Parker Runs a Marathon: Performance Nutrition for Marathon Runners

Follow Parker's journey as he prepares for Marathons and learns how to fuel his body while running with MetPro Coach Ryan McMullen.

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Crystal O'Keefe: Welcome to the MetPro Method podcast. I'm your host, Crystal O'Keefe. Today I'm joined by MetPro client Parker Watson and his coach Ryan McMullen. Parker and Ryan have been working together and Parker has had quite the transformation. I'm so excited to hear all about it. Thank you both for being here today.

Ryan McMullen: Thank you.

Parker Watson: Absolutely.

Crystal O'Keefe: All right. So, I just kind of want to start at the beginning. How did this come to be? How did Parker, how did you find MetPro? How did all this come together?

Parker Watson: Yeah, so it, it all comes back to running. I initially heard about MetPro through Marathon Training Academy.

I've been listening to their podcast for years now. Over the past few years, I've been on a bit of a running journey that started with significant weight gain over covid like many of us. But for me was much more than what was normal for me.

And actually, so before that, I had signed up, pre covid, for my first marathon. I've always been into fitness, so I've been overweight my whole life. I was that kid, on the playground who was picked last on the teams kind of a thing. I've never thought of myself as an athlete.

Always felt like I've been out of shape. But, during college and after that I did CrossFit for a little bit, dabbled in some running and did a super fun running event. Really decided to push myself and did a Ragnar, actually, with my work. So it was a crazy 12 person relay race that we were running through the night and it was just a wild experience.

I had a lot of fun with it, surprisingly. And, from that we were talking through and they were like, if you could do this, you could totally do a marathon. So that was fall of 2019, they planted that seed and it was like, okay, maybe I can.

Maybe I should just go for it and try it. Like I never imagined I could do something like that. But I've seen some friends who have done it, my coworkers who are seemingly very average people are okay, maybe I can do this. Signed up for it June of 2020, we all know what happened.

So that was postponed for two more years. And so throughout Covid, in the back of my mind, I had this kind of backup plan of like, you know what I'm going to eat how I want to. My partner's a fantastic baker. All these treats and things, it's great and I'm going to just make sure that for my mental health, like I'm happy I'm making through this fine.

But really ended up using that as an excuse and like, well, I've got my marathon coming up, so I'm going to get in great shape. I'm going to lose weight. Like, so it's, it's fine right now. Whatever I do.

Crystal O'Keefe:Oh, Parker, I just have to stop you. I can relate to your entire journey. I just want you to know that I can relate to every bit of it.

Parker Watson: I don't feel like it's that unique of an experience. I think a lot of people went through something similar. But with that, it really, my weight got out of hand. I hit 245 pounds, which was by far the most I've ever weighed in my life. usually would hover more around 215, 220.

So it just, Skyrocketed past that. And, but still I was really in denial about it. I was really like, well, I'm going to run this marathon. It's all going to go away. It's going to be fine. Around that time, so this was, uh, middle of 2021, I had my annual physical, an it was the first time I've ever had a doctor say something about my blood work and my weight, and it's like, you need to do something about this. And in the back of my mind, I knew I needed to, I was like, he's right. But still, it's like, well, I'm going to run this marathon. I'm going to look fine.

Crystal O'Keefe:The marathon's going to fix everything.

Parker Watson: Yeah. Yeah. I started my training in that June. I was training with a friend of mine for the Colfax Half Marathon in Denver. That was October of 2021. And we were doing a whole run walk strategy because she also was getting back into it. And it works incredibly well for us. We had a lot of fun doing it. Didn't have any injuries or anything like that. And I started losing weight.

It did start coming off. With getting back on a training plan, those good habits started to come back. So at this point, in November, I decided after listening to the Marathon Training Academy podcast, they offer a coaching program. It's like, okay why don't I look into getting a coach for this?

Because sure, I can follow a written training plan and yeah, I'll be able to finish, I'll cross the finish line. The race was in June at this point, so I had about seven to eight months. Um, but it, it's like, I don't want to just do it. I want to have fun with it. I want to have a great race and really enjoy it.

I don't want to cross the finish line, be like, that was awful. I never again, it's like, I, I want to enjoy this experience and I don't really know what I'm doing. So, a coach does. Why don't I get a coach? So, I signed up. He built this whole training plan like lots of easy running, really took this focus on.

The time doesn't matter, which I, I didn't care about my time it's like we're going to get there safely, gradually. I got in a groove of the accountability of like, if I skip a workout, if I cut a workout short, like, I'm going to be honest when I let my coach know and he's not going to be happy about that.

So it really helped me establish a cadence to it, really. Keeping me sticking to the plan. And that was all going great into early 2022. And my weight stalled like, I'm getting faster with my running. I'm running further. I know I'm burning a ton of calories, so I should be losing weight, but I'm stuck at this kind of 230.

I've lost 15 pounds. Like that was great, but I'm just sitting here. And really, I realized my eating had gotten out of hand. It's like, yes, I was burning a ton of calories, but I also was eating all of those calories.

Ryan McMullen: Parker told me once on the, maybe one of our first phone calls, he would use the excuse of all the calories he burned to eat pizza.

Parker Watson: Yep. Absolutely. those Sunday long runs like open. Cool. I did my 14 miles. I am going to eat all of that back.

But it really truly was out of hand. The month of February, I found that I had spent over a thousand dollars on DoorDash.

Crystal O'Keefe:Whoa.

Parker Watson: And I was stuck in this loop of, well, if I'm going to pay for delivery, I'll get more food and get leftovers. So, it's more cost effective.

And of course when I'm ordering, I'm getting pizza, I'm getting burgers, I'm getting chicken tenders, whatever.

Crystal O'Keefe: That is a new level of spending justification, I just have to tell you that is impressive, obviously.

Parker Watson: Oh yeah. The mental gymnastics of this is, is wild.

Yeah. But then the problem is that then I would start the next day and I'd have the leftovers of these unhealthy foods. And it's falling back in that mentality of oh, well I've already ate poorly today, so why not just keep going? Well, it doesn't matter anymore. Which of course it very much does.

And it got to a point where I was eating just unhealthy foods and desserts all the time and everything that I knew I needed to do something about it. And to the level where, I've been overweight my whole life. I've yo-yo dieted my whole life done, like South Beach Diet and all sorts of other things, that have helped, but then I gain it back and, I was succeeding so much.

I was getting so much out of having a running coach. I was like, why don't I get a coach for my eating, someone who can hold me accountable. Someone who ultimately, like, clearly I don't know what I'm doing. I don't know how to eat right. Why don't I get someone who can help me and tell me what to eat?

And so after listening to the MTA podcast, like, okay, you know what I'm going to, I'm going to reach out to MetPro. Let's give this a try, the scientific data-driven background they have to everything. Because I'm a software engineer, so I love data, I love like that side of things.

It's kind of reassuring to me. There is science behind this. It's not just a trendy diet or whatever. They're reasons why you're eating certain ways. So, I reached out to MedPro at that point and have had a great experience since.

Ryan McMullen: And I have to add, I really have to add here, hearing his backstory.

For most people, they're going to think like, man, like how difficult was this for you to go from a thousand dollars of DoorDash? Pizza, burgers, ice cream? And like, now, you know, we see Parker, he's down 45 pounds from when he started with me. That's 60 pounds from his heaviest. So, you'd think that this would've been the hardest transition.

Parker has been the easiest client on my roster today. I'm not joking. He's just like, just tell me what to eat. Okay. Got it. I'm off. He's been the easiest.

Parker Watson: It's been amazing working with you, Ryan and, like I said, I like all the data, all the facts.
I like to know why we're doing things, why things work. And Ryan is more than happy to spend the time on our calls to thoroughly explain like, what does this adjustment mean? What are we expecting to happen over the next week? Um, kind of bounce ideas off of him of how I'm feeling or, just helping me through just a little adjustments and things I need to do to make sure that I'm still feeling good through all of this.

Crystal O'Keefe: Okay. So, Parker, you've been through this transition. You started working with Ryan.
Ryan says that you're easy to work with, but I'm curious, how do you go from DoorDash every day to cooking? Okay. Because I feel like that is something people are going to want to know. How did you manage that?

Parker Watson: That's a great question. I think what it starts with is the guidance that I'm getting from my coach, from Ryan.

