Monday, June 29, 2015

The 800 Calorie Diet That Didn't Work. (And a sample menu from the one that does.)

Years ago, when I was a “starving” actor in Hollywood, I was a member of a paid diet program that had me come in and get weighed every weekday. The program used some effective strategies for weight loss. For example, we all had a “Before” pictures taken, we were measured at the start, and usually every four weeks after that. Alcohol was strictly forbidden, and there were weekly group meetings where we could talk about our struggles and successes. I did my best to work the program 4 different times. Here’s how it always went: I lost weight rapidly at the start, sometimes significant amounts, but my appetite inevitably got stronger while my motivation and energy for daily living got weaker. I would fall of the wagon, eat like crazy, and regain the weight, plus more. Yes, it was the classic yo-yo dieting pattern I had been following since childhood. I had been meaning to go back, write down, and closely examine what was on that diet for years. I wanted to examine why it worked in the short term, and why it ultimately failed. Note that I wrote, “It Failed.” If there is one thing I have learned from my diet history, and from experience coaching fat loss clients, it's that we don’t fail diets the way we fail tests. I believe that carrying excess body fat is an individual issue, and that when a diet doesn’t work it simply isn’t the right solution for whatever is causing us to store excess fat at that point in our lives. When I posted this meal plan on the secret Facebook group that is part of the 6 week Sugar Freedom Challenges I have offered, I got some very interesting feedback. Many of the members had followed similar plans with the same results: Early weight loss followed by extreme hunger, weakness, and re-gain of the weight lost. So here it is: Breakfast: 2 Eggs cooked in 1 teaspoon butter1 Apple1 Wasa Crisp bread Lunch: Large green salad with 1 teaspoon olive oil and vinegar for dressing 3 oz chicken breast 1 cup cucumber Dinner: 3 oz sirloin steak 1 cup green beans with 1 teaspoon butter 1 wasa crisp bread Snack: 1 orange When I look at this plan, what jumps out at me is the lesson that, no matter how much you want to be thin, hunger always wins when you try to cut your energy intake to the bone. This is such a small amount of food, but I’ll bet you’ve tried diets that look just like this! So what does work? With every successful client I coach the answer becomes more clear. We must find the individual eating plan that provides satisfaction and abundant energy, while allowing for a moderate and consistent release of weight through fat burning. To put it more clearly, we must train the body to use fat for energy. So today I will leave you with a daily menu that works for me and for my clients. Breakfast: 2 Deviled Eggs Sliced tomato drizzled with olive oil and raspberry vinegar 2-3 slices Canadian Bacon Lunch: 4 oz. Turkey with red bell pepper and zesty sauce (I mix salsa with mustard.) Cabbage Leaf wraps Mixed Vegetables cooked in coconut oil or grass-fed butter Dinner: Shrimp with Zucchini “Pasta” and parmesan cheese Heat 1T butter in a large pan. Grate zucchini into the pan and stir until cooked through. Season with salt and pepper and top with grated parmesan cheese. Thaw 3-4 oz large frozen shrimp. Stir fry them in butter and one large diced garlic clove until warm- don’t over cook. Serve over zucchini. Sliced Tomato and mozzarella salad with olive oil and a 1t balsamic vinegar. Balsamic vinegar contains sugar, so use sparingly. Note: I make simple deviled eggs like this: Slice 2 hard boiled eggs in half. Scoop out yolks and mix with 1-2 teaspoons flavored olive oil: meyer lemon is my favorite. Add 1/2 teaspoon prepared organic mustard, salt and pepper to taste. Re-fill eggs and sprinkle with paprika. ===>Click Here<=== to try the eating plan that helped me finally lose the weight I struggled with for all those years.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

A Great Solution for "Low Carb Flu"

I have been so delighted about the success of our latest 6 Week Sugar Freedom Challenge at Gordon Studio.

The challenge group was small, but the results were big, with four challengers losing the Maximum Recommended Amount of Weight in six weeks.  Cherie and Whitley each lost more than 11 pounds, and Candy lost 13.

As an ACE certified Personal Trainer, I've learned that 2 pounds a week is the maximum amount of fat loss that one can expect on a diet and exercise program.  If we see higher weight loss numbers, chances are that the extra weight loss is coming for lean tissue: in other words, precious muscle.

What's more, I have been coaching a number of other clients in the art of getting off of sugar, grains, and processed vegetable oils, and I enjoy learning more about the challenges of getting off of sugar and starch from each of them.

Here is a common problem they are reporting to me, and a solution to that problem.

