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Say goodbye to feeling disappointed with your body—Body Confidence is the highly anticipated fitness book from world-renowned Venice Nutrition Program founder Mark Macdonald. Macdonald’s targeted series of diet and fitness strategies are proven to burn body fat, boost energy levels, increase muscle mass, and eliminate sugar cravings for a better looking, better feeling body today. Providing a step up to holistic body care for fans of Tosca Reno’s Eat-Clean Diet or Jorge Cruise’s Belly Fat Cure, and an excellent companion to Cynthia Sass’s Cinch!, the Venice Nutrition Program’s innovative fitness plan focuses on blood sugar stabilization and a complementary program of exercise, sleep, and stress management. A foreword by bestselling author Chelsea Handler will let you know why Body Confidence is your next step to a healthier, happier tomorrow.
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About the Author
Mark Macdonald is the creator of the Venice Nutrition Program. He opened the first Venice Nutrition Consulting Center in Venice Beach, California, over fifteen years ago, and it has since developed into a network of more than five hundred centers across the United States, Canada, and Europe. He is the go-to health expert for both CNN and HLN, and he hosts the Daily Share segment Transformation Tuesday on HLN. Mark is the author of the New York Times bestseller Body Confidence: Venice Nutrition's 3-Step System That Unlocks Your Body's Full Potential. Mark is also married to the love of his life, Abbi, and they are the proud parents of their son, Hunter, and baby girl, Hope.
Read an Excerpt
Body ConfidenceVenice Nutrition's 3 Step System That Unlocks Your Body's Full Potential
By Mark MacDonald
HarperCollinsCopyright © 2011 Mark MacDonald
All right reserved.
If you live in the past, your future is already determined.
We've all had that one moment in our lives (brief as it may be) when
we felt in control of our health. We got there somehowthrough
exercise, a diet, our genetics, or some other means. For whatever
reason, everything just seemed to work; we felt and looked great. Then, for
some other reason, everything that was once working seemed to vanish
suddenly. Each day we tried to get back to that place and those circumstances,
attempting to relive that moment. We spent endless hours focusing on the
past, trying to figure out what had changed.
That moment becomes our hope, our future possibilityour ace in the
hole (an advantage held in reserve until needed). We believe that at any time
we can pull out that ace and get back to where we were during that moment.
Of course, we have our justifications for not immediately doing itlike: "Life
is too busy" or "Once this project is completed" or "After the holidays" or
"When the timing is right." We take on each day feeling just a bit worse,
having less energy, getting more stressed, and watching our weight and body fat
slowly increase. We tell ourselves that it is not a problem, that we know what
we need to do but are just not doing it. We keep tight hold of that ace in the
hole, ready to use it at any time.
This thought process could continue for years until eventually we hit a
tipping pointa moment when we can't take it anymore. The trigger could
be many things: our clothes are too tight, our exercise program isn't working,
we're tired all the time, our weight is at its highest point, our wedding is in
three months, or maybe we have health complications. . . . This is when we
pull out the ace in the hole, feeling that it will get us back to where we were,
back to that moment we held on to.
You dive right in, confident in your success as if it were guaranteed.
The first day comes and goes, and you briefly think, "It seemed to be easier
before. . . ." You might struggle and tell yourself, "I'll start fresh tomorrow."
Tomorrow comes. The same challenges arrive, and you just shake it off. You
enter the third day, and you still can't get on track. And now the doubts settle
in. . . . You begin to think, "I didn't remember it being this hard, so what
changed?" This pattern can continue for days, weeks, months, or even years,
eventually leading us to the realization that we've lost control of our health
and that the ace in the hole we've held on to for so long no longer works. This
harsh reality hits like a ton of bricks, and we begin to accept the fact that we
don't actually know what to do. . . . This is when panic sets in. We spent so
much time holding on to that past moment, keeping it as our ace in the hole,
that we stopped learning and stopped listening to our body.
This is when diets attack; they are life's quick fixes. People use diets in their
moments of frustration and desperation. Diets are the magic spell we are told
to believe in, hoping that it really will be that easy to solve our problems.