I really thrive off of really having a routine, having instructions, having guidance. That's why in the past I got really into CrossFit because I loved the idea of. I don't have to do anything other than just show up and do the workout. They have it all thought out. They know what's going on.

I know it's going to be an hour long and going to be a great workout. I just have to show up and do it and it's very much the same feeling with MetPro with when I started. I can lose this weight, I can lose more weight than I ever have before. All I have to do is follow my coach's instructions.

I just need to do what I'm supposed to and I will get there. There's no question about it. That helped a lot with the initial, like putting in all the extra effort to start cooking myself again and meal prepping and all of that. But that really, helped drive me to commit to that. And again, with me thriving off of routines, I really got into meal prepping. It was like, okay, I've got the time. On Sundays, I'm going to put together my whole grocery list. I'm going to plan out these meals, especially dinners. And I'm going to get my rice cooker going and cook a bunch of rice.

I'm going to sauté up a whole bunch of taco meat and I'm going to do some roasted veggies. I'm going to, get a little bit of cheese and then I get my measuring cups out and, my plastic Tupperware and just do it all out. If I get tired of stuff, I know that I can toss those things in the freezer and have 'em a week later.

For the start, I was very repetitive with my eating. I would say I found a few very easy recipes that were easy for me to meal prep and just rotated through them for the first, probably, the first month or so, just to make it as easy and brainless as possible, and so they're all pre-portioned out.

I really don't have to think for each meal. I just know this is my lunch, this is my afternoon snack, this is my dinner. Just eat it and I'm good.

Ryan McMullen: I helped with none of this.

Crystal O'Keefe: None of it.

Ryan McMullen: None of it. I've never once had a conversation with Parker about food prep. Not once.

Parker Watson: ¬But I think it actually, it was one of our first few phone calls I was at a Saturday, um, at a work thing. We were doing a, a work ski day. Um, and I-

Crystal O'Keefe: I love your job.

Parker Watson: -and I had a call with Ryan that afternoon. And I filled him in, but I forgot to tell him beforehand I was doing this and I told him, I was like, yes, I'm at the ski thing and everything. It was like, well, so how are you eating?

I was like, oh, well, I have my afternoon snack in my backpack. I brought all my Tupperware, I've got everything. And, and he was like, Man, I could just hug you right now. This is awesome.

Ryan McMullen: That was literally like our second phone call ever. Oh yeah. And I was like, every coach's dream. I was like, what?

You're where? And like I was freaking out for a second, but he said, oh no, I packed everything. I brought it all. He was like, okay.

Crystal O'Keefe: He had planned ahead, which is a lot of times what we have to teach people and he just knew intuitively to do it.

Ryan McMullen: Like I said, easiest client ever.

Crystal O'Keefe: That's amazing. Oh, okay. So, at this point, when you started working with Ryan, you were still training for the marathon because it was delayed so many times, right?

Parker Watson: Yes. So, I've had quite a few sort of mind blowing moments through this whole process of working with MetPro and Ryan.

My very first one was that I assumed, since my workouts vary throughout the week, I'd have some shorter three to four mile runs and I'd have my 12 mile long run on the weekends. I assumed that the amount that I ate every day would be different, that either the day before or the day of my long run, I would eat way more than I would on a recovery day where I'm not really working out.

And Ryan was like, no, not at all. This is your plan and you just, you stick to this for the whole week. Like this is what you eat every day. And then taught me about how important it is to fuel during my workouts. And the difference of eating throughout the day just for daily nutrition and for weight loss.

But then figuring out how to give my body the energy exactly for the workout that I'm doing for that day. So, the concept that I could be eating 1600 calories a day, run 16 miles, and then not even really be that hungry throughout the day, but just because the little tips and tricks we worked out, uh, it like was incredible.

I didn't know it could work like that.

Crystal O'Keefe: So, so Ryan, how did you help him set up his intra-training fuel?

Ryan McMullen: Uh, I kind of just, what I tell all my clients and what I've said on podcasts as well before, there's a big difference between fueling for performance and fueling for weight loss. Right?

And I've, and Parker's been with me since March, I think Middle of March.

Parker Watson: Yep.

Ryan McMullen: Somewhere around there. And he's done two marathons in that time. One in June and then another one, what was that end of October Parker?

