Nutrition the Venus Way – Podcast

Liss Nutrition and Dumas Venus ladies

In this podcast which was recorded live in front of an audience for a seminar in Dumas, Texas, at the Moore County YMCA- Coach Liss answers:

  • What is the fitness hierarchy?
  • Why is rest and stress important to consider?
  • What are the 3 ways of eating?
  • Why, when, and how should we eat in a deficit.
  • Why is eating to maintenance level important?
  • Why we should consider error in our nutrition.
  • Why is protein important?
  • How a weekly and daily eating pattern might look.
  • Does meal timing matter?
  • What supplements should I consider?
  • Why should I consider gut health?
  • What is the Anything Goes Diet?
  • How might I consider actions instead of only goals

Goal to Actions Graphic

Along with many practical tips and actual examples of what Liss’ nutrition looks like on a daily basis.


Listen to the free Venus Factor Podcast below:

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Keeping your Motivation Up


Jenny venus top small

Coach Jenny knows what it takes to win a Venus Contest.

As we start out this latest Venus Contest- VT12, expectation and motivation run high. It is so exciting to think of the possible change you can drive in 12 short weeks with consistency and hard work!

For some the newness will wear down after a few weeks; challenges will inevitably present themselves and motivation will wane. What you will be left with is a choice to continue on with the commitment you made or to throw in the towel. Many will choose the latter. Do not be one of them.  You can do this!
Here are some practical tips to keep up your motivation-

1) Refocus and reflect

I like to look over how I did the day before and plan out the day ahead for both calories and workouts. I then take my daily goals and turn them into weekly goals. Those become a weekly journal where I can reflect on what went good or bad.  It is from this weekly feedback that we learn what works.



Coach Roberta’s main motivation is her workouts. The workouts help her keep her eye on the prize and make healthy choices with food.

2) Try a new tool

There are many to choose from, and how well they work for you will change with the seasons. Being open to trying new things and to changing something that is not working for you is important on a fitness journey. Experiment with the time of day you work out, try adding a day of cardio, change up the number of meals a day, or give fasting a try.

3) Find others who have walked the same path and succeeded

I find listening to Venus Index podcasts each day both inspires and motivates me.  They keep me focused and I always come away with at least one helpful idea.


The Venus Index community is brimming full of women who are previous contest winners and those who are on their maintenance journey.   It is so easy to reach out and get more personal via PM’s, texts, or email. The accountability is often very helpful when you are struggling.


We now have Venus Premier Coaching available for those who want it. A Venus coach will tell you exactly what to do and keep you accountable with regular check points.

Coach Lita is in tip top shape and knows how to get her clients there too

Coach Lita is in tip top shape and knows how to get her clients there too.

4) Start a streak

Get yourself a calendar and reward each forward day with a sticker. Log continuously on My Fitness Pal. Creating a streak can be motivating! They also tend to develop into habits which take up less mental space.

5) Spend money

Where your money goes often reveals your priorities. It should be enough to make you feel the need to use it so make the amount appropriate to your income. Some ideas would be to purchase home gym equipment, workout clothing/shoes, or advanced programming like Immersion or Venus Premier Coaching.


Hiring a photographer is another great motivating tool for your contest photos. What better reward than professional documentation of being in the best shape of your life!

Liss teal workout outfit

On scene at my last shoot, photographers and timelines are motivating for me.

Try incorporating a few of these methods into your contest or contest shadowing. This is a choice you are making, so commit to honor that as best you can. Forgive yourself when you mess up, learn from it, and power on. We call that stumbling forward in Venus land. Best wishes for VT12!


X- Liss

Fitness Trends 2013

Here’s the next episode of the UNCENSORED Podcasts Season 2.

Today’s topic:  Fitness Trends 2013

Regardless of what is coming for the rest of 2013 you can be sure it's all be done before

Regardless of what is coming for the rest of 2013 you can be sure it’s all been done before

Fitness Trends 2013

Everything that’s old is new again, and this is always true in diet and fitness. Every trend you’ve seen in the past 10 years has already come to a rise and fallen decades earlier.

The low carb fad that hit in the 1990’s is at least the 3rd time low carb came into vogue. The low fat push in the 1950’s and 60’s had it’s first push 60 years before that.

Even fasting has been promoted as a healthy way to eat and stave off disease and sickness as far back as the late 1800’s.

Believe it or not protein was even regarded as an evil nutrient that should be eaten in very limited quantities. And conversely you can find information promoting very high protein diets in the 1800’s as well.

