Search Results for: environment for success

Environmental Influences; Uncensored Podcast with John and Brad


Naomi is one of the first Venus Transformation Contest winners.  She learned to deal with the environmental influences during and after her transformation.  Today she still maintains the golden lifestyle.

Naomi is one of the first Venus Transformation Contest winners. She learned to deal with the environmental influences during and after her transformation. Today, several years later, she still maintains the golden lifestyle.

Your location and context are important to your success

People around you have a lot of influence in what you do.

Where you are is very important.

Who you are with is very important.

Are you at the gym?

Are you with people who encourage or discourage positive workout behavior?

Interaction with others to fit in with the group will affect your decisions.

Persecution regarding food is not about you. They are projecting their issues and insecurities on you.  The very fact that you are thinking about what you eat and consume is threatening to some people.

Don’t let your best friends issue with her mother dictate to you what to eat.

Negative comments are always really people making comments about themselves and their issues, not YOU.  The guy or gal on Facebook who says “Too much muscle!” or “Too skinny!” or whatever, it is really not about you.

You will get a lot of negative comments during your corrective action phase

“The correction” or corrective phase is what most will be commenting on.  This is the phase that requires serious effort – and is only necessary for the weight loss.  The extreme corrective action is not forever.

 It is not sustainable or you would go down to zero percent body fat.  At some point it must stop, because it’s corrective action.

Maintaining is less extreme than the “correction”.   When you maintain you only need very short temporary corrective action for minor fat gains and reigning in eating habits back to a maintenance level.

Online writing is biased

Everyone has their issues.  It comes through in their writing. There is bias.  There are very few experts.  They explain to you their perspective as if everyone was like them. 

So it’s not just friends, family, and people around you, it’s also the fitness writers online.  Even the researchers; they have a hope or bias that the outcome or answer will turn a certain way. They are trying to convince you that their issues are your issues.

Your life will change as you gain success


 All of your relationships will change as you gain success and reach your goals.  People will need to adjust to the new transformed person you have become.  Some people are able to adjust, and some are not.  You will have to make decisions and evaluate all of your relationships.

You will be affected by jealousy and others who want your success.  This is what happens with any success.  The more success you have, the more your relationships all around you will change.

So the bottom line is that who you spend time with in your life as well as online will all affect your success.  They will also affect how well you keep your success.


To hear more about what John and Brad have to say about environmental influences listen to today’s uncensored podcast click on the link below.

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Falling Forward: Turning Mistakes into Success

Don’t dwell on what went wrong. Instead, focus on what to do next. Spend your energies on moving forward toward finding the answer. -Denis Waitley

The hardest part about mistakes is to keep moving forward but that is what you must do.  Everyone makes mistakes but if you keep moving forward the mistake will soon be behind you.  Have you ever made a mistake at a new job?

I currently work as a volunteer patrol deputy for our local Sheriff’s department.  I had spent 25 years prior working for a corporate high tech company and then decided to go through the police academy and volunteer for the community in a unique way.

The environment at a law enforcement agency is vastly different from the corporate company I was used to.  Yes, I made mistakes.  It’s hard on the ego when you get called on the pad and into the Lieutenant’s office.  Part of me wanted to quit and say this is just not for me.  But when you keep moving forward you can sometimes become better for having made the mistake.  The best thing to do is own up to it and face whatever consequences come with it and continue to do your best.

Because of what I learned from that mistake I’m now in a position to help coach others on how to avoid that particular mistake should the opportunity arise.  Can you think of ways that you became better because of mistakes you have made?

As I lost 60 pounds I chose to move forward even when I made mistakes at work as well as on my weight loss journey.

The Sheriff gives a speech every year at our official swearing in ceremony.  Because consequences can be severe for mistakes made in law enforcement he always talks about the concept of owning up to mistakes and moving on.  He has an awesome sense of humor and a fun personality, but he shows us his serious side when he talks about consequences in our work mistakes.

The other option is to stop, freeze, or quit.  If you stop moving forward and are worried about making more mistakes you will never progress.  Every successful person has made mistakes and know they will make mistakes again.  They don’t live in fear of mistakes.

My friend April and I share some of the exact same mistakes regarding motherhood.  Sometimes this gives us a special bond with a friend and helps us deal with residual guilt and healing.  For women especially there is a certain amount of guilt we all feel about not being perfect mothers for our kids.   Whether it is simply a matter of raising the children, sharing custody, adoption, congenital medical issues or children’s health issues, whatever is the circumstance these all cause very deep emotional issues for women.

Because of what happened in April’s situation she lost a lot of weight and became very thin, then did the yo-yo in the opposite direction and gained a lot of weight and started down the path of an emotional eating disorder.

April believes that the reeling torment on the inside was being reflected on the outside (manifested in her yo-yo body weight), and that she was punishing herself for the guilt she felt.

April finally decided to take a step forward when she joined the Venus Index Community.  She owned up to her mistakes with eating along with the other mistakes.  She allowed herself to be accepted into a community of women who understood and treated her warmly and with respect.  April said this has helped her get her body right and get through some rough times.  This is helping her get her mind right as well. April learned that sometimes getting support means you have to give it order to get it.

April wants to learn to forgive herself for not being perfect for her son.  She shares a unique story where she is the birth mother and she shares a special bond with Rebecca Bennett.  April wants to be a Venus both inside and out.  I think she is well on her way and moving forward now.

As we start out on our weight loss journey full of hope, new tools, new books to read, and new workouts we must remember to forgive ourselves from the mistakes that we will make.  We must learn to keep moving forward, or falling forward, or leaping forward, anything but staying frozen in fear of mistakes.

Whether the mistakes are at a job or school, or on your weight loss journey you can move forward and learn to overcome adversity.   Do you have trouble getting over a sabotage point; have anxiety with food choices, or food addictions?  These can all be overcome; you can learn a new way to eat regardless of your situation.  Are you afraid of the gym or are you afraid to lift heavy?  This too can be overcome with a winning mindset.


April chooses to leap forward from her mistakes. You can make this choice too.

What about you? Will you learn from your mistakes and keep moving, or will you let mistakes control you?

It is your choice.


And the VT18 Venus Transformation Contest results are …

There is nothing easy about this process.  It’s a lifestyle. It takes TIME for people to learn a new lifestyle.  Be patient with yourself. Give yourself permission to be human. Never give up. The only difference between those who succeed and those who have not yet is persistence and learning to dust yourself off and keep going after you fall.

And our first place winner is Jackie. Her prize is getting her life back but she happens to get her choice of either $500 or the Immersion package.

1st Place Jackie

"For VT18, I felt like the various pieces all came together – consistency in exercise and nutrition. It was only during this contest that I feel like the target measurements might be real. What if I could achieve that? What would that feel like? I am looking forward to finding out."

“For VT18, I felt like the various pieces all came together – consistency in exercise and nutrition. It was only during this contest that I feel like the target measurements might be real. What if I could achieve that? What would that feel like? I am looking forward to finding out.”


The second place winner is Barbara and besides a beautiful shape for her body she gets the choice of $350 or the Immersion package.


2nd Place Barbara

"I feel that this is the beginning of Venus Index for life! My husband says whatever you are doing, it's really working and now he is starting to ask me to help him! I am starting Final Phase tomorrow, thanks to the encouragement of my girlfriends on the Thanksgiving Challenge. Roberta, you are one amazing human being. I hope I know you forever."

“I feel that this is the beginning of Venus Index for life! My husband says whatever you are doing, it’s really working and now he is starting to ask me to help him! I am starting Final Phase tomorrow, thanks to the encouragement of my girlfriends on the Thanksgiving Challenge. Roberta, you are one amazing human being. I hope I know you forever.”


Our 3rd place winner is Lynn who not only looks amazing in her dress, but she gets a prize of $250 or the choice of the Immersion package.


3rd Place Lynn

"Daily planning of food to go with you, so you are not tempted by unhealthy choices becomes easy and routine. Choosing to change my mind set to” Slow and Steady, while incorporating the Venous System has made the difference. Life is not a race. Venus Index bring it on, you rock!!"

“Daily planning of food to go with you, so you are not tempted by unhealthy choices becomes easy and routine. Choosing to change my mind set to” Slow and Steady, while incorporating the Venous System has made the difference. Life is not a race. Venus Index bring it on, you rock!!”


And not the least of all is our amazing 4th place Candy who looks absolutely stunning in her dress.  She wins the choice of $250 or the Immersion package.


4th Place Candy

" I actually have only begun. I look at my after pictures with great pride, realizing the hard work and determination it took to get to where I am today. I will continue to eat clean and exercise, and to commit to the Venus lifestyle. Thank you for this incredible program."

” I actually have only begun. I look at my after pictures with great pride, realizing the hard work and determination it took to get to where I am today. I will continue to eat clean and exercise, and to commit to the Venus lifestyle. Thank you for this incredible program.”


Congratulations to these beautiful ladies who put in a lot of hard work to make a transformation. Each of them lost 10-15 pounds which is above average for most women in the 3 month period of a contest.  They enter the holiday season with a winning strategy and ahead of the game compared to the rest of society.

Why are there only four winners this time?  Well first of all we don’t just fill up the ten slots, we pick those who showed a true transformation.  If the pictures don’t show a change or transformation, then they can’t be used.

But mainly there is nothing easy about this process. The is no magic pill or short cut. It’s going to take some true grit and determination. It’s somewhat simple yes, but it’s hard to implement the nutrition habits.  It’s easy to give up when you think you can’t do it anymore.  Sometimes you make all the human mistakes we all make with food intake, you think you are a failure, thus you give up.  But the fact of the matter all of us make a “controlled stumble forward” as John’s has said in his email.  You have to give yourself permission to be human and keep going anyway.

I’ve emailed everyone who entered this contest and had extended the deadline for them, but the overwhelming response was “I just couldn’t stick with the nutrition plan”.

So here’s a list of the most common mistakes and some solutions:


Problem: Eating a deficit that is too low for you. The Venus calculator gives you a range, not an absolute number.

Solution:  When you eat too low on your deficit days you will end up eating more uncontrolled on other days. The solution is to bump up your calories to something still under your maintenance number per the Venus calculator.  Consistency is more important that eating low. The turtle wins this race. Everyone that tries to do this too fast end up rebounding.  Aren’t you tired of the diet yo-yo?  If so, stop eating so low.  But at the same time don’t eat over maintenance. That’s how you win.  That is how you walk the calorie tightrope.


Problem: Not eating up to maintenance at least one day a week.

Solution:  You don’t have to follow an exact schedule on this, you can pick a day of the week that works best for you. Some weeks you need more than one maintenance day. Remember that eating up to your normal needs (maintenance) is ALWAYS A WIN.  It is not back sliding, it eating what you actually need.  Eating at a deficit is “corrective action” and is not meant to be long term. It is like taking medicine and some days the “medicine” causes too much stress on your body.  If it’s hard to add in a little extra food on those days start eating a little earlier in the day, continue to eat small portions but add in a little more healthy more calorie dense foods like fats and carbs (yum!!) – enjoy it!


Problem: Not getting enough protein.

Solution:  For your meal planning, focus on protein and veggies FIRST, then add a serving or two of both healthy fat and carbs, sometimes these are combined in other food choices already. The highest protein foods in the least amount of calories are in this order:  Egg whites, white fish, protein powder, bone broth, Chicken/turkey/ham, fat free Greek yogurt, fat free cottage cheese. The calorie to protein ratio drops off dramatically after that with all foods including other food labeled “high protein”.  Many foods have protein that are very high in calories.


Problem: Getting stuck in a rut with meal timing and thinking you must fast or delay your first meal of the day until afternoon.

Solution:  Intermittent fasting and fasting has it’s place for sure, but it’s not always the best answer for the day or season of life.  If you find yourself eating too much in the evening and not able to stay on plan, it’s not working.  If it’s not working it needs to be fixed.  By continuing the vicious cycle of fasting and binging you set yourself up for continued failure.  Remember it’s okay to change up the meal timing according to how you feel for the day.  You can always “Save the Day“.  What matters is the calories at the end of the day in the 24 hour period, extend that out 7 days, 30, 60, and 90 days for results.


Problem: Not giving yourself permission to be human.

Solution:  Accept the fact that you are human and will make mistakes with nutrition.  Stress is a huge factor. You can’t rely on willpower alone, you need to setup your environment for success.  When the nutrition didn’t go according to plan, pick yourself up, dust yourself off, take a deep breath, and decide to continue on.  We all have to do this. I still have to do this.


Problem: Not realizing that you are not really accurate with food intake, the “But I’m eating less and it’s not working” syndrome.

Solution:  This happens especially when you eat too low, because you will over compensate on other days by eating too high and not realizing it.  This is called “Mental Accounting“.  It’s very easy to make honest mistakes when tracking your food intake.  In addition there are many times things you missed on the food labels or with measurements of food, or with supplements that have calories.


Sometimes you have to be your own motivator and other times you need a little help and support from friends. If you want help and support I have a Venus Contest Prep Facebook group.  If you want to get started with a little New Years Challenge I have New Years Challenge support group where there is a prize drawing for participation.  Before long you will know how to create your own prizefighter victories every single day for the rest of your life.


Next Year (2017) Contest schedule:

VT19: January 16 to April 10

VT20: May 15 to August 7

VT21: August 28 to November 20




We are halfway through the VT-13 Contest – it ends on Monday April 13th

I'm still a Venus through and through five years into the program.

I’m still a Venus through and through five years into the program and YES I LOVE FOOD TOO!


We are now at the half way point through the Venus Transformation Contest VT-13 and we at Venus thought you could use some motivation and tips.

Any Venus client is welcome to enter. There is no fee. The schedule and how to enter is HERE.  When you finish on April 13th please feel free to enter extra pictures both before and after in a dress, suit, skirt, workout outfits, yoga pants, cute jeans, and anything classy that shows your beautiful new shape.  We also always love a before Venus “before picture” that shows other that the 12 weeks is just a small snapshot in time.

It’s a long journey for all of us.  It’s a life long journey to health.


But my problem is that I LOVE food!

Do you ever say “My problem is that I LOVE food!” when you talk about diet and fitness?

Actually most people will say this. Of course you love food! We all love food. We are human and we need it to survive.

Stress makes us hungry.

We as humans were designed to eat when food is available, especially when stressed.

The problem is that it is always available and we are almost always stressed.

So the trick is to reduce stress and attempt to make it “not so available”. This is done by changing your habits.

Changing habits happen slowly over time.

  • We call this “setting up your environment for success”.
  • Forgive yourself for being human. Of course you love food!
  • You can’t count on willpower, so set up your environment for success.
  • Allow your body to adapt to the changes you need to make.
  • Take it in smaller steps sometimes if you need to.
  • Learn to reduce stress.
  • Get trigger foods out of the house.
  • Focus on protein and veggies first along with calories and the diet falls into place.
  • Package up foods in appropriate sizes (don’t do this when you are super hungry)
  • Place motivational posters or symbols any place that will help you make the “right choice” (a mnemonic).
  • Never give up.
  • Get those workouts in and remember they don’t have to be ALL or NOTHING.
  • Use the online community for support.
  • Get your family involved, if you can.
  • Have a plan but learn to be flexible.
  • Listen to the contest interviews


Have a plan but be flexible

One of the biggest mistakes I see people make with diet and fitness is taking a good thing and running it into the ground until it’s not good anymore.

Just because fasted workouts are good some days does not mean it’s good EVERY DAY.

Just because fasting or the calorie deficit really works does not mean it is good EVERY DAY.

Routines and rituals are GOOD and those certainly help build good habits. It is what has helped me through some seasons in my journey.

But at the same time it’s not the end of the world if you change things up ESPECIALLY WHEN YOUR BODY GIVES YOU WARNING SIGNS.

Have a plan. But learn to roll with it a bit when your body clearly says the plan might not be the best.

If you are used to delaying your first meal of the day until noon, it’s not going to ruin the day if you have something at 10am instead.

In the end it always comes down to total calories at the end of the day, and even then, it’s really not the one day, it’s the rolling daily average over time that matters.

I like to look at the 30-90 day average more than the day or even the week. Our mind tends to forget the peaks (because those are easy like spending with a credit card). But we always remember those HARD days where we were “GOOD”.  It’s that negative dominance thing again I wrote about recently.

It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking “But I’m doing so good and IT’S NOT WORKING” and “There must be something wrong with my metabolism”. But all you have to do is take a look at the facts to see that is not true. Time and time again our emotions get in the way of the facts.

I’d say stress and lack of sleep are the biggest hindrance to success. When things are not working balancing those should move up to first priority.


Plan for your final pictures

Now is the time to start planning your final pictures.


Preparing For Your Contest Photo Shoot – Part 1: Posing Practice

Preparing For Your Contest Photo Shoot – Part 2: Photography And Lighting

Preparing For Your Contest Photo Shoot – Part 3: The Final Week


PS: Here’s a tip I learned at the recent magazine photo shoot. I learned it from the high fashion models who were there with me that day. When a picture of you is being taken sitting with your legs crossed like I am in today’s picture – don’t rest the top leg all the way down. Kinda hold it up. Try it and see the difference. You might have already known this tip, but I learned it the day of that picture. Good thing I had those other ladies helping me!

Credit for the picture goes to:

Victoria Napolitano, owner of Hopelessly Romantic Media Productions, San Francisco, California.

Make-up and hair by Shiree Collier – Makeup and Hair Artist.

Shirt and Skirt by Navins in Sacramento, California:

PSS I wrote a fun story in my Venus blog about this very suit when I was going through my Venus journey, and blogging like many of you are now.

The VT-13 Contest ends on Monday April 13th.

Keep up the great work out there!

See you on the inside,

-Coach Roberta

How do you recover from the SPLURGE of stress hunger?

Sometimes you have to have a warrior mindset to get back on track!  My friend Ryan took this picture of me last summer and I felt he caught my warrior spirit!

 Sometimes you have to have a warrior mindset to get back on track!

My friend Ryan took this picture of me last summer

and I felt he caught my warrior spirit!

What happens when your body adapts to too much food?

Do you ever notice that sometimes after a feast like Thanksgiving or maybe Super Bowl Sunday that you wake up the next morning feeling really hungry? You might even feel more hunger than normal.

The same thing can happen after vacation, or stress when you sort of “just let it go” with eating. It’s easy to lose track of how much food you actually consume.

Your body adapts to what you do and it’s hard to change. It’s kind of a catch 22. When you over eat your body gets used to it, and you’ll still feel hunger when you don’t really need the extra food.

There really isn’t anything wrong with you when this happens. It’s probably a rare case when it doesn’t happen.

The same thing can happen when people get used to a calorie deficit. Your body can also adapt to the less food. You will feel it’s normal and can sometimes have a hard time eating up to your true needs. This is okay as long as it does not cause a vicious eat low then binge cycle. It also can be okay if your body has plenty of body fat to draw from.  At some point you have to train your body to accept the normal amount of food. This becomes more important as you get close to your goal. This is why the Venus nutrition plan is designed the way it is.

Hunger is complicated. It ebbs and flows in the body according to stress, emotions, exercise, health, and a whole lot more.

Last week I wrote about the stress hunger I experienced. It happens to us all. It doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with you. There is a lot of stress in modern life.

Not only do you have more stress, but every where you turn there is all that food. You are constantly bombarded with it. The stores and restaurants purposely pump out the aroma to tempt you. The advertisements everywhere are designed to tempt you. All the treats the co-workers bring in tempt you. It’s constant temptation.

The more stressed and ego depleted you are the harder it is to make good choices or have willpower.

If you rely on willpower alone, you won’t succeed. You have to find a way to setup your own environment for success. That is different for each person. Most of us have to enlist the help of others.