Parker Watson: Uh, it was like mid-November.

Ryan McMullen: Yeah. So he just did about a month ago.

He just did a second one. But the conversation kind of was the same. It's, you have to start with the goal, right? Is it your goal weight loss or is it performance? And we've kind of bounced around within that, right? Like during his marathon days, obviously we were fueling for performance, right?

So that was elevated and Parker, I'm a little upset that you mentioned I put you on 1600 calories and had you run 16 miles. I wouldn't.

Crystal O'Keefe: I gave you the opportunity to give the real story, the coach's perspective.

Ryan McMullen: Good Lord.

Parker Watson: That wasn't counting my fuel.

Ryan McMullen: Making me look bad, buddy. Yeah. So, it, you know, and then that has shifted over time, right?
Because now Parker's in more of a, I want to change my body composition. He ran his last marathon and at a weight where that's in, it wasn't even in our eyesight. That weight that he ran at when he first started. We didn't even have a goal, right? So now he's at this weight that's much different and we're fueling a lot more for performance and body composition.

So, Parker's kind of got like a well-rounded mix of, you know, some people we can never bring there, right? We're still fueling for fat loss. We’re fueling for fat loss, but he's kind of like, this is the way you do it. If you want to get here, this is the way to do it if you want to get here. So, it's, it's been really fun.

Crystal O'Keefe: You've gotten to experience both sides of that spectrum.

Ryan McMullen: Yes.

Parker Watson: Yeah. And then I'd like to add too, when it comes to fueling for workouts. So yeah, I said I was eating 1600 calories a day that did not include the workout fuel.

Ryan McMullen: Thank you.

Parker Watson: Um, so yeah.

Ryan McMullen: Thanks.

Parker Watson: So, I have my gels and my electrolytes and all those extra things and it was so great working with Ryan to figure out what does my body need? So especially on those long runs, we'd say, okay, we're going to try doing one gel every 50 minutes. And just see how that goes.

And so, I'll do my run and then next call we have, talk about how it went. I got halfway done and felt terrible. It's like that I just, I didn't have the energy. My legs were heavy. It's okay, we need to adjust that. We'll try again. So, then the next week, next long run, let's do a gel every 40 minutes.

And get the feedback and we just keep iterating from there. And it was so cool to fine tune that and that was completely independent from what I was eating for my day. It was like this is where we're at in this phase for how I'm doing with my weight loss. But then just during the run, here's what my body needs to be able to complete that run, do have my best performance that I can in training, but not have any extra fuel that'll throw me off my eating plan, my meal plan at that time.

Crystal O'Keefe: Okay. I get what kept you motivated. If Ryan's telling you, okay, eat this, do this. Like, these are the things you need to do. You've got your running coach telling you this is how you run. But what kept you motivated to keep doing it once the newness, the excitement wore off?

Parker Watson: Yeah, that's a great question. So, my big motivator, I would say, at the time when I started I was 29 and I was turning 30 in June, about a week or so after my marathon.

That's cool. And you hear all those stories of oh yeah, you turn 30, you start to get older. Like your body starts hurting and can't do the things you used to do and all this, I know that's not true, I know people who are, in their seventies, their eighties and, they're still doing stuff and that's where like the MTA podcast is amazing because they talk about people who are, they've never run in their life and they pick up running at 60 and run their first marathon.

So it's like all that age stuff is like, that is not, that's an excuse. It's largely an excuse. I want, I love skiing. I love running, I love biking and, hiking and all these things. I want to do these as long as I can in my life.

And if I want to do that, I need to make changes. Now. I'm turning 30. I can't keep making excuses and pushing this off, like the change has to happen. So, I use this training going into the marathon and working with Ryan's, like, I'm changing my life. I'm not going to just keep rolling along how I have been.

And that's MTAs sort of tagline is, you have what it takes to run a marathon and change your life. And it is so true. Both with running the marathon and working with Ryan and MetPro to do something that I never, ever thought I could do in my life. And like alongside that, get down to a weight that I haven't seen since high school.

Crystal O'Keefe: That's awesome.

