294 of 307 people found the following review helpful
on January 14, 2009
I am a physician who manages a suburban metabolic and nutrition program for obese and overweight children. It amazes me how complex it is to unravel the passionate and unhealthy philosophy many people have about exercise and nutrition. So many people are struggling fruitlessly with their goals as they are overwhelmed by seemingly endless waves of misleading advertisements and contradictory information about lifestyle and nutrition. There is so much unbelievable noise out there that many people are left feeling hopeless, defeated and not knowing what to do. The Body Fat Solution is a very healthy, very welcome voice of reason among all that noise.
As I develop nutrition plans for my patients I will frequently reference the precepts outlined in Tom Venuto's brilliant e-book Burn the Fat Feed the Muscle. Honestly, I found this e-book to be a very approachable and comprehensive volume dealing with nutrition, exercise and hormonal physiology. (I would highly recommend this e-book for anyone who wants a more detailed explanation of macronutrients, hormonal physiology, and meal planning.) However, The Body Fat Solution is an indispensable development to this excellent work.
In my experience patients do not struggle as much with "what to do" but rather struggle with "the doing of it". In the first few consultations with a new patient I can usually disarm the passionate obsession with whatever flavor of macronutrient phobia they have and outline the physiological rational behind consistently eating a calorie based diet of lean protein, whole unprocessed foods, and essential fats. In this motivational clinical setting most patients will readily agree to begin journaling and commit to starting an exercise and nutrition program.
However, the problems arise as soon as they leave my office and are once again buffeted by their busy schedule, advertising, misleading labels, psychological defense mechanisms and emotional ties to eating. Most of the time I spend on subsequent patient visits centers on developing strategies of how to interface the program we have developed into their lifestyle. The strategies revealed in The Body Fat Solution do an excellent job addressing these issues.
The Body Fat Solution outlines all of the necessary tactics to tackle these intangible influences on our nutrition and exercise plans. The first four chapters outline the evolution of obesity and how our beliefs, attitudes and emotional ties to food play a significant role in this unhealthy homeostasis. In chapter five you are taken step-by-step through the essential process of goal setting and reprogramming your mental awareness of the beliefs and attitudes that can sabotage your plans. Then in chapters six through eight you are treated to the most insightful and logical nutrition and exercise program I have ever seen. Everything you need to know ... it's all there ... very motivational and very doable! Finally chapters nine through twelve outline all the necessary environmental and social strategies needed to start you on the way to maintaining your new and healthy self.
Quoting The Body Fat Solution, "There is no way around it - to tackle a problem like body fat, which has so many causes, you must make changes in every area of your life. You have to eat better, train consistently, manage your emotions, change your thinking, get the support you need, and put it all together in a healthy lifestyle." I couldn't agree more. In my opinion The Body Fat Solutions gives you all the necessary tools to do just that.
203 of 214 people found the following review helpful
on January 9, 2009
Once upon a time I weighed 213lbs. I am female. I am 5'5". Needless to say, I had a few pounds to lose. I lost it. And then I became a statistic - I gained it back.
In my second attempt to lose 70+ lbs I struggled with an incredibly slow rate of loss, to the tune of an (on average) a half pound a week while following two very popular commercial weight-loss/lifestyle plans.
One day I happened across a link to Tom Venuto's first book. I read the book. I did what he suggested. My life has not been the same since. Over the next five months, I lost the final 30lbs - thanks to the author's expertise! And he IS an expert, make no mistake! My rate of fat loss nearly quadrupled!! For me, it was literally a miracle!
And no, the nutrition plan is not extreme. At all. In fact I was eating more total volume of food than I had been on the aforementioned plans. The only extremes I experienced came in the form of improved health, mood and energy levels! Oh yeah, and there's the I look good naked thing!
I still follow the maintenance version today. As I will always. This is seriously magic when you consider my history and what my previous lifestyle and mindset was like! On a diet. Off a diet. Weight up. Weight down. For years. I've paid to participate in commercial diet plans on at least on 10 different occasions (that I can remember!). Finally, I'm cured!