When it comes to strength training we’ve seen the recent popularity of self proclaimed ‘functional’ training such as cross fit. Traditional bodybuilding has faded and might be due for a resurgence.

Regardless of what is coming for the rest of 2013 you can be sure it’s all be done before.


IMMERSION Clients May Login and Download Podcast Here

Not a Venus Index IMMERSION client? Click here to find out more…

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Muscle Is Forever

Here’s the next episode of the UNCENSORED Podcasts Season 2.

Today’s topic:  Muscle is Forever


Muscle is forever!

Muscle is forever!

The term “building muscle” is the most common term we hear when referring to an increase in muscle size. This however is not the most accurate way of imagining how a muscle actually increases it’s size. A better way to think of it is inflating and deflating a balloon, and increasing the ‘rubber’ of the balloon.

From there it gets a little more complex with the incorporation of muscle specific stem cells called “satellite cells”.

In todays podcast we review the claims of an interesting self experiment done by Nate Green who gained 20lbs of lean mass in only 28 days. We determine that it’s more correct to say that he actually ‘re-inflated’ the same 20lbs of muscle mass he used to have…and that it’s perfectly normal to expect to do this for anyone who has previously been 20lbs larger.

Fact is that once you’ve built the muscle you can always get it back even after years of taking time off. And it comes back FAST!

IMMERSION Clients May Login and Download Podcast Here

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How Donna Finally Got The Healthy Body She Has Always Wanted

Today we are honored to listen to Donna-Marie Moy who placed third in the 7th Venus Index Transformation Contest.

Check out her beautiful transformation from the 12 Week Contest:

Donna made an amazing transformation

Donna made an amazing transformation


Read what Donna wrote about her experience with Venus Index:

I find it amazing that it is possible to completely transform your body from something that was always hidden, to something to be proud of in just 12 weeks. When I started VT7 I knew I was committed to making a change, but I never really thought that in 12 short weeks I would not only be at my lowest body weight since the age of 10, but I’d be wearing a bikini in public and have muscle tone to show off. My Venus Index Transformation was a journey of self-discovery. It was an emotional rollercoaster, sometimes I was elated that I was making progress and amazed that I suddenly fit into a smaller pair of jeans; whilst at other times whilst doing the 20th curtsey lunge I despaired as to whether this effort was making a difference. I enjoy cooking and having my partner joining me in the Men’s version of the contest, meant that fixing my diet was easy. Having the willpower to stop snacking however, was not; But the VI community was there to encourage and guide and with the Un-contests I was able to start shedding the pounds. Building the muscle tone was slower. I followed the VI Phase I week after week, sometimes it was hard to see where it was going but I carried on. The program ensured that as I became accustomed to a routine, it changed and kept me motivated to continue. About half way through the contest I realized that I could feel muscles I never knew I had, and from that point on every week I could see a difference. I’ve now completed phase I and this is just the beginning, Now that I’ve lost weight, this is where the hard work begins!


Before and after metrics for Donna Moy

Before and after metrics for Donna


Donna's before pictures

Donna’s before pictures


Donna made an amazing transformation

Donna’s after pictures

Listen to Donna’s interview here, and please “like” it when you’re done:

Kiya Learned The 1200 Calorie Myth Does Not Work For Small Females; She Lost 110 Pounds

Today we are honored to listen to Kiya who placed fourth in the 7th Venus Index Transformation Contest.

Check out her beautiful transformation from the 12 Week Contest:

kiya cover collage

Kiya did a lot of research and found there was nothing to substantiate the 1200 calorie myth. The myth hinders weight loss for small females who simply need less food. Once she figured this out her success took off.  She also learned that calorie needs go up as you go from weight loss to maintenance.

Read what Kiya wrote about her experience with Venus Index:

My Venus story starts in April 2012. I lost 90lbs before the start of VT7 and witnessed a huge transformation in how I saw food and myself. My focus was losing fat as fast as possible, and I worked out occasionally when I had the energy. I restarted Phase 1 and tightened up my diet in December 2012 in preparation for a cruise, so I sailed into the first 2 weeks of VT7 doing exactly what I had been doing for the previous seven. I was on vacation Week 3 & 4 of VT7 and when I returned, I started Phase 2 and kept my eyes on what I could control – my calories, my workouts, and my form. By then, I was at the point where my weight loss was slowing down, so there was a lot of managing my expectations around the scale and the measuring tape, and adjusting to the new requirements and demands of my leaner body. All of VT7 has been a dance – figuring out how low I could keep calories and still be able to push myself hard in the gym, adjusting the timing of meals so I could get good sleep, and slowly shifting from the mad rush of weight loss into the steadier, slower pace of re-composition. I still have about 10-15 pounds to lose, and I know with the skills I’ve developed over the last 12 weeks and over the last 14 months – I will have the Venus body of my dreams.