According to Dr. Eric Westman, one of the co-authors along with Jimmy Moore of "Keto Clarity,"  a low carb high fat diet can have a diuretic effect which drastically lowers sodium levels along with bloat and inflammation.

Now, nobody wants the bloat, but a drop in sodium levels can leave my clients feeing tired, cranky, and all around low energy.

Enter bullion in warm water as a fast pick me up.  My clients Jill, Whitley, Candy, and more have reported that the bullion drink is astonishingly effective.

There's just one problem.

Most bullions contain sugar!  Yes, you read that right.  One "organic" bullion even goes so far as to call it "Glucose Syrup" instead of sugar on the label.  Can you imagine why?  Companies must be getting wise to the fact that so many of us are discovering the benefits of getting sugar out of our diets

Luckily, my search on turned up this solution:

Finally, a sugar bullion that proudly declares its sugar free status right on the label.  I'm heading over there to order some now.

Let me know if it works for you:

Monday, June 15, 2015

The Sugar Freedom Food Pyramid

I am so grateful to my in-person clients who keep me on my toes when it comes to the information they need.

The number one request is a way to understand exactly what they can and can't eat.  I am currently creating a master list of Yes/No foods on the Sugar Freedom program.  

In the meantime, Dr. Mercola's food pyramid is great place to start.  I would add beans, legumes, and soy to the top of the pyramid (meaning minimal to no consumption).
Thanks for this excellent info-graphic!
Right now, I am starting a new 14 Day Fat Loss Super Challenge.

This was inspired by the fact that I have returned to my work as an actor, singer, dancer in the live Theatre.  My fellow performers and I need a fast effective plan we can follow for real results.  For example, auditions and photo shoots can come up unexpectedly, and we need strategies to look our best in a hurry.

The best thing about my 14 Day plan is that you can see improvement from just 24 hours on the program.  How?  It is specifically intended to get rid of bloat right away, and burn fat like crazy for the next 2 weeks.

Other elements that my clients demand are  simplicity and ease of use.  Translation: they don't have much time to cook.

By solution is to recommend Bio-Trust Low Carb Protein Powder mixed with water and 2T of organic heavy cream at breakfast time.  You can get the protein powder at the link above, and yes, this is an affiliate link.

Then, I move my typical Sugar Freedom breakfast to lunch, and I shift my typical lunch to dinner time.  Note: the entire Sugar Freedom Program is available ===>By Clicking Here<===.

Please check this blog for updates of the 14 Day Program.

More to come, and don't forget to keep it simple.

Click Here to Subscribe

Monday, June 1, 2015

Yes, Calories Can Count

Hi Everyone, Here is the calorie calculator from Brad Pilon.

Note that the Sugar Freedom program doesn’t ask you to count calories.  The key is to eliminate sugar and grains which then allows the appetite to lessen spontaneously.

Still, when we are pursuing fat loss and figure transformation, there may be stalls and plateaus, and at these times we need to check our energy balance to make sure we aren’t going overboard with, for example, the avocados or the home made mayonnaise.

In addition, there is a tendency among women to go into chronic under-nutrition, and the calculation to follow also has a bottom number that we shouldn’t go below if we want adequate nutrition.

Please note that this is meant to be informational, and it should not take the place of advice from your doctor, or a registered dietitian.

Here’s Brad.

I’m going to try something a little different today. Instead of diet advice or reviewing research, today I’d like to share with you what I’m currently trying on myself, and give you some of the rational behind my personal approach.

As usual, I’m experimenting. It’s still Eat Stop Eat, but I’m also going to tell you what I’m doing on the days I’m not fasting.

Firstly, I still do two fasts per week. My fasts are usually 20-24 hours long, depending on how I feel and time commitments.

At the end of each fast I do my main weight training sessions. So twice a week I weight train for about 1 hour, consisting of about 50-70 reps divided between 2 to 4 exercises per muscle group.

During my first workout I train my legs and my shoulders, then during my second workout I train my chest back and arms.

Once I’m done my workout I view the next 2-3 days as ‘muscle growth support’ so I eat to support the muscle repairing process.

This means eating 20-30 grams of protein every 4-6 hours, while keeping my calorie intake at roughly 14 times my current body weight (roughly 2,500 calories). Since about 500 of those calories come from my protein intake, the other 2,000 come from carbs fat and alcohol. I really don’t track any of these number as I only really care about 'protein in' and 'calories in'.

I continue this process until it’s time to fast again. I view my fasts as a reset, my workout as the ‘start’,  the next 2-3 days as the eating to support that workout, then I repeat.

