The Habits You Need to Get Lean, Stay Healthy and Kick Ass at Life


Clint Murphy Oonagh Duncan


Oonagh Duncan, Clint Murphy

Clint Murphy  00:15

Welcome to the growth guide podcast. I’m your host, Clint Murphy. Every week I talk to authors, subject matter experts and millionaire mentors to share the lessons that will help you and me be better achieve more and become financially free.

Clint Murphy  00:37

Today, I had an amazing conversation with Ooonagh Duncan, a multi award winning fitness instructor and founder of the feel good movement, which recognizes that fitness is not about a number on a scale, it’s about feeling good about ourselves. Oonagh is the author of Healthy as F*ck: The Habits You Need to Get Lean, Stay Healthy, and Kick Ass at Life. If you want to get healthy like me, this is a must listen. And it’s a lot of fun. Enjoy the show.

Clint Murphy  01:16

Oonagh, welcome to the growth guide podcast, where I’d love to start our conversation is if you could give our listeners who may not have met you yet a brief introduction to who you are, and then we’ll dive right into your book.

Oonagh Duncan  01:29

Sure, my name is Oonagh Duncan, and I am the founder and CEO of a company called Fit Feels Good. So you find me at And we are all about the feel good movement. And what I mean by that is the recognition that wellness is about more than the number on the scale, obviously, it’s really all about feeling good. So for example, if you think that you want to lose, you know, 20 pounds or whatever, what you really want is the feeling you think you’re going to have at 20 pounds, basically, you just want to feel good. So I believe that feeling good is not only the ultimate outcome that we all want, but it is the method by which we must get there, we’re never going to get to feeling good in a way that makes us not feel good. So that’s why I’m like this is a feel good movement. And I try and coach people, my usual my area of specific expertise is women in their 40s and 50s t help them feel good now in order to get to their goals.

Clint Murphy  02:21

And one of the things that jumps out at me, as you say, that is this idea. And whether it’s our weight, whether it’s money, whatever it is, we always think that that’s what we want. And you talk about the fact that no, that’s not what you want, you want the feeling what you just mentioned, that comes that you. And here’s the key part do you think you’re going to have when you get that? Can you really unpack that because that’s such a key part of any of these journeys?

Oonagh Duncan  02:56

Well, this is a thing, and you’ve got to practice it now. So this is one a tricky part of my clients have is they think, you know, oh, Oonagh but if I like accept and love my body the way it is right now, well, then I won’t be motivated to make changes. And I’m like, you know, it never works that way.  We think we have to play drill sergeant with ourselves. And if we like, bully ourselves and shame ourselves into doing the right thing, then we’ll do it. But actually, like all the research shows, that’s not true at all. If you bully yourself and shame yourself, you may last for a little bit. But eventually, you’re just going to fall back to your self soothing mechanisms, which if you are overweight is probably over consuming food, right? And so actually, here’s the vibe that you need, you need to look in the mirror, and you think I absolutely, I love and accept myself right now I feel amazing. And I’m really excited for where I’m going. And these two things are not in opposition. You know, you can love and accept yourself absolutely right now and be excited for where you’re going for all the potential, the unmet potential that you have.

Clint Murphy  03:56

So as you say that, how important is the choice in the language people are using? So for example, you were talking about people being dictators to themselves, I need to lose weight, I have to, I must, versus I choose to lose weight? What does that look like for people?

Oonagh Duncan  04:16

Oh my gosh, I think this is the language that people use is so important. So for example, in my programs, I never let people say one of the most common terms, which is I fell off the wagon this weekend, or I went off the rails. And I’m like, wait a second. If you say I fell off the rails. It’s like you’re describing your life as this runaway train on which you have zero control. Right? Instead of being like I deprioritized exercise last week. That is you saying I made a conscious choice to deprioritize exercise last week that puts you in control. Instead of saying like I fell off the wagon that is so you know passive and it’s like, oh, whoops I had no control. If you keep saying that to yourself, you’re going to start believing that. Whereas if you say something like, I chose to have 5 pints of beer at my friend’s party or whatever, then you can empower yourself to choose differently next time if you want to. So you’re putting yourself in the driver’s seat, rather than saying like whoops, I fell off the wagon, I fell off the rails, you know, I had no no choice, because you’re just going to reinforce that narrative.

Clint Murphy  05:26

And as soon as you do that, when you’re talking about the wagon or the rails, you’re implying, there’s something that you’re on that ultimately you have to get off. I mean, you’re not going to stay on a wagon forever, right? You’re implying I’m on this for a period of time, and then I’m going to jump off. And when you jump off, you go right back to your old ways.

Oonagh Duncan  05:47

Totally, that’s actually a great distinction. I’ve never thought of that. That’s kind of like one of the biggest distinctions is, you know, the American paperback version of my book is called Ditch the Diet. And so, you know, I often get people asking me, so what is the difference? Because I do recommend having some structure in the way people eat. And I say things like, if you’re not hungry for vegetables, you’re not hungry. That’s a craving. And sometimes people are like, whoa, whoa, whoa, how is this different than a diet then. And one of the distinctions there is that diet is a temporary thing that you’re doing in order to lose weight. And then once you’ve lost weight, you’re gonna like go back to normal. If you’ve got that mindset, then you probably aren’t, you’re then you’re on a diet. And statistics show that about 99% of people who go on a diet to lose weight, end up gaining it all back, because they’ve got this mentality of I can’t wait to get back to normal.

Clint Murphy  06:40

Exactly. And so as we talk about stats, some sobering stats, “75 million Americans are trying to lose weight. Most of us are overweight, and 30% of North Americans are clinically obese. And the only thing that fixes that in a sustainable way, is changing our everyday behaviors”. So now that I’ve wound that up, and got gotta go in there, can you take our listeners through those sobering stats, and why it’s so important that we focus on our behaviors in a sustainable way. Versus as you said, a temporary diet, that’s going to yo yo us back to where we were?