Ryan McMullen: I have to add to that because he's really leaving it out with Parker, it's a lot more. Even that's a big picture in my eyes. It's a lot more simple for him. He just needs a goal. Like, something he signed up for, he has to look forward to. Even after his first marathon, it was, what are we doing next?

And it's just get something on the books even like when he just finished his last one, I know that about him, and it was the first thing I said is like, what are we getting signed up for? He’s going to put off another marathon for a little bit. Because we've got some other stuff going on, but I'm like, okay, if you're not signed up for this, we need to have other goals, other metrics.

So, it's on like he just needs something three, four months out to like, look forward to

Crystal O'Keefe: You got to have that direction. Laser focused. Yeah. Got it. Okay.

Parker Watson: Absolutely it's, because that's the thing for me that makes the difference when my alarm goes off at 6:00 AM and it's dark and cold out, and I have a five mile run to do, nobody wants to do that.

But when I've got a marathon coming up, it's like my choice is to either do my workout and stay on my training plan and have a fun marathon and have a great race, or skip my workout. The marathon's still coming I'm still committed to doing that, but it will not go as well if I don't do this workout

So that, yeah. Ryan is absolutely right. Having that goal for me is huge.

Crystal O'Keefe: So, I'm curious, how did the first marathon go and where were you in your weight loss journey, your training journey?

Parker Watson: Yeah, at that point I was, weight wise, I was hovering right around 200 pounds.

Crystal O'Keefe: Okay.

Parker Watson: Which I mean, was amazing. The last time I had been there was a couple years post-college because so it, it just, it felt amazing to be back into the low 200s.

Ryan McMullen: Which by the way, that means he lost 30 pounds, just throwing this out there, 30 pounds in three months.

Crystal O'Keefe: Incredible. That's incredible. 30 pounds, that's dedication, that's focus.

Ryan McMullen: It's first three months of working with me. So just adding that in there.

Parker Watson: Yeah. It truly was. It was just melting off. It was amazing to hop on the scale every day and it's wow, whoa. Like it's still going down. I'm still making progress.

This is awesome. But the, yeah, so the race, it was here in Colorado. It's called the Revel Rockies. And they're the Revel Race series. Their whole kind of gimmick is that they're all downhill races. Cause I was thinking, you know what, I'm going to do my first marathon.

If it's all downhill, that means it's easier, right? Which is not true. So I had to do a lot of additional downhill training specifically for that but it was this beautiful course that started up in the mountains. It actually started at about 10,000 feet of elevation and worked its way down into the town of Morrison, which is where the Red Rocks Amphitheater is.

Um, beautiful, windy mountain roads and elevation loss of, I think, 3,600 feet or so over the course of the marathon. So, it's significant. And I went into that race, had my whole fueling plan dialed in with all my gels and everything with Ryan, and then, working with my MTA coach for the running strategy itself.

Kind of had my heart rate zones in mind of like where, effort wise, where I should be staying, and in the back of my mind had some time goals. Like if I'm feeling good, if things are going good, my goal was I want to run under five hours.

Crystal O'Keefe: That's a great goal.

Parker Watson: Yeah, that's, I think, around like an 1120 minute mile pace.

So, for me, that was definitely, a challenge. It was pushing me a little bit extra. But it was like, yeah, I'm just going to take it easy. Because again, my number one goal is I want to finish and I want to finish with a smile on my face. I want to enjoy this experience and I just, I had a great race. It all went super well, was feeling great that day and was on track, and managed to finish it in about four hours and 55 minutes.

Crystal O'Keefe: Wow.

Parker Watson: And I honestly, I can say that I didn't once have a moment of negativity of why am I here? Why am I doing this? Why'd I sign up for this?

Crystal O'Keefe: Not even, not even mile 21, the infamous wall?

Parker Watson: No. Well, I mean, so I never hit a wall. Proper pacing and working with my MTA coach and having all the fueling dialed in there, it got hard, but there was no wall. And at that point when I hit that 20 mile mark, that was the furthest I'd ever run.

So that really helped me keep going. It's every mile. It's like I've never gone this far before. And just know, like I'm running a marathon, like I'm doing it. This is amazing. Like I'm in the last 10K like, I can do this. I'm tired, but I can do this. So yeah, it was incredible.

