Nancy Clark: Stop Focusing on Being Healthy, Focus on Being Balanced -R4R 025


Finding the right weight for you and your body as a runner can be tough.

We live in a world where it feels like skinnier=faster, and it can be tempting to use diets and restrictions of foods to lose some of that weight that holds us back from running our best, but actually, in most cases we are doing more harm than good.

It was time to get real with this one. You will hear about my story of how I was undereating as a runner, and for that reason, my body wasn’t functioning correctly, and it wasn’t just the lack of periods that showed it.

You might recognize some of these other symptoms, and they may be an indicator that you too, are not fueling your body enough, even if you have a normal BMI and a reason why each of your symptoms show up.

This episode is all about learning to enjoy eating again, without letting it overtake your life. We need to get back to how we ate as children; eating when we are hungry, stopping when we are full, and never caring about what the number n the scale says.

It may seem too good to be true, but our bodies really do have all the answers here, and if you find you spend a lot of your day thinking about food, looking forward to your next meal, this is an episode you need to check out.

There are no good and bad foods, only balanced and unbalanced diets, and yes, balanced diets DO include what we may consider “bad foods”.

If you care about running your best, if you think that your weight isn’t right, and if you feel like you are unhappy with the way you look, this is a must listen.

Today’s Guest

Nancy Clark

A registered Dietitian who was one of the pioneers for sports nutrition in the running world. Her bestseller book, Nancy Clark’s Sports Nutrition Guidebook has sold 600,000 copies all over the world.

What You Will Learn About

  • Why it is important to work with a Registered Dietitian over a nutritionist or certified nutritional advisor (before working with Nancy, I always thought it didn’t really make a difference)
  • How you might be ignoring symptoms that indicate underfueling, and instead putting them down to family genetics or personality.
  • Do you love to watch the food channel? That might be a big indicator for you that something needs to change.
  • An experiment you can try to see how you feel eating more food (without committing to anything).
  • How to balance eating enough to fuel your body with trying to reach a racing weight where you can run fast.
  • Why your body will find its natural weight if you are eating enough (and yes, your hunger will go down once you get there!).

Listen to the Running for Real Podcast

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Inspirational Quotes

There are so many people who miss out on this opportunity to learn not so much what they should be doing, cause they know what they should be doing, but why it is that they are not eating what they should eat. It is more looking at what is going on behind the scenes.

Dietitians are the best kept secret.

The goal is to help you find peace with food, and help you to be the best runner that you can be.

If you aren’t eating enough, your body works hard to maintain heat in the core, but your hands and feet  are always cold, and you think, “oh I have raynauds disease”, well, it is amazing the amount of people who do not have raynauds disease, they are just undereating and when they eat more, their hands and feet don’t get cold anymore.

Food should be one of life’s pleasures, but when it is obsessive, it is because there is this undercurrent of hunger hunger hunger, I want more fuel, that is really driving that love of eating.

People don’t inherently have a sweet tooth, but when they get too hungry, the body wants quick energy, it wants sugar, it wants sweets.

My clients that undereat love the summer because finally it is their chance to be warm and they don’t mind running in the heat.

The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. If you happen to be living in a larger body and you think that you don’t look like a runner, look at your family and how do you look compared to the others…If you are leaner or far leaner and trying to get leaner yet, it might be that the costs of that is eating like a bird.

When people say, “I don’t look like a runner”, well, what does a dog look like? There are greyhounds, St Bernards, Chihuahua, Beagles, Labradors, English setters…they all come in different sizes and shapes. In the dog kingdom every dog is very proud of their genetics, and they would have no interest in looking like others…It is unfortunate that in the human kingdom, the runner kingdom, the person in the larger body would just love to be in the smaller body.

If you are from a solid background of husky people, you are never going to turn into a really petite person, without it having a high cost, and that cost is sanity and your health.

There is no truth to the lightest runner is the best runner. It is that the best runner is genetically gifted, well rested, well fueled, wisely trained. 

It is really important to let go and trust. Trust that your body is not going to suddenly get fat on you.

People that have a complicated relationship with food, they like to control it. They like to control their food, and their portions, and their appetite, and their exercise. They control everything very tightly. To let go, and follow the body cues, there is a lot of fear.

Eating should be a timeline, and you get a food bucket every four hours.

There are not good food and bad foods, there is a balanced diet and unbalanced diet…you don’t have to have a perfect diet to have an excellent diet. I know plenty of people who have a perfect diet, but it is very unbalanced.

There is too much emphasis on everything being healthy, instead lets focus on being balanced.

Resources Mentioned

Thanks to Generation UCAN for sponsoring this podcast, you can get 15% off your order by visiting this link and using code RUNNING4REAL.

Thanks for Listening! I hope you enjoyed today’s episode.

To share your thoughts:

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Thank you to Nancy, I look forward to hearing your thoughts on the show.

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3 Comments. Leave new

  • I cannot wait to listen!…and I have a long run planned today so perfect timing. I have been a fan of Nancy Clark for as long as I have been a runner (about 17 years!) and her advice is always right on. This is a great topic and I cannot wait to hear both of your stories and advice. Thanks Tina!

  • Great podcast! Diet/fuelling day to day is definitely an aspect I am working on. The four meals a day advice was interesting as I think this is what I lean towards (no pun intended!) and have confidence now that this is ok to do. I often notice in the race pens that the super fast club runners and elites are not all tiny, there’s been a lot of distortion about size vis a vis performance.

  • That was a great interview Tina and I got so much out of it, finding that I recognised myself in so much of what Nancy and you identified. Fear and control are certainly a big feature in my eating but also wanting to fuel better and improve as a runner. This has definitely made me think and Id love to give the 4 meals/ more freedom approach a go to see if it works (and get over the fear factor!) Thanks for doing this.

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