Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Five Keys To Maintaining a Big Weight Loss: #4 Friends.

With these two friends, I get a long walk every day.

 Key #4 to Maintain a Big Weight Loss: Friends

Like the song says, "You've got to have friends," especially when it comes to keeping weight off for good.

When I was studying for my personal training certifications, "Social Support," was the the term I was taught for the power of friends, coaches, and allies to enhance long term success at weight loss, or any other area of personal development.

This is a good time to share one of the most important secrets of maintaining weight loss, or preserving any ongoing achievement: 

In order to keep what you've got, you need to keep doing what you did to get it.

For example, in order to create financial freedom, you need to live within your earnings and grow your financial surplus.  Even as you generate more income and build financial resources you still have to stay within your budget, even if that budget is bigger.

In order to maintain a big weight loss we stay true to what we did to create it.  

The same challenges we face as we pursue our goals remain once we've achieved them.

I have been reading Mel Robbin's book, "The High 5 Habit," and she writes about three things that interfere with reaching a goal:

1. Your Goal Is Too Big

2. You Don't Have A Plan.

3. You Try To Achieve It Alone.

When I was going through my fat loss transformation in 2008, I entered a transformation contest that included social support through the TT Members website.  Many of us were new to weightlifting and interval training, so we would share tips for getting over soreness, sticking to our training schedules, and managing temptations to cheat on our nutrition plans.

The most important thing I discovered about social support was that helping other people stick to their goals was a powerful predictor that I would stick to mine.

We receive what we want for others, and it is definitely true that when you want to get something, you improve your odds of success by helping someone else get it too.

You can get support at a distance with Facebook groups, and you can get in person support by striking up friendships at the gym, working with a personal trainer, or taking fitness classes. Most of us already know someone who would like to get fitter, stronger, and happier.  The next time one of your friends says,

"I need to get some exercise," it's time to team up.

Our local hospital and community college both offer low cost fitness opportunities to the public, and there is a wealth of free content on YouTube that can get you started.

Here is a link to a video demonstrating the program I'm using right now to maintain muscle while I also pursue improvement in my dancing: 


I am so grateful to the people in my life who are committed to good nutrition and effective fitness training. I am delighted by my friends in their 70s and 80s who are enjoying retirement to the fullest because of the physical freedom they get from cooking, training, and having fun.

By the way, Fun is Key#5 to maintaining a big weight loss, and I look forward to sharing ways to bring more fun into your lifestyle in my next post.

Until then, Eat For Yourself, and Practice What You Love.


You can access a free copy of the original  Sugar Freedom program by clicking below.


Thursday, August 19, 2021

The Sugar Freedom Show | Weight Loss

Sugar Free Meal Planning 08/19 by The Sugar Freedom Show | Weight Loss: Learn a simple way to design your own sugar free meal plans. Whether you just want to eliminate added sugars, go low carb, or Keto Catherine demonstrates how to put together simple satisfying sugar free menus. See all of the free resources mentioned in the podcast here: sugarfreedom.com/blog To purchase the Sugar Freedom Diet go here: Sugar Freedom

Sugar Free Meal Planning

 Sugar Free Meal Planning

"Just tell me what to eat!"

Whenever someone says this to me, I know they are serious about changing their diet. When I say, "Diet," here I mean Way of Eating, because if they are experiencing sugar addiction, carbohydrate intolerance, and insulin resistance, long term elimination of sugars, grains, vegetable oils, and seed oils is needed for long term relief.

I wrote The Sugar Freedom Diet in order to get my sugar addiction solution out of my head and down on paper so that I could share it with anyone who is suffering from the consequences of getting hooked on sweetness.

I started using sugar and hyper-palatable carbs to soothe my fear, anxiety, boredom, frustration, and anger when I was just a child. I became overweight soon after, and I wasn't able to maintain a normal weight again until I started smoking, taking dexatrim, and drinking diet soda in my teens.