I like crossed the finish line. Was super excited and happy about it. So proud of myself and yeah, I think it was it with within the next week for sure. I was signed up for my next one. I signed up for the Rich Richmond Marathon this past November.

Ryan McMullen: I told you some he needs something on the books. He’s just got to have it there.

Crystal O'Keefe: He's gotta have it.

Ryan McMullen: And I believe what you ran a what, like a 30 minute PR, right?

Parker Watson: Yep. I ran just under four and a half hours.

Crystal O'Keefe: The one that you just did in November?

Parker Watson: Yes. So, in five months I cut off. About 25, 26 minutes.

Crystal O'Keefe: Holy cannoli! And do you think that's because you lost more weight? Do you think that's fuel training? A combination?

Parker Watson: Definitely a combination. Because when I ran that race, I was about, 185. So down another 17 or so pounds from when I did my first race, so that absolutely helped. But just keeping up with my training, because it's really easy to complete a race, complete a goal like that. And you I had to have a couple weeks of recovery. Like my legs were so sore, uh, I was like, there's walking my dog and doing chores around the house is about all I can do.

And it's hard to have a few weeks off and then go back into a strict workout routine.

Crystal O'Keefe: That's why some people, you know, have an off season.

Ryan McMullen: No, no, I just, there's no off season for Parker. That doesn't exist. I can tell.

Parker Watson: No. It's just what's my next goal? What's the next challenge? Let's go for it. So, I signed up for the Richmond Marathon and was like, okay, let's recover properly, make sure I don't hurt myself.

Then, we definitely did change my nutrition a bit through that for training for the second one. So the first marathon especially because my goal for the race was just completion. We still really were leaning into the side of weight loss. Up until just before the race where we ramped up my calories and set me up for the race itself.

It's like we're just trying to lose as many pounds as I can before the race, but, after I ran that one and going, working toward Richmond, it's like I want to keep losing weight, but this time around I want to go for a pace goal. I want to try to run faster, to see what I can do. So, we definitely, the nutrition there shifted the balance of macros and how much I was eating and shifting to a more aggressive fueling strategy of my gels during my workouts.

Ryan McMullen: Um, we pretty much changed everything.

Crystal O'Keefe: Tell us from your perspective, Ryan, what did you change?

Ryan McMullen: It's really just interesting because it, it's all what I hear from him, right? Like what, he was just saying is, is, um, the first marathon was, I just want to get through it right?

So, when I hear that and I'm like, okay, is the number one goal still weight loss? Great. Okay, here's what we're going to do then. If it was towards performance, that completely shifted and I'm again hearing, okay, so you don't care if you don't lose any more weight, right? That's what you're telling me.

Okay, great. So, then it was all feedback. How did your legs feel? How are you recovering? Oh, you're not. Okay. We're going to elevate your protein intake a little bit more. I know you're building lean muscle. We're okay to do that. Um, we're going to bump up your fueling. We're going to start with time first.

We're going to squeeze it closer together. Let's see how that does. And then it was like, I'm gassing out. I need a little bit more. How far can we push that limit? So, it honestly like, kind of just like a little science experiment but with Parker, because that strategy only works for him. I could, there is not a single other client that I have on the same fueling strategy as Parker.

I love that part because it's so unique to him and we have it so fine tuned and then he goes off and changes his mind and now he's like four times a week at CrossFit. He's only running a couple times a week and I'm like, gosh, what am I gonna do with him now?

Crystal O'Keefe: Now you gotta start all over on a new strategy.

Parker Watson: Yeah. But that's what's so amazing about having a coach with this is I pick my goals, I figured out what I want to. And I just lay all of that on Ryan. It's like, that's your job to figure it out. Like, just tell me what to do.

Crystal O'Keefe: That's true. It literally is your job, Ryan. Yeah.

Parker Watson: And he's been amazing with it.

Like it's so awesome to have that support and be able to lean on Ryan like that, to know I'm completely changing up my goals. Especially like he said right now, leaning into CrossFit, I'm really, getting geared up for having a great ski season. It's like that's completely shifting everything about what we've done for fueling and balancing how I'm eating and my macros and everything.

And it's awesome. He knows exactly what to do.

Crystal O'Keefe: So, Parker, what has surprised you the most going through this process with MetPro?