I've read many "diet" and self help books in my quest to lose 75lbs twice. I can say, without hesitation, "The Body Fat Solution" is a book like no other!
I have had to learn and apply the principles Tom teaches in "The Body Fat Solution". Some of these things I had to learn on my own over the course of my weight loss struggles. Some I learned from his first book. Some of this material is new and has given me added insight that will I'm sure make maintenance a whole lost easier! Had this book been available to me in the beginning it would have saved me over a year of suffering, mentally, physically and emotionally!
Is this book a magic pill? It is if you swallow it - meaning you apply what the author teaches. Reading does nothing. Doing does.
All I can say is, it's about time someone wrote something that will actually HELP people! In my experience (and I have far too much), HEALTHY fat loss and weight maintenance begins and ends in the mind. Tom Venuto will get inside your head, and stay there - so that you may live happily ever after.
61 of 65 people found the following review helpful
on February 25, 2010
I have always been looking for ways to get in shape and loose weight. I have tried all the unhealthy fad diets and none of them worked. I have read Tom Venturo's Ebook Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle. I found The Ebook very informative but very technical.The Body Fat Solution takes the information discussed in the Ebook and makes it easier to read and understand.
The main concepts discussed in the book are;
How to increase your metabolism to burn fat.
Build lean muscle.
Improve your emotional eating (bingeing is the main one.)
How to be positive and be social.
Eat foods you enjoy and stop obsessing over food.
How to change your attitude and beliefs.
How to maintain your weight and never diet again.
The book helps you to understand why your eating habits are so messed up and teaches you steps on how to fix them. The book is divided into 4 parts that helps to tie the information together.
Part 1, Setting the Stage- Explains obesity, emotional eating, and beliefs.
Part 2, The Five Principles- There is a chapter for each of the principles.
Part 3, Putting it all together- This is where all the information is tied together and how you can keep your weight off for life.
Part 4, The Appendices- Information on the author's website,how to do calorie calculations, menu plans, and recommended foods to eat.
I recommend this book to everyone who is struggling with their weight and constantly dieting. The book is honest and easy to follow. The book helps us to think differently about ourselves, and how we can change for the better. As per the Author, "The Body Fat Solution is NOT for athletes, bodybuilders or people who need to get "ripped" or reach extremes of low body fat. Body Fat Solution is especially written for people who struggle with inconsistent motivation, emotional eating, binge eating and other forms of self sabotage.
Disclaimer: I received a free copy from FSB Associates for my honest review. I was not compensated for the review.
30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
on March 13, 2012
First things first -- I have to admit that I am a huge fan of Tom Venuto's "Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle" eBook. In fact, I was probably one of the original purchasers. I believe that it is the only complete approach to diet and exercise ever published, and that other fitness books are only pale approximations.
The down side of the BtF/FtM eBook is that it's very detailed. Implementation takes study, patience and a calculator. In diet terms, it's a full meal. The challenge for the present book was to present the same information in more digestible form.
Unfortunately, "The Body Fat Solution" is not completely successful. Although I appreciate Mr. Venuto's desire to teach "mental strategies before physical dynamics", I don't think a fitness book needs to start with 108 pages of motivation. Anyone who buys the book is suitably motivated. Ultimately, staying motivated will be the challenge, but in the beginning new readers just want to know what the program consists of and how to get started.
It also shouldn't take 253 pages to get to what you should do on the first day. So as a public service, I'm going rectify this shortcoming by giving you the Quick Start Guide the book should have opened with.
Here's what you do. First, buy an accurate scale, a measuring tape and a set of inexpensive fat calipers. Measure your weight, waist circumference and body fat, and write them down. Second, remove all the sugars, simple starches and grains from your diet. Increase your intake of lean protein, fruits and vegetables, and stop trying to avoid fat. Third, start exercising every day. If you can't think of anything else, start walking. Finally, take body measurements frequently and adjust your diet and exercise routines accordingly.
Got all that? Good. Now, go read the book. Learn all the philosophies, refine the implementation and recapture any lost motivation. Learn why shortcut diets never work for very long. Learn why the all the famous TV diet spokespeople usually gain their weight back. Learn the difference between calorie dense and nutrient dense, and put that knowledge to work. Learn exercise strategies that shorten workout time and increase effectiveness. And, finally, learn dozens of success strategies that will counter the tendency for your previous fitness efforts to fail.