Kiya at the beginning of the 12 week contest

Kiya at the beginning of the 12 week contest

Kiya contest chart

Kiya’s before and after metrics for the 12 week contest



Kiya has lost a total of 110 lbs and 73 inches

Kiya has lost a total of 110 lbs.  She looks beautiful and she is enjoying many health benefits.


Listen to Kiya’s interview here, and please “like” it when you’re done:

Desserts Make Me Wake Up Ripped

Desserts make me wake up ripped

Desserts make me wake up ripped

Over the last two years I’ve noticed when I eat desserts in the evenings I wake up ripped in the morning.  The pictures above are in chronological order from left to right.  It shows the progression throughout my Venus Index journey.

The very first picture on the upper left is when I started Venus Index two and a half years ago. The picture on the lower right was taken just a few weeks ago.

The pink bikini picture is the only time I purposefully manipulated diet and water to obtain a certain look.

There are constant “seasons”

Once you hit your fitness and weight loss goals and get close to the Venus Index Ideal you will find you go through seasons of change just like all other things in life.  Some things may work during some phases or seasons, then things change and your routine needs to evolve.

When I was in my big weight loss phase all that mattered was eat less and do the Venus Index Workouts.  Not much else mattered.  Once I hit 12% body fat and lower I had to learn to eat differently.  Simply eating less didn’t work anymore.

When I look back at what I did with nutrition up until April 2012 I realize that is no longer something I can follow.  I don’t completely understand why but I know it does not work for me anymore.

Last summer I finally tried something new that worked for me.  I started working out fasted.  Up until then I felt I couldn’t do it.  I realized once I adjusted to it that it was mostly mindset and allowing my body to adjust to something new.  It was hard at first, then I got used to it, then I loved it so much I couldn’t imagine any other way.

So skipping breakfast and working out fasted were the new routine that helped me keep my level of fitness and allowed me to eat at a level more appropriate for maintenance.

I noticed that desserts (complex carbs and sugar) make me wake up ripped

For the most part I don’t eat desserts except on special occasions or vacations.  I’ve noticed that on mornings after these special occasions I tend to wake up with ripped abs.

For years while I still had a lot of weight to lose I tried many diets that restricted carbs which only worked for me temporarily.  I always rebounded.   Lately I’ve felt compelled to try something new.  Because of how I’ve noticed desserts affect me and that many people seem to have some success manipulating carbs I decided to try an experiment.

I feel I can try this kind of experiment now because over the last several years I have learned the correct amount to eat for weight loss and maintenance.  Since I know I can be mindful not to eat too much I can try something new.  If all else fails I can fall back on the basics of simply eating the correct amount of overall food.

I am trying out John Kiefer’s Carb Back-Loading protocol in conjunction with the Venus Index Phase 3 Workout.  I started this experiment on April 13th.

I would not necessarily recommend this protocol (especially the low carb prep phase) if you have a hard time with restrictive diets or still have a lot of fat loss to accomplish.

This kind of experiment can be fun if it doesn’t drive you crazy, make you feel restricted, or if you have maintained fitness long enough to be comfortable with manipulating macro nutrients.  It may not work for you.  Everyone is different.

It seems to be working for me.  I’ve done it for several weeks now and on Wednesday this week I woke up with a fun and interesting new problem:

Today I woke up with an interesting and fun problem;  My heart rate monitor only intermittently works because it doesn't always make full contact with my skin.

I woke up with an interesting and fun problem; My heart rate monitor only intermittently works because it doesn’t always make full contact with my skin.

There are a few things I like Kiefer’s Carb Back-Loading protocol

I find that the protocol fits perfectly with Eat Stop Eat and the Venus Index:

Kiefer says that insulin sensitivity is highest in the morning making it the worst time to eat carbs, or any food for that matter.  John Barban says that your willpower is best in the morning and it weakens as you take on the stress of the day.

Many of us find that skipping breakfast helps us maintain a correct calorie budget for the day.  There is no scientific evidence supporting the statement that skipping breakfast is bad for you.  If you feel you need breakfast then by all means eat breakfast.