I also rock climb twice a week, and do some gymnastics training whenever I feel the urge, but my weight training workouts are currently limited to these two times.

The other thing you need to know is how I tweak calories. I’m normally able to maintain my weight by eating about 2,500 calories on the days I’m not fasting, but if I want to bring my weight down a bit, here’s what I do:

I start with my ideal waist (Height x .447 = my ideal waist) <— that number only applies to men, women should use .388.

I measure my waist at my belly button (women would be above belly button at narrowest point of your ’true waist’). For every 1 inch I am over my ideal, I subtract 1 from 14

So if my ideal waist is roughly 31.5 and I have a 33 inch waist then my daily calories are roughly my current weight multiplied by  (14 - 1.5) or current weight x 12.5

**Since I never let my waist circumference reach over half my height (35 inches) this is never more than a 300 or 400 calorie reduction per day.

No matter what happens with calories, protein stays the same, roughly 4-5 protein meals per day, 4-6 hours apart, 20-30 grams with each meal.

And that’s it, that’s my entire approach. Simple, uncomplicated, and hopefully effective. Yes I eat breakfast most days, and no I don’t know how many grams of carbs or fats I eat, but I can tell you I eat them both ;)

Really, other than the eating, this approach takes up two 24 hour periods of my life, not a big deal to me, and fits perfectly with my schedule.

The only real differences between this and what I normally do is the lowered frequency of workouts and their timing.

This new low training frequency is new to me, I’ve trained as much as two times per day, and usually train around 5 times a week, but I want to experiment with doing less...

The timing is based off my work with inflammation and muscle growth, and a guess that in the long run training at or near the end of a fast may help.

Over the next couple months I’ll let you know how it is going, so if you're interested in following along, you can save this email as a reference

Your friend,


Saturday, May 30, 2015

Eight Years in Ketosis

Back in 2008, when I made the choices that finally allowed me to overcome a lifetime of overweight and obesity, I was afraid to share exactly what I was eating.

Back then, an eating strategy that consistently contained over 70% of energy from fat was radical to say the least.

Or was it really?  I've written before about the fact that President Taft lost a lot of fat on a high fat/low carb diet.  Unfortunately Taft gained the weight back, and more, because he couldn't stay on the diet long term.

That brings me to one of the loudest arguments against an LCHF diet.  Although many doctors and researchers agree that this kind of diet works for fat loss, they claim that it's it's unsustainable because nobody wants to cut out sugar and starchy carbs for life.

Or do they?

More and more, when I tell people about how I lost weight for good, and about Sugar Freedom which is the plan that lays out exactly how I ate, the reaction isn't horror at how much fat I eat.

Nowadays, when I tell people about the reality of living on a high fat diet day by day, they listen with interest, and a glimmer of hope in their eyes.

Over the 18 months since Sugar Freedom became available through Clickbank, and since many of my clients at Gordon Studio have started eating sugar freedom style, I have been able to read about and see first hand what happens when other people leave sugar and grains out of their food plans on a long term basis.

What are some of the reported effects of Sugar Freedom and LCHF?

1. Fat Loss
2. Improved energy
3. Better sleep
4. Mental Clarity
5. Improved athletic performance
6. Joint recovery (Fewer aches and pains.)
7. Healthier teeth and gums
8. More zest for life, including romance.

One happy consequence I have observed is that my clients' lives are expanding.  They are getting promotions, dating again, entering races, starting their own businesses, and volunteering more to name a few happy changes.

It appears that when we can access stored fat for energy by eating foods that lower insulin and satisfy the appetite, it gets a lot easier to go out and fulfill our dreams.

With every year that goes by life gets fuller, richer, and sweeter even though I don't eat conventional sweets.  If some experts claim that LCHF is unsustainable over the long term, then I need to add my voice to those who have been eating this way for years, and thriving like never before.

Finally, here is sample of the way I eat/drink each day:

Plenty of water.

Morning Tonic: 1T Braggs Cider Vinegar + 1T lemon juice in water with a few drops of Stevia

Coffee with organic heavy cream: preferably raw.

2 Eggs, 3 Strips Bacon, 1C cooked Spinach with salsa

Romaine Lettuce salad with olive oil dressing, 2 Chicken thighs, more spinach

4-5oz Rib Eye Steak, more salad, and another cooked vegetable with Kerrygold butter.

Many times I am simply too full to eat dinner, so I do a 16 hour fast until breakfast the next day.

As long as I stay away from sugar and grains, I simply don't want them.

Eight years into my nutritional ketosis lifestyle, I realize that I don't crave what I don't have: I enjoy what I do have.