We become so overcome by the pain of our current status that we will do
practically anything to alleviate it, including believing in smoke and mirrors.
Our sense of reason is at its lowest point, and we've become more vulnerable
than ever before, so we reach for the magic potion. We go on a calorie- and/
or carbohydrate-restrictive diet, a liquid diet, a doctor-prescribed
medication, appetite-suppression diet, or even a lemon and honey diet. We'll do
basically anything out there that's designed to rapidly drop weight through
deprivation, even if it lacks common sense, provides little structure, and is
devoid of any history of long-term success.
A diet will accomplish the initial goal by temporarily yielding results and
relieving some frustration. Unfortunately, once you begin eating normally
again, the weight returns as fast as it was lost. What in life can successfully
be accomplished by reaching for a quick fix? Can a business succeed with-
out a plan? Can a relationship succeed without continued communication?
Can you parent your children successfully without leading by example?
Your health is no different from any of these things. The fact is that any-
thing we do that's worth the effort takes a proper foundation, hard work, and
Your first step in taking your Body Confidence to the next level is to let go
of your old aces in the hole and any attachments you might have to diets. Your
hormones, physiology, lifestyle, profession, and environment are all
continually changing and evolving. Whatever worked for you in the past is exactly
thatyour past. It will not work the same for you again. Embracing this fact
is the key. The truth is that if your ace in the hole was the right thing for your
body, your health would never have regressed.
If you choose to let go of the past now, your health possibilities for the
future are endless. Your mind will be open, and you'll be ready to learn how
your body truly works now.
Let's get into the actual physiological reasons that diets will always fail
you. . . .
There are two main philosophies in nutrition: dieting and blood-sugar
stabilization. One is a catalyst that leads to what we call the Yo-Yo Syndrome
(weight loss followed by weight gain in repetitive cycles), while the other
creates an internal hormonal balance within your body that ignites your
metabolism to optimally burn body fat.
The dieting philosophy is centered on caloric and/or carbohydrate
restriction and deprivation. It is a philosophy that leads you to create deficits in
your nutrition and use restrictions to lose weight. This is the most common
nutrition philosophy, most clearly explained by the phrase "calories in versus
calories out." The thought process is this: if you are burning two thousand
calories per day and you eat fifteen hundred calories a day, you are creating
a daily five-hundred-calorie deficit. This deficit will initially assist in weight
loss. Unfortunately, because dieting is based on deprivation, your body
will always hit an immovable and impenetrable plateau (known as your
body's internal set point, explained in chapter 2). This calorie deprivation
will cause your body to burn fat. However, it will also cause your body to
burn muscle. Losing muscle negatively affects the speed of your metabolism,
because muscle is the primary place where body fat is burned (less muscle
equals less fat burning), and muscle increases the rate at which your body
Typically, after you reduce your initial weight and/or reach a plateau on a
diet, you'll begin eating the same way you did before you started, only now
your body has lost some of its muscle, resulting in a slower metabolism.
Eventually all the weight you lost is regained, but it contains more body
fat. What I'm describing is what I earlier called the Yo-Yo Syndrome (in which
your weight and body fat go up and down like a yo-yo, and many times your
rebound weight is higher than your previous starting weight).
Think about it: eventually every deficit must somehow be paid back. By
dieting, you are training your metabolism to slow down, not speed up. The
truth is that dieting is based on incorrect physiology.
Anything that causes you to burn muscle is working against you, not for
you. Millions of people have gotten caught up in dieting, including thousands
of my clients and me. It's taught everywhereat the doctor's, on TV, in
magazines, in books, on infomercials, and even at universities. The reality is that
dieting is outdated information, and is a billion-dollar industry designed
specifically to keep you coming back. Now, the excitement of dieting is that
it typically yields fast, temporary results (until you've done enough damage
to your metabolism) and that it seems so simple: just eat less. The challenge
is that dieting will yield only one outcome: long-term failure. If your goal is
to make progress with your health and unlock your body's full potential, it's
time to learn a better way.
Somewhere along the way we got so caught up in the quick-fix mentality
that we chose to forget about how our body actually works. We abandoned
physiological facts and accepted hype and theories. This happened through the
years because as time passes, our lives seem only to get busier and more
stressful. Instead of wanting to do the work, we choose to take shortcuts with dieting.
In the introduction I described the journey I went on to learn that the
nutrition solution was blood-sugar stabilization. Debates about different diets
become pointless once you truly understand how the body creates and
utilizes blood sugar, and balances blood-sugar levels. What elevated my
passion and motivated me to further understand the importance of stable blood
sugar was living through the experience of Abbi's pregnancy as well as the
birth and first year of Hunter's life.
I still have some trouble understanding why most of the health industry lost
focus on stable blood-sugar levels. You see, a fetus's core developmental factor
is its mother's blood-sugar levels. Keeping them stable is vital for its survival.
During Abbi's pregnancy she was diagnosed with gestational diabetes (the
type of diabetes that occurs during pregnancy). The concern with this is that
if a fetus is constantly exposed to high levels of glucose (sugar), it is as if
the fetus were overeating. A fetus inside a mother who's living with
gestational diabetes produces more insulin to absorb the excess glucose (sugar),
which results in a gain in fetal size and fetal weight. It's interesting how our
adult bodies work the same way a fetus does. A fetus getting too much glucose
(sugar) can become too large, leading to birth complications for the fetus and
mother. Once Abbi was diagnosed with gestational diabetes, the number-one
focus during her pregnancy became keeping her blood-sugar levels stable.
Fortunately, Abbi was already active, healthy, and eating correctly. . . . She
had a great foundation. When our doctor diagnosed Abbi with gestational
diabetes, he brought one of the hospital's dietitians into the room to provide
us with proper nutrition information. Abbi and I were given information that
was outdated by a couple of decades. The hospital's dietician was a nice lady,
and both she and our doctor had the best intentions . . . they were just out of
touch. Just imagine, if you will, Abbi and me, having already trekked along
a path filled with years of frustration, sitting in a doctor's office listening
to outdated and inaccurate methods for stabilizing her blood sugar for the
health of our baby. As you can guess, we thanked the dietician for her time,
and I proceeded to design Abbi's nutrition and exercise program through-
out her pregnancy, while our doctor monitored her insulin requirements. We
monitored her blood-sugar levels very carefully, and Hunter was born at a
normal weight and size. He was a healthy seven-pound baby boy.
What was very interesting was what occurred within the first five
minutes of Hunter's life, when the nurses tested his blood sugar. His survival
depended on his blood sugar being within the normal range. If his blood
sugar was too low, we would have had to immediately get food into his little
body to stabilize his levels to make sure that his body could function
correctly. Fortunately, since Abbi controlled her blood-sugar levels throughout
the pregnancy, Hunter was of normal size and his body immediately
processed glucose correctly. In the first few hours of his life, the nurses wanted
Hunter to drink breast milk or formula (made to match breast milk). Both of
these food sources are a combination of protein, fat, and carbohydrates. The
nurses also spoke about the importance of meal frequency: Hunter should
be breast-feeding every three hours. I knew this meal structure, along with
the balance of protein, fat, and carbohydrates in Abbi's breast milk, would
naturally keep his blood sugar stable and assist in his body's proper
development and growth. To emphasize the importance of this information, the
hospital offered a class for new mothers specifically focused on "how to
properly feed your baby." This approach to proper nutrition continued through
Hunter's first year of life. At every single doctor visit, the number-one topic
was Hunter's nutrition, particularly his caloric intake and meal intervals.
During Hunter's first year of life, an industry that I thought was outdated
was actually teaching blood-sugar stabilization for babies. This led me to ask
a few questions: First, how could most medical professionals be so correct
with a baby's nutrition and so off with an adult's nutrition? Our physiology
doesn't change, our body's ability to create energy doesn't change, and our
need for nutrients doesn't change. If our bodies are meant to be fed a certain
way during the first year of life, why should our focus change afterward?
I took a step back, thought about the questions, and realized that the
answers are simple. We choose to abandon how the body is supposed to be fed
because, after the first year, the business and complicated nature of life get in
the way. We are extremely fragile in the first year of life. During that time,
we develop at a rapid pace every day. To ensure proper development as well
as to survive, we need to be correctly fed. Once we pass that one-year mark,
our bodies have stored enough body fat, and we've become strong enough,
that our meal intervals and nutrient ratios are capable of change. Now, even
though it makes sense for us to continue following the same pattern that
we did during the first year of life (the way our bodies are meant to be fed),
society, life, and lack of education become roadblocks that shift our focus
away from eating correctly. Once Hunter turned one year old, his doctor's
appointments shifted focus to height/weight charts and food pyramid
recommendations, not blood-sugar stabilization. The reason everything seems
to work so well for the first year of a child's life is that meal intervals, calories
per meal, and nutrient ratios are based on instinct. Whether with breast milk
or formula, a baby must be fed this way. Every study supports these facts.
Think about it: doctors never explain why we feed our babies like this . . .
it's just what we're supposed to do.
Excerpted from Body Confidence by Mark MacDonald Copyright © 2011 by Mark MacDonald. Excerpted by permission of HarperCollins. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This is the real deal! No gimmicks and no diets,just permanent results. It so easy to follow and no deprivation! I love to eat and I can eat with this plan. Its awesome.
As a medical student at Emory, and personal trainer I thought I knew everything there was to know about nutrition and excercise......but I was wrong. Mark MacDonald's program, Venice Nutrition completely changed the way I eat and live my day to day life. I didn't think it would be possible to be medical school student and still maintain a healthy lifestyle. I feel great!!!! Everyone always says how tiring medical school is, but I actually have more energy now than ever!! Living the Venice Nutrition lifestyle has changed everything about my body, mind, and confidence. I would recommend this book and the entire program to anyone and everyone. If you want to lose weight or just have more energy this is the way to go! I have learned as much if not more about the human body from this book as I have in my classes...the science cannot be beat and the results are real. The best money and time you will ever spend!
Having dieted most of my life, I was on a roller coaster and it was emotionally crippling. When I found out about Venice Nutrition and began implementing the 3-Step System, my life changed for the better - forever! I was able to understand how my body worked, how food and sleep and exercise affected my body and finally got the body I have always wanted! A must read for everyone - athletes, moms, dads, singles, teens, etc. Mark MacDonald's program is truly special and I highly recommend buying the book and changing your life for the better!
This program is amazing. It is nice to finally have something out there that is backed by science and physiology and works for all body types. If you want to lose, gain weight or just maintain and feel your very best this is for you. Have Body Confidence forever!!!
Applicable to everyone whether you want to lose weight or just learn to eat healthy. Teach optimal eating habits that are practical.
Thank you Mark Macdonald for this wonderful information!!! After trying every diet and meal plan out there, I have finally found one that is actually possible to stick to for life! And to think - all it took was a little science lesson. I consider it a miracle that cravings can be eliminated by having stable blood sugar. Why did I not know this before??? I am so happy with my results (that I have been able to successfully maintain!) from doing the Venice Nutrition program.
Life changing nutrition book....a must have!!
This book is so informative! I always thought I knew how to eat healthy. What I didn't know was how to eat correctly. Big difference and definitely life changing! A great read!!
Finally there is a book out there that shows real people how to achieve real results that will last for a lifetime. Before I became a coach, I became a Venice Nutrition client. Many programs will teach nutrition and offer menu sugestions, but The VN system taught me about balancing my quadrant; the aspects of my life that affect the way that my body responds to food. As a fitness professional, author and coach, I find Mark's comprehensive, yet reader-friendly applications to be useful and powerful. Very Powerful. In addition to stabilizing blood-sugar levels throughout the day, this book will enlighten and elevate your thinking. You are not just what you eat, you are what you metabolize. I can honestly tell you that thanks to Mark, I can once again comfortably fit into my US Navy Dress Blues Uniform that fit perfectly at age 27 - now at age 45, that makes me happy. Just as I am now free from the shackles of aging, you too can find liberation and true joy "within your skin" once you learn how to get your levels under control...and you can enjoy your life in the process! This is body confidence. It's not vanity. It's not arrogance. It's confidence; and body confidence is a beautiful thing - you will be, too once you learn and live Mark's Venice Nutriton principles. Please, if you've tried and failed with fatloss pills, diets and info-mercial gimmicks, I beg you to get off life's treadmill and do the Venice Nutrition System. Don't try it; do it. You will win. Stop wasting your time and your hard earned dollars - It is time to step up to a new level of thinking. The search is over, and the solutions are here. Buy this book now to unlock your body's full potential!
Well I'm happy to say that I will never buy another diet book again. After years of what seemed like starving myself (aka: dieting) to look a certain way I finally understand how it all works. I felt like I was reading my own life story as I read about MacDonald's struggles with dieting in the late 90's - the thing that stood out the most to me was how he said "when in life are creating deficits a good thing" OMG why did I think eating 500 calories a day was good for me! This book changed it all for me, I'm 2 weeks into the program and I can't remember ever feeling this good in my life. My energy is through the roof, I'm never starving like in the old days, and my skinny jeans are loose on me!!! Yay! Women know what it feels like to have jeans squeeze your fat (loved Chelsea's foreward on her muffin top). anyway get this book! thank you so much!!!!!
I first learned about Body Confidence from Venice Nutrition in August 2009. In 5 months my way of thinking about exercise and nutrition was transformed as I learned more about the fundamental principles of: a-protein, fat and carb balances in each meal b-calories/meal to eat c-frequency of meals The myths of the diet fad world were erased such as eliminate carbs, don't eat before bed, etc. My metabolism increased, my energy soared and my workouts were revised and in weeks I was seeing fitness improvements that I had failed to see on any other program. I dropped over 35 lbs and 16% body fat in 5 months and have maintained that level of fitness for over 18 months. I have watched family and friends benefit from this same program which is based on sound nutrition fundamentals. Purchasing this book will be the last book that you need to buy to reach your fitness and nutrition goals. Body Confidence is for you if you are ready to take your body and health to the next level!
This book is very well written, entertaining, and most importantly filled with information on attaining and maintaining better health, appropriate body weight and composition, and tools to keep on going even when life happens. This approach is not a diet! It is a lifestyle, a way of thinking about food and feeding the body, a way of working with the body to help the body reach its full potential for health. This information is what we have all wanted and have not gotten through all the diet fads that have come and gone. I am excited about the progress I have seen in my own body.
Mark MacDonald is a proven true pioneer in the field of nutrition. In his book, Body Confidence, he has put together the cutting edge science information of blood sugar stabilization into a simple to follow action plan that can work for absolutely any health and fitness goal. As a kinesiologist, strength and conditioning coach, and nutritionist I had been frustrated for years with all the myths and old information that didn't make any sense or had any real science to back it up. Mark uncovers all of these myths and lays out the facts. He gives clearly defined and realistic strategies to implement into your current lifestyle that create PERMANENT RESULTS. I've been turning my clients onto Venice Nutrition for many years and the results have been phenomenal. This book has the potential to make the biggest difference in our health as a nation because with blood sugar stabilization many of our current medical challenges could be averted. Of course we would all look and feel a lot better too!! Most importantly, this is not a diet. Diets fail! Venice Nutrition is an actual program for real life.
I lived a life of always seeking for the next 'Big Thing' the diet that I would really glean all that it said I would. I was caught up in a vicious cycle that always left me feel like a helpless failure. By the time I was in my early thirties I was depressed and ALMOST ready to resolve myself to a life of being overweight and feeling like CRAP. That's when I found Venice Nutrition. It was my one last-ditch effort. I really didn't expect anything-I thought I was broken and couldn't be fix..I thought I knew everything about dieting-after all I'd been on one since elementary school, and studied countless diets and weight loss theories- I drank the drinks, took the pills, I even purchased an appetite suppressing lip gloss once when I was 17. At last I NEVER have to DIET AGAIN!!! I won't tell you that there isn't a learning curve, but as I've heard Mark say over the years 'the juice IS worth the squeeze'! It is the best health insurance you will ever invest in!!! Wendy Martin... Conyers, GA
It's about YOU. Great for individuals looking for a custom approach to personalized nutrition and healthcare. It fits into your life, not your life fitting into it.
