuts.
When in reality, there’s more going on there, you’re not automatic, you’re not a robot, you haven’t been programmed, please sort of programmed yourself in a way to just eat the doughnuts. But there’s a thought and a feeling and an action happening.
And those things happen before you pick up the doughnut and put it in your mouth. There are thoughts and feelings about that donut that are happening in that moment. That happened very fast.
And when I talk about thought patterns, thought patterns, our thoughts and feelings that lead to actions, thoughts, and feelings that drive our actions, those are thought patterns. And you’re really good at doing some thought patterns.
Think about how you tie your shoes in the morning, or in the afternoon or whatever. You don’t even think about it anymore. You’ve developed a thought pattern about how to tie your shoes.
But when you were like four or five years old, and you’re learning how to tie your shoes, you’re in kindergarten, whatever. It took some thought you had to, you know, make the loop and then put it around this, wait, look, no, wait, I did it wrong, that was supposed to go under here.
And it took some thought and some effort and it was hard. And it took a while to do that. Now you can tie your shoes without even thinking about it, you don’t have to think about it, it’s become an automated behavior for you.
Driving a car is the same way. It’s an automated behavior. There are lots of things that we do in our lives that have become automated behaviors. But they weren’t always that way. eating donuts, when you see donuts is not an automated behavior.
I mean, it’s kind of automated, but there’s always something going on, there’s thoughts and feelings that are driving those actions. And we want to start to break this stuff down.
We want to start unraveling the thought patterns that are not serving us the unhealthy ones. The other ones like tying your shoes, who cares, just keep tying your shoes without thinking about it. That’s fine. That’s an automated behavior. You don’t need to break that down and journal about it.
And you know, you know, it’s not causing you any problems most likely, you know, driving a car, you don’t have to really think about that you just do it. So you don’t really need to break it all down. Oh, what am I thinking about backing up in this moment about, you know, parking in this spot, you know, or whatever, like, you don’t have to think about it, just do it.
But there are some thought patterns that are unhealthy, especially when it comes to food. Why is that? Why are there so many unhealthy thought patterns around food? My guess is that it’s just one of those things where we’ve used food.
For years and years and decades, we’ve used food as an emotional management tool, we’ve used food to make ourselves feel better, to soothe ourselves when we’re down to destress us when we feel stressed out to make us feel better when we’re not feeling good.
And you’ve just developed these habits that feel really natural, and really automatic, and, and really out of control. When in reality, you’ve just been practicing thought patterns and actions. And we got to start practicing those things. Okay?
It’s learned behavior that’s going on here. These are things that you have learned. Over time, you’ve taught yourself how to handle stress by using food. You’ve taught yourself that when you see donuts, you eat the doughnuts.
When you see the pizza, you eat the pizza, you haven’t taught yourself that you can have self-control, that when you see the pizza, you don’t have to eat it. That’s no big deal. But that is a thought pattern as well right there.
So let’s break down what we’re talking about here a little bit. So you have some context of what I’m talking about here. So when we talk about thought patterns, I want you to understand there are several layers to this.
The first layer is the circumstance layer or just the stuff that’s going around us in our lives. So everything that’s not you, is just a circumstance in your life. So if you’re you know, sitting at home and you’re in and your kids are running around and your husband is in the kitchen, you know yelling at you about something, that’s all circumstances, you don’t really have control over that stuff.
And maybe a little bit of control over the kids, probably not the husband, but there’s a little bit of control out there, but pretty much know right? Your boss, what your boss says or does or thinks about you what other people do or say or think about you the actions of other people, you have no control over any of that stuff.
All you have control over is your own thoughts, feelings and actions. You don’t have control over anything else in this world. Sorry, I hate to break it to you but that’s reality.
All the circumstances are a lot of our lives are just that they are just circumstances. It’s just the situation we happen to be in at the moment. So if somebody brings in doughnuts to the break room, that’s just a circumstance, it’s not good. It’s not bad. It’s not positive or negative. It’s not healthy or unhealthy. It’s just neutral.
It’s just a circumstance, it’s neutral. You’re making a split decision about what that means to you. In that moment, you’re making a really quick assessment of that situation.
And you’re assigning, whether that’s good or bad, you’re assigning, whether it’s positive or negative, whether it’s healthy or unhealthy. Doughnuts in the break room is a neutral circumstance, it’s not healthy or unhealthy. It’s just what it is, you don’t have to eat those things.
If you don’t eat them, then it’s healthy. If you choose to eat them that might be unhealthy if you do it all the time, the occasional donut is fine. Please understand, donuts, they’re amazing. I love donuts, but I eat them very rarely, I can’t remember the last time I ate a doughnut.
But every now and then eat a doughnut. It’s not a big deal. But we have to get into this place where it’s not an automatic behavior anymore. So anyway, circumstances are the stuff in our lives that we do not have control over and it’s all around us food is going to be around us all the time.
You can’t blame the fact that there’s food there on the reason why you ate it. That’s not why you’re eating the food, you’re eating the food because you have a thought and a feeling about it.
And that is the pattern that I’m talking about here. So the circumstance is how there’s doughnuts in the break room, then you have a thought about it. Oh, I bet those donuts would taste really good right now. I’ve been good all week. And this is my reward.
Or I worked out this morning, I ran five miles, I can do a donut. Like you have all these thoughts about what that donut means, oh, that’s gonna taste so amazing. And then those thoughts cause you to have a feeling. And that feeling is going to be like a craving; that’s a feeling, a craving is a feeling.
So you have this desire, that’s a feeling. You have this desire and this craving to now eat the doughnut. And you think that, that feeling that desire that wanting that craving is just because the doughnuts are there? And it’s no, it’s not just because they’re there, it’s because of your thoughts about the donuts.