I believe that is my ultimate Fat Loss Key.

Monday, May 4, 2015

The Six Week Sugar Freedom Challenge Begins

Welcome to the challenge everyone.  This is our third on-line sugar elimination mission, and I am so happy to be able to share the new strategies we have learned during challenges one and two.

Today, we begin with this question,

Do you have a good understanding of Why you are undertaking the effort to take sugar, grains, and vegetable oils out of your eating plan?  Take a moment to think again what having your authentic ideal body would allow you to do.  This is why you are moving forward with Sugar Freedom, and nobody else gets to decide what your ideal is, or what you will create in your life as you achieve it.

Our goal for the next six weeks is to put food in its proper place.  It is fuel for our dreams, not some idol we worship three, six, or more times a day. If food has somehow become the number one pleasure and priority in your life, as it did in mine, this is the primary issue we will address during the challenge.

Each day we will satisfy our hunger and energize the body while releasing fat.

We will switch from primarily using sugar to using fat to fuel our activities.  The Sugar Strike pulls out the foods that make you a sugar burner, while providing enough fat burning food to make you say,

"Wow, I feel so full!"

Do not forget to drink bullion if you begin to feel out of sorts. You can lose sodium on the Sugar Strike, and the bullion will help replenish it.

I will check in at 2:30PM Pacific time Monday through Friday to answer your questions.  Stay strong and remember, if you want to eat off plan you are experiencing a craving.  A craving is a feeling, and feelings do pass.  Drink a glass of water, eat a hard boiled egg or another Freedom Food.  Do not go hungry.

Finally, reach out to the group with your struggles.  We succeed faster when we help each other.

I can't wait to see what you all achieve.

Your Coach, Catherine Gordon ACE/CTT
Author of Sugar Freedom

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Are We Unicorns?

We Are Unicorns

A few weeks ago, I tore through Harriet Brown's book,
     "Body of Truth," How Science, History, and Culture Drive Our Obsession With Weight, and What We Can Do About It.

Ever since I was a teenager, I have suspected that unrealistic, even unhealthy, weight ideals fostered by Western culture and driven by markets and media are promoting behaviors that make us fatter.  The overwhelming desire to reduce body weight and size seems to trigger physiological and emotional changes that drive fat storage and limit happy productive movement.

As a Certified Personal Trainer and sugar reduction advocate, my personal curiosity has changed to a professional obligation as I try to understand why traditional diet and exercise seem to be backfiring on so many women and men who are simply seeking a body they feel at home and at peace in.

Here is my theory.  If the media proclaims that a normal, healthy body is too fat, many individuals  will go on diets that actually promote more fat storage, and they will be worse off that they would have been if they had never dieted at all.

 I thought I was unique in the fact that my pediatrician put me on a calorie counting regimen when I was just eight years old.  It turns out that according to Harriet Brown's research the average age of a first diet for girls is eight.  Average.

The earliness of my first diet may not have been unique, but "Body of Truth" does argue that my experience of permanent fat loss may be.  This is the current reality for me and many of my readers and clients: many of us have lost more than 30, 50, 70 pounds and beyond, and kept it off for years.  In her book, Brown quotes psychologist Deb Burgard,

     "People who have maintained a weight loss, who eat flexibly, who are truly at peace with food- they're like unicorns."

Deb Burgard's quote is an accurate description of the way I have felt since 2008 when I turned everything I was doing in terms of eating and exercise upside down.  Now, at just shy of age 51 I feel more empowered, more joyful, energetic, and yes, beautiful than I have ever felt in my life.  Am I more beautiful than I was at 18, or 27, or on my wedding day?  Probably not not, but who cares.

I am living in a body that allows me to fulfill my dreams of love, work, and creativity.  Am I skinny?


Is any part of my body flat?

Certainly not.

So what.  I feel healthy, energetic, authentic, and powerful.  I have the enormous honor of doing work that I believe in.  When I walk in the door of Gordon Studio, put on the music, turn to my class, and say,

"You know what I want."  (That means the best form and technique my students can give me.)

I feel excitement, purpose, and a kind of wild joy.

I feel magic.

We are unicorns.

The method for becoming a unicorn is this:  Eat the food that nourishes and satisfies your, without triggering overeating.  Practice move meant that challenges, excites, and even exhilarates you without pain.  Rest, recover, and connect how you eat and move to what you want to give and achieve in your life.  Want health and self acceptance for everyone else as much as you want it for yourself.

What is more wonderful than being a unicorn?  Having other unicorns to play with.