Friday, November 29, 2013

Bloat Busting Menu

As I type this this morning, my head aches, my face is all puffy, and my fingers look like little sausages to me.  Sorry for the un-pretty mental images, but I'm bloated!
I ate Sugar Freedom style at Thanksgiving dinner, (no sugar, no grains) but I did make some yummy cupcakes, sweet potatoes, and gravy that contained almond and coconut flour.  Plus, there was a good deal of salt in the rub I used on the turkey, so even when I'm on plan I can get pretty puffy if I eat foods that aren't typical.
If you're feeling the effects of extra sodium, or extra anything for that matter, give this menu a try today.
Start with warm lemon water.
Start with warm lemon water.
At breakfast:  2 eggs, poached, served over a bed of spinach cooked in olive oil, and topped with salsa.
Snack: 1 organic granny smith apple and a small handful of almonds.
Lunch: 3-4 oz turkey (leftovers you know.) Served with 2 cups salad, cucumber, celery, and olive oil and vinegar dressing.
Dinner: 3-4 oz broiled salmon, 1 cup asparagus, 1 cup sliced mushrooms cooked in olive or coconut oil.
Drink at least 6 glasses of water throughout the day.  The vegetables on this menu have a diuretic effect.  Feel free to have more of them if you're hungry, and add parsley to any of your cooked dishes to get the benefit of its anti-bloating effect.
If you want another snack, low sugar fruits like berries are a good choice.  Pair them with one ounce of raw unsalted almonds or walnuts if you need something more substantial.
Honestly, I still feel full from last night, so eating lightly sounds great to me.  Remember, you can use this simple menu any day to get rid of bloat and feel lighter and sleeker.
Whatever the day brings, shopping, football, time with friends and family, don't forget to to add some walking to use up any of yesterday's extra fuel.  Here's a simple exercise routine you can do at home: Warm up with 10 squats, 10 stick ups, 10 cross crawls, and 10 leg swings on each side.  Then do 3 rounds of ten each of Total Body Extensions, Close Grip Push Ups, Jumping Jacks, and Cross Body Mountain Climbers.  You can find these exercises at my You Tube channel:  Just search Catherine Gordon.
Even if you're into eating leftovers today, this Sugar Freedom bloat busting menu will be ready whenever you need it.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

How to Take Your After Pictures

When it comes to "after" photos, honesty isn't just the best policy, it's the only policy.

So if we're not going to give in to the temptations of Photo Shop, what are some of the things we can to to make our photo shoot the best it can be?

A few obvious things, drink plenty of water in the days leading up to your shoot.  Eat lightly on picture day.  I stick to simple foods like eggs, fish, chicken or beef, salads with olive oil and vinegar dressing, vegetables, and low sugar fruits.  No grains and easy on the diary to reduce bloat.

(By the way, The Sugar Freedom Diet will be released on Dec. 26th.  If you want to be on the list to get it at a discount, opt in at or send me an e-mail at, and I'll put you on the list.)

#1. Practice your posing!  Put on what you're going to wear in your pictures, get in front of a mirror, and take a really good look at what you see.  Yes, you do have a good side, and if you can't figure out which it is, you haven't spent enough time in front of the mirror.  After years of dance and yoga classes it is easy for me to see that my right side looks slimmer and shapelier than my left.  If you are familiar with "Warrior Pose" try it with the right and then the left foot in front and you should see what I mean.  Your face probably has a good side too, and you can angle your body one way and your face the other, (Not too far, we want to see both of your eyes really well!).  If you're working with a photographer, you may want to write down notes about any poses you want to get.  In the excitement of the shoot I did forget some poses I wanted to try.

#2.  Know what you want to express.  There's a reason why the look on your face is called your expression!  All of the pride, happiness, and the pleasure of accomplishment should show in your face in an after photo.  How do you do this?  Just think about how your results make you feel, and that will come across to the camera.  Allow all of milestones you've passed and the new skills you've mastered to flash through your memory as you face the camera, and it will capture what you are feeling.  This means that if you're an intense kind of guy you don't have to smile if you don't want to!  Oh, and don't flex so hard or pull in your abs in so far that you end up with a less than comfortable expression, if you know what I mean. :)

#3.  The fun stuff!  Nothing on this list of little extras to help you look your best costs more than $10.00.

Arm and Hammer Whitening Booster- Squeeze it on top of your usual toothpaste.  Start using it a few days before the shoot.  So easy, and your teeth really will be whiter.

L'Oreal Sublime Bronze Self-Tanning Towlettes for body.  I use one on my face too, then I spray on Sublime Bronze ProPerfect Salon Airbrush Self Tanning mist on top of that. (Not in your face though!)  Start at least three days before the shoot, use the lighter color if you're naturally fair, and stop when you get the right color.  It does take a full hour to see the color develop.  The layering will give you a nice even bronzing.

