There are NO SHORTCUTS for FAT LOSS; says contest winner Michal

Michal lives in the Philippines with her family.

Michal lives in the Philippines with her family.


Michal Gansad came in fifth place in our Venus Transformation contest VT10


Michal’s own words regarding the Venus Factor:

I had a baby last June 2013, ten months ago which caused me to gain lots of weight. I weighed around 183 lbs. after delivery and from then I struggled to put off those unwanted weights.

I am really huge from my youth. And as expected, I also have a lot of health issues because of that. But in 2010 I started to use a product that helps me become skinny but not lean enough having more or less 32% of body fat using the Tanita Scale. So, I am always positive that I can make it lose weight again. But then, I became disappointed because the magic diet seemed to lost its power. It does not work for me anymore. So, I searched for a solution and this time I wanted it to be a lasting solution. Fortunately I found Venus Index from searching in the internet. After being convinced from their presentation, I joined the community last October 2013. From then on, everything has changed for the best. I learned a lot and have to learn a lot more. There is no such thing as magic pill, or magic diet no shortcuts the first thing I learned from joining VI. Everything I went through VI are just wonderful, it is worth the pain. The sacrifices of eating deficits and doing all the work outs laid in the program improves my mood in day to day basis. It also improved my looks than before when I am lighter by using the product I mentioned earlier. Now I feel I am being freed from all those myths that I believed before. I am not dependent to any slimming products anymore.

Even if I will not win in this VT10 contest, even if I get pregnant again and gain weight, I already consider myself a winner for life, as long as I stick to VI practices. Golden ratio is within my reach, and I am a winner.

I also want to share that I do all my work outs at home. Having a baby and still breastfeeding, it is a challenge for me to drive 35 km. just to hit the gym.


Questions and Answers with our Venus winner Michal


How did you find the Venus Factor?

I found Venus through the Internet. At that time, my previous solution of losing weight did not work any longer. FYI, I am using Herbalife shake at that time if you are familiar with it. They always emphasize about the importance of taking breakfast using their product, of course. But then after delivery, while using the same routine, nothing works, if there is just a little change, that is why I did not stop searching solution and I found Venus. I found the best way so far.


What aspect of the program was most beneficial to you?

The truth about calorie intake, importance of fasting, fasting techniques, undulating protocol, the community, the girls supports sharing insights, podcast, workouts, almost everything in Venus benefits me.


Did you like the Venus workout?

Yeah, so much, the only work out I tried that works for me.


Which workout(s) did you use?

I completed the first 12 week program then, from VT10 to finished completed only up to 10 weeks Final Phase. Because my husband came home for vacation from work, it interferes my routines, lol. I actually asked John Barban what should I do after having few weeks of rest, he said I can repeat Final Phase. But I did not make it due to my busy schedule. So, I decided to go back to the basic and I will never give myself permission to jump forward without completing it.


What kept you motivated?

Honestly I am not motivated all the time, but then, I think about my health, my family’s health, about getting older, I am now 38 years old, I always wanted to get old healthy and fit, along with my family. I want to be like you, like Liss, like Alisha and all other good example Venuses. So, I keep telling myself to move ahead.


Do you have a particular style of eating?

I am not that strict these days unlike last time when I am in the VT10 contest. I just do the usual, eating breakfast late, sometimes I eat once, sometimes I indulge, I am only mindful about the principles of calorie deficit and calorie maintenance.


Did you use the undulating  diet protocol?  If so how did it work for you and did you make any modifications?

Yes. I just follow the advice I read. For example the post from VI Facebook page about the concept of the Reverse Taper Diets, it talks about fasting duration depends on our waist in inches. I apply it to myself.


Did you use any supplements?

Sometimes I take local probiotics. I stopped taking my Herbalife supplements for a long time ago after finding Venus. Then, recently I found out about GMO’s. Soybeans and corns from U.S, they are GMO (genetically modified organism) that causes leaky gut syndrome. I find that so scary, everything in the supermarket even supplements, we not that sure whether it is contaminated or not. So, I decided to go natural.


Did you use the online community and how was that experience?

Yes, I did. I am in HOLO/GOLO2 group. We have spreadsheets where we can put our stats, our goals and our actual accomplishments. Being in that group increased my knowledge on dealing with my weight loss goals.


Did you find support with friends and family?

Just few people knew I joined VT10. They don’t even know what was it all about. So, I don’t depend on them for support. I get most support from the Venus community and from the group.


What was the hardest obstacle to conquer?

My being imperfect, that’s the hardest. When you start to astray from what you are doing, it is difficult to get back on the track.


How did you feel about your final pictures?

Not so sure if I did well. I even doubted to submit it or not, but I learned from the podcast that we are the worst critics against ourselves, so I submitted it anyway to let other people judge.


Is this a lifestyle you will continue?

100 percent yes. What else can I do, is there any better way? I guess nothing.


What is your best advice for other Venuses?

Just keep learning and apply. Make time to do what is needed.

You can find Michal in the online Venus community.

More stories about Venus Mom’s:

Young Mom finds the Venus Factor to be a way of life instead of a means to an end

Lacey Gained her pre-pregnancy confidence back with the Venus workout

Just Say No to Elastic Waist pants; interview with Lori Aquino

An Original Venus who Never Gives Up

After pregnancy, Wins Transformation Contest

How to become a beautiful beach Mom

Venus Mom Erin says “Just do it!”


Dear Michal,

Congratulations the beautiful job you did transforming your life and your body from the inside out!

I love your perspective as being a young mom in the Philippines and your sweet countenance in the Venus online forum.  Thank you for being there with us and thank you for sharing your story!

All my best,

Coach Roberta

While casual homework refers to write it. Research paper is to study of this paper is common form ofacademic writing no plagiarism. Such works usually are many kinds of this article we will discuss how to format it, and why students are many kinds of certain question or group. write my research paper Research paper is to study of certain question or school uses writing assignments to material that your viewpoint regarding it, and express their thoughts and colleges, and start writing assignments to study given topic by conducting independent or group projects, as term paper. Every university, college.