Then, read it all again.
Mr. Venuto's perspective is that people 1) don't understand the nutrient content of their food, 2) underestimate their caloric intake, 3) overestimate their exercise output, and 4) are forced by life pressures to eat fast and pre-prepared foods. Don't feel bad; even professionals get these wrong. Add a tendency to fall in love with counterproductive fast weight-loss schemes, and you've got the perfect recipe for poor health.
The components of Mr. Venuto's program are mental training, cardio training, strength training, nutrition and support. He feels that that without the presence of each component, fitness fails and your health suffers. To implement the diet, you need to be willing and able to cook. It's not complicated, but this is not a fast food diet. To exercise you'll need a set of dumbbells and a bench, or you'll need to find a gym.
There's nothing radial here, and there's nothing to argue about. The message is simple -- there are no shortcuts. The secret, if there is one, is to go slowly, build better habits and make fitness a lifetime achievement. This program is a marathon, not a sprint. You'll get where you're going fast enough, but not so fast that you'll die along the way.
82 of 94 people found the following review helpful
on January 12, 2009
Author & Book Views On A Healthy Life!
Book Review: The Body Fat Solution: 5 Principles for Burning Fat, Building Lean Muscle, Ending Emotional Eating, and Maintaining Your Perfect Weight (Avery/Penguin, 2009) by Tom Venuto
A FirstLook Feature
Tom Venuto has a fearless reputation as a man who is a fat loss expert and a natural, steroid-free bodybuilder. Since 1990, he has trained hundreds of individuals, and graduated 600 plus people from his nationally known 12-week coaching program, which was the base for his highly successful ebook Burn the Fat Feed the Muscle.
The Body Fat Solution provides solutions for regular people who live with stress, a shortage of time, emotional eating habits, and who lack motivation. Venuto presents a simple five-part formula which works for millions of people and encompasses a total-life approach addressing physical, mental, emotional, and social weight loss needs. The book aims to help the reader find and address the cause of his or her obesity, then eliminate it.
Venuto offers explanations for why we believe weight loss and body fat myths:
* You can eat as much as you want and still lose weight.
* Overweight people have a slower metabolism than thin people.
* Some people are diet-resistant and can't lose weight.
* Your genetics are why you are overweight.
* Dietary fat makes you gain body fat.
* Carbs make you fat.
* Dietary changes for health and weight loss are one and the same.
* Insulin resistance causes obesity.
Venuto makes an extraordinary statement, "The real secret of success is to understand and intentionally use the power of your unconscious mind. It's the key to the body of your dreams and everything else you want in life." He backs this truth up with current research into the unconscious mind and shows the reader how to overcome negative mindsets which have prevented weight loss. As a reviewer, I believe that this is key. The best weight loss books now show the importance of the mind in relation to physical well being.
Venuto also covers nutrition, calories, the metabolic rate, various forms of exercise including the importance of weight training. Several pages of photos demonstrate proper form for exercises. An interesting chapter validates the necessity of having a positive social network of support. In "Keeping Score and Staying on Track," Venuto provides means for tracking fat loss and charting progress.
Near the end of weight loss, fat burners sometimes plateau and weight loss stops. Venuto knows the answers to these problems and lets the reader know how to kick-start it again.
The Body Fat Solution also contains an appendix of recommended foods (many) which gives the calorie count, protein, carb, fat, and fiber break down per serving. Most of these foods are natural--recipes not included--but can be located on the author's website.
Through reading and implementing The Body Fat Solution, the reader will be able to:
* Promote successful thinking
* Stop any bingeing and self-sabotaging behavior
* Lose Fat
* Increase Muscle
* Eat delicious foods
* Become motivated
* Quit dieting
* Increase metabolism
* Break the fat loss plateau and lose those last few pounds
* Develop a positive social network
The Body Fat Solution is a book written by a man who has the body to prove it. He's put his life into the writing of this book--noting important tips from the gym which do make a difference between those who lose and those who don't. Venuto is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist and a Certified Personal Trainer (NSCA); he has also won several titles as a natural bodybuilder, including: Natural Mid Atlantic States and the NPC Natural Eastern Classic. Venuto has also placed as runner-up at the Mr. Natural USA and The Natural North American championships.
