When I lived in NYC, I’d often go to Barnes and Noble in Union Square and sit for two or three hours flipping through the latest diet books. I mean, I can’t afford to buy every new one on the market, and God knows, so many of them just repeat the same info in a different way. Since I’m a fast reader, I’d get the run-down and then decide if any of them were worth buying.
I haven’t had a chance to hit up B & N and read all of the books that flooded the shelves for New Year’s, but sometimes companies send me books to review, which is tight. One of the books I received this month is Tom Venuto’s The Body Fat Solution.
Tom Venuto is a body builder, so I wasn’t quite sure how much I’d get out of his book. The subtitle to the book is “Building lean muscle, ending emotional eating, and maintaining your perfect weight” and the part about emotional eating is essentially what this book is all about — which surprised me, but which I also liked.
Usually diet books are like…the chapter on why diets don’t work, the chapter on why this diet does work, and then the rest is all meal plan/exercise/recipes. This book sort of follows that format, but I read for something like 150 pages and there was never a diet plan outlined. This actually wasn’t a bad thing…it’s because there’s so much info on ending emotional eating.
I liked this because so many people know how to eat to lose weight. The problem isn’t that you don’t know what to eat or how to workout — especially if you’ve lost weight and then gained it back. The problem is there’s some other reason why you want to eat. And whether it’s because you’re an emotional eater or you’re just f*cking hungry because hey, that’s biology for ya, I’d say desire to eat is a big part of what keeps people from losing weight and keeping it off.
Although I don’t agree with every point he makes (he argues against genetics and weight; I completely disagree), I really started to get into the book when he got into the emotional eating stuff. Some ideas I liked:
- Physical hunger is usually a general desire for food; emotional hunger is usually a desire for a specific food.
- You should establish new beliefs about food and the right reasons for eating (ex: food is fuel, food is for nourishment, fruit is nature’s candy)
- He talks about good goal setting and the law of attraction! WIN!
He outlines “Beliefs and Affirmations About Food for Balance, Happiness, and Long-term Success.” I loved a lot of these! A few faves:
- “It’s OK to eat for enjoyment or for social reasons if I do it consciously and mindfully and I stay with in the rules I set for myself in advance.” I LOVE that it’s the rules YOU set for YOURSELF.
- “I don’t have to be perfect.” True story!
- “Food can be one of life’s great pleasures and completely depriving myself of foods I enjoy is not productive in the long run.” Mmmmm…foood…heh.
- “Everything I eat will have some effect on my body, but I realize that what I eat once in a while doesn’t impact me that much.”
- “What’s most important is what I eat habitually, so I’m very conscious about what I eat repeatedly day after day. I understand and have great respect for the power of habit.” I love this one! The things that you buy every week or eat every day should be the good stuff!!
Then he gets into the diet/exercise stuff. His diet plans is basically whole, natural foods, fruits, veggies, good carbs, healthy fats, and frequent snacks! Weight loss is achieved through creating a calorie deficit. He supports the 90/10 rule: eat healthy 90 percent of the time, and you will be healthy and successful and happy. And workouts should be efficient and enjoyable and you should have a plan that allows for progression.
Later in the book there is a whole part about social influences. He talks about the different types of people in our lives…the good (the cheerleader, the optimist, the accountability partner) and the bad (the pessimist, the temptress, the dream destroyer…I had to LOL at “dream destroyer”). More important, he talks about how to handle these people, the kind of support we need, and where to find it.
At the end he talks about something I found particularly interesting — the 80/20 principle. Basically, this says that 20 percent of your nutrition, training, and lifestyle habits will produce 80 percent of the changes in your body. It’s weird, because you think, “Wait, then what the hell am I doing?” but really, the point is to not sweat the small stuff. You should identify your main barriers to health and then put your effort (your 20 percent) into that. A good example is just how caught up we get on, say, the benefits of organic food. Your first thing needs to be to eat more fruits and veggies and whole grains…and then worry about pesticides or fresh versus frozen. Don’t get so overwhelmed feeling like you have to run that you just skip the gym completely when walking would have been fine. Yes, the small stuff adds up and matters, but are you really losing weight because you are spending an extra 10 minutes a day in the gym…or because your healthy mindset is influencing you to do a lot of good things in your life? I had never thought about it like this before (and it’s hard to paraphrase this whole idea) but I found it very interesting!
The end of the book is about how to be a maintainer and I loved his advice, “Listen to maintainers, not losers.” He points out that listening to the details of the latest celeb to drop weight on the cover of US Weekly is a waste of time because they so often gain it back. So he says look up to maintainers, and then outlines several of their healthy habits.
The nutrition and exercise advice, is, I thought, healthy, but pretty standard…but I’m OK with that. If you need to focus on your head more than your ass (be honest here), then I think this book is definitely worth a read!
And I swear I’m not saying that because Tom Venuto has the kind of arms that make me want to do very emotional/unhealthy/not mindful things.