Ever feel like your self esteem is in the trash can?

Do you ever need to pick your self esteem up out of the trash can? This is our kitty Briquette.

Do you ever need to pick your self esteem up out of the trash can?
This is our kitty Briquette, she liked to play there. 🙂


The perfectionist mindset; a lesson from a selfie picture

Like most of us Venus women my life is very busy and I sometimes feel I’m running on empty. A couple of weeks ago I had a busy crazy day away from home. When I got home I made Randy laugh so hard at how silly I am:

I showed him the cute selfies on my phone (not me it’s the T-shirts that are cute). I pointed out look at this and that with my arms and shape.  He was very perplexed. He said “Why do you tell me and show me the selfie? I am looking at you for real, the most beautiful woman I know, right there as you hold the phone!!”


I showed him the cute selfies (not me it's the T-shirts that are cute). I pointed out look at this and that with my arms and shape and he said "Why do you tell me and show me the selfie? I am looking at you for real, the most beautiful woman I know, right there as you hold the phone!!"

I showed Randy the pictures on the phone and I pointed out what I saw.  He said “Why do you tell me and show me the selfie? I am looking at you for real,
the most beautiful woman I know, right there as you hold the phone!!”


I pondered that. Most of us women don’t view ourselves as others do. Even after we reach our goals. It’s been three years since I reached my goal and my mind still hasn’t caught up. I seemed to spend most of last year attempting to feel good about myself and my body and all I could see were my own flaws.  It makes me sad that I wasted so much happiness doing that.  I want to stop doing that.

We ALL have to work on self image issues for life (especially all of us girls). I used to not like selfies much but now I see some value in them as long as they are not the same thing over and over.

As we reach our goals we tend to move the bar, which is not such a bad thing. But we move from a big picture view and narrow down with a microscope view and nit pic ourselves to death.


We all think “we will be happy when…”

We all have this thought that “If I could only get to such and such a size, or weight, or whatever measurement you choose, I will be happy. But the reality is that when you get there the internal issues are still there.

I have found that the internal issues are intensified and “right in your face” because all of the relationships around you change as your physical appearance changes.


Start building your emotional stronghold

People become jealous and mean (even if they don’t mean to be) the more successful you become. They won’t consider your feelings even when they take “righteous actions” that would obviously hurt anyone in your place. It really doesn’t really matter why people do it.  Sometimes they don’t even know they are doing it, or they don’t know why they do it. Sometimes it is intentional and you will never know why because you are not them. It will happen and it does hurt.  Your insecurities intensify.  Then you need to learn to build an emotional stronghold.

Sometimes you reach a point where you have to work on internal things that you may have put off for a long time. It becomes a matter of emotional survival. I’ve had some real breakthroughs in this area recently and it’s such freedom. Especially when you realize people who you thought were your friends are not really your friends, and they never were.  Once you realize that, then you know that you have nothing to lose. There is freedom in knowing that since you have nothing to lose, you don’t have to let them hold you back. Nothing they think, say, or do matters anymore. That is tremendous freedom for yourself right there.

Since you are successful, and you are becoming even more successful, you don’t have time for negative and mean people to matter. Brush them off and focus on something positive, like helping out a friend who really does want your help.


Here’s what John has to say about the perfectionist mindset:

Weight loss isn’t easy, if it were nobody would have a weight problem. The process takes work, discipline and dedication which is hard enough on it’s own…but if you also beat yourself up during the process it’s almost impossible.

We all struggle with our body image and our appraisal of ourselves on a daily basis, and in most cases (and especially with women) you are usually your own worst and unforgiving critic.

Through all the interviews I’ve done and clients I have coached I have learned that women are typically the hardest on themselves when it comes to evaluating their body and their progress in weight loss.

If you lose 1 pound this week it’s not good enough because the goal was 2 pounds. If you lose 2 pounds it’s not good enough because your thighs still don’t quite look the way you want them too. If you made improvements in your arms and butt you start focusing on your stomach instead.

This self criticism has to be put in check for your own sake. You are much more than the sum of your parts or the most recent diet success or failure.

Taking a broader view of who you are and appreciating where you came from and where you’re going will help reduce the volume of your inner self critic.

Quieting that inner critic is easier said than done and I’m not an expert at it…I get help from a secret weapon…that secret weapon is my therapist Dr. Nicola Bird.

I don’t really know how to describe her besides that she is amazing and her techniques work!

I do a regular podcast with her about the mental and emotional game of weight loss and you can listen to the podcast we did on quieting your inner self critic here:

Listen to Podcast here ==> Quieting Your Inner Self Critic

You can check out more of our podcasts on the site or subscribe to the Venus index podcast on iTunes.


P.S. Dr. Bird is a regular contributor to the Venus community and you can look forward to hearing more from her in the future.

She also has a program specifically designed to eliminate emotional eating, you can check it out here: ==> Dr Birds Program for Emotional Eating <==


Start working on internal issues now and keep at it for life

So the main point:  Start working on your internal issues and your self image issues NOW, because they don’t go away when you reach your fitness and fat loss goals.  In fact, those issues become intensified after you reach your goals.  They intensify more as you become successful in all aspects of your life.

There is a fine line between knowing you have a problem that needs to be fixed VS disparaging yourself for it. Humor is good of course, and it’s good to laugh at how silly we are, while at the same time not damaging our own self esteem.

Here’s a poster I really love for when you are taking corrective action to fix the health problem of being over weight:

Something to remember when you are taking corrective action to lose fat.

Something to remember while you are taking
corrective action to lose fat.


There is a before and after picture of me in a costume that John liked for an article.  When I first lost all my 85 pounds I used to laugh at the before picture and my husband Randy got really mad and scolded me.  He said “You were always my lovely wife, even then.  I’m glad you are happy now that you’ve lost weight, but don’t ever disparage yourself like that again!”