Palmers Moisturizing Body Oil- rub it on just before you take your pictures- not too much, you can always add more.

A spray bottle of water- once again a light misting.

These are enhancements.  You don't want to be so tanned or so shiny that people notice that instead of you.  speaking of shiny, your forehead shouldn't be.  Go ahead and powder lightly if it is.  Guys, enlist female help, we love this stuff.  Well, at least I do but I'm real girlie.
Anything else, just ask.

To check out Turbulence Training, the fat loss program I used to make my transformation a reality Click Here!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Your Holiday Survival Guide

Hello Friends in Fitness,

It's that time of year again:  The beautiful days between Halloween and The Super Bowl when consuming everything in sight becomes every red blooded American's favorite sport.

Forgive me if you're not in the US, but when it comes to holiday excess we do like to come out on top.

By the way, is it just me or does the holiday season seem to be getting longer?

 Does it end with Valentine's Day?  President's Day?  Do we all say "What the heck," and put off our New Years Resolutions until after we eat our Lucky Charms with Green Beer on St. Patrick's Day?

OK, so I've never eaten Lucky Charms with Green Beer, but some of my best friends have.

Honestly, sometime in the two weeks before Thanksgiving I know that I have to make a choice about what kind of holiday season this will be when it comes to eating and drinking.

Explore this with me, will you?

You see, somehow I have managed to keep a substantial amount of weight off for a number of years now.  I've even managed to avoid the gift of bigger thighs that I used to give myself each year by making a few plans before I do the grocery shopping on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving.

Ah yes, plans.  Happy Holidays do take planning don't they?

If you're a Mom with a job, a daughter with parents to please, or a single girl dreaming of Winter romance, (I remember those days quite fondly thank you) a plan, or at least some important choices, can give you a better shot at coming through the season with more comfort and joy than headaches and regret.

The way I see it, you have three choices.

#1.  The Free For All.

Throw caution to the wind.  Eat, drink, be merry, and gulp away at all of the amazing goodies that are only allowed at this time of year, and that simply must be eaten because they will never ever be available again.  As a matter of fact, the food police may be coming in May of 2014 to make the consumption of all sweet and savory treats a misdemeanor under the new Universal  Food Denial Act.

I admit, this scenario, and this choice, is unlikely.  Somehow I doubt that you would be reading this post if you didn't want some genuine wisdom on how to make good choices during the holiday season, so let's move on to option 2.

#2.  The Food Fight: Epic Battle Edition

Pursue your Fitness and Nutrition Goals with all of the passion and precision of someone getting ready for their High School Reunion. Holiday Shmoliday: You want a hot lean body, and you want it now.  There is a little black dress hanging in the closet right now that is 2 sizes too small, but you will be wearing it on New Year's Eve, or else!

Actually, I've gone with  scenario #2  in the past, and it can be done.  I reached my ultimate goal weight on December 9th, 2010 by sticking faithfully to my food and exercise plan.  (Yes, I know it's weird that I know the exact date.)  Then again, I threw caution to the wind starting that Christmas day, gained at least 7 pounds  over the next few weeks, and my weight didn't stabilize until the end of February.

#3.  The Balanced Approach.

This sounds perfect at first glance, but this kind of "Balance" can seem like walking on a high wire over a pool of snapping crocodiles for 6 weeks.  What to choose?

In all honesty, the balanced  approach has worked before for me, and for my students here in Sonora.  So let's take a closer look at how we can make some choices that will help us have a beautiful, joyful holiday season.

I know that health and vitality are important to you, so the foundation of this Holiday Survival Guide is:

Your Training and Fitness Routine

The very best thing you can do in my never to be humble opinion is:  Keep Training!  Get out your calendar, and write in your training sessions right  now in ink.  The benefits of exercise become even more apparent at the holidays.

Stress reduction, feel-good endorphins, improved sleep, better glucose control, defense against depression and anxiety, are all proven benefits of your well designed exercise plan.
Let me be honest as well when I admit that my commitment to fitness isn't just about health: It's about beauty too.  This time of year the cameras come out, the parties are in full swing, love is in the air, and I want you to have that glow that comes with proper fitness.  (And no, I don't mean the sweaty glow you get in the gym either.)

Another plus is that intense exercise sessions are proven to reduce appetite!  Talk about a win, win, win, strategy.

Speaking of Appetite:

Let's face it, holiday goodies and beverages are designed to delight and tempt our appetites.  This is a time of  year for delicious and sensational food.  The cooks in our lives pull out all the stops, and their feelings can be hurt if we don't pay proper homage to their efforts.