  • Females especially, you need to lift heavy at the gym!

I love what Kiefer says about lifting heavy at the gym.  I’m paraphrasing here but he says you should not have to ask if you are lifting heavy enough.  Kicking butt at the gym is unmistakable.  I love this and it’s my favorite mantra lately “Kicking Butt at the gym is UNMISTAKABLE!”

This fits quite well with the Venus Index workout.

  • Females will not be able to eat as much as men.

Kiefer says you don’t have to count calories for his nutrition protocol but most of us small females know that especially when it comes to high calorie foods such as most carbs, well, we pretty must have to estimate calories because there is not much room for error.

Here is a quote from “Carb Back-Loading 1.0” by John Kiefer:

Meeting the carb needs of a 130 lb female athlete takes far smaller
volumes than that of a 240 lb bodybuilding male. The amount of
carbs anyone can eat while Back-Loading depends on their quantity
of muscle mass. The average female athlete doesn’t have the muscle
mass necessary to get away with eating an entire box of chocolates
every night.

We can’t get away with eating an entire box of chocolates every night.  Yeah don’t we Venus girls know this.  It makes me laugh.  This is an understatement. I like it because it’s the truth.

If you really want to know how it works get the book

There are a lot of details in Kiefer’s Carb Back-Loading book.  Like Eat Stop Eat and Venus Index you really should read the book to get the most out of it and truly understand it.

Sometimes I get so many questions from people about Eat Stop Eat, Venus Index, and Carb Back-Loading that I finally have to say “Go Read the Book”!

Yes, it means you should go purchase the book.  I was frustrated when I was trying to follow it by just using the information I found on the internet and what friends told me about it.  It wasn’t enough.  I needed to purchase the book and read it.  I found it well worth the investment.  This is fair to the person who purchased it and who you are asking a lot of questions of, and it is fair to the author.

The carb backloading  is designed for men so I’ve had to make a few adjustments to make it work for me.  I’m willing to answer a question or two and then it’s time to go get the book if you want more information.

I decided to also trial Kiefer’s philosophy regarding cardio; HIIT and no more steady state cardio

At first I didn’t like John Kiefer’s style. I had read his article “Why Women Should Not Run” and being a long distance runner for over 30 years this really ruffled my feathers the wrong way.  I love running.

After I read his book I think he might be right.  I certainly think he is right about how insulin works; how you can eat to feed the muscle but not the fat and how eating carbs in the morning is about the worst thing possible for weight loss.  Kiefer is well qualified and he backs his statements with scientific data.

I like John Kiefer because like Brad Pilon and John Barban he sticks to facts and backs the facts with science and documented research, not opinion.

It makes me realize that even though I was successful at weight loss I did it the hardest way possible.  What I did proved that eating less and exercising are all that matter for weight loss, but it also proved how stubborn and persistent I was working against the odds.

I think Kiefer might be right regarding the cardio.  I recently finished a half marathon and even though it was my fastest ever at age 52, it did not help me get as lean as I wanted.  I continued to lift heavy at the gym with Venus Index Phase 2 Workouts but the long distance running seemed to hinder my “get leaner” goal.

Marin County Half Marathon on March 30, 2013

Marin County Half Marathon on March 30, 2013

Since I’ve completed the half marathon and I’m doing Kiefer’s Carb Back-Loading for my nutrition plan I figured I might as well give his HIIT only cardio a try as well.  I figure why not give the program a fair shot all around?

So far the “Getting ripped with desserts” experiment is working well for me.  I can’t wait to see what happens next and write more about it.

If you are interested in seeing what I’m eating I keep a public food diary.  It automatically posts on Facebook and Twitter daily since there seems to be so much interest.

Until next time, it’s another great day to make good choices!


PS If you are a Venus Index customer and you have a fun story to tell along with a picture contact



Learn How To Cook For Better Success With Weight Loss

Kimberley is an awesome cook.  Here she has prepared a special yet simple low calorie meal that was absolutely delicious.

Kimberley is an awesome cook. Here she has prepared a special yet simple low calorie meal that was absolutely delicious.

I’ve been preparing my own food since high school

This is Roberta up first and I’m writing this with Kimberley; I’ve been preparing my own food since high school.  It’s just what I do.  I packed my food during my long career at Hewlett Packard, while working a stressful job, driving long commutes, finishing school, continuing to workout, and raising kids.

One thing I did not have a clue about was calories which is why I gained weight slowly over the years.  I know I’m aging myself here but they did not have awesome calorie counting tools back in that day, let alone computers and the internet.

When you learn to prepare your own food you learn what spices you like and what combinations of foods you like.  You learn that with the same basic staples you can create something simple every day and keep things interesting with spices.

I like to fill up with low calorie high volume foods like vegetables and fruits

People ask me why I eat so many vegetables, doesn’t it bother my stomach?

Or, if calories are all that matter why do I eat so healthy?

I like to fill up with low calorie high volume fruits and vegetables because it makes me feel good.  I pick vegetables that don’t bother my stomach.  Sometimes I just want to feel full.  High volume low calorie is the only way I can do it and stay within budget.

With such a small calorie budget I have to make the calories count. In order to feel good and perform well I need nutrient rich foods.

Learning to listen to your body is key on this journey.  Home prepared foods made with simple ingredients make me feel better.  One ingredient foods like fruits, vegetables, meat, chicken, or fish in various combinations along with different spices are best for me.

I eat a big salad nearly every day, and usually a fruit salad if my calorie budget allows it.

I didn’t eat fruit so much in my weight loss phase when I lost 60 pounds. This was because I am small and it was harder to fit it into my small calorie budget.  Like everyone else there is always a tradeoff on ingredients;  Do I have a higher calorie protein OR avocado, or a lower calorie protein AND the avocado?

I still have to consider the tradeoff while maintaining but I had to give up more when I had a lot of fat to lose.  In the weight loss phase if I planned well I might have been able to fit one serving of fruit or one serving of grain each day, sometimes both.

Spice it up

I never buy salad dressing and have found it’s super easy to make my own low calorie versions without all the strange ingredients.  I just look at the bottle and see what real ingredients are used and make my own version, usually without the oil.  I’ve experimented with spices and various ingredients and on occasion it might not turn out so well but that is how I learned.

Sometimes just fresh squeezed lemon or vinegar, water, and some spices are all that’s needed.  Sometimes water, a splash of tomato soup, and some horseradish hits the spot for a dressing, especially if seafood is on the menu.

Spice rubs for meat and vegetables are also a low calorie way of adding a lot of flavor.  You can get pre-made mixes from the supermarket and feel like you are eating in a different country every day.

The key is finding a variety of things you like so you can change it up when you get bored.

When you prepare your own food you have better control of your calories

The biggest benefit in preparing your own food when trying to lose weight is better control of what you eat.

Another benefit is making sure your less calories really count so they fuel your body both resting and working hard.

A friend recently told me about someone they knew who could prepare his own food for a fitness contest, a sort of boring contest diet of something like plain chicken and broccoli, but didn’t know how to eat when “off season” so sort of floundered with staying at a good maintenance weight.

First of all I refuse to eat a boring diet.  Spice and fun food combinations are what make my diet fun.  By cooking for myself all these years I have found what I like.

When it comes to my diet, for either maintaining or weight loss, I don’t really plan much except to purchase a variety of lower calorie foods, good protein sources, and only a small amount calorie dense foods (just enough to add richness and satisfaction). Then I eat whatever I feel like for the day, keeping in mind what I had during the last meal regarding carbohydrates or protein.

I eat just enough carbohydrates and protein to give me enough energy, and the fats just fall into place.  Others might want to focus on protein, fat, vegetables and fruits and let carbohydrates fall into place.  The key is to find what is sustainable for you.

It does not have to be perfect.  I don’t drive myself crazy worrying about macro levels.  I keep it simple.  By being aware of what I’m eating while making choices throughout the day it falls in place as fairly balanced and within my calorie budget.

Blissfully ignorant – the real science of food

Most of us can resist a food that is sweet, salty or fatty but combine the three in the right amounts and you find you have very little willpower to resist.  This magic formula is called the ‘bliss point‘ by food scientists.

Food manufacturers and restaurant chains are well aware of the bliss point of foods and deliberately design their products to give the broadest range of the population the greatest pleasure.

Foods based on bliss point act as drugs that stimulate feel good chemicals in your brain like dopamine.  It encourages us to keep eating, and it encourages to be addicted to certain foods.

If you have ever wondered why you cannot put down the peanut butter and are compelled to keep eating, it is because of the feel good factor we have from being in bliss.  This does not mean you should avoid peanut butter, packaged foods and restaurants, it is just a gentle reminder to be aware of what you are eating, and when you are focused on weight loss a better strategy will be to limit these blissful foods.