He was right.  It makes me happy that he loves me so much.  It was a great reminder to me that I need to continue to work on my own self esteem, probably until the end of my days here on earth.


Here are a couple of helpful podcasts on this subject with Dr. Nicola Bird:


Ask Nicola; Perfectionist Mindset

Ask Nicola; Learn to Love Your Body


When you let your self esteem fall in the trash can like I do;

  • You can choose to pick it back up
  • Listen to some of Dr. Nicola podcasts
  • Do other activities which help your mindset and self esteem
  • Switch your mind immediately to positive things
  • Stay only in the positive, so that means no gossiping about the mean girls in your life!
  • When you let self esteem get you off track with diet or exercise here are some tips to get motivated to get back on track.

We  all have these seasons of getting off track with our mindset, with workouts, and with nutrition.  Sometimes we have to make an effort to get back on track, and we do this for life.  Since we are merely human it won’t be the last time we have to do it. We do get better at it as we practice, just like everything else we do.


Have a great weekend, it’s full of opportunity to make good choices.

– Coach Roberta  

(You can find me in the online community.)



So You are Obese; There is Nothing Wrong with You

You may think there is something wrong with you.  But no actually there is nothing wrong.

You may think there is something wrong with you. But no, actually there is nothing wrong.


We get many new women in the Venus community who quite often think there is something wrong with them because they eat when stressed, or just love food, and then became obese.

No, there is nothing wrong with you.

Of course we all love food.

At least 90% of human history was spent as the hunter-gatherer. It’s built into our genetic nature to eat when there is food. When a human senses danger or anxiety our body’s natural response is to trigger a “fight-or-flight” stress response. This increases hunger. Stress increases hunger, including the stress of lack of sleep.

In modern society we have an over abundance of food and we are less active in our daily lives. This is a bad situation all by itself, but then we add in the “fight-or-flight” stress induced in our brains during the stress of modern society and this is why we are obese. Our brain and body can’t tell the difference between modern anxiety and the threat we felt as early hunger-gatherer people in fear for our lives.

The stress and not understanding how to navigate the modern over abundance of food may be sabotaging your health. We all have to learn how to navigate the over abundance of food and reduce our stress as much as possible.

If you feel stress and hunger, the message your brain gets is “There is a problem.  I need food.  Or, there is not enough food!” Of course you likely have a house full of food, you are over weight, you are trying to diet, and the stress response in your brain can’t tell the difference. Your brain and body get the stress response and you want to eat. Of course you want to eat!

All of these things cause the stress response in our bodies:

  • When we are lonely it can increase our stress.
  • Our jobs cause stress, even jobs we love.
  • Resentment and anger cause stress.
  • Lack of sleep causes stress.
  • Bad relationships cause stress.
  • Excessive worry causes stress.
  • Childhood trauma causes stress.
  • Starting a new diet causes stress.
  • Starting a new workout causes stress.
  • Despair and hopelessness cause stress.

Our brains are not wired for modern times. If we were still a hunter-gather and had had the fresh moose meat available we wouldn’t say “I’m on a diet and so won’t eat the moose meat!” No, we would feast. We are wired to eat the food when it’s available, especially when stressed.

The problem is we are stressed AND there is too much food available. We are acting just as we are designed, but we have to be trained to stop because it’s a health problem.

We all have the capacity to over eat. We all love food. We can all eat more than we need.

Oh yeah, and add in the fact that many modern foods are engineered with salt, sugar, and fat to deliberately keep us coming back for more and more and more. That really does not help us does it? Some of us have to keep those engineered “bliss point” foods out of the house. There are many reasons why modern foods are sabotaging our health.

John and Brad talk about the difference between our modern society compared to the Victorian era in England. They talk about this comparison and our capacity to eat more than we need in an Uncensored Podcast “A Moment in time.”  If you are an immersion customer take a listen because it’s a fascinating topic.

Some of us might have some emotional eating issues and need professional help, if so we have Dr. Nicola Bird to give us a hand. But for the most part many of us simply need to train ourselves how to navigate a sedentary society with an over abundance of food.  We also need to learn to reduce our stress as much as we can.

We all seem to know how to diet. We all seem to know how to over eat. That is why we all yo-yo with our weight. We all have to learn how to eat the right amount or “normal” amount of food. It takes a bit of training and all of us are capable of learning how to do it.

The Venus community is where we share ideas on how to do just that. None of us have to be perfect to succeed at fat loss in our modern society. We share our trials, tribulations, eating disasters, triumphs, and victories. We cheer each other on all along the journey.

If you have not participated in our online community, come on in! It’s a warm, friendly, and special place.

We also share recipes, so here’s my version of the flour-less pancake. It’s not that I don’t eat flour, it’s just that some meals I may need to focus more on protein and less calories.


Mash the banana with a fork, whip in the egg, and cook the pancake on a grill. Mix the yogurt, vanilla bean, and Stevia or Truvia.  Top the pancake with the vanilla yogurt topping.  Use coconut yogurt if you can't eat yogurt.

Mash the banana with a fork, whip in the egg, and cook the pancake on a grill.
Mix the yogurt, vanilla bean, and Stevia or Truvia.
Top the pancake with the vanilla yogurt topping. Use coconut yogurt if you can’t eat dairy yogurt.


PS We don’t have “good” or “bad” food lists in our community.  We are all different and everyone finds what works best for them.  I happen to follow a mostly organic style of eating which matches our Flat Belly Forever style of eating.   That is the food that works best for me and my own health, and also helps me keep my trim shape.

Remember that most of us who became over weight simply need to train ourselves how to eat the right amount of food in a modern society.  There is nothing wrong; we are merely human.

-Coach Roberta

You can find me in the online community.

If you want a Venus Premier Coach <<– Sign up here

PS You don’t have to be in a contest to get coaching.

How to Stay Motivated When You Over Eat and Don’t Feel Like Exercising?


How do I stay motivated when I over eat and don’t feel like exercising?