Unlock the power of your mind to help you lose the weight. The Body Fat Solution
24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on February 8, 2011
I read this book before starting my own weight loss odyssey, but after reading some of Tom's material on the web. When I started, I was 5'9", 210lb, 38" waist. I am currently 185lb and 32" waist. My goal at the start was to lose 22lb and wear size 36" pants! Once I got started, though I went all they way down to 152lb before I started really lifting weights to put on some muscle.
First it is important to understand that Tom Venuto's bent is on fat loss and not weight loss. There is a big distinction. Venuto's goal is to decrease overall fat composition while increasing lean muscle mass. That does not mean becoming a body builder!
In the first part of the book, he goes through various diet plans and highlights the truth in them, but also the myths. At the end of the day it is as simple as a calorie in/ calorie out balance. That is true of every diet plan. He points out that most diet plans fail for 2 reasons. 1) participants lie about how much food they eat and how much exercise they get; a lot! Something on the order of 50%! And 2) As the body looses mass (weight) it requires less and less food to maintain. In addition, diet only plans reduce your metabolism and thereby reduce further the amount of food you need.
The second part of the book describes the types of food and exercise you should be getting. Basically he recommends you eat whole grains, potatoes, vegetables, fruits, lean red meat, turkey , fish and rice while reducing the sugar, processed carbohydrates and excessive fats. (Basically, cut back on ice cream, candy, soda, pastries, white breads, etc.) Search out his pamphlets "Foods that Burn Fat" and "Foods that Turn to Fat". He then recommends various exercises including resistance exercises. The exercise is intended to increase your metabolism to assist with the fat burn.
In the final part of the book are strategies to keep going including getting support from friends and family. While this is helpful, I believe only the individual can really make this commitment. Others can offer support and encouragement, but at the end of the day, it is you versus the candy bar!
Personally, I believe to be successful is very simple (not easy)
1. You have to believe you can be lean. I mean really believe and be able to visualize in your mind how you want to look. If not, you will sabotage yourself. You will say to yourself, I will never be lean so I might as well eat the dish of ice cream.
2. You have to want to be lean more than you want the donut! And you have to ask yourself that every time you have an eating opportunity. As my friend says, "Nothing ever tastes as good as thin feels!"
31 of 34 people found the following review helpful
Almost two years ago, I bought Venuto's e-book _Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle_ (BFFM), and used it to lose 16 pounds of body fat, moving from a size 6 to a size 0. The principles in that book helped me tune in to my eating requirements and nutritional needs, and taught me how to track my progress on a weekly basis. I've kept the weight off, and have continued to use that book to make occasional tweaks to my eating to maintain the weight loss and put on more muscle.
This book follows the same approach of BFFM, but it is designed more for the average reader who is looking to lose weight and get in shape, and who may be new to weight training and proper nutrition. It focuses on healthy lifestyle approaches; there are no gimmicks or quick fixes here, just Venuto's five key principles: setting goals, monitoring food intake, doing cardio at least three days a week, doing weight-training (specifically, full-body compound movements, since they burn more fat, with a few isolation exercises like biceps curls thrown into the mix) three days a week, and seeking support from family and friends. Yes, losing body fat is a slow process, but Venuto explains why doing it slowly and properly is the way to maintain weight loss long-term.
One of the things that sets Venuto's book apart from others is that he focuses a lot on goal-setting and the emotional and mental hurdles that hold us back from reaching those goals. The entire first part of this book (about 88) pages is devoted to this topic, and it is very helpful information. I find myself re-reading the goal-setting portions of BFFM on a semi-regular basis, and I know I will be doing the same with the information in this book, too.