Oonagh Duncan  07:20

Well, I mean, here’s the thing. So if you look down at your body, right now, the beautiful, amazing body that you have, in this moment, it is the result of two things, it’s the result of your genetics, which you can’t do anything about, and your habits, the things that you do every day. So I’m sure that most of your listeners have probably realized that you can go on a diet for a week, and it doesn’t completely change your body, you can do a whole bunch of push ups one day in a feat of heroism and you’re not suddenly really strong. You know, unfortunately, the way our bodies work is it wants steady consistency, right. You just have to get control of your habits, our habits are really running the show. About 40% of what we do of our actions are just automated habits. And so if we can take conscious control, and to design these habits, that’s when we are going to become a different person. And because it’s really I mean, there’s an Aristotle, quote, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then is not an act, it is a habit.” So really the biggest difference between someone who’s on a diet and someone who’s got a Oh, shut up. Oh my god, listeners, he just showed me that he’s got this quote right behind him on his office. Oh, that’s so fun. I love that. I live by that because it really is about a shift of identity. Right? You’re not on a diet, you’re changing who you are. So here’s another example. Because people are sometimes like, I don’t know, if I’m on a diet, or if I’m just if I really have a healthy lifestyle, and I’m like, Okay, here’s the quiz. Are you going to eat healthy three Tuesdays from now? Now, if you’re on a diet, you’d be like, ah, well, like, you know, if I’m at home if I don’t have a special occasion, if, if I got grocery, yep, probably, but if you are just a healthy eater, and someone says you can eat healthy three Tuesdays from now, you’d be like, of course, I’m a healthy eater.  I always eat healthy.  That’s just what I do. It doesn’t matter. I could be at the airport. It could be I could have insomnia. I could be at a friend’s birthday party. I just eat healthy. It’s who I am. So it’s who you are, when it is your habit. When you watch yourself consistently do it every single day.

Clint Murphy  09:28

Yeah, and you reinforce it. And it’s so important. I always look at it, of course, our genetics come into play. And I know personally from a genetic standpoint, I’m pretty hardwired to gain weight very easily. And some family members are like, well, it’s my genetics. And I’m like, well, you can you can have some habits that counteract those genetics like yeah, you don’t need to be 400 pounds, you don’t need to be 350 plus pounds. That’s not healthy, that will lead to you dying early like cut out X, cut out Y, why not go for a walk? Yeah, maybe lift some weights. And so we’re going to talk a lot about that. And I just love this idea that, hey, it is two things. And one of them, you can do something about and when we talk about the genetics and habits. The other thing that I love to talk about because I actually I draw this at work for people all the time as it relates to your career, whether it’s money, whether it’s title. We have two things, we have results on one axis and we have effort on the other axis. And it’s okay to be anywhere on that graph you want. The problem is when you want something, and it requires being certain place on the graph. Yeah, but you’re only willing to do much less than that. And you don’t reconcile the two. So can you talk about your graph that we’re talking about perception versus reality, and the frustrations that generates in people and clue the listener in on what I’m talking about?

 Oonagh Duncan  11:11

Yeah, totally. That’s exactly where I wanted to go next. Because, you know, when you talk about your family members, so if you have a genetic predisposition towards carrying excess weight, so on your effort to results, chart or graph, you know, it may require more effort for people with that genetic predisposition than not.  I’ll give you an example. So there was a woman who I knew who was obese. And what she did one day, she quit drinking pop, because she used to have like, several, like, probably eight big cans of pop a day or bottles. And she started walking to school. And just doing those two things, she lost probably about 100 pounds. And you know, everyone was so excited for her that you have so much information about that. That she started to be like, okay, oh my God, I want to keep going on this. So then she started to go hardcore. I think at the time, it was the 90s surge of Atkins. So like, you know, saying keto, it’s the same thing. So like so much. So she’d like pick out the croutons and her salad and all that sort of stuff. And, you know, ask if there’s any sugar in the salad dressing. And so she’s really, really conscious about it. And in doing that, like hyper and the really hardcore exercise. So in really ramping it up, she probably lost another 20 pounds, okay, so on her effort to results graph, effort, no pop and walking to school, got her to a certain level, and then an exponentially different amount of effort got her a little bit further. So what happened was that she found she could not sustain the effort that was required to keep her in, you know, what she called when she was dieting that hardcore, she got to feel like she was like, I’m one of the skinny girls, because she’d always been obese. And so for her to maintain skinny girl results, the effort she had put in was huge. But to maintain average body composition, she just had to lay off the pop and start walking, she probably walked about, you know, 5,10 10 to 8k a day, it was significant walking. So that is her effort to results ratio. Now, here’s the thing, hers could be totally different. Like you, you know, someone else could not drink pop and walk that much and nothing would happen because they are coming from a completely different background, completely different genetics. So what has to happen is everyone has to plot their own effort to results ratio and figure out or graph. You can choose either one, you can choose the results you want. And if you just need to make your peace with the effort that’s required to maintain those results, or you will choose the effort that you are willing to give. And then you got to make your peace with the result of that effort. And both options are fine. The important part is the peace. And that’s what you got to work on.

Clint Murphy  13:50

And that peace is because if you don’t reconcile the, whether it’s the results and the effort you’re willing to do or the effort you’re willing to do and the results you’ll get. And you don’t reconcile that, then that’s where the frustration and the depression comes in. Because I want it to look like this. Yeah, well, but you weren’t willing to do what it took to look like that.

Oonagh Duncan  14:11

Well exactly yeah. And that discomfort that space between the amount of effort we’re willing to give and the results that we want. That is the discomfort, like that’s the nagging thing because that’s what lives in our head. The constant beating ourselves up and the looking at yourself in the mirror and all my roles and all that sort of stuff. That is where that lives but if you can just make your peace with it or you know sometimes people are like, you know, I’m skinny and I’m happy whatever but god damn why do I have to keep working so hard and I never get to eat cake and everyone else gets to eat cake but I don’t get to or whatever. Like you if you want the body you just gotta be fine with the you don’t get to eat cake ever. Right? So yeah, so this is the deal. You just have to make peace with it. Otherwise you will always live with a poor me or some sort of like, you know, victim narrative, it’s just not going to serve you. So it’s really it’s the peace that matters. Make your peace with the effort or the result.