It is two weeks into the current Venus Transformation contest.  Whether you are in the contest or not, we are all striving to be our best and make positive changes in our lives.  We all want our dreams.  Keep the dream, go for the dream, live the dream!

You might be on a motivational roll, or you might be in a motivational slump.  We all have these ebbs and flows and need motivation to get back on track.

If you find yourself in a slump know this is normal.  It happens to all of us. Don’t give up. We are all human.  We all make mistakes.  We all have to motivate ourselves to get back on track.  None of us gets a free pass on this.


Listen to Dr. Nicola and John in our free podcasts:

Ask Nicola; Overcoming Inertia

Ask Nicola; What is Self Sabotage?

Ask Nicola; Are You Your Own Worst Self Critic?

Ask Nicola; Perfectionist Mindset

Ask Nicola; What Can You Do About Distorted Body Image?

Ask Nicola; Learn to Love Your Body

Ask Nicola; Three Things That Can Hinder Your Success

Ask Nicola; Can food be a reward?

Ask Nicola; What is closet eating?

Ask Nicola; Emotional Eating vs Emotional OVER-Eating

Ask Nicola; Identify Emotional Eating


Why the Venus program works

All of us love food. This is where we learn to manage it in a healthy manner for life. All of us have learned how to diet, and all of us have learned how to eat too much, but we have a hard time learning the middle ground. It is swimming up stream against society and social pressure to constantly eat high calorie foods. So we all have to learn to manage it like a budget.

Once the debt is paid off then we simply learn to have a one or two deficit days to offset the higher eating days.  We balance it like a checkbook for the week or over a period of time. It takes a bit of effort to get used to and then it just becomes second nature.

Just like kids who get money from their parents when they are young and don’t have to worry about where it comes from or how much is in the checkbook; we all have to grow up and become responsible with food intake. If not, we spend calories like it’s a credit card with no limit and then we get into fat debt again.

There is a lot of science behind why the workout is designed the way it is, and why the eating schedule is designed the way it is; both of those give you an advantage as well as keep leptin up.   But also not depriving yourself of foods you love is KEY.  Most other diets restrict you from foods you love and you go crazy eventually and over compensate for depriving yourself.


 I don’t like working out

Just do the best you can. It does not have to be all or nothing. Do something every day.  Do just enough to so that you don’t dread it. Think of ways to make it fun. Is it music, time to yourself, a new piece of workout gear, shoes, clothing, something new to look forward to, spending time with friends? Try something to make it fun.

The more you do it the more you will see things about your body change and that will motivate you. It might just be walking to the end of a driveway without getting winded anymore. For some of us who are older we find our arthritis doesn’t bother us as much. Rejoice in the health changes.

The more conditioned you become the better you will feel, and the more good biofeedback you will receive to keep you rolling on a positive trend.

Any little effort you put into exercise gives you “skin in the game” to keep rolling with all your other choices like food and not let the day go to wasted effort.


How to deal with over eating?

None of us are perfect. As John says in the in the Fat Loss Manual, give yourself “Permission to be Imperfect”; It’s a great message. We are not machines, we are human, so we bumble along the best we can.  The process still works if we are patient and don’t let peak eating days go on for a long string of time endlessly. Just increase awareness, live life, learn some new tools and tricks, be patient, and give it some time.

Day to day effort is all it takes. It is the daily choices.

You are not alone when you feel like you always want more food. Pretty much all of us want more, especially on a deficit. For three years while mostly on a deficit I had to constantly remind myself after every meal, and after finishing my small portions; “I can have more next time!” Drink a big glass of water or tea and walk away and get busy on a project, work, chores, whatever. Keep busy. Get away from food and get your mind on something else.  I still have to use this technique today.

My biggest advice on the over eating is that you can STOP whenever you decide to stop. You don’t have to think this is the end of the world and that you are doomed just because you over ate (and thus keep eating for no reason), just stop!

You may have to bump up your calories a bit. Anything under maintenance is a deficit. A slower more sustainable deficit is better than too low and then binging.  Sometimes binging is a sign that it’s too low of a deficit for you.  You might have too much stress in your life.  You might have some emotional issues to deal with (we all do); it does not mean there is anything wrong with you.  Hunger is our body’s natural reaction to any stress.

It does not matter what others are doing.  Quit comparing what you eat with what someone else eats.  What they do does not matter. You need to find what is right for YOU. All you need is a slight deficit over time, more deficit days than maintenance days, and keep the peak eating days to a minimum.


Looking at your string of positive days often

If you are using a calorie counting tool like MyFitnessPal then look at the 30 and 90 day calorie charts often to make sure your peaks are not too high, and not too often.

Get a calendar and use some fun pretty sparkle stickers for all deficit days, a different sticker for maintenance days, no stickers for over maintenance peaks, and a different sticker for workouts.  No negative stickers!

Remember that maintenance eating days are always a WIN. They are not backsliding.  They are eating normal. It’s the way you were meant to eat. It is just enough.  The calorie deficit is not the way you were meant to eat; it is corrective action to fix a health problem.  None of us are meant to stay on corrective action forever.  We need breaks from corrective action.  Corrective action is stress.

Then be motivated by the string of stickers or the graph of progress you see over time.

We all make mistakes. Every single one of us. We are all human, not machines.

Just stop where you are at if you are not on track and decide to get back on track.

Just DECIDE and DO IT.

Know you don’t have to be perfect.

Know you start with little steps.

Know you will feel pain.

Know you have to break through your fears.


The simplicity of Eat Less, Move More

The simplicity of “eat less and move more” is powerful. Sometimes we get far too caught up in the tools and letting them mess with our heads, when deep down we all know it’s just go to the gym and eat slightly less.  Listen to your body when you need to eat a little more some days (not binge!)  Rest from the gym when you need it. People figured this out before the age of technology.

Sometimes the age of technology is information overload, when this happens take a deep breath and listen to the simplicity in your heart and mind, it’s there. Then after a breather start looking around and navigating the technology if you want.