I know lots of people who don’t eat donuts who see it on and they’re like, no big deal. Like I can look at donuts and be like, no big deal most of the time. But I understand that if I start to have those thoughts about how amazing that’s going to taste and how it’s gonna make me feel good because it’s a bunch of sugar and, and fried dough.
Oh my gosh, like sugar and fried dough together? Oh, yeah, that’s gonna taste good. That’s gonna light up my dopamine receptors, you know, that’s gonna make me feel amazing, you know, for a short period of time, then I’ll probably feel terrible.
So our thoughts are what’s causing those feelings that desire, the craving, the wanting, those are all feelings. Other feelings we have are our stress, anger, sadness, and anxiety. Those are all feelings as well, their emotions, feelings, and emotions, they’re interchangeable.
So we have circumstances in our life, and we have thoughts about those circumstances, those thoughts cause us to feel certain feelings or emotions. And it’s those emotions and feelings that drive our actions. So then when we feel the desire, we want to eat the donut so that we can enjoy that, you know, and, you know, take part in that feeling.
When we feel sad, we want to eat something that makes us feel better. So that sadness will drive actions, the anger that we have will drive us to take action, you know, maybe lash out at somebody.
Or, you know, like you’re in traffic and somebody cuts you off and you flip them off out the window or something like that. Like, that feeling of anger is what’s driving that action, not what that person did, because that what that person did is a neutral circumstance. They cut you off in traffic, but who cares, big deal.
Some people are like whatever. Other people get all upset and road rage happens. You know, road rage is caused by people’s feelings. Rage is a feeling. Okay? So circumstances are neutral, we have thoughts about them. That’s what creates the feelings that we have inside those feelings drive our actions, and the actions we take will create results in our lives.
Right, you don’t have results in your life if you don’t take action. So the behaviors we engage in will cause us to have some sort of a result the actions that we take on a regular basis will cause long-term results.
So if your goal is to lose weight, and you’ve cut out sugar, and every day you abstain from eating sugar, that action will get you the result of losing weight. For example, if your goal is to lose weight, and you’ve abstained from eating sugar, but you can’t stop yourself from eating sugar every single day, that’s going to cause a different result, you’re going to probably gain weight in that process.
I’m guessing that result is not in alignment with what you want for yourself. Okay, so that would be what I call a misaligned result, you know, so misaligned actions will produce misaligned results, and aligned actions will produce aligned results.
So you want to be taking actions that are in alignment with your long-term goals. Okay. So the results that we’re getting are not due to our circumstances, but they’re due to our thoughts feelings, and actions.
So whether you’re able to walk away from the pizza, or walk away from the doughnuts in the break, room or not, has to do with those thought, feeling action patterns that you’ve been practicing and practicing forever.
You know, one of the best ways to create a habit is to repeatedly do something over and over and over and over again. And we’ve repeatedly done the same things. We’ve had a feeling we get stressed out, and we go to the cabinet, and we look for something crunchy or salty or sugary to eat.
Nobody stress eats, like broccoli out of the fridge or leftover chicken or something like that. I’ve never heard anybody say that. They’re like, oh, I got to stop the snack and like, what are you snacking on? Is it like, hard-boiled eggs? Or chicken? They’re like, oh, no, I’m going for the salty stuff, crunchy stuff. I’m like, yeah, I know, I know what you’re doing.
But if you’re really hungry at that moment, you know, a piece of cheese would satisfy you or, you know, some leftovers from the night before.
Instead, no, we’re going for those things that light up our dopamine centers that make us feel good. And usually, it’s the stuff that’s unhealthy for us, right? So you’ve just developed these coping mechanisms. And the coping mechanisms are just thought patterns.
That’s all they are thoughts, feelings, and actions. So you have to understand that this process happens in a split second, once you’ve developed good habits, kind of like tying your shoe, right, you can tie your shoe very quickly, you don’t have to think about you just do it.
Same thing with food, we’ve developed these thoughts, feelings, and action patterns that happen so fast, that we just do them automatically without even knowing that this process is happening.
So one of the biggest keys to unraveling all this for you now that you understand the pattern is to start to become aware that you’re doing it, that’s all just start to become aware of what you are doing and the and the and the thoughts and feelings that you’re having that precede the actions that you’re taking.
So when you’re about to grab that donut, just pause, and hit the pause button for just a moment. And ask yourself what is the thought and feeling that’s driving me to reach for the doughnut right now.
That little step right there is going to go a long way in helping you to start to change your relationship with food to stop, start to help you change these thought-feeling-action patterns, and start to develop some other patterns, which is I see the donuts, I have a thought about the donuts. They look amazing.
But they taste great. You have a feeling like a desire that happens. And then you take the action of not eating the doughnut. That’s a different thought pattern altogether.
What if the thought was instead, I bet those donuts taste great? But you know what, that is not on my plan today. So I’m not doing the doughnuts, maybe another time.
That’s a thought you could have. What feeling might that thought cause? Oh, it might cause you to feel proud of yourself for sticking to your plan in that moment. And if you’re proud of yourself in that moment, and you and you’ve boosted your confidence a little bit.
That’s another feeling, by the way, pride, confidence, those are all emotions. That’s going to drive a different action, the action is going to be I’m sticking to my plan. I brought my lunch today. I don’t need to eat doughnuts, my body isn’t that stuff.
So you can see that your thought-feeling-action patterns can shift over time and go from being unhealthy, you know, thought patterns to healthy thought patterns. And when you start to break it down and hit that pause button, you can really start to go a long way in developing those new thought patterns and those new behaviors and start to repeat those behaviors over and over and over again and develop those as your new habits.