What to do?  Personally, I am fortunate in that after more than 30 years of struggling with food, I had to face my sugar addiction and compulsive over-eating.  I have earned the wisdom to say "No"to my trigger foods no matter what.

 Certainly, if you have gluten sensitivity, high blood sugar, or any medical condition that is affected by diet, you can stand strong in your insistence on eliminating foods that can harm your heath.  But what do you do if your goal is to enjoy everything in moderation?

Here is the approach I suggest to my students:  Make some choices now about how much you will indulge in Holiday food and drink.

What are the most important celebrations to you?  What are your absolute favorite holiday treats?  Whose feeling will you really hurt if you push their offerings away?

Once again look at your calendar and have a plan for enjoying the best of the food and drink that you will encounter, while leaving out the excess that will only make you store fat.   For example, if you celebrate Christmas, which is the most important meal:  Christmas Eve dinner, or brunch on Christmas day?  In my family, we have Aunt Evie's Coffee Cake or "French Puffs" as a tradition on Christmas morning.  Now, I live a sugar free lifestyle, so my solution is to make a sugar and grain free version of these goodies, but that takes planning!

I am urging you to look ahead and create a plan for when and how much you will celebrate with food and drink.  (Speaking of drink, will you do your body this favor?  Please drink plenty of water.  Put a piece of paper on your refrigerator, and make a check on it for each glass of water you drink.  If you get six or more checks for five days in a row, give yourself a small prize like a new color of nail polish, or a new sports bra. Ok, good sports bras are expensive but they are my favorite gift to myself.  What's yours?)

Finally, and pardon the cliché, but the coming season is ideally about faith and family, music and beauty, friendship and generosity. Celebrate the coming opportunities to dress in your best, create an inviting home, give in your community, and re-connect with your friends and family.

So to re-cap:  Schedule your training, choose and plan your indulgences, drink water, and focus on non-food beauty and joy.

I wish you your most beautiful holiday ever.

Friday, November 8, 2013

The Next Step in Permanent Weight Loss

Last week I wrote about how you can begin to find your ideal weight with one simple measurement.

That measurement is "Waist Circumference," and if you're a woman it should be below 31.5 inches for optimal health.  Guys: your goal is to get it below 37 inches.

Yesterday, I found a fitness calculator that shocked me.

It determines your fitness age with a formula that takes into accLast week I wrote about how you can begin to find your ideal weight with one simple measurement.

That measurement is "Waist Circumference," and if you're a woman it should be below 31.5 inches for optimal health.  Guys: your goal is to get it below 37 inches.

Yesterday, I found a fitness calculator that shocked me.

It determines your fitness age with a formula that takes into account the time and intensity of your exercise habits, your resting heart rate, and, yes you guessed it, your waist circumference! 

Click the link above to take the test.

I was completely shocked when my result came back at under 20 years old, but the combination of Turbulence Training and The Sugar Freedom Diet has made my waist six inches smaller than when I started my fat loss journey in 2008, and they have made my resting heart rate surprisingly low.

I want the same results for you, and this is why:

A smaller waist means improved insulin sensitivity, and a slower resting heart rate indicates improved blood flow and less stress.  These two benefits are like two streams from the fountain of youth, and they give us the energy and well-being to go out and do what we love to do.

What would you do if you had boundless energy, and you felt like you looked fantastic?

Would you travel more?  Go dancing?  Open your own business?  Volunteer at your child's school?

Remember last week's blog where I wrote about "Media Weight?"  Well guess what, Media Weight has absolutely nothing to do with your health.  The astonishing thinness of the images that sell products, are created in order to raise the bar on your desires and expectations of yourself.

The "Mad Men" in advertising know that if they can put the standard of beauty out of reach, they can keep selling  you the products and services that they claim will finally help you measure up to their ridiculous standards.

I am writing to encourage you to take happiness back from the media and the "Madvertisers" by determining your fat loss goals in terms of action instead of appearance.

Let me explain.  If contemporary standards of appearance are absurd, and they have nothing to do with heath or natural beauty, why not blow them off and concentrate on how you feel and what you do instead?

So the next step in permanent fat loss isn't picking a number on the scale, no not at all!

The next step is to determine what your ideal body will allow you to do.

The body of your dreams is simply the body that has the health and energy to let you pursue what makes you happy, and guess what?

This very state of happiness with what you do will go a long way toward eliminating your desire to overeat.

So right here and now I'm asking you to write down three things you love to do, or would love to do, that would be enhanced by fat loss and fitness.

By combining a simple waist measurement with three things you love to do, you will have established a brilliant fat loss goal that will be like a powerful magnet that draws positive people, actions, and opportunities right to you.

I have seen it time and again in my students that when their goals become about health, happiness, and action the fat loss frustration falls away, and their lives take off.

