Wednesday, July 13, 2016

How to get off of sugar.

Get off of sugar with the Three Day Sugar Strike.

This Friday, I have a photo shoot for a weekly women's magazine.

I promise to share more details as the publishing date gets closer.

When I was quoted in Women's World last year, I was happy to have one of my grain free recipes printed, but they didn't use my picture.

This time, my wardrobe has been chosen, and I do have a shoot date, but I don't don't want to raise expectations too much just in case my photo doesn't make the issue.

Still, this seems like avery good time to share my best tips and strategies to get ready for a special event, fast.

So here it is: The Three Day Sugar Strike: (Following the disclaimer.)

Legal Disclaimer
The information presented in this work is by no way intended as medical advice or as a substitute for medical counseling. The information should be used in conjunction with the guidance and care of your physician. Consult your physician before beginning this program as you would with any exercise and nutrition program. If you choose not to obtain the consent of your physician and/or work with your physician throughout the duration of your time using the recommendations in the program, you are agreeing to accept full responsibility for your actions.

By continuing with the program you recognize that despite all precautions on the part of  Catherine Gordon, there are risks of injury or illness which can occur because of your use of the afore mentioned information and you expressly assume such risks and waive, relinquish and release any claim which you may have against Catherine Gordon, or affiliates as a result of any future physical injury or illness incurred in connection with, or as a result of, the use or misuse of the program.

The Three Day Sugar Strike

Days I, 2, and 3:

Eliminate all sugar, grains, fruits,  and starchy root vegetables.  In addition, eliminate vegetable oils like canola and soybean oil.

(A note on fruit:  Yes, fruit is incredibly healthy as it is full of fiber and nutrients.  It does, however, contain fructose, and I have found from self-experimentation and experience that leaving it out on the Sugar Strike is extremely helpful for eliminating sugar cravings.  Up to two servings of fruit a day will be back on the Sugar Freedom Diet if the fruit doesn’t trigger cravings or over-eating.)

Eat vegetables, especially green leafy vegetables that grow above the ground.

Eat  high quality sources of fat like pastured grass fed butter, organic coconut oil, and organic olive oil.

Eat high quality sources of protein like pastured eggs, grass fed beef, free range pork, organic free range chicken and wild caught fish.

Eat full-fat organic dairy foods, raw if available and you’re comfortable with consuming raw dairy.  On the Sugar Strike the best dairy items are heavy cream, up to two ounces a day, Full Fat Organic and Greek Yogurt: up to one cup a day, and full fat organic cheese, up to three ounces a day for men, two ounces for women.

A note on eggs and dairy:  Some individuals may be sensitive to these items and as a result, may not get the same drop in appetite as those who tolerate them well. 

If you have a history of being triggered by dairy: for example you find that you regularly overeat when it comes to cheese, keep an eye on how it affects your appetite on the Sugar Strike.

Follow your instincts.  By the middle of day two your appetite should be lessening, so if you find yourself craving more and more of something on the sugar strike, first eat more vegetables to make sure you’re getting enough fiber, volume, and nutrients to satisfy your body’s hunger, and then eliminate the trigger food if necessary.

Here’s the key point:

If a standard serving of a food not only doesn’t satisfy you, it makes you hungrier than when you started eating, it is a trigger food, and you need to leave it off your menu until you reach your goal.

Once you have reached your fat loss goal and maintained it for four weeks, you may want to re-introduce foods that previously over-stimulated your appetite.  But for the time period covering the Three Day Sugar Strike, and the Sugar Freedom Diet, it is the elimination of appetite-stimulating foods that gives you the power to stick to your fat releasing food strategy.

Remember the very simple premise of Sugar Freedom, in the form of this question and answer:

Q.  How do I get off of sugar?

A.   Eat something else.

For the three days of the Sugar Strike, “Something Else” is non starchy-vegetables, high quality proteins in the form of meat, fish, fowl, and eggs, and healthy fats.

To put it simply, you are trading variety for satiety.

A Sample Day on the Sugar Strike:


Coffee with 1t heavy cream, and a few drops of liquid stevia if you need sweetener.
2 egg omelet made with 1/2 oz cheese, cooked in 1t Kerrygold butter
2 cups mixed vegetables cooked in 1T organic coconut oil.
Make extra servings of vegetables to have with lunch.


3 to 4 ounces high quality protein like 2 organic chicken thighs.
Large green salad: 2C salad greens mixed with 1C chopped cucumber, tomato, and celery.
Home made salad dressing: 1T organic olive oil with 1 to 2 tablespoons Braggs Apple Cider Vinegar, and 2 drops liquid stevia to take the sour edge off of the dressing if desired.


3 to 4 ounces high quality protein, example:  Grass Fed Beef Rib Eye, one or two servings of a cooked vegetable, for example: Cauliflower Au Gratin, 2 cups leafy greens with 1 cup salad vegetables with home made dressing.

I don’t find it necessary to snack between meals on the Sugar Freedom Diet, but that is a personal choice based on the fact that I feel and perform better when I eat three meals a day sitting at a table.

However, on the Three Day Sugar Strike, the goal is to get off of sugar, grains, and processed fats without hunger. 

In order for the Sugar Strike to work you must not go hungry, and the way to do that is to eat enough vegetables, protein, and fat to stay satisfied.  If you count the servings of vegetables in the sample sugar strike menu, you’ll see that it’s total of seven or more!

If you want the entire Sugar Freedom Program ===>Click Here<===

This is exactly what I do when I absolutely, positively, have to look my best fast.  I has also helped my readers and clients lose thousands of pounds and inches.

In my next post, I will be revealing my best tips for dealing with low carb flu.  Hint: get more sodium!

To get more meal plans, recipes, and fat loss strategies, fill out the contact form on this page.

Keep calm and Keto on.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

How to get up from the table when you'd like to keep eating.

As a compulsive eater in recovery, it is a challenge for me to finish eating and leave the dining table.
There are a number of reasons for this.
  1. I get a powerful sense of relief from eating.  The act of sitting down and eating a meal gives me a period of freedom from anxiety.  Dr. Vera Tarman, the author of "Food Junkies: The Truth About Food Addiction," has said that those of us who are compulsive eaters may have a more profound response to the pleasure of eating than normal people do.  I agree, because once I start eating I don't want to leave the experience of peace and pleasure behind.
  2. It takes me an unusually long time to experience fullness.  Common wisdom says that most people feel feel 20 minutes after beginning to eat.  I have literally timed how long it takes me to reach satiety, and the average amount of time it takes is 45 minutes: more than twice as long as one would expect.
  3. I feel the pull of the leftovers.  I have been writing about food for more that four years now, and I have found that the only way I can have enough real non-trigger foods on hand, and still have time for a life, is to cook enough food for the whole day at breakfast time.  This really works, so I'm going to keep on doing it, and recommending it to my coaching clients.  This means that there will always be tasty vegetables left over to tempt me with the idea that, "A little more asparagus couldn't hurt, could it?"
With such strong urges to stay at the table and keep eating, how do I get up and go, and how can you do the same?  First, I avoid trigger foods.  Without sugar or any grains on the menu, I don't have to contend with the foods I have never been able to say no to.  Second, I make sure I put enough satisfying foods on my plate.  I choose and track my meals every morning at, so I know what I'm going to eat and how much, and I make sure I have everything I need before I sit down.  Third, I know what I am going to do immediately after I finish eating.
Today,  I got up to arrange the left over asparagus on a plate, and I took the picture you see above.  When I'm done with this blog post, I'm going to put this picture, and the simple recipe to make it, up on Pinterest.
Here are the directions:
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F.
Rinse and trim the ends off of one bunch of asparagus.
Put one tablespoon of Meyer Lemon (or plain, or any flavor you choose) in the bottom of a roasting pan.
Add asparagus, and roll it around in the pan to coat it with olive oil.
Season with sea salt and pepper to taste.
Roast for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring halfway through cooking time.
Having something specific to do right after eating will get you up and out of "food range."  This will give your body time to experience fullness.
On a different level, establishing positive behaviors around food should be connected to your greater life purpose.  It really is that important, not just for compulsive eaters like me, but for anyone whose health, mobility, productivity, and happiness could be enhanced by a positive eating strategy.
Please leave a comment if you have any questions about finding freedom when it comes to food.
Catherine's sugar elimination program can be found at:

Thursday, July 7, 2016

What Do I Eat To Lose Weight After 40? (And keep it off)

Here's a sample of one of my training sessions.  Check out the week of meal plans below.
Back when I was stuck at 5'1" and 155 pounds, I searched everywhere for a diet that would help me lose the 40 pounds that were standing between me and the way I wanted to look and feel.

That would have put me at a sensible BMI (Body Mass Index) of 21: right smack in the middle of the "Healthy" range.

I was doing what most of the expert dietitians and personal trainers were telling me to do.

"Eat less and move more."

"Cut fat and add cardio."

"Eat plenty of fruit and healthy whole grains."

Here is what was really strange though: everyone around me was doing exactly that, but nobody was getting any leaner.

Even the women I know who were losing weight using "drops" and extremely low calorie diets didn't seen to be getting any smaller even though they weighed less.

I spent seven years cutting calories and going to the gym for at least 10 hours a week without fail, and nothing happened.

Well, let me clarify: I just kept losing and re-gaining the same five pounds over, and over, and over.

I would be able to reduce my portions for a week or two at a time, but I was constantly starving.  At the same time the hours on the treadmill, the elliptical machine, and in step and spin class were driving my appetite to epic levels.

Every 10 days to 2 weeks I would succumb to days of overeating anything made with sugar and flour.

Finally, I realized that the only way I would ever lose the weight was to find a woman like me: over 40 and over weight, who had found a safe, sensible way to lose weight and look great.

When I found that woman I would ask her two questions:

1. What, exactly, did you eat in order to lose the weight?
2. How, exactly, did you train in order to get leaner and stronger, and look younger?

What I discovered was a low carb, higher fat diet that finally let me recover from compulsive overeating.

I also found Turbulence Training, a combination of weight lifting and high intensity interval training.

Over the next 8 years, I developed Sugar Freedom: a way of eating that allows me and my readers to get lean, and stay that way, by eliminating sugar, grains, and vegetable oils from our diets.  I also went on to refine my training style by adding elements of balance, flexibility, and grace that I had learned from years of work as a musical theatre performer and choreographer.

Lately, I have seen a number of articles and blog posts cautioning against eliminating sugar and grains.  I have read posts from personal trainers claiming that sugar addiction isn't real, and that those of us who suggest the elimination of sugar for fat loss are just trying to sell a product.

All right then.  Yes, I have an e-program for getting off of sugar.  Yes, it is a product.  But trust me, it would be so much easier to sell if I told people, "Go ahead! Sugar and grain in moderation won't hurt you."  Perhaps if you haven't been a compulsive overeater since childhood, like me, you can eat starches and sweets an part of your way of eating.

I can't.  Not if I want to be healthy, slender, and free of my compulsion.

Back when I was struggling with overweight and obesity, all I wanted was to find a woman like me who had overcome them, and ask her what she ate.

Now, I AM that woman, and here is a week of what I eat to stay lean, strong, and full of energy.

2 Eggs
3 Strips Uncured Bacon
1 Cup Broccoli
2T Salsa
1/4 Avocado
4 oz Chicken Breast
2 Cups Romaine lettuce 
1 Cup Tomatoes
1T Olive  Oil
1T Vinegar
1 Cup Roasted Cauliflower
Repeat lunch
or choose any one of the 
Lunches in this menu
2 Egg omelet 
With Spinach and 
2T Salsa
1/4 Avocado
4oz  Beef
2 Cups Baby Greens
1 Cup Sliced Cucumber
1T Olive  Oil
1T Vinegar
1 Cup Shredded Red
Cabbage and Carrots
Repeat lunch
or choose any one of the 
Lunches in this menu
3 Devilled Eggs
Roasted Asparagus
2T Salsa
1/4 Avocado
4 oz. Canned Tuna w/
Home Made Mayo, 
Celery, and onion
Green Salad
1T Vinegar
1T Olive Oil
1 Cup Roasted Brussels
Repeat lunch
or choose any one of the 
Lunches in this menu
2 Eggs
3 Strips Uncured Bacon
1 Cup Broccoli
2T Salsa
1/4 Avocado
1 Pork Chop
2 Cups Baby Greens
1 Cup Sliced Cucumber
1T Olive  Oil
1T Vinegar
Repeat lunch
or choose any one of the 
Lunches in this menu
3 Egg Omelet
With Onion and Bell Pepper
2 Strips Uncured Bacon
2T Salsa
1/4 Avocado
2 Chicken Thighs
Cooked in Butter w/garlic
1 Cup Suateed Shredded
Carrot and Red Cabbage
1T Raspberry Vinegar
1T Olive Oil
Repeat lunch
or choose any one of the 
Lunches in this menu

1/2 Cup Greek Yogurt
Zucchini, Cabbage, Carrot
4 oz. Turkey
2 Cups Romaine 
1 Cup Tomato&Cucumber
Saute'ed Spinach&Mushrooms
Olive Oil&Vinegar
1/2 Avocado
Repeat lunch

Smoked Salmon
with Cream Cheese
Roasted Cauliflower Slices
1/4 Avocado
2T Salsa
4 Oz. Grass Fed Beef
2 Cups Romaine lettuce 
1 Cup Tomatoes
1T Olive  Oil
1T Vinegar
Repeat lunch

I suppose that some people would find this eating style a bit dull.  I find it tasty and satisfying.  Best of all, this simple way of eating allows me to have an abundant, exciting life.

If you have questions about the sugar free lifestyle, or about training for fat loss and body re-composition e-mail me at:

Saturday, May 14, 2016

When Surrender Leads to Triumph

Letting go of sugar was one of the best decisions I ever made.  Cutting out grain was the next step I had to take in order to overcome my compulsive overeating, and the end of the hunger, bloating, and joint aches it was causing came as quite a shock.

I wish giving up sugar and grains had been enough, but there was one more truth I had to accept.  In order to keep all of the benefits of healthy eating, I would have to let go of wine as well.

Ah wine, my old friend.  When I think of lovely days gone by, how often wine is there.  I remember sunny lunches with Mom.  Relaxing hours on the back porch resting in the knowledge that the work of the day was done, and the taste of chardonnay was like liquid sunshine warming my spirit, and letting me feel that everything was going to be all right.

Are you one of those people that has a haunting feeling fluttering in the back of your mind that disaster might strike?

Does an insidious voice whisper to you that you have left things undone.? Does it call you selfish, possibly lazy, and does it insist that one day everyone is going to find out and abandon you?

Does wine make the voice shut up and get lost?

It does for me.  Through one glass and the second the voice is quiet.  Then a new voice pipes up.

This new voice tells me to eat.

You see, as I approached age 50 I became more and more sensitive to alcohol.  Now when I drink, my stomach gets upset, and my heart starts to beat faster.  Even after just a glass or two, I wake up with headaches and a tight throat in the morning.

How many half bottles of wine have I poured down the drain to insure that the pain doesn't come back?  I just poured out another one.

As a personal trainer and weight management coach, I am regularly asked,

"Is wine OK?"

For many women and men it is.  If it fits in with your macronutrient goals (protein, fat, and carbohydrate) you can include it in your eating strategy and still lose fat.   The liver is a vital organ in fat loss, and I has to process alcohol first, so that fact can slow fat loss down.  Still, for many people a glass of wine is life enhancing if it doesn't lead to over indulging.

For me though, a little always leads to too much: whether it's too much wine or too much food.

To triumph and stay lean, young, and energetic, I have to surrender sugar, grains, and wine.  Day by day I need to remind myself that a clear head and a clear conscience feel far better then the brief freedom from self-criticism I get from the fist sip, or two.

With every year that passes I can look back on more evidence that my days without wine are so much richer, more fulfilling, and joyful.  I think of days when I surrender and leave out the foods and the drink that hurts me as pearls that I string together to create something of beauty and value.

Today is pearl one.  Today I pray for a beautiful life.

One pearl at a time.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

This Is How I Stopped Overeating

"So Cathy, how would you like to count calories?'

My decades long struggle with overeating began with that question.

I had been a generally happy and carefree child until my father died suddenly when I was six years old.  On that day, I became truly and deeply frightened, and the people around me became frightened for me.  I was terrified that my mother was going to disappear.  I went to school and tried to act like a normal kid, but I was numb with fear.

It wasn't long before I found that eating helped keep the fear of being abandoned in a manageable corner of my mind.  The foods that blocked out feelings best were bread and sweets, so I ate them whenever I could.  After two years of overeating at meals, snacks, and in secret, I had rolls of fat on my body that were becoming embarrassing: especially to my family.  Something had to be done.

My Mom took me to the doctor and his solution was a low-fat, calorie restricted diet.  The out of control fear and compulsion that drove me to overeat bread and sweets was still there, but now I also had the guilt of not being able to control it.

The very worst part was the fact that the foods that satisfied me, like eggs, bacon, chicken, and vegetables cooked in fat, were restricted.

Small amounts of foods that left me feeling famished, like rice crispies and skim milk, toast and orange juice, grapes, bananas, and sandwiches with a little bit of turkey and mustard, made up my daily diet.

The worst part was trying to eat the occasional treat without going overboard. Eating one cookie, a small slice of cake, or a cup of ice cream, was a nightmare, because those foods simply made me ravenous for more.

The only thing worse than having to eat in secret to stop the horrible feeling of starving, was being caught and shamed by my family members.  To this day I have to carefully practice forgiveness in order to let go of the shocking feelings of hatred that go with these memories.

So many times, the people who humiliated me were naturally slender.  I struggle every day with my anger against people who judge those of us who are, or who have been overweight, even though they have never felt the pain of the compulsive drive to overeat.

I am a member of the National Weight Control Registry, which is a research database of individuals who have lost more than 30 pounds and kept it off for more than a year.  I was contacted by ABC News in 2014, and they used a few of my before and after photos in their story: Secrets of the Super Dieters.

That was an encouraging moment because the story cites two things that have helped me keep the fat off:

1. Don't Cheat
2. Eat Breakfast.

Unfortunately, some of the most influential people in the fitness industry insist that cheat meals are essential for getting lean, and that how much you eat is the only thing that matters: not when.

I have become convinced that the biggest mistake overweight overeaters are making is this: they are trying to lose weight by copying the eating habits of naturally slender people.

I have overcome obesity, and I have personally coached dozens of individuals who have overcome it too.  From my direct experience I know this:  Trying to eat a little bit of everything, also known as moderation, made me obese.

So how did I stop overeating?

1. I eliminated my compulsive trigger foods.  If I can't eat a standard serving of any food and be satisfied, I don't eat it.  Ever.

2. I committed to planning my meals every morning.  I decide what I'm going to eat, and then I eat it. My overeating is so serious, that I must take eating seriously.

3. Success starts with breakfast.  With eight years of weight maintenance under my belt I know this: when I eat a nourishing and satisfying breakfast, I have set myself up for success for the entire day.

There you have it.  Those are the 3 steps I take every morning to prevent overeating.

Because of these steps, my life is the richest and fullest it has ever been.  My work as a personal trainer, nutrition specialist, and food writer is an expression of the message I carry so passionately: Find the foods that nourish and satisfy you, and don't let anyone make you feel guilty about it: especially someone who has never experienced the pain of compulsive over-eating.

If you are interested in the program my clients, readers, and I have used to achieve permanent fat loss, you can find it here: