Review of Tom Venuto's 'The Body Fat Solution' Hardcover Book

5 Principles for Burning Fat, Building Lean Muscle, Ending Emotional Eating

"The Body Fat Solution" by Tom Venuto. Amazon

Of the fat loss gurus and authors that have been around on the web and blogs for many years, Tom Venuto is one of the most experienced in terms of internet writing and marketing, as well as practical weight loss programming. He specializes in fat loss and weight management, and, as a former successful bodybuilder, knows just what it takes to remove those extra pounds of fat. Tom's ebook Burn the Fat Feed the Muscle has been a bestseller for years.

A Total Solution to Weight Management

The full title with byline is: The Body Fat Solution: 5 Principles for Burning Fat, Building Lean Muscle, Ending Emotional Eating, and Maintaining Your Perfect Weight.

Instinctively, I liked two main things about Tom Venuto's book:

  1. He presents a total solution that includes attention to the four main targets in any comprehensive weight-loss program -- motivational and emotional factors, diet and nutrition, physical activity and exercise, and support and planning for long-term success.
  2. Venuto also has a sharp mind with the ability to cut through the plethora of junk science and irrelevancies that plague the weight loss industry. He sees the kernels of truth in the morass and explains them well in comprehensive yet plain language. His chapter on "body fat myths" is required reading for anyone trying to lose weight.

Attitudes and Beliefs and How to Change Them

There are 12 chapters plus appendices, including a useful appendix on recommended foods.

The first few chapters in the book introduce body fat and the myths surrounding the accumulation and reduction of body fat. The next three well-crafted chapters discuss the emotional, motivational, and goal setting techniques and approaches necessary in weight management. Such areas are so often either omitted or inadequately addressed in weight-loss programs and books, but Venuto explores this area very well.

Diet and Nutrition

The core of the practical recommendations focuses, naturally, on nutrition and physical activity for weight loss. Venuto rarely uses the word "diet" -- and for good reason. Dieting -- meaning a temporary change in eating patterns -- is not useful in the long term unless you make a permanent lifestyle change. This is emphasized throughout the book along with the need to create a calorie deficit to lose weight. Venuto even explains in detail how to do this with a logical approach.

In the nutrition section he lists the "Ten Body Fat Solution Nutrition Rules." I like most of these, which emphasize high-fiber, lean-protein eating with adequate whole-grain carbohydrate and starches, concentrating on whole and natural foods.

Although I have no major disagreement, my tendency is to emphasize lower fat consumption as well -- especially saturated fat -- rather than overly targeting carbohydrates in very active people. Although whole-grain carbohydrates are energy dense, they are also nutrient dense, which is important when cutting calories. Venuto does have a plan for this and he calls it the X-factor.

Venuto, quoting successful weight losers in the National Weight Control Registry, shows that the most successful losers eat a diet of 20 to 30% fat.

(Many come in at about 25% total calories from fat, which I consider about ideal.) The successful weight losers and maintainers also do a lot of exercise. There is no risk of being deficient in essential fatty acids down to around 20% fat, although omega-3 intake needs to be assured.

Exercise, Maintenance and Long-Term Success

In chapters 7 and 8, the book is successful in describing how a combination of weight training and aerobic or cardio training is the best combination for weight loss. Examples of appropriate weight- training exercises are provided. It really is a no-brainer and he describes it beautifully -- in contrast to some other fat loss trainers who think it should be done with weights alone.

Venuto's way is better and makes sense for cardiovascular health as well as overall weight loss.

Venuto also discusses the concept of NEAT (non-exercise activity thermogenesis), which is essentially the physical activity you indulge in when not doing formal exercise -- shopping, housework, gardening and so on. This is known to be quite important in weight loss and he rightly points to the advantages of increasing this energy output.

In the final chapters, the book emphasizes the importance of maintaining exercise and nutrition habits with planning and a social support network for long-term success.

Overall, Burn the Fat Feed the Muscle is the best practical weight-loss book I've read because it has a good scientific base, is comprehensive and practical, and doesn't bog down in too much extraneous detail. You get the feeling much of this information is steeped in practical experience and long-term implementation and experimentation. Thus, I highly recommend The Body Fat Solution by Tom Venuto.

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