You have to plan ahead. You have to have some strategy. You also have to adjust as you go along. Things don’t always go according to your plan. Your own body and the amount of hunger and stress doesn’t always cooperate with the plan. But as long as you do not give up and feel doomed, you can still succeed.

The only way to fail at fat loss is to give up. You will have the peaks and valleys; we all do. Keep plugging along and it becomes a lifestyle. It takes time and practice.

When you arrive at your goal and you won’t just stay there. You keep living life, you keep getting bombarded with stress, and you still have to put in some effort.

It’s not the long road effort like when we had over 50 pounds to lose, but it is the same skills.

As for getting back on track, you have to muster up a warrior attitude and get yourself determined to make it happen.


How can you recover after a splurge?

Get back on track ASAP. Get back to your normal routine. Everything you do feeds on itself both positive and negative. So tune out all the negative thoughts from your mind, and start trimming your interactions with negative people short or avoid those people altogether if possible.

If you keep doing your routines that move you toward your goal the momentum will start snowballing. This includes anything that helps you; The routine of taking supplements, stretching, workouts, meditation, getting enough sleep, food prep, etc.

The best thing you can do is get going on that as soon as you can. Don’t just think about it and make plans, pick something and just do it. It doesn’t have to be perfect. I can be going for a walk or cutting out some portion sizes. Take action right away to get the momentum going.

The first day is usually the hardest. The next day gets better. If you keep it up you end up on a roll with it. Your body starts adapting to the routine again and it feels good.

Find a good support group. The private online Venus community is a great place to find support if you need it. Not everyone has a family who supports their fat loss and fitness goals. There may not be many in your life who understand your goals.

Keep something near you that reminds you of your goal for yourself. This is called a Mnemonic. It could be a picture, a slogan, a statue, or whatever you want it to be. As you move forward from one goal to the next this symbol can change.

When I was losing 85 pounds in my long fat loss phase my Mnemonic was a picture of a swim dress I wanted to wear someday.

Right now my Mnemonic is a trophy I recently won at a fitness competition. Since I don’t plan on continuing with competitions I’ve attached a business card to the trophy of someone I’ll be working with very soon. In fact I will probably be on location as you read this and it’s a surprise. It’s pretty exciting for me and there is no way I want to blow it. The Mnemonic is right there on my kitchen table to remind me why all of my daily routines are important.  The trophy itself is still a good Mnemonic for me because it represents the same skills I need right now.

You use all the tools and strategies over and over for life. The very first article I ever wrote for Venus was about this concept “How to Sharpen your Sword and Win the Battle.”  This is still true for me three years later, except this time I am the warrior in the picture!


It didn't take me long to get my groove back.  I like to get right back on it!

It didn’t take me long to get my groove back. I like to get right back on it!


It didn’t take me long to get back on track after the stress last week.  I followed the exact process I lined out here and felt back to normal by the end of the week.  I like to get back in the groove as soon as I can.  Here I am doing one of my favorite exercises; pullups.  This is a collection of the last few months, the video of me in the black ball cap was last Friday when I finally started getting my groove back:



Some of you are starting the Venus contest this week. Some of you are shadowing (not actually entering, but putting in the same effort).  Some of you are just plugging along daily towards your goals.

Whatever phase you are in please be encouraged that you are honing your sword to win the battle!

Keep going!

See you on the inside!

-Coach Roberta



What To Do When Your Stomach Feels Like An Endless Void with HUNGER?

How do you deal with the after effects of stress hunger?

How do you deal with the after effects of stress hunger?


The night before this picture was taken I felt the effects of extreme fatigue.  Even though I’d already eaten well above my caloric needs for the day, my stomach felt like an endless void that couldn’t be filled.  I seriously wanted to eat the entire jar of nut butter and preserves.  It was the strangest thing.  I was practically stumbling around the house, specifically the kitchen, and I just wanted to eat.

This is called being ego depleted.  It’s something John talks about this in the Venus Fat Loss Manual.  You can’t make good decisions when you are ego depleted.  You have to set up your environment for success.

I finally tore myself away from the kitchen and stumbled off to bed.  What I really needed was sleep, not food.

I’ve been maintaining my Venus shape for 4 years now so I’ve been around the block a time or two with this stress eating business. It’s never the end of the world if you CHOOSE you are not DOOMED just because you made a few ego depleted bad decisions.

When I woke up the next morning I wasn’t quite recovered from the stress of the previous few days.  I was still ego depleted but I knew what to do.  I needed water, coffee, and some hugs and reassurance from Randy.

Even though I’ve spent most of my life hiding from the camera, Venus changed that for me.  I put on the exact pair of jeans that I bought when I first achieved my Venus goal and had Randy take a picture of me on our back deck.  I had even blogged about getting this pair of “skinny jeans” back in the day,  inside our private Venus Community.  This picture and these jeans gave me assurance once again that you won’t lose your progress overnight.

The only way you lose what you earned with fat loss is if you go on for weeks and months with no regard for food intake, like a wild woman on a credit card spending spree.  At some point the bill will come due.  Just don’t let that happen.  Pay off the debt sooner.

When you are ego depleted it’s just part of the stress of life.

It’s okay. You just pick up where you left off and don’t let your emotions take you away.

Once again it is all about consistency over time. NOT PERFECTION.

If it were perfection we would never succeed.

If it were perfection we wouldn’t be human.

It is accepting that you are human and not perfect AND not giving up that will get you there.

You are human.

You are not perfect.

It does not matter.

Just keep going.

Read more about the events that caused my ego depletion and how I dealt with it here.

See you on the inside!

-Coach Roberta

How Clear Is Your Purpose?

“A person with a clear purpose will make progress on even the roughest road. A person with no purpose will make no progress even on the smoothest road.” –Thomas Carlyle

Be Ambitious

Part of goal setting is deciding what you want and then having enough ambition to take steps to fulfill your purpose.  People who avoid failure are more focused on protecting themselves from failure or the embarrassment of not completing the steps.  On the other end of the spectrum is over ambition, setting unattainable or highly improbable goals, or trying to take risky short cuts to achieve over aggressive goals.  In the middle are achievers who have a strong desire to accomplish things important or gain success from difficult tasks.   Where do you fall in this spectrum?

In my last article I wrote about moving forward after mistakes.  It’s hard right after making mistakes to keep going.  Sometimes it requires a short period to reflect and regroup.  Being fearful can cause you to procrastinate, give less effort, or even self-sabotage (FYI John Barban talks about self-sabotage in the Anything Goes Diet).

Have you ever found yourself in a diet yo-yo?  If so, you probably have a sabotage point somewhere near the bottom of the yo-yo and this is important to recognize so you can move forward or as John says “instead of backing up go full steam ahead so that you never see that number again”.  I like that.  Full steam ahead!

Sometimes It Takes Longer

Just like anything else in life sometimes things take longer than you’d like.   About 15 years ago I’d gone through the police academy with my husband and applied for a job with the Sheriff’s department the same time he did.  The process to get hired in law enforcement is especially strict in California and only 1 out of 50 pass the full battery of tests.

During the evaluation process at the very end (after five months of testing and extensive background tests) right at the point before they hand you the acceptance letter I learned that I did not pass.   This failure was devastating to me.  I had to regroup and be happy for my husband who did pass and give him my full support for the career he was starting.  I had to accept that the time was not right for me.

Life is not always fair.

As I motored on with my life and retired from my software engineering job I’d realized how far I’d come in dealing with some personal issues.  I had a feeling I’d finally faced enough of the issues that I might pass the law enforcement hiring processes if I tried again.

But my academy certificates had expired and I had to start the police academy again from the very beginning.  This was daunting because the academy is like a mini boot camp chalk full of tests.  If you fail any one test you get one chance for remediation and then if you don’t pass you are kicked out.  This happens even if it’s the last test on the last day of class; all is lost.  Looming overhead after the academy graduation were another six months of hiring tests and still the one testing at the end that could be my sabotage point.

I moved forward, full steam ahead, and graduated from the academy with higher honors compared to the first time through. I faced the interview at the end with the very same doctor that failed me the first time.  It was actually a fun interview and I had a feeling I would pass but I had to wait two weeks until I received the answer.

I passed!

It was a huge victory for me.  It meant I had dealt with some serious issues in my life and won.  I defeated the failure I’d carried around for ten years.   I got the acceptance letter and the honor of wearing the badge and serving my community.  To this day I’m extremely proud when I put on that uniform and strap on all that gear because I know how much I had to overcome to get to that point.

You Can View It as a Challenge

You might have a similar daunting road ahead of you with weight loss or a situation in your life that you want to change.  You can view it as a challenge or a threat that leads to embarrassment of failure.  You can associate effort on the demanding tasks with dedication, commitment, and involvement or view it as overloading and stressful.  The choice for your mindset is yours.

What will you do?

On the other hand you can become over ambitious and set too high a goal or an unrealistic goal.  You might then try to take short cuts to get there.  Some of us do that with eating too low to try and make weight loss happen faster and it ends up backfiring.  Sometimes all you really need to do is practice for a while until you have enough skill to know how to set an appropriate goal for yourself.

You Can Adjust Your Goals

You can always change your goals as you move along.  I changed my goals several times after joining the Venus Index community.  When I started my weight loss journey my only goal was to get down to a size 8 because that was the smallest I’d ever been as an adult.  Then I changed my goals to match the Venus Index “Golden Ratio” metrics.

As I continued to lose weight I got down to a size 2-4 and got frustrated because I could not seem to get my waist down to the golden ideal.

It took me a long time to realize that I really don’t need to worry about it.  I became fit and lean and I have a thick torso because of my years of heavy lifting.  I needed to know that my waist wasn’t fat and the DEXA scan gave me that.   The data showed that the bulk of my 11% body fat is in my arms and upper legs and that my abdominal area was 0% body fat.  So I finally learned to accept the fact that this is how I am, this is the shape of my body, and it is okay.  So I have learned to maintain my shape by looking in the mirror and how my clothes fit.  It’s freedom to not have to rely on the scale or other metrics anymore.