I was worried that this book would repeat much of the same information from BFFM, and, while there are similarities, this book is still different enough to merit purchase, even if you already have BFFM, if you are looking for a more general approach and/or a "refresher course." Much of the information is similar in both books, but in this book Venuto keeps his information more general. For example, in BFFM, he has you very specifically track your macronutrient rations (of carbs, proteins, and fats), whereas in this book he emphasizes in a more general way that you should minimize starchy/processed carbs like breads and cerals in favor of lean protein and green, fibrous carbs/vegetables.
If you already have BFFM, then you probably don't *need* this book, but, if you're like me and enjoy reading fitness and nutrition books, this will be a nice addition to your library. Venuto is very motivational, and he really knows his stuff!
49 of 56 people found the following review helpful
I turn 50 this year, yet look better than most of the guys on the cover of Men's Health. So if I tell you a book on fitness is so accurate that I agree with 99.99% of it, you can probably guess it's a good book on fitness. This is a good book on fitness. In fact, it's a great book on fitness. If you're looking for a text that will provide the information you need to have a lean, attractive body, then you've found it in The Body Fat Solution.
Rather than try to spin out some new theory or special diet, Mr. Venuto pulled his fitness and fat loss information from the world of bodybuilding. That's a world where you see what works and what doesn't, rather quickly.
Usually a book in this genre is too narrowly focused, and it will have errors in the area of focus and in areas related to it. Consequently, many people read such a book and put it to use but still have that fat. This book provides a holistic, proven approach to having a lean, strong body. If you read this book and put it to use, you won't have any more fat than you want to have.
I found only two errors related to fat loss, and they are minor. On page 308 (in Appendix 4), Mr. Venuto recommends grapes for meal two and canned kidney beans for meal three. Grapes have grape sugar, which is very glycemic, and kidney beans are canned with white sugar or a similar substance. I think if you counted the calories, you'd find these two "errors" insignificant for most folks (especially if you consider the grape total sugar we are talking about--it's not much). My advice is to eat an apple or orange instead of grapes, and make beans in a crock pot.
From a health standpoint, Mr. Venuto's food recommendations need a bit of revision. For example, whole-wheat pita bread still contains (usually) highly refined wheat flour and almost certainly contains hydrogenated oil.
I recommend not eating tuna for two reasons. One, we are fishing these creatures into extinction. Two, tuna is a high-level predator and thus the concentration of mercury in tuna is greater than I'm comfortable with. Despite the problems with tuna, it's a mainstay in the bodybuilding nutritional literature and so it's not surprising Venuto would include it.
If you're in the same eating dysfunction as the vast majority of Americans, the food recommendations here will provide an enormous improvement for you in terms of health and ultimately how you feel about yourself. So, I'm not saying to toss them out. Just don't eat the tuna, grapes, or bread.
Most of the book is about getting into the right mental state and staying there. In martial arts, this is called conquering the enemy within. Some reviewers criticized the book for this. But here's the thing. People don't go to bed slender and suddenly wake up fat. They get fat one spoonful at a time (or forkful, handful, whatever). There are reams of data showing that the "valve" for fat gain isn't related to any of the excuses commonly given. Your mind controls your fat, because your mind determines how much and what kind of food goes past your lips. It also determines what kind of exercise you do and how much.
You can have the greatest plan in the world, but it won't work if your mind isn't in shape. I'm a huge advocate of the principle of intensity, as intensity is what produces the spectacular results many of us are after. Why doesn't everyone exercise with intensity, if it's so great? Because you need a certain mindset to go through high intensity workouts. Most people confuse this with working out longer. It's a matter of expending the greatest energy in the least time. Think of it as somehow jacking a 60W light bulb to100 ever so briefly.
Mr. Venuto talks about squats as a master exercise. Everything he says is correct. There's a huge body of literature behind this. My only caveat would be that you do front squats (Frank Zane has a few things to say about that).
The squat is the most beneficial exercise you can do, if your goal is to optimize your physical conditioning. In addition to burning calories massively, the squat has an almost miraculous effect on your hormonal environment.
If squats are so beneficial, why doesn't everybody do them? Because the exercise, when done correctly, is incredibly hard and exhausting. Most people lack the mental ability to get past that, and either do a lame squat session or don't do squats at all. Even Arnold Schwarzenegger was daunted by the squat (which is why he always sought a training partner) during his peak years.
