I enjoyed “eating for two” during my pregnancies. I liked indulging whatever craving I had, using the handy excuse that it was for the baby. Even though my midwife said that I really only needed 500 extra calories each day – not enough food for a whole extra person – it was still easy to indulge those sudden urges for donuts and ice cream, since I was going to get fat anyway.
Like all other women who have been in my shoes have discovered, the weight gained from those extra indulgences doesn’t just disappear with the baby’s birth. Two years after my last baby, I was still carrying the extra weight. I had to finally get real myself: I couldn’t keep calling it “baby weight” anymore, and it wasn’t going to go away unless I made some big changes.
Changing my view of food
Like most women, I’ve tried a million diets. Possibly the biggest message I got, both from the culture and the diets I tried, was that foods had moral value. Salads were virtuous, desserts were sinful. I attached feelings of sacrifice, nobility or irresponsibility to various foods. If I ate ice cream, it meant I was “bad,” but I was very good when I ate vegetables.
There’s nothing wrong with eating vegetables, for sure – you should eat a wide variety and large amounts of them, and most people don’t eat enough. But taking a cookie doesn’t mean that you’re lazy or weak, and beating yourself up for enjoying one isn’t helpful to anyone. That’s something I learned from the Venus Factor: losing weight is not about temporary self-punishment to make your body fit in to an ideal. Successfully losing weight requires changing your relationship with food, and learning to see that you should eat healthy because you’re worth it. It’s a hard lesson to learn, but it’s an important one.
What matters is calorie intake
Most people get too hung up on thinking about whether foods are good or not. But the real important issue is focusing on how many calories you take in, not on which foods give you those calories. Remember that guy who went on a “Twinkie diet” of eating processed snack cakes, and still successfully lost weight? While eating so much junk food isn’t really a good idea for lots of reasons, his experiment proved that total calories are what matters most in weight loss.
What about trigger foods? Everyone who struggles with their weight has certain foods they find impossible to resist; mine is potato chips. Put a bag of chips in front of me and I can easily eat half the bag before realizing it, and if I know they’re in the house it’s like they’re calling to me. But I’m not tempted at all by cake, for example.
I avoid the foods that tempt me the most, not because I’ve put them in the “bad” category, but because I don’t want to open that door to getting away with eating something I tend to overdo.
If you do slip up and have some of your most tempting foods, don’t despair or think that you’ve failed. Take this as a good reminder that you need to be more careful to stick to your goals.
Foods to avoid according to The Venus Factor
So we’ve established that there’s not really such a thing as a forbidden food. But so that’s just because you don’t want to set yourself up to rebel, because we all tend to want things that are off-limits. Yet, even though there’s no food that’s really forbidden, there are certain foods that you should probably avoid when you’re trying to lose weight because they can hinder your efforts.
You should try to avoid a few specific foods when possible. They include the following:
Soy. Even though soy was promoted as a health food for women a few years ago, now science knows that the plant estrogens in soy, called phytoestrogens, can have a detrimental and even dangerous effect on women’s health. Estrogen can make it harder for women to lose weight, and consuming too much soy could be blocking your weight loss even despite your best efforts otherwise. Vegetarians can benefit from including soy protein in their diet, but try to limit it. If you’re consuming soy every day, try cutting down or even cutting it out of your diet for a couple weeks and see how you feel.
Sugar. Sugar is one of the biggest bugaboos for most people in our modern diets. Not only do we get sugar in places we expect, like cookies and soda, it’s also in everything from salad dressings and sauces to yogurt and breakfast cereal. Since sugar doesn’t provide any nutritional value, it’s just a source of empty calories that can block your efforts to lose weight. High-fructose is a cheap, widely prevalent sweetener that seems to have especially bad metabolic effects.
Artificial sweeteners. Many women who want to lose weight are hip to the evils of sugar, so instead they turn to artificial sweeteners instead. Artificial sweeteners, like sucralose, aspartame and stevia, have zero calories, so most people think they’re an easy way to cheat and still have the sweet taste without the weight gain. The real problem is that if something seems too good to be true, it usually is – and artificial sweeteners are no exception, as their overuse can cause some negative side effects. While artificial sweeteners can be an acceptable alternative to sugar when you’re trying to cut calories, it’s still important to switch out between different sweeteners and still only consume them in moderation. A diet that contains a lot of treats can still block your weight loss.
Beverages. Drinking throughout the day is an important part of staying hydrated and it’s a really crucial thing to do. But you have to be really cautious about how you get your hydration. If you’re sipping on sweetened coffee frappes, sodas and even juices throughout the day, the calories can really add up and contribute to excess weight. The problem is drinks high in calories will satisfy your hunger for only a short period of time. Stick to pure water, coffee and herbal teas.
Don’t forget about exercise
Diet is an essential part of weight loss, and you can’t out-exercise a bad diet. But at the same time, if you only change your diet, you’re missing out on getting a stronger and more toned body. Not only will you look sexier if you exercise regularly, you’ll also prolong your life and prevent disease. Make sure you regularly do some resistance exercises and get some cardio exercise, like walking or biking.
If you change your diet in accordance to The Venus Factor and get a little bit of regular exercise, you’ll find yourself in great health and with a younger-looking, more attractive body. It’s time to reclaim your body and enjoy the way you look again!
In another post I did a full rundown on What is included in The Venus Factor System