The nicotine, pseudo-ephedrine, saccharin, and aspartame had the same soothing/stimulating effect as concentrated carbohydrates, and they helped me become happy and productive. 
I am currently learning about Reward Deficiency Syndrome and how it drives affected individuals to seek out substances and behaviors that give them a feeling of well being.  RDS helps explain why I reached for legal stimulants: nicotine, caffeine, and pseudo-ephedrine, in order to function and fit in.  
Eventually, Dexatrim was taken off the market because it was found to increase the risk of stroke, and I quit smoking in order to have a healthier pregnancy.  

This when my sugar cravings went wild, and I gained 85 pounds during my pregnancy. I gained so much because I had developed impaired glucose intolerance and insulin resistance. Years after having my son, I was still obese because the method of weight loss I was given by the medical, fitness, and weight loss industries was,

"Eat Less and Move More."

Still overweight after 3 years of,"Eat Less Move More."


I was able to reach and maintain a healthy weight, shape, and body fat percentage when I learned to,

"Drop Sugar and Lift Weights," instead.

After learning to, "Drop Sugar, Lift Weights."

The meal planning system I use has evolved over the years to include new strategies for fat loss and weight maintenance.  Over the 13 years since I quit added sugar, and the 9 years since I earned my personal training and nutrition certifications, I have added eating plans that address different levels of sugar and carbohydrate intolerance.
My experience with my clients and readers led me to a new way of thinking about meal planning which I call,

"Eat For Yourself."

This means that I don't recommend any eating plan.  I share and demonstrate the eating plans that have worked for me over the past 13 years and counting.
This is why I can be honest with you about what worked, and continues to work for me when it comes to maintaining physical recovery from sugar addiction and obesity.

Here are my simple guidelines for meal planning:

"No Sugar, Grains, Vegetable Oils, or Seed Oils."

1. Protein: 1 gram per pound of ideal bodyweight

2. Carbs: Up to your personal carbohydrate tolerance. 

3. Fat: Enough to satisfy appetite. Reduce if fat/weight loss stalls. 

Poultry, Eggs, Fish, Tofu.
Vegetables that grow above the ground.

Low sugar Fruits: Berries, Melons, Apples, Oranges, Grapefruit if well tolerated.

Fat: Butter, Olive Oil, Heavy Cream, Ghee, Avocado Oil.

Other Dairy: Greek Yogurt, Cottage Cheese, up to 2 oz. of cheese per day if well tolerated.

Condiments: Bragg's Apple Cider Vinegar,  Lemon Juice, vinegar, herbs and spices.
Unsweetened Cocoa Powder, Liquid Stevia, Xylitol.

How many meals per day?

Level 1: 50 grams of carbohydrate per day.  3 Meals Per Day.  2 Snacks if desired.

Level 2: 30 grams max of carbohydrate per day 3 Meals Per Day. 1 or 2 snacks if well tolerated.

Level 3: 20 Grams max of carbohydrate per day= Sugar Strike/Ketogenic. 2 or 3 meals per day. May add 16/8 fasting/eating hours if helpful.

Sample of a Daily Meal Plan. 

You can find a more detailed description along with lists of proteins, carbs, and fats here: 
You can also e-mail me with questions here: catherine@sugarfreedom.com
This blog post outlines my upcoming podcast episode which is available at Blog Talk Radio: 
Until next time, Be happy, healthy, and eat for yourself.

Catherine Best Gordon
Author of Sugar Freedom

Wednesday, August 11, 2021

Weight Loss Myth #2

 Weight Loss Myth #2 Is: Move More

In my last blog post, I cited the Einstein Rule: "Solutions must always be as simple as possible, but not simpler."

Here are the top three weight loss myths:

1. Eat Less.

2. Move More.

3. No Pain No Gain.

They violate the Einstein rule because they over-simplify the process of weight loss.

In this post I'll address the recommendation to, "Move more."

What gets measured gets managed, and once it was discovered that the calorie, which is simply how much heat it takes to raise the temperature of water one degree Farenheit, could be correlated with the quantity of the energy we consume and expend, the calorie became the king of measurements for weight loss.

The Calories in Calories out method of reducing weight relies on this simple measurement of energy: eat less, move more, lose weight.

Simple right? Too simple.

The risk of eating less is that it can stimulate appetite, and lead to overeating.

The risk of moving more is that it can cause excessive fatigue, discomfort, and reluctance to move at all.

In other words, C.I.C.O. can backfire.

So what do we do instead?

Last week I shared the remedy for myth #1, "Don't eat less. Eat Better."

The remedy for myth #2 is, "Don't move more. Move Better."

I have taught literally thousands of fitness sessions, and the physical improvement that result from focusing on the quality of you movement, resting when that quality drops, and then continuing when you can proceed with excellent form, works wonders.

I learned to rest from Gilda Marx.


The best compliment I ever got for my training method was when a client shared that she had never followed an exercise program for a year without getting injured before. 

The simple, (but not too simple) concept of putting form before duration can be applied to any kind of exercise you want to perform.

Here is a link to a study that covers the kind of training I'm doing right now:


 The nine exercises I am using are:

1. Push up

2. Suitcase Squat

3. Dumb-bell Rows

4. Romanian Deadlift

5. Overhead Press

6. T-Bend

7. Bicep Curl

8. Calf Raises while holding Dumb-bells

9. Tricep Extensions. 

I do a bodyweight warmup first, then the resistance training, followed by my dance step practice, and flexibilty routine.

Over the past six weeks, I have lost 5 pounds, reduced my body-fat percentage, and best of all, doubled the amount of full body pushups I can do with excellent form from 3 to 6.

Not bad for a 57 year old woman, and I look forwad to building more strength, balance, and flexibility over the next six weeks.

The most important tip I want you to take away from this post is the idea that you will get excellent results by putting quality first when it comes to moving for fitness and weight loss. 

Until next time, be well, train wisely, and eat for yourself. 


E-mail me with questions or ideas for future blog posts: catherine@cardiofreedom.com




Monday, August 2, 2021

The Top Three Myths About Weight Loss

 The Top Three Myths About Weight Loss Are:

1. Eat Less

2. Move More

3. No Pain No Gain

These three myths have caused enormous suffering to the countless individuals who have struggled to lose weight after cheap food became abundant and skinny bodies became fashionable in many parts of the world during the last century.

The three big myths all have something in common. They violate the Einstein Rule which is:

"Solutions must always be as simple as possible, but not simpler."

All three myths over-simplify weight loss to a devastating degree, especially for people who respond to popular diet and exercise programs by experiencing hunger, fatigue, and injury.

My experience with long term recovery from obesity, and as a personal trainer, certified nutrition specialist, and body transformation coach has taught me that people who have the physiological tendency to store fat in response to the Standard American Diet simply cannot get leaner with  Standard American Weight Loss Advice.

Let's take a closer look at myth number one.

"Eat Less." The two biggest promoters of fat building are hunger and cravings for fast foods.  Naturally slender people in a state of good physical health have very little trouble choosing nourishing foods. They eat to satiety and get on with life. 

People who tend to store food as fat, whether this is a result of genetics, life events, economics, or  environment increase appetite to the point of uncontrollable cravings when they try to eat less by counting calories.  What gets measured gets managed, and counting calories with apps and food labels makes it easy, so it's no surprise that people try this first. 

The trouble is that the foods with fewer calories rarely deliver the amount of nourishment and satisfaction required to turn off the drive to eat.  This leads to the anxiety and frustration that can only be relieved by a fast hit of hyper-palatable foods. Once you get on this hunger, craving, overeating roller coaster it takes a highly nutritious eating plan to get you back on solid ground again.

This plan is simple: adequate protein, carbohydrates, and fat for energy and satiety. (But not too much of either one.) The trouble is that these foods aren't the ones that are advertised, marketed, and offered to you at every turn. They are the foods you find at the farmer's market, the butcher, and in the dairy case.  These are not the foods you find at work, in line at the the places you shop, or at the drive thru window. 

Fat burning, weight releasing, inflammation healing foods generally require you to plan, shop, and prepare. I wrote Sugar Freedom in 2013 to demonstrate exactly how I planned meals, shopped, and prepared food in order to overcome obesity and help my clients and readers literally lose thousands of pounds and inches. 

 I believe that you will discover your best diet when you take the time to ask, "What foods nourish and satisfy me?  What foods make me feel good, not just while I'm eating them, but after I'm done?"  The antidote for mythical diet advice is to address the quality of your food and how you react to it before you try to change the quantity of what you eat. 

Once your nutritional needs are met, you will have the freedom to adjust how much and how often you eat, because you have replaced the foods that were over stimulating your appetite.

The most important take away is this: trying to eat less of foods that have been specifically developed to cause cravings and drive consumption will only cause more cravings, hunger, and frustration.

The old advice of eating like your grandparents, shopping the outside aisles off the grocery store, and reserving treats for special occasions is actually a lot more helpful than, "Eat less."

In my next blog post, I will address myth number two, and share my experience with what works better.

Then I'll move on to myth number three. All of these myths apply to the goal of finding the individual process that leads you to good health.

Until then be well, and eat for yourself.

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Reward Deficiency Syndrome

 Just a few days ago, I sang at a Mass celebrating the Feast of Saint Joachim and Saint Anne, the parents of Mary, and the grandparents of Jesus.

Bishop Myron Cotta gave the homily, and in it he shared a memory of his grandmother joyfully singing as she did dishes at the kitchen sink. 

After the service, there was a brunch held for the Bishop at the parish hall, and I listened to a conversation at my table about the rise in the number of homeless people living in downtown San Francisco, and how this was changing the experience of visiting the city.

What made Bishop Cotta's grandmother so happy that doing dishes was a delight, and what is keeping the homeless people of San Francisco away from the ability to manage the necessities of daily life?

The Bishop saw the Holy Spirit in his grandmother's delight. Reward Deficiency Syndrome can explain the path to substance abuse that helps deliver homeless people to life on the street.

I have been working on this post for a few days now, and yesterday I was shocked to tune in to NPR and hear a Psychiatrist talking about Reward Deficiency Syndrome.  Here is my Amazon Associates link to the book: ADHD 2.0: ADHD 2.0 By Edward Hallowell M.D.

Maybe I should really be surprised that it has taken so long for anyone to write a book for the general public that describes the brain of the vulnerable individual in terms of RDS.

The article that opened my eyes was written by Kenneth Blum, John C. Gull, Eric R. Braverman, and David E. Cummings, and it was published in the March/April issue of American Scientist in 1996.

I am a carbohydrate addict. When I cut sugar and grains out of my way of eating in 2008, I was able to overcome the binging, drinking, and smoking that had been my coping mechanisms for decades. If I had known about RDS back in '96, I believe it would have been easier to achieve and maintain abstinence from my substances of addiction because I would have had a better understanding of why I kept reaching for them in spite of my desperate desire to live like a healthy person.

If you can't stop addictive behaviors like overeating, smoking, drinking, using drugs, gambling, or compulsively accessing social media, you may have the unique biological marker for RDS which is,

"A variant form of the gene for the dopamine D2 receptor, called the A1 allele." That is a quote from the article I mentioned above.

 If there is one thing I want you to take away from this blog post, it is enough curiosity to learn more about RDS.  Here is link to a free article that explains the syndrome: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7236426/

Now I would like to share the difference between coping with RDS by binging, smoking, and drinking, and addressing it with abstinence and the pursuit of healthy pleasures and happiness.

Think of Bishop Cotta's grandmother singing over a sink full of dishes. Singing, dancing, and acting give me enough joy to overcome the deficiency in my dopamine D2 receptor. On top of that, the prospect of spending time with my husband, my son, my friends, and co-workers can motivate me to take the positive actions that come naturally to people who enjoy normal dopamine response. 

Conscious awareness of the need to deliberately engage in wholesomely rewarding behaviors helps me function, and even thrive. I want you to claim the right to discover the activities that make you feel happy and whole. Playing sports for fun, participating in the arts, and enjoying hobbies can bring you the sense of fulfillment and satisfaction you need to flourish. If you need to go beyond the everyday pleasures of a report turned in or a well made bed, accept this reality and find ways to incorporate the things you need to do by rewarding their completion with the things you love to do.

When it comes to living with RDS, love really is the answer.