Successful Weight Loss; There Are No Shortcuts

I spent Easter weekend with some friends who asked "How did you do it?"  They busted up laughing when I replied "Well, I ate less".  They realized it really is that simple.

I spent Easter weekend with some friends who asked “How did you do it?” They busted up laughing when I replied “Well, I ate less”. They realized it really is that simple.

As I mingled and celebrated with dear friends this past Easter holiday the conversation came around to my life transformation and 60 lbs of weight loss.  It was one of those deer in the headlight moments for me when someone in the crowd just blurted out “How did you do it?”

It wasn’t that I didn’t know how to answer the question, but suddenly all eyes and ears in the room were on me waiting for the answer.  “Well, I just ate less” I replied.  Everyone just busted up laughing because they knew it was true.  They got it.  It really is that simple yet somehow our society has made it a complicated topic.  I decided not to elaborate on the answer any further because the people in the room were sensible and clearly understood what I said was true.

Corrective action must be taken

I’ve learned my success from the teaching of Brad Pilon and John Barban.  Excess fat is just like a mortgage debt.  Corrective action must be taken to pay it off.  That means you must eat less than your need to maintain your lean body mass in order to burn the fat that is stored.  It really is that simple.  Once your “fat storage debt” is paid and you are “debt free” you can then eat at a maintenance level.

That means that if you are sitting across from someone at the table who is your height and gender who is not overweight, you will need to eat less than that person.  It doesn’t seem fair, but it is because you are paying off a debt and they are not.

Changing your shape is like an artist sculpting a masterpiece

One of the things that amazed my friends when we got to the subject of weight training, and a constant comment that was given throughout the weekend was “Clearly you are strong but you look so feminine!”  Several of my friends this weekend, both male and female, said they were really turned off by a currently popular fad gym chain they tried out because the women seemed like they were trying to look like men and didn’t really look nice.

Again, I learned how to shape my body because of the teaching of John and Brad.  I love what John says about the design of the Venus Index workout; “The focus is proportions and shape (rather than weight loss at all costs or building muscle like a guy)” – John Barban.  There is also an equally good workout for men called the Adonis Index.

My friend Liss who is a previous Venus contest winner writes about this very concept in her article “The Creation of a Masterpiece: The Venus“.

Clean eating isn’t enough

First of all there is no definition for “clean eating” yet the words suddenly permeated the diet and fitness industry like wildfire.  I think it is supposed to mean unprocessed and unpackaged foods.  This can have a different meaning for different people.  For some it means foods with very few ingredients, pronounceable ingredient names, or as few as possible chemicals or preservatives.

I grew up in California where long before the term “clean” ever came into being we had been barraged with “organic”, “sustainable”, and “eat local” mantra.  I actually like to do these things when possible and affordable.  It is actually possible to eat all “organic” and “local” in California, although even in California it can get expensive.  In some parts of the world this would be nearly impossible or ridiculously expensive.

After eating the California version of “all organic” for many years I suddenly started hearing the term “clean” and I thought what the heck?  I was at the peak of obesity when I was eating 100% organic.  Too much food is too much food, it doesn’t matter how clean it is.

I lost 60 lbs still eating all organic and not counting calories

It is not necessary to “eat clean” or “organic” to lose weight.   I felt good the way I was eating (organic) so I continued, but I cut my portion sizes down considerably.  I started eating on desert plates.  I didn’t need to count calories.  I simply eyeballed my portions and got a feel for the correct amount to eat for the day in order for the scale to consistently go down over time.

I weighed myself every morning and kept a notebook with the dates and amounts that my weight went up or down.  Since I started my day with breakfast during this period of time I had to stop eating for the day anytime between 3-7pm, depending on how much I had eaten during the day.

It does not matter what time you eat, but this was the first pattern I experimented with that worked for me.  Since then I have tried other patterns like skipping breakfast and eating right before bedtime.  That worked equally as well.  It was nice because I didn’t have to go to bed hungry.

I pretty much had to get used to feeling hungry sometimes to lose weight.  Once I learned it worked and it didn’t actually hurt me I learned to relish in the victories of watching the scale trend go down.   The scale trend was not linear, but it consistently went down over time.  It was fun to watch the success.

Watching the scale go down consistently and going down in clothing sizes kept me motivated.  I focused on the victories and kept my eye on the goal instead of the fact that I wouldn’t eat everything I wanted to and felt hungry sometimes.

I stayed strong at the gym while eating less

It surprised me that I stayed strong at the gym even while eating less.  I continued weight training and running.  I found that my running got stronger because of losing the fat as well as the superior design of the Venus Index workout.  In fact this last weekend at age 52 I ran my fastest half marathon ever in slightly less than two hours. The crowd cheered very loud when I was given the microphone and I told the two minute version of my weight loss story.

Coming around full circle;  Anything Goes Diet

Once I realized I had finally reached my fitness goal I floundered a bit at first.  When you eat at a calorie deficit for so long it’s hard to switch gears.  Ummm.. how do I stop eating less?  You find yourself being afraid of gaining weight, afraid to eat more, and afraid you will lose the progress you worked so hard for.  It still requires a bit of work to maintain and the neat thing about it is that it involves all the tools you have learned in order to meet your goals.