Okay, now this whole process begins As with that self-awareness of like, here’s what’s going on. The doughnuts are just a neutral thing in my life, they don’t have any control over me. I’m always in control, I have agency.
You know, I’m making decisions on my own here. I love it. I think Tony Robbins said, “The direction of your life is determined by tiny little moments of decision.” Tiny little moments of decision, thousands of them.
It’s not about one big decision, oh, I’m gonna change my diet. It’s not that it’s about those tiny little moments of decision that you make, over and over and over and over and over again, thousands of them.
That’s what makes big change in your life, that can change the whole direction of your life, you can go from being an unhealthy person with an unhealthy relationship with food to somebody who is healthy, fit, feels good about themselves has confidence and has completely changed their relationship with food.
All it requires is lots and lots and lots of repetition of these tiny little moments of decision, hitting that pause button, and becoming aware of the thoughts and feelings that are driving that action that you’re about to take.
Okay, that is your work for this week, is to hit that pause button and start to see what it is that’s driving this behavior. Why am I choosing this decision at this moment?
Really ask yourself that, sometimes it helps to stop and write a few things down. That’s not always the case. It’s not always practical to do that. But if you can stop and write some things down, that’s very helpful.
But if you can’t, you know, maybe just think about it, like what am I thinking and feeling right now in this moment? Is this a behavior that I’ve been practicing for a long time? And how can I make a better decision in this moment, okay, that is step number one.
And when you do that, you’re going to be on your way to becoming a different person. Because once you start practicing these things regularly, and you start changing those thought patterns on a regular basis, and you start doing things differently consistently over time, you can become an entirely different person, for the better, cool.
And as always, if you’re looking for help with any stuff, we can talk about coaching, just go to my website runningleancoaching.com, and click on Work With Me.
You’ll fill out a short little application we’ll get on a zoom, we’ll talk about what coaching might look like for you and we’ll just see if it’s a good fit. Cool. That’s all I got for you today. Love you all, keep on Running Lean, and I will talk to you soon.
I recently sat down with Dr. Marvin Merrit and had an awesome conversation about what it means to be a healthy human being. In the world of health and fitness, there is a lot of information out …
My name is Patrick McGilvray, and I’m an experienced marathoner, ultra runner, Sports Nutritionist, Master Life Coach, and weight loss coach for runners. I’ve dedicated my life to helping runners just like you properly fuel your body and your mind. So you can get leaner, get stronger, run faster, and run longer than you ever thought possible. This is Running Lean.
Hey there, and welcome to episode 201 of Running Lean. My name is Patrick McGilvray, The Weight Loss Coach for Runners and today, reversing disease through nutrition and exercise with Dr. Marvin Merrit.
So I recently sat down with Dr. Marvin, and we had this awesome conversation about what it means to be a healthy human being. In the world of health and fitness. There’s a lot of confusing information out there. And it can feel pretty overwhelming. And a lot of this information can even be contradictory.
Okay, so how do you know what you should be doing? Well, rest assured that Dr. Marvin and I break it all down for you. And we offer up some very clear strategies for reversing disease, using nutrition and exercise so that you can become the healthiest version of yourself yet.
But first, I know I talk a lot about losing weight, and improving your health and fitness. And I know that all the stuff that even I talk about here can feel a little overwhelming.
That’s why I created a free training just for you. It’s called Five Simple Steps To Becoming A Leaner Stronger Runner. I wanted to make it easy for you, I wanted to break it all down, put all the stuff that I’ve been talking about here on the podcast for over 200 episodes now and give you some really actionable strategies.
So in this training video, you’re going to learn how to fuel your body properly so that you can lose weight and improve your running. You’re going to learn the incredibly important role that strength plays in being a lean healthy runner.
You’re going to learn how to make changes that are actually sustainable, because that is what it’s all about. We’re not interested in short term fixes. We want sustainability with our diet, and so much more. So if you’re ready to get leaner and get stronger, run faster and run longer than ever before. If you’re ready to become the healthiest, most badass version of yourself yet, then check out this free training.
It’s called Five Simple Steps To Becoming A Leaner Stronger Runner. You can find it by going to my website, runningleancoaching.com and click on Free Training.
Okay, without further ado, let’s just get into this conversation. So much fun talking to Dr. Marvin, reversing disease through nutrition and exercise with Dr. Marvin Merrit.
Okay, today, I’ve got Dr. Marvin here, Marvin Merrit and Marvin reached out to me on Facebook, right?
Dr. Marvin Merrit
And you were sharing with me that you teach a lot of the same concepts and principles that I talked about on my podcast, and I share on social media and things like that. And you said, hey, this would be a great kind of collaboration, or maybe we can have a conversation about this.
So we got on a call and you and I had a great conversation where I thought, man, we should really record this, you know, and do a podcast on this because you come out with this healthy eating and healthy lifestyle, from a little bit of a different perspective, being a doctor.
And I typically don’t talk a lot about, about the health, I’m sorry about the medical side of things because I’m not a doctor. I do quote a lot of doctors and I read a lot of the research and I and I understand a lot of the concepts.
And I absolutely know how a lot of these healthy principles can help us with medical conditions. But it’s you know, I don’t like to talk about that stuff, because I don’t have that MD after my name, you know. So that’s where you come in. And I want to just kind of talk to you about, you know, those, the medical side of things and how healthy eating and exercising can help us.
So first of all, before we get into all that stuff, just give us a little bit of background on who you are, and how you got to where you are today with all this stuff.
Sure. Well, basically I’m a kid from New Jersey. I went to college as an undergrad at a small liberal arts college in Iowa. Upon graduation from there, I attended Life University where I got my Doctorate, and I’ve been a practicing physician for almost 40 years.