Parker Watson: That's a tough question because there've definitely been a few things. For one, I would say it's completely changed the way I look at food. There is no longer healthy food and unhealthy.

Because, I like so many other people, it is like a salad's healthy and a cheeseburger is not right. That kind of a thing. But that's not the case. It really, what's healthy for you depends on where you're at, what your goals are and what else you're eating. So, with the help of the app especially and how it breaks down categorizing the different food you need and the portions and everything I, especially working with MetPro for so long now, I feel like I can look at food, even if it's going to be off plan, if I'm going out to a restaurant or something and I can just see.

I mean, last night I actually went out and, um, had some Mexican food, so I got fajitas and it's like, okay,

Ryan McMullen: Wait a second…

Crystal O'Keefe: This is news to Ryan. This was not a plan.

Parker Watson: Did, did I? Did I check off my dinner? It's on plan.

Ryan McMullen: I don't know. I haven't looked. That's just, that's just fun.

Parker Watson: That's hilarious. So I guess I, I didn't mention. I'm not trying to lie to you. I promise.

Ryan McMullen: Parker's very good about that though. He's, he is very honest and it's really interesting because I don't even have this willpower, like he's very good about kind of game planning his off meals, which is really interesting because he's like no, I'm going to go have pizza.

I'm like, okay. Then he just jumps right back on plan, which is crazy cause there's no like, off the walls, like completely fell off the wagon. There's none of that with him. Just right back on plan, have his pizza. Wow. Move on.

Crystal O'Keefe: So, did you do that last night too? So your Mexican restaurant that you had, did you like jump right back in?

Parker Watson: Yeah. Well and so that one's really, like fajitas are a great food that I've learned is like that. That's very easy for me to portion out. Yeah, because I've got, I've got my veggies and my meat, like yeah, they're going to be oiled. It's going to be higher fat than I'm, I'm allocated right now. But we can't be perfect.

But yeah, that's the thing is I'm acknowledging that I understand like, okay, so this is a little higher fat, but I'm going to make sure I eat my chicken, I eat all the veggies. I'm going to have a small serving of rice because I need my carbs. I, as much as I love guac, I'm going to skip out on the avocado because I've already got the fats and the oils with the chicken and everything.

So, so that's what I mean with it. It's changed my perspective on food is I can look at a meal, look at what my options are for food and really break it down into my carbs my fats, my proteins. And be roughly where I should be and understanding too that having one meal that's a little bit off plan is not going to ruin anything.

Crystal O'Keefe: It's interesting because, another thing that you're doing, and I don't even know if you realize it, is you're looking at food as fuel. So, you're saying, well, I need this, this, and this. It's not just because Ryan said so, or because MetPro, that's what the plan said. It's because you need that fuel to get what you want to get done the next day. So that's pretty amazing that your shift has occurred with how you view food.

Ryan McMullen: Crystal. Yeah. You see what I'm talking about? Easiest client ever. Like you're listening to him going like, this is the stuff we tell our clients all day long. But he just does it.

Crystal O'Keefe: He just gets it.

Ryan McMullen: He just does it.

Crystal O'Keefe: So, Ryan, what's been your most surprising thing working with Parker? Besides that he's the easiest client ever.

Ryan McMullen: I think what's, for me, what's so surprising is he really, and I've got lots of other clients that do this as well, but I think what's surprising about him is how much he trusts. Like, trusts me to make those choices for him. And, and he, not pushback, but he wants to know why. And I like, I love that because I love the science behind it.

So, I appreciate when a client asks me, not as pushback, but just, hey, what's your thinking? Why are we doing this? What are the mechanics, what are the implications? Like how is this going to play out and what do you expect? And he does a lot of that. And, I just really appreciate that aspect of it.

Crystal O'Keefe: It sounds like it's also makes the conversations, it adds a layer of fun in there as well.

Ryan McMullen: Oh yeah. I look forward to mine and Parker's weekly phone calls. It's a blast.

Crystal O'Keefe: So, Parker, what do you want to make sure that, like listeners at home take away from your journey?

Parker Watson: Yeah, I think one, one of the big things for me, and this is another one of those sort of big shifts in my perspective and sort of mind blowing moments, is thinking about the difference between staying on plan and off plan and cheat meals and sticking to what you're supposed to be doing.