It doesn’t always matter about “counting” calories, so long as over all the calories in are less than the calories you ate to get you where you are today. That can mean smaller servings, or one less pudding, or don’t drink soft drinks.

Likewise, it doesn’t matter about being perfect with the exercise, doing something is better than doing nothing.

If you want to get stronger that doesn’t have to be perfect either, as long as the amount of exercise you did this week is somehow a little more than the amount of exercise you did last week. That can be going a little longer, or lifting a little heavier, or walking a little faster. Bodies take time to change, and lives take time to change too.

I hope this helps!

-Coach Roberta


If you want a Venus Premier Coach <<– Sign up here

PS You don’t have to be in a contest to get coaching.


How Rhea went from Emotional Eating to Total Confidence in Mid Life

Rhea conquered emotional eating with the Venus Factor program and Dr. Nicola Bird

Rhea conquered emotional eating with the Venus Factor program, support from family and friends, and listening to Dr. Nicola Bird


Rhea placed Tenth in our VT-9 Transformation contest


Rhea has been so active and busy enjoying life with her husband, family, and new grandchildren that she never got a chance to interview with John.  But she wanted to share her story and her pictures.  We are very happy for Rhea and her new confidence and new life.  Congratulations Rhea and well done!

Rhea said a key to her success and overcoming emotional issues were the Dr. Nicola Bird podcasts.


Dr. Nicola and John talk about many of the issues that are important to start working on right away, before you reach your fitness goals:


Dr. Nicola Bird

Nicola’s Online Program


Here is what Rhea has to say in her own words:

At 54 and four kids later, I decided I wanted to actually complete one full 12-week program. The “nutritional piece” of most programs I own (30) have too many rules. Being a recovering bulimic, rules can trigger my perfectionism. It wasn’t worth giving up my recovery to lose those last few pounds. Then when I read the VF material, I decided I would give it a try. I felt the VF philosophy gave me the freedom to make my own rules within broader guidelines without guilt. So, I entered a contest to make myself accountable to finish.

My husband was a great encourager, but the blog threads gave me specific help related to the program. Another amazing help was the emails. It seemed that both John’s knew exactly what I was struggling with at certain weeks! Nicole’s conversations about body image, perfectionism and emotional eating were on target to what I personally struggle with.

Now I’m the size I was in college, pre-marriage and pre-children! I never thought I could do it without being active in my disease. Amazingly, I feel sexier than I ever have, which my husband is thrilled about. I have experience lots of “firsts” along the journey. This is my first time to finish a program, my first spray tan, first time to own 5” heels, first bikini in 35 years and most certainly my first photos in one! Thrilled with my results and the program.

The most vital thing to me was the support of others. First was my husband who ate lean meals with me and worked around my “feeding up” days to go out for meals. He never complained and often asked what he could do to help me. He frequently reminded me that he loved me just as I was, but he sure liked the end result! I have to admit I bought a dvd to learn pole dancing. Can I say that? That’s how much more confident I feel about my body.

Second was Carol my exercise partner of seven years. She went through all the routines with me enduring every reverse lung and step up combo. We had some good laughs on first attempts at T-bends and step-up/presses. People at the gym jokingly call us the two women who are training for the Olympics in “synchronized weight lifting” because we do everything at the same time with the same counts.

Third would be my faith and hope in Christ. I know,  that may sound odd, unrelated and counter cultural. However, my struggle with perfectionism and shame resulted in the slow death of an eating disorder. Learning that my worth is not defined by my weight or body shape was a hard journey. I am learning that my worth comes only from how God created me and the freedom I have in Christ. Knowing these truths is the only way I could set out on this journey and not let the scale determine who I was or let it steal my joy.

Forth was the podcasts and articles which were so timely. They only reinforced so much of the truths I am trying to live out in my life. The Venus Factor is the best whole package I have run across, and it works.

My husband and I have always longed to go to Australia and New Zealand and this January we were able to go. We enjoyed the beauty and uniqueness of the land, flora and animals. I have enclosed three pictures. One is of us with a Koala Bear (which sleep 18-22 hours a day), us at Hobbiton (the Shire) where they filmed the Hobbit and us climbing the Sydney Bridge. It was wonderful to feel great and have the energy to hike up mountains and chase a few wallabies 🙂

Age 54

Height 69”

Start Weight 139 pounds, End Weight 131 pounds

Start Shoulders 46”, End Shoulders 43”

Start Waist 29”, End Waist 27”


Rhea has total confidence and renewed passion even in Mid Life.  It's something most of us women in mid life dream of.

Like most of us women in mid life dream of;
Rhea has total confidence and renewed passion in her relationship with her husband.


Ask Nicola; How do you Successfully Sustain Your New Fit Body?


We have many women who have sustained their fitness level but Kimberley was the very first to be labeled the "Every Day Venus".

We have many women who have sustained their fitness level but Kimberley was the very first to be labeled the “Every Day Venus”. We now have many in the community who have followed in her footsteps.

How do you sustain your new body once you achieve your fitness goal?

Why do people relapse? 

It is a new way of living.  It’s not the way you lived that got you to gain weight, and it’s also not the way you lived to lose the weight, it’s a new third way of living.

This third way is usually not thought of for maintenance.  It is 90% mental. You are moving from a honeymoon phase back to dealing with real life in your new fit body.

Sustainability for maintenance is a new concept completely.  There is a lot of mental change that needs to take place.


Expectations – Shift your expectations once you’re in a new phase of your diet and fitness life.

Change of your expectations; you aren’t going to have the same rush of excitement as when you were losing weight.  You thought this was going to fix everything in your life, but now you are just dealing with the day to day stress of life.  There are not really any exciting changes anymore with regard to fitness goals.


Flexibility – Must learn to be flexible with your thoughts, and actions.

Be Flexible; with the challenges of life, the messiness, and boredom, you can’t let the bad days define you.  Don’t let yourself get into a negative cycle because your expectations about what maintenance were not what you thought it would be like.