My practice has taken many manifestations over the years. And now I kind of focus a lot on treating my patients very well. realistically very naturally, through exercise through diet and through nutritional supplements to manage what we call metabolic syndrome, which is type two diabetes, hyperlipidemia, which has high cholesterol, high triglycerides, and hypertension, which we commonly refer to as high blood pressure.
And being that these are all lifestyle diseases, people can go ahead and make that conscious decision. Do I want to live healthy? Do I want to eat healthy? Do I want to increase my exercise?
Because all of those combined together will help with the better control of all of these diseases that many people suffer from not just here in the United States, but around the world and just about all modern countries.
Yeah, and when you say that lifestyle diseases, I think that is spot on, because these are things that are caused by lifestyle. Right?
Exactly, exactly. You know, you, you eat poorly, you know, it’s the old story garbage in garbage out, you eat poorly, you’re going to end up with high cholesterol, there’s just no way around it.
You eat too much saturated fats, too much greasy foods, the fried chicken, the French fries, you’re going to end up with high cholesterol levels.
You eat a lot of products that have hidden sodium in it. And I say hidden sodium, because it’s okay to add a little bit of salt at the table, especially if you’re working out, you’re sweating, you want to replace some of those electrolytes.
But there’s so many foods that have hidden sodium in it because sodium for ages has been used as a preservative. And when you start reading things that are in a can, or things that are in a jar, you see all of this hidden sodium in there in its chemical names, such as, you know, sodium benzoate, you know, people don’t know what sodium benzoate is, they just see that it’s another chemical.
But without fully understanding the labels that are on the containers of the foods that we eat, they don’t realize what they actually have. So that’s where it all comes into play.
Yeah, and I’m gonna reel it back here in just a second. But I have to tell you, I saw this very funny meme once. And I love this, it really sums it up. It’s a guy, you know, talking to his doctor.
And the doctor says, well, you have all these lifestyle diseases. And the guy says to the doctor, okay, I guess I need to change my lifestyle. And the doctor says, oh, no, here’s a pill.
And I think that sort of sums up the medical, the general medical answer to these lifestyle diseases, which is take this drug, take that drug, don’t change your lifestyle, don’t worry about that. That’s all fine. Just, you know, take these drugs.
What’s your take on that? Like, how do you approach things differently than just prescribing medication for people who have these issues?
What it really comes down to and it’s something that that you talk about is people have to be willing to be uncomfortable, they have to be willing to change their diet, they have to be willing to cut out the starchy carbohydrates, the breads, the cakes, the cookies, that candies, the ice cream, you know, the things that are the comfort foods, they have to be willing to get up off the sofa and move, whether it’s run, walk, ride a bicycle, you know, whatever the case, may be getting the pool and swim a couple of laps, just do something physical every single day, they have to be willing to do that.
And, and it’s, it’s all changing that comfort level, people have to be uncomfortable. There’s nothing wrong with okay, you go out for dinner with your, you know, whoever on a Saturday night and you want to have a little bit of something that you don’t normally eat, that’s okay.
But when you do it every day, that’s what gets them into the position that they’re in. And by doing that, that’s the way they’re able to lower and eventually get off some of these medications like the Metformin and the Glipizide. And, and that’s just for diabetes.
Or you know, the medications that we use for high cholesterol, the statins, which are horrible drugs to start out with, because people have so many side effects with them.
And then the hypertension medications, the ACE inhibitors that yeah, great. So it’s going to help lower your blood pressure, but it’s going to give you a chronic cough for the rest of your life. Why put those into your body when you can put natural healthy foods into your body and reverse all of these situations that you have?
And it’s like I always tell my patients, you know, you can keep a diary, and you can fudge that diary all you want. You can come in and talk to me and you can tell me any story you want. Blood doesn’t lie. When I run your blood, I know the truth.
Yeah, that’s cool. So you see a lot of these metabolic syndrome issues with people and you treat them naturally and you see good results. Do you see a lot of reversal of these diseases?
Yeah, I actually do. If you if you get them off, you know, again, the starchy carbohydrates, fruits and vegetables are okay, but you get them off those starchy carbohydrates, all of those carbohydrates turn to glucose, that’s how we metabolize them, the glucose gets in the blood, and that’s going to raise your blood glucose levels.
Now when it gets a little bit too high, that eventually is going to get stored in the liver. And that’s going to get stored as glycogen. Glycogen is good, because we break that down between meals, we break that down when we exercise.
However, if you don’t do that, then that glycogen is eventually going to turn to triglycerides, triglycerides will get them back into the blood, those can clog some arteries, specifically arteries in the heart.
And that’s how people end up with myocardial infarction, heart attacks, they end up with blockages in the carotid arteries, and it just becomes a vicious vicious cycle.
So what I tried to do is change their diets, get them off the carbs, get them off the fats, get them taking some good healthy supplements to help alleviate some of these problems, such as red yeast rice. Red yeast rice is a natural statin. It’s been used for hundreds of years. Okay.
But most doctors don’t want to use it. And I don’t want to get into the whole theories behind, you know, drug reps and you know, and drug labs and things like that. But they are more prone to prescribe a medication than to use something natural because there’s an incentive there to write that prescription.
Yeah, I hate that it works that way. So you mentioned like lowering fat intake. What do you mean by that? And like, what do you consider like good, healthy fats?
Okay, so good, healthy fats. Good healthy fats are going to come from things like olive oil. I use a lot of olive oil when I personally cook, because it’s a good healthy fat because you can’t deep fry in it, you just saute in it. Other good healthy fats, avocados, good healthy fats, all your nuts, good healthy fats. Okay, those are all things that are healthy for us.