The perils of eating out

Most of us eat out frequently with an average American adult having over 1/3 of their meals away from home.  Eating out is quick, it is easy and it is mostly enjoyable.  However women that eat out regularly eat about 300 calories per day more than their home cooking peers.  That can add up to a lot of extra poundage over the course of a year.

Packaged food from the supermarket all come with calorie and nutrition data.  This should help with guesstimating calories.  However, often the weight of the serving size is significantly lower than the actual product.  I just recently I decided to weigh a box of 60 gram protein bars.  The 12 bars ranged in weight from 62 grams to 72 grams.  That means I could be eating 20% more calories that I expected.

Recently many chain restaurants have started to provide calorie data.  However spot checks have shown that while some restaurants are reasonably accurate, some are underestimating the calories by up to 60%.

This does not mean you should not keep enjoying a lovely meal at a restaurant.  Instead you may choose to do it less often and when you do, be aware that it may very well be more calories than you think.

Recipes are a great place to start

Using simple recipes is a great place to start.  I rarely use recipes anymore but Kimberley and some of the other ladies in the Venus Community have a beautiful collection of recipes and they love to share them with us.

Here are some very simple recipes.  Cooking at home does not have to be difficult, and making larger batch sizes for reheating can provide for multiple meals.

Kimmits’ Vietnamese Rice Paper Rolls

12 large prawns / shrimp

1/2 cup shredded Chinese cabbage (wombok)

1/2 cup beansprouts

1 small red bell pepper thinly sliced

1 small cucumber thinly sliced

1/3 cup fresh mint leaves

1/3 cup fresh coriander leaves

1 lime juiced

1 TBSP fish sauce

12 rice paper wrappers

Step 1: Combine beansprouts, cabbage, lime juice and fish sauce

Step 2: Place 1 rice paper wrapper in warm water for 20 seconds (until soft).  Place on clean tea towel to drain.

Step 3: Arrange 1.5 TBSP of beansprout mix, 2 slices of cucumber and bell pepper, herbs and 1 prawn in the middle of the wrapper.  fold in ends and roll to enclose filling.  Repeat with other 11 wrappers.

Serve with sweet chilli sauce.  Serves 4 as a starter or lunch.

Liss’s slow cooked Tex Mex chicken

2.2lb / 1kg of chicken breast fillet

1 large jar of your favorite spicy salsa

1 diced onion

2 diced green bell peppers

Optional: 1 tsp of cumin and smoked paprika / chipotle

Step 1: Place all ingredients in a crock pot on low

Step 2: Cook for up to 12 hours until chicken is ready to be pulled apart

Serves 6 and makes great reheated left overs for the rest of the week.  This can be served in tacos or tortillas or with a kidney bean and corn salad or even over lettuce.

Kimmits’ 5 minute berries with butterscotch custard

1 cup of low fat / 2% milk

1.5 TBSP Mr Bird’s custard powder

1 TBSP of Truvia

1 TBSP Joseph’s SF maple syrup

8 drops of butterscotch Stevia

Mixed berries to serve

Step 1: Prepare custard according to directions on packet

Step 2; Arrange berries in the bottom of a bowl and pour hot custard on top.

Serves 2.

Cooking for your family and with your family is beneficial to all

I love cooking for my husband.  I like it even better when I can get him involved in helping me cook.  When I have family members and friends over I love to get anyone who is willing involved with helping prepare the meal.

I love cooking for Randy.  Here I am preparing him an omelet for a TV documentary.

I love cooking for Randy. Here I am preparing him an omelet in a TV documentary.

I really do enjoy cooking for Randy although I will admit there were days when I was fasting that it was too hard to cook for him.  For the most part I’ve found that my willpower is stronger in the morning before I’ve taken on the stress of the day.

However many of us do not have the option of not cooking for our family so it may be helpful to think about aligning your food and fasting with family meals.  For example if dinner time is important and you typically have low willpower at this time, then fast dinner to dinner.

Learning to cook with lower calorie substitutes may also be useful.  For example a steak, broccoli and sweet potato dinner may be 450 calories, whereas the same volume of chicken, roasted pumpkin and french beans may be 320 calories.

I think most of the moms in the Venus Index Community understand the importance of teaching their kids about food and learning to have healthy eating habits for life.

By cooking for and eating with your family you are role modelling your new habits and behaviors.  You are teaching them how to make good food choices.

Happy cooking!