Clint Murphy  15:08

And so some people are listening to this. And they’re saying, Well wait a second, I do the work, I take my steps. I do my yoga. And you say, yeah, you’re doing the work, but you’re doing the easy work. What do you mean by that?

Oonagh Duncan  15:22

So easy work is work that is work, is totally work. You feel like you’ll feel exhausted at the end of the day, but you are basically checking boxes. You are being like, okay, I did my 10,000 steps, I did my yoga like ate Keto , blah, blah, blah. Right. The hard work is work that requires you to change to be a different person. The hard work requires you to not be on autopilot. You don’t get to check a box. It’s uncomfortable. So hard work is like, instead of going for another 10k run, because it’s what you’ve done for the last 10 years or whatever, in front of the treadmill while you watch Three’s Company or whatever. Instead, sitting down and meditating, and figuring out why you’re over consuming the food in the first place. Like, that’s hard work.

Clint Murphy  16:18

Yeah, because you can’t. And this is where the conversation is going to be fun. So many of us want to just exercise it away, but you can’t out exercise what you consume.

Oonagh Duncan  16:28

Well, yeah, I mean, it’s funny, because it depends on how you’re wired. Like, you’re, you’re probably wired like me, when I’m like, I just want to eat whatever, I want to keep going, I’m gonna, like I’d much rather exercise more than eat less like doing less sounds like, that’s my hard work, that’s really hard for me. But doing the less and just sitting there. And, you know, getting comfortable with the feeling of being satisfied, but not full. And taking a few deep breaths and coaching myself through the desire to eat more than I like, that’s hard work. Give me 5000 burpees. And please don’t make me ever do that. So that’s the difference.

Clint Murphy  17:04

So before we dive into some of the keystone habits, one of the things that jumped out at me that’s really important for people to think about, and I loved how you said it was I recently wrote a thread on Twitter that went viral that was about compound interest. And I talked about how compound interest isn’t just about money. It’s about mental, emotional, physical, whatever it is you’re trying to improve. Compound interest is your friend. And the example that you gave was Madonna. And you said, people try to tie her success to some lucky big breaks that she had versus the reality of Madonna working her f*cking ass off every day from 1980 to today. So can you talk about the importance of that consistency and that compounding? And why point in time discipline and motivation and willpower aren’t the answer?

Oonagh Duncan  17:55

Oh, my goodness, well, okay, here’s the thing. So a lot of times people are like, oh, if only I had more discipline, If only I was more motivated, if only I had more willpower, but all of those things, they take up enormous resources, and energy. So you know, you can grit your teeth through like discipline through a, you know, hard diet or exercise, push or whatever, for a little bit. But as soon as anything else comes up in your life, that requires extra energy, that discipline, motivation, like, all of that stuff is gonna be out the window, because you just don’t have the extra resources to sustain that, that gritting your teeth through something, okay? What will sustain you is your habits. So these are things, you can just put them on autopilot, you know you’re gonna do them. It’s like, you’re there’s so many things in our lives that were hard at one point, they required real work, like, remember when you learned how to drive. And you know, I just remember, like I learned on a stick. And so there’s all the mechanics of it. And then there’s the road rules, and then there’s people coming at you and then the drivers start yelling at you like it is hard. And today, I can get in the car, and I can listen to a podcast and yell at my kids and check my lipstick in the mirror. And you know what I mean? Like you can put things on autopilot that were once hard. And that’s how we need to get our habits to. So about Madonna, or I think I also talked about like Michael Phelps or whatever. It’s basically it’s when you repeat something over and over and over again. That is how you just become a master at it. And we have this idea that people like yeah, have a lucky break or they bla bla bla, but really, they’ve been honing, they’ve just been grinding it out. It’s a reps game. It’s like people don’t get strong by doing 1000 pushups in one day, you get strong by doing 10 push ups for I don’t know what the math is there 100 days or something like that. You just keep doing the reps. It’s just the reps game. And that’s how you become a master. And it’s so annoying because the improvement is so incremental and so not noticeable at first, and then all of a sudden it’s like the compound interest. Like you’re like saving up money and you’re like, this isn’t doing anything. It’s like you know, this is never gonna amount to anything and then all of a sudden, it’s just like this amazing hockey stick curve. And it’s like it grows upon grows and grows and grows, and the exponential results are amazing. And that’s exactly how habits work.

Clint Murphy  20:10

So I really want to emphasize the point that you make there because there’s a couple things I always try to get across to the audience when they start to think of compound interest and consistency. One is small, smart choices plus consistency plus time equals exponential results. And then the last one, because people get really frustrated by the process is to remember it goes slow, until it goes fast. Yeah, so really reemphasizing what you were saying there with Madonna and Michael Phelps, and just being consistent getting to work.

Oonagh Duncan  20:44

Totally. And you know what, this is why I really encourage my clients to reward themselves for the habit, not the outcome. So for example, most of my clients are looking for weight loss. And unfortunately, the scale can be a big jerk, you can be doing everything right, and the scale’s not going to give you affirmation. Even if you’re doing everything right. You could do, you could get on the scale and due to a million different factors, maybe it shows no progress or reverse progress or whatever. And then so if that is your one metric for success, you will go on a tailspin. And you will probably, you know, either say f*ck it, this doesn’t work. Or you might try to overcompensate and do some crazy crash diet or something like that. And all of that doesn’t work. Slow, steady consistency is what works. And so what you need to do is reward yourself for slow, steady consistency. And you know, definitely get the data from the scale infrequently to make sure you’re getting the results from your slow, steady consistency, but you really have to reward the action and not the outcome because the outcome is often very much delayed.

Clint Murphy  21:50

That’s so powerful. It’s definitely delayed for pretty much anything you want to do. I talk about the fact like embrace the suck. You’re gonna suck for a long time. then you’re gonna be good. Then if you keep going for another few years, someday, you might be great. But totally, like, just embrace the suck.