You are worth the effort to stay fit.   For the 12 weeks during a contest or challenge you may have been able to be more inflexible but that is not a sustainable way to live.  Now as you move on in life you need to learn to live your normally life again.


Vulnerability – Must accept and manage your vulnerability.

Bad days will happen; you must get back on with life and it’s messy sometimes. If you don’t accept your vulnerability you will fall into a trap of having unrealistic expectations of yourself that leads to a feeling of failure.

Accepting your vulnerability; you are still going to have fears.  You are still not going to be supported by everyone in your life.  Life is still hard, messy, work stress is still there, fears still exist, relationship issues still happen, your insecurities and self-image are still there, you are still you.


We all stumble a little as we mature

When I first achieved my fitness goal, no actually even when I exceeded my fitness goal, I didn’t even realize I was there yet.  It takes awhile for your mind to catch up with your body.

I’d spent so long losing weight that I didn’t know how to stop.  I was afraid I’d gain it all back.  I was afraid to eat more.  I had a lot of fears.  There was a lot of jealousy and shifting relationships in my life.

Yes I was fit and confident and that was fun, but all the problems that have always existed were still there.  All my fears and insecurities were still there.  I’d pushed a lot of things out of my mind to focus on my fitness goal, now it was done.  Now what?

You learn to live a normal life again.  You learn to socialize again as the new fit person.  And you keep maturing and learning. You stumble and you make mistakes, and you learn and you keep going.

What will you do to make sure you succeed when you reach your new way of life?  Make a plan.  Start now.

There are many in the community who are willing to help.



Dr. Nicola and John talk about many of the issues that are important to start working on right away, before you reach your fitness goals:

Several veteran Venuses have written about their struggles and what they have learned:



Dr. Nicola Bird

Nicola’s Online Program

Listen to John’s interview with Dr. Nicola Bird here, and please “like” it when you’re done:

Ask Nicola; Three Things That Can Hinder Your Success

There are three major things that can get in the way of your success:

This goes for all success, not just diet and fitness.

  •     Relationships with others
  •     Relationship with self
  •     Life stress and pressure

These will be your major challenges.  John and Nicola talk about these issues in today’s podcast.

You will experience negative backlash as you get in shape.  You will never be able to guess who will be on your side or who will not be as supportive as you thought.  As you gain your success it will put your relationships in a state of flux.

Some people who were your friends or that you are close to will become jealous or insecure because of your success; while at the same time you will make new friends who will support you.  All of your relationships will be tested.

The change in the relationship with yourself:   Are you being compassionate, kind, and loving to yourself?  You can’t rely on others to validate you.  Give yourself permission to be good to you.  This will help you with your relationships with others.


I’m finding out who my real friends are.  I’m happy to say that my friend Carla here is a true and trusted friend.  Our support goes both ways and we both cheer each other on and help each other when we are down.  It’s great to have true friends.

I’m finding out who my real friends are. I’m happy to say that my friend Carla here is a true and trusted friend. Our support goes both ways and we both cheer each other on and help each other when we are down. It’s great to have true friends.


My support circle changed.

Like everyone else who has paved the way before me, and what I also see happening for newer women finding success in our community; all the relationships around me changed.  I’m blessed to have an incredibly supportive husband (my dear Randy).

Randy has actually changed along with me regarding healthier eating habits.  He was the one who helped me get started and he has been my support all along.

Even though Randy was never over weight we both agreed that some of the steps we took to help me lose weight we will keep for good, like not having snack foods around the house as a normal routine.

Randy has even taken up Eat Stop Eat practices as a way to maintain his physique.  He also decided to join me regarding not consuming typical breakfast cereals and discarding a lot of the eating habits that are ingrained in our current modern North American society.

We both have evolved to a non-conventional eating lifestyle where neither of us puts pressure on the other to eat at specific times or when the other is not hungry.  We both respect the needs of each other while staying healthy and fit.

It does not mean we have to neglect time together.  Sometimes I’ll have a cup of tea and chat with him while he is eating, or other times we will skip a meal together yet sit outside on the deck sipping coffee or tea instead.  Other times we make an effort to plan a meal together.

I’m not sure how successful I would be without Randy’s support.  He was there for me during all the painful flux of my relationships with others.



We both have evolved to a non-conventional eating lifestyle where neither of us puts pressure on the other to eat at specific times or when the other is not hungry.

We both have evolved to a non-conventional eating lifestyle where neither of us puts pressure on the other to eat at specific times or when the other is not hungry.


Other people are still used to the old you.

The thing is; the others who said hurtful things to me many times didn’t even realize how hurtful they were.  When you gain success it changes how others view you and themselves, it causes insecurity, uncertainty, and it is scary to some people.  They were used to the old you. 

I have found out who my real friends are.  Friendships continued to change even after my fitness success and as I progressed along and found success in other aspects of my life. 

As my success increased, I had yet even new “fitness support” friends become negative and hurtful.  Again, I don’t think they meant it, I think they are just so wrapped up in their own insecurity that they don’t even see it.

It doesn’t mean that I can’t still be friends with them, but I’ve learned I have to put my guard up a little now and establish new boundaries.  It’s just part of life.


Don’t look back.

My new motto for when people are mean, jealous, and ugly towards me is to be thankful because they are a reminder of what I don’t want to be.  I can’t control them.  I can’t change them.  I can’t tell them they might need counseling for their insecurities, constant negative talk, or constantly putting other people down.

I can only change me.  I can decide I do not want to be like that.  Besides that, I know that the real reason they are hurtful towards me is because they themselves are hurting.  I can decide to be the one with compassion, yet refuse to be a doormat.

I also can’t spend the time to think about their negativity as it hinders my own growth and my own effort to strive to be positive and forward thinking.  It’s a waste of time and it is toxic.  My life is moving forward too fast to turn backwards and look at them.  Just like everything else we do; keep moving forward.