Ten Thousand Ways that Won’t Work

“Ten Thousand Ways that Won’t Work…”

As I finally started finding success with my weight loss I exclaimed to my husband Randy “I can’t believe how simple this is yet I failed at it for at least 15 years!

So Randy reminded me of the quote Thomas Edison made regarding his process for inventing the light bulb:

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”Thomas A. Edison

Randy and I both laughed at how I found probably the 10,000 ways how not to lose weight!   Although the victory is still sweet for me, you don’t have to take 15 years and wait until you are 50 years old like I did.

Lifelong Eating Habits Engrained

As a young child I grew up in a poor family with four siblings and a single mom who tried her hardest to care for us under extreme adversity.  This was in the 1960’s and although we lived in the land of abundance it did not always make it to our table.

This was back when bringing food stamps to the store felt shameful yet my mom held her head high and did what she could to provide for us.  I remember how she treated all the food in the refrigerator as a precious commodity.

Circa 1969, I am on the far left and that is my identical twin on the far right.

We didn’t go out to eat much and she prepared healthy meals for us and packed our school lunches.  She would get mad if we tried to skip breakfast and she was always there in the morning to cook something simple like one fried egg and a piece of toast with butter.

We didn’t have a lot of snacks.  On occasion we might get a treat and go to taco bell.  I laugh at the memory of it because there were 5 or 6 menu items to choose from, all pictured up on the overhead wall.  Looking back, I think she had it right back then.

But I also remember her making us popcorn and placing it in a big bowl in the middle of a round table. All of us kids sat around the table and scarfed it down as quickly as we could afraid that others would get more.

Overall I think this season of my life taught me to appreciate the food we had and to not mindlessly eat.

The next season of learning about food happened for me in the foster homes I lived in after that.  I was fortunate to live with a Filipino family and an Italian family who both taught me how to cook their ethnic foods.

I was always ambitious and loved to be the one who cooked dinner and receive the praise for the meal.  We prepared our food at home and going out to eat was a rare treat.   At this point I started eating more and eating seconds was encouraged in both families, but I was young enough and luckily wasn’t too chubby (yet).

This was probably where learning about food portions started becoming distorted for me.

Me at California International Marathon a while back.

Learning to Love Exercise

My first high school job was as a summer camp counselor and I decided then that I loved the outdoors and being physically active.

I started my first full time job at a high tech company during my senior year of high school. The company I worked for encouraged physical activity and the work environment was like a college campus.  There was a par course and running trail, gyms, locker rooms, showers, basketball and volley ball courts, and even a softball park.

I took an aerobics class in the campus gym when I was 19 years old and that is when I met a 50 year old instructor who had the body of a teenager.

The image of her always stuck in my mind and I decided I wanted to be like her when I was 50.

I didn’t stick with the aerobics class because it didn’t fit my schedule but I learned that music made exercise more fun.

I started running outside and lifting weights at the gym and bought my first Walkman.  Walkman’s were expensive and it was a big clunky thing that used cassette tapes and ran on double A batteries but it was well worth the investment.  It helped me look forward to exercise (If you are not feeling like working out, music will always give you that needed pump).

If you are like me then you may also hate running and even weight lifting. However, if you stick to it for some time, you will start seeing some amazing results and the positive effect exercise can have on your mood and life in general, and you WILL LOVE IT.

The Slow Weight Gain Creeping up, Sounds Familiar?

The fact that I spent my lunch hour exercising meant I had to pack my food rather than go to lunch with other employees.

For years I packed my food and ate when I could during breaks.  These were habits that serve me well today.  What I didn’t realize was that my portions were still too big and I ate too much.

I exercised hard and at one point realized I had run six miles a day, six days a week for 10 years, along with weight lifting and other physical activities.

This was in the 1980’s when eating fat free and high carb was the in thing and so I did this for many years.  The memory makes me cringe now.  All the running made me hungry and I ate too much.

I ate this way for years while running marathons and couldn’t figure out why I was not the athlete that I wanted to be.

As time went on my weight kept doing the slow creep up so I tried several popular diets which only worked temporarily and some didn’t work at all.

These were the diets I tried (if you been in involved in this industry for a while chances are you’ve tried them too):

  • Low fat high carb
  • Slim-Fast
  • Weight Watchers
  • Atkins
  • Organic
  • Weston Price Diet
  • The Schwarzbein Principle
  • Eat Fat Lose Fat
  •  The Ultimate PH Solution
  • The Makers Diet
  • A  friends diet from a personal trainer/dietician

I finally just got sick of it all and made up my own diet with healthy foods I enjoy and smaller portions.