Here are some specific examples from my students at Gordon Studio:

Traveling to Thailand, water skiing again, kayaking, hiking, ballroom dancing, becoming a licensed Zumba instructor, getting promoted, getting pregnant :), becoming a 4H leader, protecting and informing the community during the Rim Fire, getting that first paying job as a photographer, getting the lead in another play, and on an on!

Please note that none of these achievements are the direct result of weight loss.  They are the direct result of more confidence, and more energy.

I want you to have the confidence and energy that is yours when you eliminate the aches, pains, and frustrations of poor training, and when you leave behind the obsessions and cravings of poor food.

Let's beat the media at their own game by being happy in spite of what they show us and try to sell us.

P.S. Did you write down the three things you would love to do? 

Sunday, November 3, 2013

To Lose Weight: Answer This Question First.

Do I need to lose weight?  Pardon me for stating the obvious, but  your fat loss journey begins with this question.

You see, there are two weights which dominate our thinking in our contemporary culture.

#1. Healthy Weight
#2. Media Weight

Media weight you ask?  What in the world is that?

Media weight is the is the size and shape that dominates in advertising, on television, in print, and on the web.  Media weight is different from the current fashion in  the look of actors, musicians, and other celebrities.  In most cases, the people we pay money to see when they act, do comedy, dance or offer some other kind of performance have some kind of talent or skill that goes beyond appearance.

Media Weight represents the look that advertisers are after when they want to sell products.  

Notwithstanding Dove's "Real Beauty" campaign, the female form preferred by the media to sell products has become more and more slender since the 1950's.

When I worked as a commercial casting assistant back in the '90s there was a sense that it was always safer to send a tall slender actor for consideration by the client.  If an actor wasn't model slim, she needed to be incredibly talented for the casting director to take a chance on her.  Bottom line, when it came to casting, skinny was safe.

To this day, I'm still not sure why this was the case.  Did big companies like Proctor and Gamble do market research that showed that we like to buy things from skinny people?  Is it that slenderness is something that women started to aspire to in the last century: especially after 1970? Is my theory correct that discontent drives consumption, so advertisers promote a physical standard that is impossible for 95% of the population to achieve: Thereby leading them to buy more stuff to make up for their perceived inadequacies?

And what does all of this have to do with you, Dear Reader?  Well, in my work as a personal trainer it becomes clearer and clear to me that what advertisers present to us as desirable has nothing to do with health.

Now we come to the most important point in this article: What is a healthy weight?  An even more important question is this one: What is a healthy weight for you?

Don't worry, I promise to answer this question by the end of this post.  In the face of advertising and confusing mixed messages on whether BMI or Body Mass Index is a good measure of health, I do have  a very simple way of gauging a healthy weight for my students, and for you.

Simply measure your waist.

Here is a quote from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition:

 In fact, recent findings indicate that WC is a stronger marker of health risk than is BMI.
(WC stands for waist circumference.)

So what is a healthy waist circumference?  See the article below from the Heart Foundation website.

Your waist measurement compares closely with your body mass index (BMI), and is often seen as a better way of checking your risk of developing a chronic disease.
Measuring your waist circumference is a simple check to tell how much body fat you have and where it is placed around your body.  Where your fat is located can be an important sign of your risk of developing an ongoing health problem.
Regardless of your height or build, for most adults a waist measurement of greater than 94cm for men and 80cm for women is an indicator of the level of internal fat deposits which coat the heart, kidneys, liver and pancreas, and increase the risk of chronic disease.
How to measure your waist
1. Find the top of your hip bone and the bottom of your ribs.
2. Breathe out normally.
3. Place the tape measure midway between these points and wrap it around your waist.
4. Check your measurement.
Are these waist measurements suitable for everyone?
Waist measurements should only be used for adults to check their risk of developing a chronic disease. The waist measurements above are recommended for Caucasian men, and Caucasian and Asian women. Recommended waist measurements are yet to be determined for all ethnic groups. It is believed that they may be lower for Asian men.

So this is where we begin.  If your waist measurement if over 31.5 inches for a woman and 37 inches for a man, it's time to take action.

The solution to my own struggle with fat was to learn Turbulence Training and follow the Sugar Freedom diet.  By addressing my overeating, and finding a way to train safely and effectively, I finally got to a healthy BMI, a waist circumference I feel great about, and I opened the door to finally figuring out what I wanted to do with my professional life.

I want to encourage you to start in the same place.  What is your waist measurement?  If it's higher than healthy, take action to get it lower.  Then, it will be time to consider your appearance as a motivator for change.

In my next post we will look at setting the goal for your ideal authentic body.  Reaching a  healthy waist circumference is the first stage of your transformation journey.  A healthy WC is what you need.  Next we will address what you desire.