What’s not healthy is all the processed oils, all the seed oils, while those seed oils are these heavy oils that we just don’t digest well. And because we don’t digest them, well, now they end up getting stored.
And that’s how people also end up suffering from what we call fatty liver disease. The too much of the saturated fats, the fats get stored in the liver, and the liver becomes filled with fat.
It’s reversible, because the liver is one of the most versatile organs that we have in the human body. So we’re able to reverse that. But again, it’s getting off those fats and changing the diet up.
Yeah, I tell people, generally speaking to stay away from those seed oils, canola oil, you know, that kind of stuff. Whatever is considered like vegetable oils, you know, because they were designed to be something that was like heart healthy, and they’re sold and marketed as being heart healthy. But I think there’s other implications that eating that stuff. There’s like some long term studies that have been done that have shown that this stuff is just toxic for your body.
It’s extremely toxic. You know, if you remember years ago, they used to say, oh, stop eating eggs, eggs are high and cholesterol. But when you take a look at an egg, an egg is almost the perfect food.
It has protein, it has some fat, okay, it has a little bit of carbohydrate in it. And again, in moderation eating a couple of eggs a week is almost the perfect food. So there’s nothing wrong with that.
Where again utilizing these these vegetable oils, the corn oils. Canola oils. You know, those, those just do not metabolize well in the body. And one of the other things I tell my patients, olive oil aside, the lighter the color of the oil, the healthier it is for you, because it’s not as heavy.
So if you use something like sunflower oil, sunflower oil is a very, very light colored oil. It’s good for you, you can utilize it. It metabolizes well in the human body. You can’t fry in it, deep fry in it, because it won’t hold up, it’ll break down. So those types of oils, those are the oils that tend to be more healthy for us.
And then how do you figure olive oil and things like that play in? Because olive oil is pretty dark, usually.
Olive oil is pretty dark, but olive oil is purified. And that’s the nice thing about it, you get that extra virgin olive oil, which is the better of the olive oils. And that’s been purified. And that because you can’t deep fry in it. You can only saute like some vegetables or a chicken breast or something like that. It’s not going to be soaked in that oil.
Whereas you take something like a vegetable oil, or an animal based oil like lard and you drop your chicken breast covered in you know whatever coating you put it in and you fry it in there for 10 minutes or so, that oil just soaks right into the meat. It soaks right into that breading. And now you’re eating that oil on top of it. And that’s where the downfall comes.
Gotcha. Gotcha. And so let’s talk a little bit about the exercise side of things. So tell me a little bit about your history because I know you’re a runner, right?
Yeah, yeah, I run, I cycle. I actually, I was a wrestler. I wrestled in college, I wrestled in high school. I was a lifeguard on the Jersey Shore. That’s the way I worked my way through college.
I’ve always been very, very active. You know, and I picked up running probably about 10 years ago, I got this bug to, I started out walking. And I said, you know, I’ll let me try a little bit of running. And one thing led to the next and before I knew what I was doing, 5K’s and 10K’s and then a triathlon and said, Well, that’s a lot of fun.
So I started doing more and more, I’m just letting through the whole lifestyle of it. And, you know, realize that, you know, you can’t smoke, you can’t drink heavily, you can’t eat poorly, to participate in these sports, it just doesn’t, it doesn’t work with our bodies.
Although oddly enough, I’ve seen some weird things on some of these courses that I’ve run with what people do. But, you know, nonetheless, you know, it’s all part of that healthy lifestyle.
And by exercising, that helps you metabolize all of these good foods that you put into your body into energy. And that gives you the energy to go out there and run 5k, to go out there and run 10k, to go out there and jump on a bike for 30-40 miles. And you don’t feel tired afterwards, you feel energized. On top of that, you get that dopamine release on top of it. And it all just ties together. And that’s what I try to get my patients to do.
Yeah, and you have like a running group that you do there. And you’re in Florida, right?
Yes, yes. Yeah. Yeah, what I do is on Saturdays, I know it sounds crazy for a doctor to work on Saturdays. But on Saturdays, I go to my office and where my office is located in Pompano Beach, it’s in an office building kind of off the beaten path, which I kind of like and it’s a beautiful lake right across the street.
So my patients, I have two groups of patients, I have my walker patients and I have my runner patients. My walker patients, I meet them early in the morning. And we’ll go out for a two or three mile walk, a brisk walk and get their heart rate up and exercise and stretching beforehand.
We walk, come back, stretch again, we talk a little bit about our nutrition and any challenges that they face during the week.
And then I get my running group and a little bit later on. And we’ll go out for a 5k a three mile run, not too hard of a pace, running about a 13 minute mile give or take. Because some of them are a little bit slower.
And I don’t like to leave anybody behind. So we’ll slow the group down if we have a slower runner. And same thing stretch beforehand, go for a run stretch afterwards, you know.
And everybody says oh, we should go to Dunkin Donuts for coffee, no let’s not go to Dunkin Donuts for coffee, let’s go get something healthy to eat. The coffee is okay, but the Dunkin Donuts isn’t gonna work. And that’s what I tried to do with them at least two to three Saturdays a month, we get together and we do that.
That’s cool because you’re building this relationship with people where you can share more than you can in a you know, 14 minutes that you have with your patients, you probably spend more time with your patients than a lot of doctors, the traditional doctors that are working for these big insurance companies, they get, you know, certain amount of time they’re allowed to spend with each person. Right?
And that’s it, and then they’re done. But you’re creating these relationships, and you’re having these conversations with people and you’re actually out there running with them. You’re actually out there having breakfast with them. I think that’s really cool.
Yeah, you know, my philosophy has been and to give you a little bit more of the background of how this generation of my practice manifested. Sadly, my mom died from complications of type two diabetes.