Thus, Mr. Venuto's emphasis on the mental conditioning is right on target. If you're already doing squats with such intensity that your heart feels like it's coming out of your chest during each set and you keep going, then you may be mentally conditioned enough to skip much of this book.
Even if you have no desire to exercise with intensity or do brutally tough workouts, that same mental conditioning will help you control your food intake instead of letting it control you. And you won't need to do some weird, obnoxious diet or starve yourself. Some people become lean and strong without ever setting foot in a gym or picking up a barbell. But they still are using mental conditioning. That's why this book emphasizes it.
This book consists of four Parts, divided into twelve chapters and four Appendices. It's 316 pages long.
Part One, Setting the Stage, consists of four chapters. Here, we get an understanding of the facts about obesity, attitudes, and emotional eating. No guilt trip stuff, here. Just good information.
Part Two, The Five Principles, consists of five chapters. And, obviously, each chapter covers a principle. These aren't something cutesy the author cooked up to sell a book. These are from the literature, both in the bodybuilding world and from without. The "without" area includes various fields of mental conditioning. It's all proven stuff.
Part Three, Putting It All Together, consists of three chapters. Chapter 10 is about planning and implementing. Chapter 11 is about how to reach your initial goal, once you get started. Chapter 12 is about how to stay lean for life.
Part Four contains the four Appendices:
1. A little info on The Body Fat Solution Website.
2. Calorie calculations, including some short-cut stuff that is generally good enough.
3. Recommended foods.
4. Menu plans.
This book doesn't have a bibliography. However, it doesn't need one. Mr. Venuto provides attributions in the text on many occasions. I'm familiar with all those references, having read them myself. His training tips don't need references, as they are the proven principles that bodybuilders use every day.
But if you have doubts, then look up Venuto online and you'll see all the proof you need that this man not only knows what he's talking about, but he walks the walk. Or, more accurately, he squats the squat.
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on June 8, 2009
This book is a great read for anyone regardless of physical condition. Tom doesn't beat around the bush, he tells it like it is. There is no "secret" to losing weight, no magic pills, etc. Basically, it all comes down to calories in vs. calories out. It is hard work but it is quite possible for anyone. But check your excuses at the door my friend because Tom Venuto debunks all of them.
I am an avid weightlifter and have always maintained a large amount of muscle mass on my small frame. But with it I also have some bodyfat that I wanted gone but pretty much just lived with because I tried and failed so many times I didn't know what to do next. I mostly eat healthy foods, and on several occasions have tried keeping track of my eating. I got so consumed with keeping track of every detail -- weighing the food, counting protein, fat, carbs, getting the percentages right, etc. that I always get burned out and quit.
After reading Tom's book I realized that it's the calories that really matter, if you are eating too much the percentages don't mean anything!
Since Tom's book slapped me in the face I kept track of calories only and I have lost 10 lbs. in the last 3 weeks. I found that before I was eating a lot more than I thought so by doing this I kept myself in check. I kept the same weight-lifting routine so the difference is attributed to diet only. I've never been able to do that before. And it was easier than I thought!
What really impressed me is that the book goes into details about why people overeat, the emotional, physical, reasons. It is amazing how your body causes your brain to make excuses for your actions. I know these feelings well as my head is sabotaging my mind to eat, eat, eat! But if you know what to expect as far as these emotions going on in your head, there are ways to counteract it.
I could go on forever but you just need to buy this book. I recommend it to anyone, big or small, young or old. Also, Tom's previous e-book "Burn the Fat Feed the Muscle" is also a great read for the more serious weight training and bodybuilding folks.
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on March 4, 2010
This guide is an excellent guide for setting up a maintainable healthy lifestyle. It ties all portions of the puzzle together. Mindset-Nutrition-Strength Training-Endurance Training. The Body Fat Solution is a less rigorous implementation of the principles of Tom's Burn the Fat - Feed the Muscle e-book. I bought Body Fat Solution as a refresher and to get some of Tom's updated data. I have been using these principles in my lifestyle for 5 months and have removed over 40# of Fat from my body.