Randy and I have seen some funny changes over the last several years with the interactions I now have with people all around me in all aspects of my life.  As a female you will find that as you become fit many other females will become frosty towards you, yet the men will become friendlier and you will get more attention.   In general you will get more respect.

At the Sheriff’s department Randy jokingly says that I went from being an “ink blot” deputy (I would say I was frumpy and more matronly looking), to someone who looks more youthful and is highly respected. I am now sought out for advice and opinions or sometimes just for chit chat when I was previously mostly ignored.

It’s mostly all fun but it’s hard when at times it costs you some friendships.  It’s the price you pay for doing something extraordinary and improving yourself.  It is something we all have to work through.  Like Nicola said, the best place to start is with you.



Dr. Nicola Bird

Nicola’s Online Program

Listen to John’s interview with Dr. Nicola Bird here, and please “like” it when you’re done:


Don’t Be Disappointed If You Can’t Live Your Daily Life at a Low Body Fat Level.

When you reach your fitness goals you still go through a maturing process

It sounds odd but once you hit your fitness goals, especially if you’ve exceeded your expectations, you will still go through a maturing process.  You learn to adjust to a shape and size that you have to be happy with.  Usually most of us want to be back to our leanest.  That is the benchmark we all compare ourselves to.

I don’t use a scale anymore, or even a tape measure.  I might get on a scale a couple times a year, and an occasional DXA scan (which is the only method I trust for true body fat %).  After a couple of years now I base my “range” on three sets of clothes – mainly determined by pants/waist sizes as that is mainly where the fat fluctuates.

I exceeded my own goal when I got down to 10% body fat. Once we do this this is our benchmark, but we can't live our day to day life there.

I exceeded my own goal when I got down to 10% body fat. Once we do this it is our benchmark, but we can’t live our day to day life there. The Venus Factor system IS what got me to exceed my wildest expectations for myself.

Why we need periodic refeeds

Leigh Peele’s Starve Mode book and recent podcast are helping me learn to mature in my journey. Leigh’s explanations and research are helping me to learn why we can’t live our day to day lives at a super lean body fat level.  It’s helping me understand why we need breaks from the deficit (sometimes called a refeed).

I will admit, all along I’ve always hated the term refeed and I didn’t believe that we needed them.  I saw too many people using a refeed as an excuse to eat too much. I just wasn’t willing to go there.  I was afraid of getting fat again.  To be perfectly honest that seemed like my worst nightmare after how hard I worked to achieve my goal.

Now I know that a refeed is not meant to be a free for all – eating as much as you want – for as long as you want – binge.  It just means eat at maintenance.  Yes, it’s that simple.  Eat at maintenance, and if you’ve been doing the reverse taper (it’s built into our nutrition calculator) then that is probably not much higher than your slight deficit anyway.

We have some refeed days built into our Venus Factor 12 week Fat Loss manual, but based on how you feel you might need extended periods of eating at maintenance.

Relax, the slight calorie deficit still works

The first time I hit this higher range over a year ago I almost had a meltdown.  It’s hard when you have worked so hard to lose body fat; you still have a fear of gaining it all back.  For the most part, if you are paying attention that is just not going to happen. 

Give yourself a month or two of doing exactly what you already know how to do and you will be back to being comfortable again. 

It probably won’t be the last time.

Relax. Take a deep breath.  Work on the deficit when you can, then take a break from the deficit and be patient.  It does still take a calorie deficit to lose fat.  But take it slow.  Easy does it.  Trust the process.  Trust your body.  It will be a delayed reaction. 

What you do now can take up to three weeks to show results.  The first week is the hardest, the next week gets better, then you find your groove, and each week gets better.  You keep plugging along and it’s not very exciting, but you know what to do.

After a while your clothes change how they fit and you start seeing more muscle definition again.  Once you start seeing small changes like this it keeps you motivated to keep going. 

Women are meant to have a higher body fat compared to men

Women are meant to have a certain level of healthy body fat, more than men.  It is nature’s way of survival for us.  We are not really meant to manipulate our bodies to be super lean, but some of us do it anyway and we have to learn how to manage this in a healthy manner.

If we are not careful we can actually develop eating disorders, so we must learn to stay healthy and take care of ourselves.  I have never had an eating disorder and I don’t intend to start down that path, ever.

I'm learning to accept that this level is very healthy and livable, and I'm fine right as long as I want or need to stay here.

I’m still convincing myself that the higher end is okay.  I can shoot for slightly lower if I want, or I can stay where I am as long as I want to or need to.  It’s okay either way.  Whatever is livable, sustainable, or fits with my life and stress level at the moment in time, or the season in my life.


So probably the biggest struggle for me is accepting that I’m okay even at my highest end of the range, shown in the collage, all very recent pictures from the last several months up to a few days ago.  Learning to accept this is a normal part of the maturing process.

First of all body fat level does not matter.  Finding the shape and look you like matters more.  Once you find that it might be good to know what the level is, but it’s not entirely necessary.

My body fat percentage tends to be on the very low side mainly because my lean body mass (LBM) is on the very high side.  At 5’1 my LBM (per DXA) is 105 lbs., for most women my height this is 98 lbs. or under.  Comparison is not a good idea, for me or for anyone else.

We are all different.  I have to accept that this is me; this is how I’m designed.  I love lifting heavy and I love feeling strong.  I love my gym time.  I wouldn’t be happy without it.  So yeah I’m big for my height and that’s just how it is. In general I’m still a tiny person, I am only 5’1″ after all.

It doesn’t help me to know my scale weight or my body fat percentage anymore

Recently someone asked me what my weight and body fat percentage is right now.  I had to answer that I don’t know, and I don’t want to know.  I don’t think it does me any good to know.  I’d rather just learn to be happy with my shape and whatever clothes I decide to wear. I know how to eat at a slight deficit and that’s all I need to know.  I either decide to do it or not.  If I have too much stress or I am not getting enough sleep then a deficit for me is not sustainable.