John and Brad give us some unique insight on this very subject in the recent Season 2 podcasts;  “What Are Weight Gain And Muscle Gain Escalators?” and “Weight Gain And Muscle Gain Escalators Part 2“.

I learned that it won’t kill me to eat out with my friends sometimes instead of my strict “all organic” regimen at home.  I started following some principles I learned in the Venus Index Community called the Anything Goes Diet.  The Anything Goes Diet is just a philosophy of eating where people find what is sustainable for themselves.  Everyone has different needs, different reactions to foods, different allergies, etc.  Usually someone telling you what to eat may not be sustainable for you and your goals.

Sometimes you have to experiment to find your own way for eating foods that are right for you.

In my new found freedom from a strict “all organic” regimen I went a little overboard with recipes containing sugar free Jello, sugar free Jello pudding, Splenda, Konjac root (glucomannan) powder, and miracle noodles containing Konjac root.  I started having some strange health problems and by process of elimination I found that all these foods were the cause.  I was finally surprised that Konjac root was the cause of some painful blisters and sores in my mouth.

Now, I’m not going to say these foods are bad, but I found they were not good for me and I have had to either limit some and totally eliminate others.  I still believe in the Anything Goes philosophy and that each person needs to find their own way on what foods and products are acceptable for their own lifestyle as well as their own goals.

There are no shortcuts to weight loss

There are no shortcuts to weight loss

There are no shortcuts

The one thing I learned from the foods I had problems with is that there are no shortcuts.  I was trying to allow myself to eat more by using sugar free products and using Konjac root to make myself feel more full so I wouldn’t eat so much.  For me they backfired.

I had lost all my weight without gimmicks and tricks.  This hard lesson brought me back to the basics.  It taught me once again that there really and truly are no shortcuts.

Eating less to lose fat is hard, very hard.  It’s hard when you have a lot of fat to lose.  It’s still hard when you are in the maintenance phase and you have fallen back a few steps on the escalator.  It is hard when you need to work a bit to get back to the place you want to be.

It’s in our nature to eat when food is available.  We are swimming against the stream or walking up the down escalator to achieve our fitness goals and then keep them.  It’s hard.  But it is pretty cool that the processes you used to lose weight and all the tools you used to achieve your goals still come into play for the rest of your life.  No effort is wasted.

What is your experience with successful weight loss?  Feel free to comment.  I would love to hear some stories.





About Roberta Saum

Roberta is a 56 year young Elite Trainer at 1st Phorm. She achieved her fitness dream at age 50 here at The Venus Factor. She is a Fitness Consultant/Motivator for Hopelessly Romantic Media Productions, Venus Factor Coach, Product Developer, Brand Ambassador, Contest Administrator, Author, Editor in Chief for the Venus Factor, and 1st Phorm Ambassador.

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  1. Concetta says:

    “Too much food is too much food, it doesn’t matter how clean it is.”
    Congratulations Ro. Truer words have not been spoken. It is as simple and as hard as that.

  2. That’s too funny! I can just hear you saying that and picture everyone cracking up!

  3. Ro, this was a great article!!! You are so right on with everything you talked about. I’m experiencing the same things you did as I make my way along this journey. 🙂

  4. Kimberley Dransfield says:

    So true it is as simple as eating less. But it is not easy. We all have to find a way to do this, there will be times when you are hungry. It is just like a mortgage debt. You have to tighten your belt and just spend less now in order to pay back. But what you get at the end of the process is a body that is in great shape.

  5. I’m thinking for purchasing the VI system. I have a question. I have been lifting heavy for about 1.5 years and I am a little concerned about the amount of weight of lack there of on exercises like the step ups and squats because they are a combo move(squat with lateral raises and step ups with shoulder raises). I am use to doing about 70lbs smith machine squats and using 50lb barbell on stepups. I guess I’m worried about losing muscle and strenght that I have built. Will this happen or do I just need to go with it? I still NEED to lose a little more fat. You look awesome and I want to get there. I’m not far off from my measurements. Sorry for the the rambling.

    • Lea Ann I had the same concerns as you when I started VI. I had been lifting heavy for 30 years; bench press, squat rack, mostly everything with the Oly bar and big plates. It was hard to wrap my mind around little dumb bells, raises and combo moves. When I started VI phase 1 and started the lateral raises and step up and press I was like “whaaaaaa..” LOL But honestly it gave me a better shape. I recommend starting with phase one and finishing it as is, and you can use still use the squat rack for squats, Oly bar for bench press and bent row. Then move to phase 2 where you can really lift heavy. If you are a heavy lifter like me you will probably not go back to phase 1 much, but I highly recommend doing it before phase 2. Even after my heavy lifting phase 1 made me very sore, especially at the beginning and then later in cycle 3. These workouts changed my shape and defined my muscles like nothing else ever before.

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