And going forward from that I said to myself, I said, you know, and she didn’t take care of herself. That was all part of it I said, people need to be educated. People need to understand because it’s a hidden disease. People don’t really know that they have type two diabetes until something goes really wrong.
Or they just go to the doctor for their annual checkup. And they do blood and they’re, you know, their fasting blood sugar is like 190 or they give a urine and their sugar is like 800 milligrams per deciliter or something like that.
So that’s when they find out about it. For the most part, it’s a silent disease. And because it’s a silent disease, people don’t even realize that something is wrong.
Once they realize something is wrong, then we can get them on the track to doing better, getting better, feeling better, feeling stronger, and reversing most of the symptomatology of type two diabetes. And again, type two diabetes goes hand in hand with high cholesterol, high blood pressure. They all three seem to go together all at the same time.
Yeah, you mentioned that diabetes as being sort of a hidden thing and I know a lot of the visceral fat that people have, you know, visceral fat is that internal fat, it’s growing around your organs and things like that’s the really the bad kind of fat.
And people don’t know that they’re, that they’re getting, they don’t know that they have that. Right. I think it was Professor Tim Noakes, who was a long distance runner, and he was running all these marathons he had done like, I forget how many 72 marathons or something crazy like that.
And went to the doctor and was diagnosed with diabetes. And he was like, that’s impossible. You know, I run all these marathons and, and he sort of, I don’t know if he coined this term or not, but he calls it tofi T-O-F-I, thin on the outside fat on the inside. You know, that is like people who are fit and they’re exercising, and they look pretty good from the outside. But inside, there’s stuff going on, they need to get fixed, you know?
Right. Right. And that’s exactly it. The thin on the outside, they’re fat on the inside, because yeah, you carry this layer of visceral fat. We all do, because we use it for insulation when it’s cold. And you live up there in Ohio, you know about cold
This week for sure, yeah.
You know, it’s, yeah, it’s that body fat, that does help keep us a little bit warmer, which is very, very important. Also, in times of crisis, our bodies will tap into that, you know, internal body fat, but we shouldn’t be carrying enormous amounts of it.
You know, it’s interesting in my, in my, I’m also a college professor, as you know, so when, when I teach, when I teach about the heart, we do dissection. And for years, we used to do these sheep heart dissections.
And one of the things I remember about the sheep hearts is they were very, very fatty, they did some research and sheep actually carry a lot of visceral fat. Granted, they don’t have to worry about diabetes and things like that, like we do, but they carry a lot of visceral fat.
And I still have one of the sheep parts in my lab, and I show my students the sheep part, as compared to a pig heart, which is what we dissect now. Now pigs, they don’t carry visceral fat, they carry body fat, which is a little bit different.
And we take a look at the differences between the two. And I say, can you imagine a human being that has such a poor diet that eats a lot of fat, and they have a heart that looks something like this?
Because they do, they will build up that visceral fat on the heart, which can also compress the heart, which now can result in cardiac conditions. So it all begins to tie in together. It’s how you take care of yourself. How do you choose to live your life? And that’s the bottom line.
Yeah, that’s so interesting. So what are some of the main I guess, what is the right word for it, like complaints or whatever the people are coming to you with? Like, what’s the main things people need fixed? And why are they coming to you?
Okay, basically, my practice is straight referral. I don’t advertise. I don’t belong to any insurance companies or anything like that. In fact, I take absolutely no insurance in my practice.
The reason why I do that is because I want my patients to have a commitment. I feel that if an insurance company is paying for them to come, they don’t really see what the insurance company is paying other than their copay, whether it be $5 $10, whatever.
So I want them to have commitment and commitment comes from them paying me, I make it very reasonable for them. But the thing is, is that when they come in to see me their referral, usually from a friend that has seen me or a relative that has seen me, and yeah, their complaint is, yeah, I’m a type two diabetic, I keep going into my medical doctor, all they do is they keep on increasing and increasing and increasing my medication.
And I don’t feel any better. I’m tired. I’m sluggish and rundown. I’m hungry all the time and drinking, like I own the water company, you know. And those are all the symptoms that you see. And then you have to try to fix that.
So the first thing I always do with these folks is, you know, keep a diet diary for me, okay, I want to know everything that goes in your mouth for the next seven days.
I don’t care if you think it’s minuscule, like a piece of gum, I want to know what it is. And then we start taking examination of that we start breaking it down to see what can we replace it with? What changes can we make?
How can we okay, you like gum? Well, I see you’re chewing bazooka bubble gum, which is high in sugar? Well, you know, let’s, let’s see if we can change that to something that’s a little bit less caustic on the body.
Okay, I’m not a big one in artificial sweeteners and things like that. But I’d rather have them chew a gum that has no sugar in it than a gum that’s all sugar. Okay, so these are just the little changes.
And like you do in your podcast, you know, you make these little steps with these people and make little changes in the diet and make little changes in their exercise. And we just start looking at this week after week, month after month.
And what’s really amazing they see it because they’ll see it in their blood work that hemoglobin A1C went from 11.2 to 9.7 they’re not, you know, normal yet they’re still diabetic. But that’s a significant change. And they feel better.
They get on the scale, and they’ve lost 10-15 pounds, they feel better, the clothes fit better. They realize that when they go out to dinner, they don’t have to eat half a basket of bread, you know, they can walk away from the bread.
And again, that is that psychological motivation that happens with these folks. And really what I do with them, Patrick is I give them 90 days, okay? If in 90 days, they can’t comply with my recommendations, I can’t help them. And I very politely, I verbally discharge them, and I send them a certified letter that they’re discharged, that there’s nothing more I can do for them.
That’s hardcore man.