Clint Murphy  22:12

And so as we start to think of these habits, the keystone habits, we want people to develop, I thought I work through some of them with you, leave some of them in the book for people to read. And it’s interesting because some of them, they can seem so simple, but a big thing that people forget is everything in life is simple. It just isn’t easy. So it’s you know, like if you look at habit one, and this is one I’m really focusing on right now I’m I’ve been vegetarian at some points in my life. And probably not surprisingly, whenever I am, I’m actually much healthier than when I’m not. And so the first one we talked about is half your plate, vegetables. You know half of what you eat in any meal, vegetables and so seems simple in practice, but why are things like this so hard to integrate into our lives?

Oonagh Duncan  22:12

Embrace the suck. But here’s the thing. This is why I’m all about the feel good movement. This is why we have to make the suck feel good. Right. So this is why I’m always telling people and they’re like, I just need more motivation. I’m like, no, you need to bribe yourself to be a very committed sedentary smoker. I could not imagine anything more embarrassing than trying to exercise and the way I got myself to do it is that I, I made a promise that I was allowed to watch whatever trashy TV I wanted only if I was on the treadmill, I didn’t have to run, I didn’t have to I just had to be moving on the treadmill. So and if I was on the treadmill, I let myself watch like, like Jerry Springer, like Maury Povich like, so you can picture the era, right? Yeah. And, you know, I wanted to know what the paternity test results were. So I stayed on the treadmill. And this is how I started to build a habit loop that associated exercise with pleasure. Whereas before exercise was like, being humiliated at gym class, being the only one out of breath at the top of the stairs, like that was not I associated so much pain with exercise. And instead, I built this new habit loop that was a trigger, you know, it was 4pm, or whatever it was. Behavior, go on the treadmill and watch Maury Povich, and exercise and the reward that I get all the fun like, you know, juicy excitement of watching these totally not a shows I never allowed myself to watch otherwise. And so then I started to build. so I started to build a positive association and I started to do it more and more and more and more. So that’s why I tell people like you gotta bribe yourself, you have to build a habit loop that has a reward. And most of the time when people are telling me they’re falling off the wagon, they can’t stay motivated bla bla bla, it’s because they’re not paying attention to the reward part of a habit loop.

Oonagh Duncan  24:45

Oh my gosh, well, it’s so funny because, yeah, people are always like, okay, what, what what’s the secret? What’s the real secret like they’re leaning in like, you know, normally I have this behind a big paywall, butshh, come here, I’ll tell you and I’m like, just eat shit a tons of vegetables or whatever else, or like get some sleep or don’t drink so much booze or I see these things that basically we were all taught in kindergarten. And they’re like, No, what’s really what’s really, really the secret is like, freaking do it. Like actually do it. We all know there’s no secret, the secret is getting yourself to do it consistently. And so suddenly, like, fill half your plate with vegetables, it just seems too easy. We’re so conditioned to want it to be a secret, and most of that is marketing. Marketing is like the secret doctors don’t want you to know about it’s absurd. Why would doctors not want you to know about the secret to getting healthy? And we’re like, click click, what could it be? What are the doctors hiding from us? You know, or, like, the weird way that Britney Spears got fit after they baby or whatever. Like, it’s all shrouded in this like, it’s got to be complicated and secret or like, you know, it’s just marketing. It’s absurd. You can’t sell eat more vegetables, there’s no product there. There’s no secret there, whatever. So that’s why you know, people find it hard to do because they’re really convinced there’s got to be something different, something secret

Clint Murphy  26:05

And so for you. why do you find as habit one filling half your plates with vegetable, why is that so key to people being able to lose the weight they want to lose and then maintain the life they want to maintain?

Oonagh Duncan  26:18

Okay, well listen, if you fill half of every plate with vegetables, that is automatically going to take care of  so much of your caloric intake of good macro distribution, it is going to fill you up on the good stuff so you just don’t have as much room for the bad stuff. It’s going to give you, of the calories you eat, it’s going to be maximum nutrient density, so you feel full, you’ve got more energy, you can do more, you know, just that one simple thing of filling half of your plate with big green leafy, colorful vegetables, and I’m not talking fries here. Then that will just take care of so many things. It’s you front load and I think that also another mindset we have to get out of it is that people are have been brought up again through a lot of marketing to just think of food is bad and or certain macros are bad. And instead I’m like, let’s go forward with the positive and just thing fill up with shit tons of vegetables. And then we start to also associate it with like, food is good, food is nourishing, not allowed to put a lot of food on my plate. It’s okay. Yeah.

Clint Murphy  27:22

And for anyone who has ever eaten raw, or eaten lots of vegetables, it is almost impossible to consume excess calories if vegetables are a significant contribution to your diet, dressings aside, because a lot of people are like, oh, I’m vegetarian, but then you see the sauce they put on there the vegetable dish, and you’re like, no, no, no. That’s not what this is supposed to be.

Oonagh Duncan  27:51

Yeh, Ranchatarian.

Clint Murphy  27:51

Yeah, exactly. Ranchatarian. And you’re like, that’s probably gonna bite ya. Yes, okay, so and then before we jumped on the air, you were asking me how I do some of the things that I’m doing in life. And I said, because I violate one of your Keystone Habits, which is, is the next one, which is sleep. And definitely the one I’m most wanting to choose to improve in my life. I have a sleep expert coming on the show on Friday. So I’m going to read that book in the next couple of days to get ready for that conversation. But sleep’s definitely something I know I need to improve because when you’re not doing it –  physically, mentally, visibly, you’re just not in good shape. So why is sleep so important? And why would even Sheryl Sandberg say that executives should prioritize sleep over working more? And the Dalai Lama say that sleeps the best meditation any of us can do?

Oonagh Duncan  28:59

Yeah. Well, here’s the deal. So in the research I did for the book, what I found is that getting I think it was less than five hours of sleep was the equivalent. So they did cognitive tests on people who were sleep, were who were sleep deprived. And it was pretty much the same cognitive abilities as someone who was drunk to the point where they wouldn’t be able to drive. Okay, so you’re mentally you’re pretty much drunk. And this and I actually love this comparison, because I’ve met so many people, you know, probably people in a business type, kind of world who are like, I’m fine. Who needs sleep, I’ll sleep when I’m dead. That kind of like very, it’s a little bit old school, but it’s still totally out there. And I’m like, You are like the drunk person who’s like, I’m fine to drive. Give me the keys. I can hold my alcohol. It’s like the same kind of delusion that makes people think they’re great on four hours asleep, makes them think they’re great on four pints of beer.

Clint Murphy  30:02

Thanks for listening. If you enjoy what you’re hearing so far, and want me to be able to get your favorite guests on this show, please do me a quick favor, subscribe to the show and leave me a rating, the 30 seconds of your time will mean a ton to me.


Clint Murphy  30:22

Well, can I share a fun digression on that one?


Oonagh Duncan  30:25

Yes, please.


Clint Murphy  30:27

So when we got our puppy, she’s coming up on two, so pretty much a dog now, my wife said to me, I didn’t want a dog. You did. So you wake up for every bathroom break. And over the course of that first month, she was probably getting up every hour. So I was like, not sleeping at all. And I got home in the truck one day, and I was backing up into our driveway. It’s a down sloping driveway with some retaining walls. And it was beeping at me and I thought, oh, I’m just a couple inches to the left, like I always just bump the curb, I’ll be fine. And it was really, really hard to get over that slight bump of curb. And it was really beeping. So I just pressed the gas harder. And I backed through our garden, straight into the retaining wall. And so then she said, well, how the heck, I was like four feet to the left. And the Tesla had a backup camera. So she said like, how did you do that? And I was like, I haven’t slept for a month, like I should not be driving a car. It was horrible.

Oonagh Duncan  31:40

So this is really interesting, because you know.

Clint Murphy  31:41

It’s totally real

Oonagh Duncan  31:42

The research and like, okay, but it’s another thing to experience it yourself. So you’ve experienced it.

Clint Murphy  31:47

Oh 100% 100%.

Oonagh Duncan  31:50

So then here’s what why I say sleep is so important if you are looking to get healthy and lose weight, for example. So if we assume that being sleep deprived is a little bit like being drunk as it was for Clint. Let me just ask you when you are drunk, do you make amazing food choices?

Clint Murphy  32:06

No, you make really bad food choices?

Clint Murphy  32:12

Yeah, yeah. Exactly. Exactly. Yeah.

Oonagh Duncan  32:16

So tend to be, you when and that’s real. You when you’re sleep deprived, you crave high energy foods, because you’re just sluggish. So you’re like, I need a pick me up. I need some sugar. I need some fast carbohydrates. I need like energy dense foods. I need fat, I need you know what that’s real. It’s a real thing that you’re going to crave that when you’re sleep deprived. So you’re gonna make crappy food choices probably. You’re also are you going to be an amazing like athlete when you’re sleep deprived? Wow, are you gonna give your best workouts? Yeah.

Clint Murphy  32:45

You’re like, I’m too tired to workout.

Oonagh Duncan  32:47

Totally. Too tired. Yeah. So it’s just it’s not, it’s not going to work for you on any level, it also influences cortisol and messes with your hormones. Like there’s a million reasons why you really, really do need to prioritize sleep, if you’re wanting to change your body composition or get healthier.

Clint Murphy  33:04

And so it’s interesting because we’re talking about a lack of sleep, similar to alcohol, because I mean, that’s the next one on the list is no alcohol and I can say I stopped drinking about 10 months ago. And I’m reasonably certain it’s going to be a forever thing. And it’s just like, everyone’s got their own thing. I tend not to, and no, we shouldn’t label ourselves. But and I know I tend to not have a moderator switch. I always refer to people you know, like dimmer switches. I’m more of a lights on lights off. So I decided I’ll go lights off. And it’s an absolute game changer. One, like every time you have a drink, it’s empty calories. Yeah, like you’re, you’re just you know, when you were giving the pop example, I’ve always found when you’re living a fit lifestyle, not drinking calories is such a simple game changer. So alcohol, you’re drinking calories. You’re getting drunk. So you’re eating really poorly, as you said, the poutine comes into it, and then you’re not doing the workouts right. And you even if you only have that one or two glasses of wine. Yeah, there’s a level of sluggishness the next day.

Oonagh Duncan  34:18

Yeah, and it really impacts your sleep too, even if you only have one or two. And the thing about alcohol is that it’s progressive, right? So what starts out as a glass of wine to wind down while you cook dinner. Pretty soon, you’re gonna find that, oh, it actually kind of takes a glass and a little top up to have the same feeling. And then that obviously gets, you know progressively more until, you know a lot of my clients when they start and no judgment, my gosh, I’ve been there, like they’re probably at about like, I split a bottle of wine with my partner every night, right? So they’re at about half of a bottle of wine a night, and then maybe a little bit of party time on the weekends kind of thing. And then that’s just like I get it. I really get it. This is cwe can talk about meditation, it’s kind of like I get that at the end of the day, you need to really, really get that. And if you are eating super healthy, and you’re investing in all the organic stuff and Whole Foods, and  you got a trainer, and you’re busting your butt to do the runs in the blah, blah, blah, and you’re drinking that amount, you’re just like, throwing it all away. It’s all thrown away all that effort, all that, you know, caloric expenditure, all that beautiful, healthy food you’re nourishing yourself with, like, it’s just, you know, and I don’t want to sound too judgy because I 100% get it. In fact, the chapter is called Back Away from the Booze. So it’s a little bit gentler, like, I do think that sometimes people you know, we are more than just fitness machines, there are cultural, emotional ritual, like there’s lots of other factors that are beyond just us being kind of fitness machines. So if alcohol is the lubricant, you need to like dance at your son’s wedding or whatever, you know, I’m like, there. It’s okay, if you can have that moderator dimmer switch. Yeah. But I think a lot of people, the all or nothing mentality when it comes to booze, when it comes to even things like sugar, or exercise or whatever that all or nothing mentality is the biggest killer. And certainly, backing away from the booze is probably one of the best things you can do for your health.

Clint Murphy  36:28

And when you think about the booze and you think about what we’ve gone through the last three years with COVID. And as you said, you moved during COVID. I look at it and and I see a lot of the people I know 2020 was that like, year of my best life. And I probably I was like, three years I was 42. And I was probably in getting in the best shape of my life like weight lifting, walking 20k a day, like I was killing it. moderate drinking, because it was best life here. And then I saw like 20. And I wanted to know if you saw the same thing, as 2020 became 2021 became 2022. It was just like, like it went from living my best life to I have never drank this much in my life. You’ve been so out of shape. And everyone kind of started, it felt like starting to wake up to that in 2022. Like, oh, like I really, to borrow from what we said we shouldn’t say earlier, I really got off the rails for a while. Yeah, I have to get life back and not diet or, like, I gotta get my habits back in line. Because yeah, I let what was happening in the world. And outside of me, I let that get to me too much.

Oonagh Duncan  37:47

Be more intentional with our habits. Yeah, and I love that you kind of said, not do a big crazy thing. Because a lot of that all or nothing mentality. It’s when people are like, Oh, I went crazy. I gotta fix it. So they want to overcorrect with a really harsh diet and a really like intense exercise program. And that’s when people quote unquote, fall off the rails. You know, they just they go way too hard, way too fast. And really what it’s so boring, I get it. What works better is if you just have these incremental improvements, I know you whatever, like no, I’m gonna go balls out. I want to fix this by next week. Like I am that personality too. And I wish it worked. And it doesn’t.

Clint Murphy  38:28

No Absolutely. Yeah. And you alluded to the next one that I want to want to share, because it may surprise the listeners as much as it does me. And it’s not because I’m not a huge fan of it. I am, I just finished a two year certification on mindfulness meditation teaching. And it’s the idea that meditating is helpful with our weight. And I think what you alluded to is it’s not necessarily the meditation, it’s the sitting with ourselves and exploring, like, why do I want that cupcake? Why do I, you know the why behind why am I reaching for that drink? Why in bringing intentionality. So what does that meditation look like for you, in terms of how does it help us with with our weight management and as in as part of our habit, lifestyle? And what is your meditation practice look like?

Oonagh Duncan  39:26

Oh, my goodness. Well, it’s really just about when you meditate, as I’m sure you know, you just get that moment of pause between the thought and the reaction to it, you know? So there’s a story I like to tell about this when I was doing a yoga certification. Many years ago, the guy who was teaching me told us the story about how he was subbing and he was selling a class and he was starting the class really slowly with some, you know, neck rolls and connecting to the breath. And there was a woman and all fitness instructors know this woman, it’s the woman who shows up for class. And she’s like, whips her mat down on the front and is like prowling around protecting your space in the front and like, you know, really kind of, it’s a very important thing in her life. And so this woman is there, and she’s starting to get a little, like, visibly antsy and impatient with the pace of the class, so much so that he stopped and was like, is everything okay? And she was like, yeah, listen, I gotta burn 500 calories. So can we get on with it? And he looked at her and he said, Well, maybe if you slow down, you’ll figure out why you eat 500 calories too much. And she was like, when I heard the story, I was like, Oh, my God, I like yoga lady, who just does not want to sit and figure out why I eat 500 calories too much. So that’s one of the ways if you sit, you’ll figure yourself out. And you’ll understand, oh, look, that’s triggering me. And this is how I behave when I’m triggered. I also have another option, right? It’s also going to help with, you know, a lot of times we are eating or consuming alcohol to relieve stress to change our state in certain ways. Meditation is another way that we can change our state where we can go from stress to relax at the end of the day, it’s also going to improve your sleep, right? It’s going to have a ripple effect, that’s going to help you make wiser choices is basically the opposite of being drunk. It’s being awake, and alert, and an adult. And that’s what meditation does.

Clint Murphy  41:34

And the, you know, you highlighted something there is that and it brought up it was Blaise Pascal who said all of humanity’s problems, stem from an inability to just sit quietly in a room alone. And so it’s that it was just like, we’re always okay, well, I can’t be alone. So I need to be watching a show or, or doing something or eating or, or getting rid of that alone feeling. And so just learning, learning to do it and be present and increase that to your point, the gap between the stimulus and the response is where the as Viktor Frankl says where the magic happens, is so beautiful. So we’ve given four of the habits. For more habits, you’ll have to read the book Healthy as F*ck, which is a wonderful title. I saw it in chapters and took a photo and said, Lesly, we need to talk to Oonagh, this is, this looks good. And so let’s skip past the remaining habits. And we’ll talk about, you talk about the point that exercising consistently is what matters and so many people are Oonagh, what’s like, what’s the best workout? What’s the one thing I should be doing? And your point is, well, you don’t have to worry about the best way to train until you’re actually training consistently. Yeah, right. So what does that look like? And why does everybody just want that magic silver bullet workout?

Oonagh Duncan  43:01

I mean, it’s just it’s a good marketing, like you see, oh, my gosh, Clint, like, I hope you don’t spend as much time on the internet as I do. But if you do, then you see like, well, I’m sure your targeting is different, but like, you know, it’s constant do this workout to get rid of, oh my gosh, like, get rid of your pooch, get rid of your oh my god, hip dips. Have you ever heard of hip dips. I had to Google what hips are, some we are supposed to be horrified about, it’s like a totally natural shape of your hips, which now they’re supposed to work is to fix and it’s all total BS. There is no workout that will remove fat from any part of your body. I was like, I mean, that’s you didn’t ask me that. But I just want to scream that on a mountain because that’s what so many people are like can you can give me a workout that’s going to get rid of this or this or whatever I’m like, you can do a workout. Actually, what’s going to get rid of fat is usually a caloric deficit which is best achieved through food and if you want to do a workout, then you can do these kinds of workouts that are really effective for you know, the maximum caloric burn in the minimum amounts of time but you cannot choose where the fat is going to come off of. So that’s the deal. So in the book I told a story about someone saying she was like Oonagh, are Zumba workouts the same as yours and I was like no not really like Zumba workouts would be like, you know a moderate intensity endurance cardio I kind of do more HIIT and strength training which is more effective for weight loss because a, b and c and I am such a dick but I said that because this lovely person had found a movement that she loved and I basically took a big poo on it. And it’s so not poo worthy by the way, I love Zumba. Zumba is great. And like the difference between of effectiveness between Zumba and like my you know, fancy schmancy trainer HIIT and like strength training workouts is so minimal versus the difference between not doing anything and doing Zumba. I’m like, yeah, not doing anything. Yeah. And then like way up here, there’s like walking, walking is amazing if you walk 10,000 steps a day, and that’s an arbitrary number, but like, just walk more basically, you are making huge strides towards your fitness. And that if you start to elevate your heart rate, even better in any way, it doesn’t matter. And then if you start to do a little bit of strength resistance training, then that’s amazing. Like, it’s just, it’s all good. Just do whatever you’re gonna do. And then just keep doing it and keep doing more like, that’s the simple formula. And try and make it as enjoyable as possible. Like the one thing, if I’m like, if I could choose one muscle for everyone to train, it’s the enjoyment of moving your body. So if that is, if that is yoga, if that is walking, well talking to your sister who lives across the country, if that is dancing to your favorite music, in a cooking outfit in your living room like anything, just do that. Just do that. And keep doing that and keep loving it. That’s your job.