I ate my meals from small desert plates and bowls.  I stopped eating in the evenings.  I started calling what I did mini-meals and mini-fasts and I lost 40 lbs.  Then I found Eat Stop Eat, The Venus Index Workout, and the Venus Index Community.

I recently read the Anything Goes Diet.  I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in losing weight or maintaining fitness.  I found this book to be amazingly insightful and John Barban covers all bases.  Honestly the book is so good that I can’t see how you wouldn’t succeed if you actually read the book and followed the principles.  It gave me some new ideas for my own maintenance plan.

Even though we still have so much diet confusion and conflicting advice in the media it seems like the simple truth is buried there, eat less, move more.

Here are some examples where the truth does exist in sometimes humorous ways.  I do not necessarily agree with everything in these articles but you can see some points of truth:

After attempting various diets and eating restrictions over the years I have learned to cherry pick from them and found what works for me.  Some days I temporarily change things up and eat low carb or try something different.

Still, my all-time favorite books about thinking of successful ways to eat are John Barban’s Anything Goes Diet, Brad Pilon’s Eat Stop Eat, and Bethenny Frankel’s “Naturally Thin”.


Before and After.  The slowly the weight crept up year after year, but the Venus Factor gives you hope.

Before and After.  Slowly the weight crept up year after year, but the Venus Factor gives you hope.

Don’t get Discouraged by Failures

Don’t get discouraged by failures.

Every successful person has failures and part of why they are successful is that they learn from their mistakes.

It is just like Thomas Edison inventing the light bulb.  You don’t have to reinvent the light bulb or the wheel.

The tools are right here right now.  Using the available tools may not stop you from all your mistakes, but you can keep your chin up and learn from them.  Most likely these tools will prevent some wasted effort and you won’t have to wait until you are 50 years old to achieve your dream.

If I find 10,000 ways something won’t work, I haven’t failed. I am not discouraged, because every wrong attempt discarded is another step forward.

Thomas A. Edison, Encyclopedia Britannica

US inventor (1847 – 1931)

Since you don’t have to learn the 10,000 ways how not to lose weight like I did, what are you waiting for?

It is never too late to follow your dreams!


How Much Protein for Weight Loss

Losing weight requires a caloric deficit. You can choose to create that deficit with a combination of caloric restriction below your daily energy requirement as well as raising your daily calorie burn with a combination of cardio and weight training.

Will this help you burn fat?

These are the basics and they don’t change, and it doesn’t really need to get any more complex than this.

However you will find many claims from the diet and fitness media that suggest it is much more complex than this, and one of the most persistent claims is about protein and it’s benefits for weight loss.

Eating a high protein diet is claimed to be a benefit for weight loss for any one of the following reasons (and probably a combination of them):

1. Increased thermic effect of protein foods

2. Higher degree of satiety per gram

3. A change in fat burning and fat storing hormones to favor fat burning

4. Nutrient repartitioning (ie: more of the calories from protein will go to muscle instead of fat)

These claims sound pretty good and some of them do have scientific evidence that suggest there might be some fire under the smoke.

For example, the thermic effect of protein can be measured and has been shown to be higher than protein or carbs. This means that if you eat the same number of calories from protein instead of carbs, it will cause your body to burn a few more calories digesting and assimilating it. This effect is small, and might only make a noticeable difference for bodybuilders and fitness competitors who are dieting down to single digit bodyfat levels.

Another claim we often see relating to protein is the effect on satiety. Many studies and anecdotal reports suggest that protein itself will satisfy hunger better than the same amount of carbohydrate. This could help you stick to a diet and keep you from overeating at other points throughout the day.

It’s also known that dietary protein will increase amino acid pools, increase nitrogen balance, and contribute to intramuscular amino acids. This is all part of the ‘nutrient partitioning’ story. Essentially the protein you eat is much more likely to end up contributing to amino acids in muscle and repairing tissues all around your body before it will ever contribute to fat.

It would appear that there are many benefits of increasing your protein content when trying to diet down and keep your lean muscle mass up.

In the “How Much Protein for Weight Loss” UNCENSORED audio program released today, we’ll review some recent research that looked at the effect of high or low protein on weight loss. We’ll discuss the merits and limitations of this research shed whatever light we can on the results and what they mean to you in your efforts to build muscle and burn fat at the same time.


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