Yeah, you gotta be, that’s the only way to be because, because otherwise, you’re going to go on to another doctor, and they’re getting another pill, and they’re getting another medication and another prescription.
And then before you know it, they’re taking, I have a friend of mine, sadly, he’s, he’s my age, I’ll be 64. In January, he just turned 64. And he’s a type two diabetic, with all the problems, he will not listen to me.
So he goes to another doctor, he’s on four different diabetes medications, he’s on two different blood pressure medications, and a statin. And that’s just to start out with. And, you know, it’s just, it says, he doesn’t want to be uncomfortable, he’d rather, you know, go out and eat half a pizza.
Yeah, there’s this whole mentality that I think we really have to shift and you’re doing a great job of starting to shift this mentality of, I can just do what I want is I just go to the doctor and get a pill or get, you know, get on some kind of drug that’s going to that’s going to allow me to leave this lead this great, crappy lifestyle.
You know, I was talking to an older woman recently. I think she’s in her 70s. And she’s a type two diabetic and is on diabetes medication, and the doctor wanted to up her medication. And she was eating, you know, some cookies or something like that.
And this is a family member, and my girlfriend was like, hey, you shouldn’t be eating those cookies. You know, you got to go on this. If you got to take this medication, you shouldn’t be eating those cookies. And she said, oh, it’s fine, because the medications are free anyway. And so I don’t have to pay for it. So it’s fine. You know, that’s kind of like that is the wrong mentality. Right?
And that’s why I take no insurance.
Yeah, exactly. And I love that. And the other thing I wanted to say, and one of the reasons why I really wanted to talk to you is because of that approach that you just talked about that you take with your with your patients, which is the same approach that I take with my coaching clients, which is, we’re going to look at what you’re doing today.
And we’re going to make a few modifications, and we’re going to see how you feel. And then we’re going to make a few more modifications and get your body adjusted to those changes. And then we’re going to like, see how you feel.
And then we’re going to just keep going with that process. I don’t have a diet that I’m going to hand over to them, because there’s no way I can know what’s going to work best for them.
Now, of course, I have guidelines like you do, and I have suggestions. But at the end of the day, everybody’s a little bit different. And everybody approaches this a little bit differently.
Yeah, we lower the carbs, Yeah, we tried to get off sugar, we want to stop using sugar as an emotional management tool. Yes, we need to increase the protein intake, especially if your activity levels are pretty high.
But for the most part, this is going to be very individualized for the person I’m working with. And so many doctors or coaches or, you know, trainers, whatever they have this like one diet, you know, in mind, and I just don’t think that works.
And so that’s what I really like, it was kind of refreshing when you and I talked about that, that, you know, you do take a very individualized approach and you work with each person, you treat them, like an individual because they are and you work around where they are and make a few changes and then continue with that process.
And that’s absolutely, you know, I don’t just hand them a diet. I mean, you can go online and there’s a million diets for diabetics. Oh, do this diet. Oh, do that diet. Oh, do the keto diet, do the Atkins diet. You know, and we can go on and on about that. Oh, do Weight Watchers.
But that’s a cookbook, okay. We can’t do a cookbook. We have to make the recipe, individual to everybody’s lifestyle to everybody’s tastes, so to speak. And that’s what I tried to do because what might work for one patient may not work for the other patient.
And we have to find, you know, what’s that happy medium for that particular patient? What are we going to slowly begin to tweak in their diet? What is their, you know, their level of being able to exercise?
Some of them haven’t gotten off the sofa in 20 years, you know, I certainly can’t have going out and running, you know, 5K’s from day one. But you got to find out what their level of activity is.
I deal with a few patients, unfortunately, they’re either widows or widowers, and you know, they’re at home. And, you know, they don’t get out a lot. And I tell them, you know, what, get a dog. The dog needs to be walked. If you get a dog and you walk the dog, well, now you’re getting out there, and you’re doing some exercise.
And sometimes it’s as simple as easy fix as that and now they also have companionship, something that they’re responsible for, and they’re able to go out and do that. And that’s, that’s just a little easy fix that I do with some of our patients, not all of them, because they all can’t have dogs where they live. But those that can, that’s something that I strongly recommend.
Not everybody likes dogs, Marvin, okay. You can walk your lizard if you need to. There you go. Yeah. Well, from an exercise standpoint, what do you see as sort of the best types of exercises that kind of across the board, most people should do or get the best benefits from doing regularly,
There should always be a balance between aerobic or cardio exercise and strength training. Again, very similar to the things that you talk about in your podcasts, you know, we talked about, you know, cardio exercise, again, it doesn’t have to be running, but walking, walking at a good pace, you know, not walking, like you’re going through the mall, shopping, but walking at a good pace.
And then some strength training and strength training doesn’t necessarily have to mean, you know, go to the gym and spend hours and hours on end in the gym. All it means is, go on Amazon, get some bands, you know, and, and start doing that.
Some of my patients, I’ll actually, you know, I have the bands in my office. I want to say I sell to them, I sell them for what I paid for it off of Amazon. It’s just a convenience thing. It’s like, here, let me show you how to do this. And I’ll show them a half a dozen exercises to do with the bands, maybe some arm curls, maybe some overhead presses, some, you know, deltoid work, just some things like that.
And I have them worked with bands, sometimes they’ll come to the office on the Saturday sessions, I’ll have them bring their bands with them. And as a group, we’ll do some band exercises. And that’s it just something to get them physically moving again.
Yeah, I love that. And I’m a big fan of strength training, especially like actually being intentional about getting stronger muscles. Because as we get older, and I know you probably work with a lot of older people that, you know, one of the biggest issues with older people is that their muscle mass really declines, you know, they start getting very weak.