Clint Murphy  45:56

And I don’t know if you’ve ever heard this statement, like it’s one of the things we say for young people who are we’re trying to get into reading, or even adults who you’re trying to get into reading is this idea of read what you love, until you love to read. Yeah, and so it’s hey, if Zumba is what you’ve really loved, and you’re gonna do it consistently. Do Zumba until you get to the point where you’re like, hey, I like I just love exercise. Yeah. Is there any different exercise? And then it’s like, oh, well, now, yeah, this can be a bit better for you. But let’s get you to love exercise. Let’s get you to love movement. Before we worry about refining exactly what movement you’re doing.

Oonagh Duncan  46:36

Totally. Totally. Yeah.

Clint Murphy  46:39

So now we’ve got some habits, we’re exercising consistently. What are some of the other tips and tricks that our listeners should be thinking about as they’re working through these habits in order to build and maintain them?

Oonagh Duncan  46:53

I mean, really, it’s, I would say the value of small wins. And the small wins are so important. It’s about I love you give that image of the dimmer switch versus the on and off. And the small wins are kind of the antidote to that. So here’s, I talked about breaking up with your BS, and your big, limiting stories that you have in your head about why you don’t want to do your habit today. And then you’ll start to come up with amazing reasons, like awesome reasons. Okay, like, yeah, I know, it sounds good to get up at six and do my like, work out and kind of, I feel like I’m coming down with a cold, so I’d probably just be better laying down, but like, mur mur mur, or like, I’ve worked really hard yesterday, or I’ll do it later. Like, you’re gonna have this like parade of BS, and it’s gonna go through your mind. And so that you won’t, and if you’re super skilled, and you’re meditating on top of the mountain for five years, you’ll be able to listen to that and detach from it and not believe it at all. Most of us aren’t there yet. It’s just some degree, we’re gonna be like, yep, poor me, I don’t have to do my workout. And so here’s where we need the small wins, you’re gonna bargain with yourself, you’re gonna say, okay, I’m gonna get up, but I’m not doing that workout, I’m just going to do some easy stretches in my living room while I listen to my favorite podcast or whatever. So you, in order to make the habit completely bulletproof, you need to come up with the smallest, teeniest tiniest stupidest versions of them, like, I’ll just put on my runners, I’ll just put on my runners like that’s it, then you can say I fulfilled my habit loop. But you don’t get to just lie in bed and skip it completely, you have to do a little teeny, tiny, tiny version of it, a version that would be, you could never convince yourself you couldn’t do it. That’s how stupid and small it is and in doing so you’re reinforcing that habit loop. And also, you’ll probably find that once you get to be put on your running shoes, you can be like, fine, I’ll do one jumping jack or whatever, you know, like your ego will make you take the next little step even though you didn’t think you wanted to. And you’re also reinforcing your identity, as I am someone who says that, who does what they say they will do. And when you start to believe that about yourself, that’s what changes you, you start to have faith in yourself. And knowing I’m the kind of person that does what I say I’m going to do so when I say I am going to lose weight, save for retirement, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, I am and that is a very different feeling than oh, I don’t know, I just need more. You know what I mean? Like that lack of faith in yourself?

Clint Murphy  49:27

And you and I are older, given your TV show references that Ricki Lake could have probably been in there to. So we’ve been probably dealing with like learned different ways about habits so long ago like for me, almost anything you need on habits like Seven Habits of Highly Effective People has it in there. But James clear is beautiful with language. And so what you were just referencing there is every choice we make is a vote for the person we want to be like the absolute, it’s like, oh, James. Yeah, you took what we already knew. And you put such a beautiful language to it. And now anytime you talk about habits, people were like, oh, that’s from Atomic Habits. You’re like, no, no, we had habits before James Clear got here. Yeah, he did not create habits.

Oonagh Duncan  50:19

Yeah, you know, my book came out a month after James’. Of course, I wrote it without having access to his. And then of course, it came out of like, oh, yeah, you wrote one of those, like, habit books like James, I was like, ugggh.

Clint Murphy  50:31

You’re like, no, I wrote that for three years. So like, we both read this book. And this, actually, and this research article, and this and this. And so there’s anyway, so I love that.  Do you have time for final four questions unrelated to the book? Okay, let’s do it. So what’s one book that’s been really influential for you in your life?

Oonagh Duncan  50:56

Well, geez, you know, I was just telling you about this one, right?  It’s so good. But it came out like a week ago. It’s called Buying Back Your Time by Dan Martell. And it is one of the best business books I’ve ever read. I am so excited to implement everything in this book, I sound like an ad, because I’ve been squawking at all my friends to read this book all week. It’s fantastic. And it’s really, it’s about, if I say it’s gonna sound maybe trite, I’m probably not gonna be the best. It’s about figuring out what your zone of genius is and what your value is. And then if you can get anyone to do anything for less than that, you get them to do that. And therefore, you get to spend more time in your zone of genius. And it’s like exponential rewards that keep building on themselves. And there’s beautiful things about management in there and leadership. And I’m just so inspired by it. It’s a really easy read too.