Pick Realistic Goals

I would like to have a thinner waist but it would mean giving up heavy lifting and abdominal work which I love.  For now I choose to maintain right where I am.  At any time in the future I can change my goals again if I want to.  First I would research to find out if it is a realistic goal and then I would take whatever steps are necessary to achieve it.

How Clear Is Your Purpose?


Tips for Goal Setting:

  • Decide what you want
  • Start small but keep going
  • Believe in yourself
  • Write down your goals
  • Set small goals and accomplish them
  • Do everything you can to stop procrastinating
  • Dream big
  • Set up your environment for success
  • Set long term goals and short term goals (with realistic time frames)
  • Don’t make a big deal out of each mistake
  • Research to find out if your goal is attainable
  • Adjust goals as needed
  • Get the right tools
  • Enjoy the journey
  • Plan ahead
  • Ask advice from people you respect (even if you don’t like them)
  • Give yourself rewards for achievements (not food)


Clarify your goals

It’s important to know where you operate in the ambition spectrum so you can make necessary changes. If you are over ambitious what steps do you need to take?

If you procrastinate or self-sabotage what steps do you need to take?  Is your goal realistic?  These are things you can think about as you move forward in your journey. You can adjust your goals as you move along.

Once you set your goals, determine the steps you need to take, have fun and enjoy the journey.


It is never too late to follow your dreams!


How to Sharpen your Sword and Win the Battle

Sharpen your sword first and prepare yourself to win the battle.

Losing weight and getting fit is hard.  All along the journey I have worked hard, experimented, learned from mistakes, acquired skills, and changed habits that will continue for the rest of my life.  As I worked through the maintenance phase of my journey I realized that all the skills I acquired along the way still come into play.

I have come to think of all the effort I’ve put into the journey as “Honing my Sword”.  I have created a sharp edged sword, used it in battle, won the battle, and I am continuing to keep my sword sharp and I still need to use it now and then.  It may not seem as daunting as when I first started the journey, but it still takes effort to keep my blade sharp.

The Various Tools

For some the tool that needs to be sharpened is the mental mindset against emotional eating.  For others it is consistency at the gym or even getting to the gym. For others it is using motivational tools and learning to find an easier way to think about food.

For everyone it is about setting up your environment for success.

The whole journey requires a lot of patience and even more so in maintenance since progress is much slower. Early in the process you tend to lose fat relatively quickly but you still have frustrating plateaus and life stresses that slow you down.

Even if you do everything right you will have plateaus. The body seems to make progress in “chunks” that are not linear. During these times I like to focus on the victories and “ride one victory to the next”; setting a positive mindset and tuning out negative thoughts.

Everyone has a victory to remember:

  • It could be friends or family noticing your weight loss or fitting into some new clothes (or some old clothes).
  • It could be reaching a goal you had set for yourself.
  • It could be completing a 24 hour fast or even skipping a meal.
  • It could be you getting compliments on how you look or a new personal best at the gym.
  • It could simply be you getting to the gym consistently for a period of time.
  • It could be someone in the gym noticing how hard you work out.

In maintenance you still have victories and the same positive mindset can be applied. One of the biggest victories that you should always remember is how far you have come; how much you have succeeded since you started the journey. Always be kind to yourself and reward yourself in ways that do not involve food. Items you need for the gym or new clothing are nice rewards.

Capture ways to remember your victories to help focus on them throughout your journey.

My Battle

The first picture is from 2005 and the second is from this year’s fitness photoshoot.

For me it was simply finally having the knowledge to eat less.  Getting to the gym and enjoying exercise was and still is integrated into my life as much as tying my shoes or brushing my teeth.

The Venus Index is still my all-time favorite workout and I believe it gave me the shape I now have.  It also helped me to belong to a support community and to have the support of family and friends in my life.

But after experiencing success I find I still need to put in effort to keep my mindset sharp and focus on the positive.  I still have to put effort into eating the right amount for me.  I still use every tool I have acquired and developed and honed and I now realize these will be what I continue to use for the rest of my life.

It’s Not Wasted Effort

What you do now will continue to benefit you for the rest of your life.

It is not wasted effort!

Do not be discouraged or think the effort only helps you get through the day today.  Not only are you resolving the specific situation you currently deal with, but as you succeed you are honing your sword and keeping it sharp for all future battles.

Sharpen your sword and win the battle,

– Ro

Three Venus ladies TAKE IT TO THE STREET!

FRAME-Pam Helen Roberta

One of our latest contest winners, Helen, travelled from Africa to visit us in California.

Helen lives in Africa but is here visiting family.  Pam lives in California near me, so we all got together at Pam’s house for a workout, good food, and some Venus chatting around the table.

We made a little video of the visit and wanted to share our struggles and victories with others.


We all had to change our habits

Each of us lost a lot of weight, Venus confirmed what we had been learning and took us to that upper bar we all searched for to be our own best.