And then their bone mass also gets pretty weak. And then they fall and they have complications. And that leads to all kinds of issues because now they’re completely immobile, they can’t do anything. So building muscle, building strong muscles, building a strong skeletal system, skeletal muscle and bone sport. It’s so huge. Oh my god, it’s gonna put years and years and maybe decades on your life.
It’s sustaining. You know, without getting too scientific, we have what’s known as Wolf’s law. And Wolf’s law states that the more stress you place on your skeletal system, the healthier your skeletal system is going to be.
And this is something that I find with my female patients is that as they get older, they suffer from what’s known as osteopenia, which is a loss of bone mass. Okay. So I put them on calcium and magnesium that helps with the with the bone mass a little bit from nutritional standpoint.
But they get that way because they haven’t done much in the way of exercise. Now you start putting more stress on the skeletal system by having them exercise a bit, and it’s not so much that you reverse the osteopenia, slowly osteopenia, so it doesn’t progress to a severe case of osteoporosis. And that’s what you really want to prevent. Because you don’t want this poor woman stepping off the curb and the pressure is just right. And boom, she breaks a hip. That’s the thing you don’t want.
Yeah, what’s the difference between osteopenia and osteoporosis?
Yeah, osteopenia is when you start losing bone mass. Osteoporosis is where the bone actually gets eaten away, and you lose all of this calcium. And it almost looks like in osteoporosis, if you look at it under the microscope, it almost looks like moths have eaten away at the bone, like moths will eat away at a cloth. That’s what it’s like. Osteopenia, you just start seeing on an x-ray, how the bone mass is getting thinner and thinner and thinner. And then it can lead to the next.
Wow, okay, interesting. Just learn something. That’s cool. So yeah, I think strength is like so huge. It’s like one of the best things you can do for yourself. And I think that if as we get older, if we continue building strong muscles and supporting strong bones, then you’re you’re going to live longer, you’re going to have a better quality of life, you’re less likely to get injured from doing normal day to day things, especially those of us who love to run. And you can run as you get I know people who run marathons in their 90s, you know.
Yeah, there’s a video that I showed to my students when I’m teaching. It was done by PBS, and it showcases an 87 year old man doing the triathlon Escape from Alcatraz. I mean, that’s one of the toughest triathlons because you’re swimming across San Francisco Bay for a mile and a half, followed by I think it’s 20 miles on the bike, and then an eight mile run. And he’s 87. I mean, that’s pretty big. I want to be back. I want to be him. That’s my goal.
That’s no joke right there. That’s,
That’s my goal. Yeah. That’s my goal.
That is amazing. Yeah, that San Francisco Bay is brutal. That is brutal. It’s a little stretch of ocean swim. Can’t imagine. People swim in that and they get seasick from this swimming because there’s so much up and down movement. This has been really good.
So let me ask you this. If people wanted to try to find you, how could they reach out to you and, and be able to find you and learn more about you and how they might be able to hook up with you?
Sure, they can email me and firstname.lastname@example.org. But that’s one way they can call me. And I can give you my cell phone number. I have no issue with that. I always ask though, if you want to reach out to me text me before calling.
I’ll always get back and my phone number is 954-649-5280 Just text me before calling tell me what you need me for. And I’ll be more than happy to, you know, if I’m with patients or teaching, I’ll just politely text you back that I’ll get back to you. But I’ll always get back to people and I always do. That’s just the way I am. That’s the two easiest ways to get hold of me.
Okay, cool. And do you work with people that are not local to Pompano Beach area?
Yes, absolutely. I can do it. You know, via telehealth, you know, no problem with that at all.
Cool. Cool. What’s next for you? I know you just did a race about a week ago. Right? What did you do?
Yeah, I did the Danger Point 5k I had a personal best that 3550. Which I was pretty happy with in my ripe old age. I think next I’m probably going to do the jingle bell jog on Christmas Eve. Okay, I’ll do that next.
And I’ll keep training but I’ll take a little bit of time off from from racing because I want to do the In April the Los Olas Triathlon, which is down here that’s, well it takes place on Fort Lauderdale beach and they call it the Los Olas Triathlon because it crosses Los Olas Boulevard which is pretty famous down here.
Cool. Is that a sprint triathlon? Yeah. Cool. You swim in the ocean?
Oh, yeah, swimming the ocean. And then we’ll see where the spring in the summer takes me. There’s usually a couple of events that pop up. Last year I did the July 4 triathlon. It was a great weekend. Actually a great couple of weeks, I did the Memorial Day 5k followed by the July 4th triathlon, which was on July second, followed by the July 4th 5k, on July 4th, so it was a nice quick couple of weeks and then finished up the end of August with the Iguana Man 5K.
So I try to stay active. I tried to do you know, 5675 k’s a year, two, three triathlons, maybe a duathalon depending on how the water is.
Cool. You are an example of what is possible, Marvin, I love it. Keep up the good work seriously. You’re doing some work in this world. And you’re helping people get healthier and helping people live longer and helping people figure out how to do all this because it’s confusing.
And there’s a lot of information out there that’s just like, it’s a lot of conflicting information, a lot of confusing information and it’s very overwhelming for people. So to have somebody like you where people can go and, you know, do a consult with you like even you know, over Zoom or however you do it. That’s awesome.
Because that gives people an opportunity to start to see that things can be different for them and they don’t have to be on medication for the rest of their life. Just because you have one of these lifestyle diseases, it’s not a death sentence. It doesn’t mean you can’t improve with the right diet and exercise.
So hats off to you, my friend for doing good work. Keep it up. Thank you for taking some time to chat with me here today. It’s been really fun.
I enjoyed it. I enjoyed it a lot. Patrick, thank you so much for having me.