This amazing body of work, BODY CONFIDENCE, has opened my eyes to what I always thought I knew, but really didn't. Venice Nutrition, and specifically Mark MacDonald, has been instrumental in "educating" me on how my body works. With his program and close personal attention I lost a total of 89 lbs. I now truly look at the concept of blood-sugar stabilization as an ongoing "lifestyle" that I can wholeheartedly embrace...and can work into my world! Who knew that my chocolate cravings could ever subside? Yet, they have! I know Venice Nutrition works, as it has played a major role in my life these last two years. BODY CONFIDENCE has inspired me to make my own well-being a priority.and now with my renewed focus on my personal health and my body, I know I have successfully taken things to a new level. A WORTHWHILE INVESTMENT!
I've been on the Venice Nutrition program for a few weeks (was introduced to it by my girlfriend). Being a guy who knows nothing about healthy food and likes to drink beer, I wasn't sure I could do it. But I have been and it's working. My energy is better, my clothes are fitting better and I'm already down a notch in my belt. I'm looking forward to the book and have heard great things. I feel confident that I'll be able to reach my goals.
Im familiar with this program and am reaaaallly looking foward to this book coming out. This book is literally going to be life changing! Thank You Venice Nutrition!!
I am not sure how to even begin telling you how amazing this book is. I was one of those kids that was over weight my entire child hood. I continued to gain more and more through high school. I was on diets all through high school and through out my early 20's. Me and the yo-yo diets were pretty much attached at the hips! Feb. 2009 was when I met Mark MacDonald and changed my life as i knew it. I walked into an office expecting to see some sleezy car salesman that was going to tell me about this wonderful new diet. That it was the best thing ever and i would lose all this weight and life would just be wonderful! To my suprise it wasn't though, it was a man that wanted to understand who i was and why i wanted to become healthy! He educated me on understanding my body and how different foods would effect me. The biggest thing i remember about my first meeting is that not one time did Mark mention dieting. That's the cool thing about Body Confidence its not a diet. It is a complete lifestyle change. It's not just your food or your working out patterns it is so much more. This book helps you get to the point where you can walk around with your shoulders back chest out a big smile on your face and be happy with yourself inside and out. You will find yourself saying i Can a lot more. I can't tell you how many times I have said: "Oh i will never be able to do that", prior to Body Confidence. From almost a 300 pound guy that struggled with weight his whole life, to a guy that started body confidence and incorporated it into his life changes answers from I can't to I will! I dropped over 100 pounds and went from not being able to run around a track to doing a half marathon. People say miracles are not possible but Body Confidence was a mircale in my eyes! I personally can tell you with out a doubt in my mind; If you stick to what this book tells you there is not one person that can fail at becoming a healthy person inside and out.
This program teaches you to stabilize your blood sugar to maximize your energy level and health. It changed my life!
Wow! Luckily I found Venice Nutrition and Mark Macdonald shortly after being diagnosed with type2 diabetes. Mark helped me manage my diet and exercise and this put me on the lifetime process of stabilizing my blood sugar. I feel great, look better and have my diabetes under control. This book can help everyone including diabetics to live a healthier and longer life. Thanks Mark, you fired me up!!
I've been an enthusiastic follower of Mark and his program for 6 years. The results are amazing and it's so easy. Eat what you like and leave the rest! Lots of energy- no real down time.
What ever your goals are: Body Confidence has the answers ! ! Learn how to make the adjustments needed in your day to day life so that you can become the person you've always wanted to be. Its not just about Looking your Best its about Feeling your Best too. Thank you Mark Macdonald.....
I've been on this program for 3 yrs and have lost 50 lbs and have kept it off!! It's based on the science of blood sugar stabilization and how to keep your body in balance, which in turn allows for continual release of stored fat. It teaches you how to make your body work for you, by eating and exercising correctly. This book will change your life!!
I have lived the Venice Nutrition system for nearly 6 years and it has changed my life. I am so glad to see the information in a detailed, easy to read and follow book. I hope this information impacts other like it has helped me - A must for any health concious person