Oonagh Duncan  51:49

Oh, my gosh, oh, another one that I love that I reread annually now is called Hero on a Admission by Don Miller.  It’s so good. He talks about the Cartman Drama Triangle of the victim villain hero. He also talks about how in any story, you have the hero who goes on a mission who overcomes adversity, who’s got a guide who helps them go through all these things. And in doing so they change and they become a different person. And that’s every story, that’s Star Wars, that’s you know, like Luke, who goes on a mission and Yoda helps him and then he has to change and appease a journalist by the end of Star Wars or whatever, right? Like there’s big story. And it’s the same story in every movie, we are conditioned for this story. And yet, many of us are living our lives, like we’re watching the movie, or we are the victim in the movie, the one that needs to be rescued in the movie, instead of being the hero who takes on challenges in order to overcome these challenges and become transformed. And that is what gives our lives a sense of purpose and meaning.

Clint Murphy  51:49

I’m reaching out to him, right after this show. That sounds like an absolute magic. And one of the challenges with the show now is that I tend to only be able to read books for people that are coming on the show, because that’s 52 books a year. And yeah, there’s only so much time because you’ve told me, like many others have done I need to start sleeping more. So love that. What are you reading right now? Well, you’re reading that one right now. But is there anything else?

Clint Murphy  53:17

So take control, be the hero in your own movie. Yeah, absolutely. Which we all should be striving to do. Totally. Oh, I love that. The what’s one thing that you’ve spent less than $1,000 on that you look back on let’s say over the last 18 months that you look back and say darn, I should have bought this sooner?

Oonagh Duncan  53:38

The last 18 months?  Well, I will say I mean this is so cheesy, but my AirPods because I can work out because I also consume a bazillion books a year and I listen to audiobooks while I’m doing my, it’s one of my habit loops. I hate doing my physiotherapy, but I love it because like listen to my books while I’m doing my physiotherapy. We don’t have a dishwasher. So I do dishes and I do physiotherapy or I call my mom and so having hands free AirPods I will say I’m grateful for these every day it’s it’s just like silly dorky thing.

Clint Murphy  54:12

I love that. I love that such a great idea. Great idea. And it’s actually quite often the answer on the show. And other shows where I’ve heard the same question everybody who gets their air pods loves them. I know. I always have mine like similar to you. I throw on the weight vest, go for an hour and a half walk with the dog and just have an air pods on, listen to one podcast, then go air pod-less for the last 20 minutes or so almost like a little bit of a meditation and happy as a clam every time. Yeah. And so this one’s more like over your life. Because the show’s about growth. What’s one habit mindset shift or behavior changed that you’ve done that has had the most impact on your life?

Oonagh Duncan  55:01

Well definitely, you know, getting fit physically, I described a little bit, I was a sedentary smoker. And even, you know, quitting smoking, I mean, there’s so much about my background that although you know, I don’t have a lot of times people will be coming to the fitness industry and they, you know, basically came out of the womb doing cartwheels, and they had a big sporty background and all that stuff. And I had none of that. And although that was a hard journey, in a lot of ways, I’m so grateful for it, because I really feel like I get it with my clients. Like I 100% get it when they tell me it. I remember telling my doctor when they were like, why are you still smoking, I was like, It’s my treat. It’s my way. It’s like my reward for doing life. And so one of my clients tell me that about a cake or booze or whatever, I’m like, Oh, honey, I get it, I get it so much. So I really feel like having that background and going through that process of, you know, transforming to be a different person. Because one of the biggest shifts there was, you know, there was a long time that I was not smoking right now, I have quit smoking. But I was still like, I’m still a cigarette smoker like, oh, yeah, like,

Clint Murphy  56:18

Well, when I have a drink than I do it,  or after a good meal or when I’m with my friends.

Oonagh Duncan  56:26

I didn’t like even if I hadn’t actively smoked in years. I still like thought of myself as a smoker who was kind of you know, on pause for now until you know, I don’t know until I don’t know what my until was and I thought I could pick it up when I got older after I’ve kids. I don’t know what my plan was there. But I just always thought of myself as a smoker. And it wasn’t until I started to think of myself as just because I had these ideas of like smoker equals cool creative alternative. Like I had a lot of really stupid ideas about being a non smoker, I just thought was a goody, goody, boring rule follower, blah, blah, blah. So these are like things that somehow I came up with when I was like, you know, 13, stupid, and I like had to completely reimprint that. And I there’s a lot of people who have similar thoughts about even something so simple, like eating popcorn at the movies. eating popcorn in the movies is like fun treat, bla bla bla bla bla. And not eating popcorn at the movies is like deprivation extreme or like whatever. And you just we have these imprints and so I haven’t gone through that experience it I believe it helps me so much with my clients.

Clint Murphy  57:32

Now what if you get no butter on the popcorn? Is that still bd?

Oonagh Duncan  57:37

Well, there’s a continuum.

Clint Murphy  57:39

I love movie popcorn and it’s bad because I’ve watched a lot of movies in my life so I’ve eating a lot of popcorn is like probably my number one to your point number one binge.

Clint Murphy  57:56

Where can our listeners find you? You’ve already mentioned one website anywhere else you want them to go look?

Oonagh Duncan  58:02

Yeah, sure. So has all my health and fitness stuff. And I am trying to I’m like kind of embarrassed of this. I’m kind of building up my personal brand and I’ve got my new podcast I just started a podcast it launched a couple of weeks ago is called Goals, Grit and some Woowoo Shit. And we talked about that we talked about love that hardcore goals having the grit to persevere to get them and all that woowoo mindset stuff. That’s really the key to getting it all happen.

Clint Murphy  58:36

That is a fun one. That’s all the stuff I enjoy. So we went pretty wide. We went pretty deep on the book. Is there anything we missed that you want to make sure the listener gets?

Oonagh Duncan  58:46

Oh, if you can buy my book Healthy as F*ck. I think you’ll like it. It’s really fun.

Clint Murphy  58:50

Yeah, absolutely. Thank you for joining me today. I really appreciate having you all.

Oonagh Duncan  58:54

Thank you so much. I loved this conversation. I appreciate it a lot.

Clint Murphy  59:04

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