Because at this point I don't like to use the terminology a cheat meal. I don't like to say that I'm cheating in my eating. I like what Ryan spoke to, I'll plan things out ahead of time. I will be very intentional, make a very intentional decision about eating off plan. I've been super strict.

I've been doing really well on my plan for a while. Life's been really stressful. I've got a night off that's free. I just really want to have pizza. And accept that it's like, there is nothing wrong with that. I know that this means that my weight's going to go up a little bit. It means that in my weight loss, I'm going to be set back by a few days, but that's okay.

So, I'm going to get a pizza for dinner. I'm going to enjoy it and love it and not feel guilty about it. And then my next meal, the next day, I'm right back on plan. So, I got to enjoy my pizza, but I'm not going to let that completely throw me off because I'm not cheating.

Crystal O'Keefe: That's awesome. Ryan, would you like to add anything? Is there anything you would like to make sure listeners know about Parker's journey?

Ryan McMullen: How much he's lost in what he's done. I mean, seriously, 230 with me down to 185. It's incredible. Yeah. Just mean, running marathons going to CrossFit, super active. Um, yeah, I just think the world of him, he's great.

And he's done an amazing job.

Crystal O'Keefe: Aw, that's so nice. I love this. I love this. Parker, what are you most proud of with all this, all of the things, because you've done a lot, so I'm curious, like what has been the most meaningful.

Parker Watson: Yeah, I think, I'd have to say that I truly have changed my life. It sounds super corny.
It's like a totally Disney sort of a thing that my life's totally different, but it really has. I think just completing the marathon, doing something that I never thought I would ever do. And with the marathon, so I had mantras during my race, and in my training.

And I never thought of myself as a runner. I've never thought of myself as an athlete. And I had friends tell me, you're training for a marathon. Like you are a runner. Like you can't not be. But I still, I had that mental block that was like, that's not me.

Like I'm doing this. Sure. So, a little bit into my training and for my race, my mantras were, I am a runner. I am an athlete. And then the, also the MTA slogan that I have, what it takes to run a marathon and change my life. And I literally would when things got tough, like I would just start repeating those.

And upon, like, when completing that race and losing this weight, it's I am a runner and I'm an athlete. I truly believe it now. I've completely changed my life for the better because I'm actually after years of trying to diet, trying to lose weight, trying to make a significant change, I've actually done that and I'm sticking to it and I have the tools that I need in order to continue in the future.

And I've learned that also, there's absolutely nothing wrong with asking for help. For recognizing I can't do this on my own. I've tried dieting. I have lost a little bit of weight, but I just, I can't do this on my own, so I'm going to reach out, I'm going to get a coach. I'm going to ask for help, and that has completely changed my life.

Crystal O'Keefe: Oh, how inspiring are you, Parker.

Ryan McMullen: I know, he makes you, he makes you kind of want to just go get on a run, right? Like had I not worked out already this morning, I want to go get on.

Crystal O'Keefe: Same here. I've got my long run coming up tomorrow. I'll have you in my head tomorrow, Parker.
I'm going to use your mantras. I love it. And to this day, I still don't consider myself a runner. So, I know how you feel about that and I know I should. I know that I should, but I am not there yet.

Parker Watson: Yeah. I think I'm a true believer now and if you go out and you run, you are a runner.

Crystal O'Keefe: That's awesome. It's that simple. That's a good way to think of it. Your journey is super impressive. Your attitude is even more impressive. I love that you both were able to join today. I really appreciate both of you taking the time to do this. Thank you for sharing your stories. Is there anything else that you want to make sure that we get to tell people or let people know where they can find you before we wrap up?

Parker Watson: No, I don't think so. And I'm not much of a social media person, so yeah, don't have any Twitter handles or anything to share. Sorry.

Crystal O'Keefe: That's okay. Well, listeners, that's all for this week. You can find all the MetPro Method episodes anywhere you get podcasts, or you can go to

Please be sure to follow the show and rate and review that lets other people know what they can expect. You can also learn more about MetPro at I'm your host, Crystal O'Keefe, and I'll be back next week. Until then, remember, consistency is key.

Done with Dieting with MetPro

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