Even though we are different heights and body types, we all struggle.

We all have stress.

We all wear different hats.

We all swim against the tide of too much food.

We all have to remind ourselves we need the awareness of food intake in order to stay healthy in modern society.

At first it feels sort of like too much work, but then you get in a groove.

Many habits feel like too much at first.

So give yourself TIME.

Riding a bike for the first time when we were young felt like it was too hard.

We fell and scraped our knees and got bruises.

But we got back up and pushed through.

Over time we got our balance and now we can just hop on and do it.  Even when it’s been years since we’ve been on a bike.  The muscle memory comes right back.

Well it’s the same thing with eating habits.

We all have to learn new ways to deal with stress.  It does not have to be about food.



Oh we had such a blast working out together!

What if you don’t like to workout?

Working out is a great way to relieve stress.  Even those who never enjoyed workouts all their lives eventually find a way to see the value.

Changing your health with a workout, especially resistance training, is very empowering.  You end up moving with agility and a bounce in your step in all aspects of your life.

The combination of learning to ditch the excess unhealthy fat and building a powerhouse body for all you do in your life is an amazing way to build success in all areas of your life.

It changes your life in ways you would never have dreamed of.

The workouts themselves produce endorphin’s in your body and make you FEEL GOOD.

Luckily Pam’s neighbors didn’t mind us playing our music and flipping tires and running screaming with fire hoses;  They got a good chuckle out of it.

What about the food?

We all swim against the tide of too much food.  We just lost our awareness that it is too much intake that makes us store unhealthy fat.

Most of us can eat more than we need.  We are designed to eat when food is available.

Well, it’s always available.

So we simply have to learn to say no sometimes.


FRAME-pumpkin custard with PB2 frosting

Sometimes having new recipes helps.  It helps to have lower calorie foods with high protein for balancing out the high calorie higher fat/carb days.

It is all about balance.

Pam made Helen and I the protein custard recipe I came up with last year.  She added a peanut butter frosting.  Everything is better with frosting!

FRAME-Pam's Spinach Dip

Pam also made a spinach dip.  She sauteed raw spinach with coconut oil and added goat cheese and blended artichoke hearts.

We ate the dip with gluten free crackers because both Pam and Helen have Celiac disease.

I counted out 16 chips because even gluten free carbs can add up really fast.

We all learn that too much HEALTHY food is still too much food and can make you store extra fat.

Most of us will want MORE food.

We have to remind ourselves that we can have more next time!

We put together a fun homegrown video showing our workout and chatting about our struggles at the table.

We hope you enjoy it.

We realize not all everyone has time to watch a 12 minute video of us goofing off, so we also created an audio podcast of us sharing our struggles and giggling around the table.

Have a beautiful Friday and a great weekend!

It is full of opportunity to for healthy choices and changing habits!


Never Settle

Never Give Up

Live Your Dream

-Coach Roberta

Are you the only one who can’t stop at one bowl of chips?

FRAME Venus-article-food-tempation-iStock_000043502118_Large

After last weekend did you feel you were the only one who could not stop at the bowl of chips?

Or maybe it was some other snack food?

You had to have more!

You are not alone.

I’ve had several desperate messages from people who said they “blew it” completely on their diet last weekend.

Usually it was on packaged foods, chips, cookies, snacks, or what they called “junk food”.

They didn’t know what went wrong and they couldn’t stop.


Have you not heard of the Bliss Point (food)?

Look it up on the internet.

“The bliss point for salt, sugar, or fat is a range within which perception is that there is neither too much nor too little, but the “just right” amount of saltiness, sweetness, or richness. The human body has evolved to favor foods delivering these tastes: the brain responds with a “reward” in the form of a jolt of endorphins, remembers what we did to get that reward, and makes us want to do it again, an effect run by the neurotransmitter, dopamine. Combinations of sugar, fat, and salt act synergistically, and are more rewarding than any one alone. In food product optimization, the goal is to include two or three of these nutrients at their bliss point.”

What makes you think you are not human?

What makes you think you override the brain from doing what it is designed to do?

Me, I choose to avoid the engineered foods entirely. None of us has willpower against it.

Seriously. Holiday weekends have their own built in emotional soup of stress with family, travel, lack of sleep, noise, and all kinds of things that already wear off what willpower you might have had.

Then add in foods that are SPECIFICALLY DESIGNED to defeat any ounce of willpower that might have been left.

You did not fail. But you did what the “designers” wanted you to do. And those companies would like you to keep buying that crap. That’s how they make their money.

No judgement. But it’s something to keep on mind as you make those little choices every day.

Some of us decide that we want some areas in our lives where we are not bombarded with engineered foods.

We can decide not to have them in the house.

We can still OWN what we put into our body.  We just might have to change our environment and make it one for success.

We all continue to evolve with diet as we try new things, and we roll with the seasons.

The main thing to remember is that there is certainly nothing wrong with you.

Go into this weekend knowing that.

And go into the weekend claiming your own victory.

Never give up
Never settle
Live your dream

-Coach Roberta