I know which clothes fit and I know this is my high end.  All I know is I want to learn to accept and love where I’m at right now, while at the same time trying to get just slightly slimmer when I can.  I’ll know once I’m there by which clothes fit. 

I know how to get there; just a slight calorie deficit, taking breaks as needed, constantly listening to my body at various cycles of hunger and stress, sleep and energy level, and strength at the gym.  It’s all about energy balance and being tuned into your own body.

Learning to love your body right where you are at; It takes constant work.  It’s hard.

I’m still convincing myself that the higher end is okay.  I can shoot for slightly lower if I want, or I can stay where I am as long as I want to or need to.  It’s okay either way.  Whatever is livable, sustainable, or fits with my life and stress level at the moment in time, or the season in my life.

Just as Nicola explains in the podcast with John, learning to love your body takes constant effort and it’s not easy.  It does not matter where you are in your weight loss journey.  It takes work even after you achieve your goal.  It’s constant work.

The best time to start on that mental work is now, right where you are at.  Whatever level you are at, it is training for maintaining.


Ask Nicola; Overcoming Inertia

April is one of our contest winners who knows how to overcome inertia.

April is one of our contest winners who knows how to overcome inertia.

How do you get yourself off the ground starting this fitness program?

How do you get yourself to the gym every day?

How do you get started again after a break?

How do you keep from being frozen in place?

How do you stop the negative thoughts that it’s too hard?

How do you get back into your healthy eating routine?

None of us is immune to having a hard time getting back into the healthy routine

Sometimes you have to pay attention to the negative and turn it into an emotional reward. Turn it into a positive.

Link the positives to your exercise and nutrition routine.

We can break the inertia if we don’t focus on the effort, focus on the reward and benefit.

Exercise feels good.

Eating healthy feels good.

Today Nicola and John talk about how to overcome inertia.


Dr. Nicola Bird

Nicola’s Online Program

Listen to John’s interview with Dr. Nicola Bird here, and please “like” it when you’re done:

Ask Nicola; Learn to Love Your Body

We all deal with insecurities with our bodies; even after we achieve our goals. This picture  was a real turning point for me.

We all deal with insecurities with our bodies; even after we achieve our goals. This picture taken last Friday night was a real turning point for me.


We all deal with insecurities with our bodies; even after we achieve our goals

This podcast with John and Nicola was extremely helpful to me regarding emotional issues that I’m currently dealing with.

Sometimes I have a huge disconnect between how I see myself and how others see me. My husband Randy says I look perfect right now, but I tend to see myself as bigger than I once was, even though I lost 60 pounds!


Your body is your power house

Randy sees me as a whole person. When he sees my shape, he sees the whole shape and he does not nitpick at the parts like I do. When he hears me talk about my body he gets frustrated and tells me that I’m not looking at the whole picture or that my overall shape is beautiful.

He also sees how I work and use my body as the power house in all that I do.


Comparison is the thief of joy

I am constantly comparing myself to when I was at my leanest which was immediately after I’d achieved my Venus goals. My leanest is not a realistic body fat level to live my life especially as a female. At my leanest (10% body fat) I was able to create some great fitness model looking pictures.

But this is sometimes a drawback for me as I tend to compare myself to them. I am almost 53 years old and I don’t live my life prancing around in a bikini and high heels, at 10% body fat, and water manipulated!  It’s just not a practical comparison.

It’s as bad as any of us who compare ourselves to all the fitness model pictures of girls who were ripped for a few nano seconds in time AND had their pictures enhanced with photoshop, AND we have NO IDEA what methods were taken to get their bodies in that kind of shape.

Even my own pictures were only a moment in time that took weeks to prepare for.


I did not see anything special in the picture

I took this silly locker room picture because I was happy that the new jeans and T-shirt felt good and brought back fun memories of my recent vacation with my dear friend Carla. We had gone clothes shopping together and she helped me pick these out.

The reactions I got from the picture were a turning point for me.  I  did not see anything special in this picture.  In fact what I saw were arms that are too bulky,  a torso that is too thick, and in my mind I pictured the fat on my legs and butt that I don’t like.  You are supposed to have some fat on your body!

I wasn’t wearing makeup so I didn’t take off my prescription sunglasses that I had worn for work outside.  I just wanted to take the picture so I could post it for Carla and let her know I was thinking of her and the fun we had going shopping the day I’d purchased these clothes.


Sometimes you need to listen to the truthful positive feedback

After I posted the picture on Facebook and MyFitnessPal I was brought to tears by the comments and compliments. It was a turning point.

Even though we can’t base our happiness on compliments and what others think, it is nice to get positive attention on occasion. I’m only human and this makes me feel good sometimes.

Not only was it nice, but it spoke to me on a deep level about how I was viewing myself. Something was wrong and I needed to take action.


You can have fitness goals and still decide to feel good about your body

Even if I have a short term goal of getting back to my pre-summer vacation shape I can feel good about my shape now. I can focus on the strength and health improvements that I’ve already achieved. I can focus on feeling good about the actions I am taking today to achieve my short term goals.

My goal is not to get back to 10% body fat and that is okay too. I can decide to be happy anywhere in my healthy body fat range and it does not matter what anyone else thinks.


What can you do about it?

You can tend to analyze your parts, not the whole.

You can tend to look at your body parts as something that is an object, not part of you.

  1. There is social pressure for a variety of reasons.
  2. You can develop insecurities early on.  Then your body becomes a rejection point. You start nit picking.

How can I like my body when I have a lot of weight to lose?

It’s not easy.  It takes work.

Your body is not just a visual object.  It is a practical power house.  It is you.

Today Nicola will give you something to start doing to help learning to appreciate yourself and your current efforts.


I am taking Nicola’s advice and I’m feeling better already!


Dr. Nicola Bird

Nicola’s Online Program

Listen to John’s interview with Dr. Nicola Bird here, and please “like” it when you’re done: