Summer Transformation Challenge

Recently, I’ve been doing tons of cardio, and experimenting with eating more fruit.

These changes were work related, and they had a negative effect on all aspects of my life.

My appetite increased right away, and my mood started to suffer within days of these changes.

I tried pulling back on the fruit, and that helped a little, but walking and climbing stairs for 8 to 10 miles a day was doing a number on my knees, back, and fast-twitch muscles.

The worst part was that I lost the energy and desire to train.

I resigned two weeks ago, my last day was Sunday, I recovered on Monday, and today I’m starting TT for Amazing Abs.

The TT method combines resistance training and intervals for fat loss, improved mood, and vastly better physical prowess.

I have known since childhood that traditional cardio makes me weak, hungry, and miserable. In 2008, TT made me lean, super strong, and happy for the first time in decades.

My transformation process takes 12 weeks, and it starts with choosing a TT program, taking my measurements and “Before” pictures, and doing the Army Body Fat assessment. As always, I will be keeping sugar out and carbs very low when it comes to my eating plan.

Here’s to continuing to do what works for health and fitness, no matter what the trends are, and no matter what the influencers do.

How to get off of sugar. Uncategorized

Sugar Free Transformation

It Is So Worth It.

Sugar free transformation is what this blog is all about.

How much would we all weigh if we never gained back the weight we lost?

In the past, before I learned how to abstain from sugar, grains, and seed oils completely, I would diet, lose weight, go back to typical eating, and gain it all back plus more.

The discovery that giving up these foods completely is infinitely easier than trying to eat them moderately changed my life. Recently, I stopped chewing Trident sugarless gum, and my appetite management has reached a new level of peace and comfort.

I was doing research on the effect of soybean oil on the hypothalamus, when I learned that artificial sweeteners have a dis-regulating effect on that part of the brain. The hypothalamus has important roles when it comes to appetite, metabolism, and energy production, and my research made me accept the fact that my Trident habit was stimulating my appetite, and pushing me to eat more.

Positive Effect of Giving Up Sugarless Gum:

Although I experienced cravings, headaches, and fatigue from giving up the Trident, my afternoon hunger pangs were gone. Let me say that another way: no Trident, no 3PM craving for extra food. The headaches and fatigue were a small price to pay for relief from artificial hunger! Plus, after one week even those symptoms of artificial sweetener withdrawal were gone.

On top of that, I have more motivation and willingness to do work that I have been avoiding. The result? I finally made this video that combines music, VoiceOver, and photographs to tell a transformation story. I have a long way to go to improve my editing skills, but I am ready to keep getting better.

I hope that you keep improving by finding the food, exercise, and fun that make your life more fulfilling every day.

Be well, and eat for yourself.



How To Go Keto: 20 Grams of Carbs 5 Different Ways

Ketogenic diets are in the news these days, and I’m glad because the more people discover the benefits of a ketogenic nutrition strategy, the more support low carb fans will get from the medical establishment.

Speaking of which, Joy Kiddie MSC, RD reports that the ADA and European Association now Classify Low Carb Diets as Medical Nutrition Therapy. This means that low carb diets are officially recognized as a legitimate strategy for managing conditions like Diabetes Type II. This is definitely a relief for anyone who has faced criticism for choosing very low carb diet.

In my case, keeping my total carbohydrate intake at right around 20 grams per day, mainly from vegetables that grow above the ground, keeps me lean, happy, and sane. The past few weeks have been full of fun and celebrations with my husband and son, but that has meant lots of eating out, which leads to weight gain in my case. I get back on track by turning to my, “Strong Keto” meal plans which contain my favorite low carb veggies in the right amount to create satisfaction and weight release. I use to track them, and I have shared them below so that you can see my method of putting together a days worth of “Freedom Friendly” carbs. If you have Sugar Freedom you will probably notice that these menus are suitable for the 3 Day Sugar Strike. Once your appetite is well managed and fat loss has begun, you can add back more carbs, including low sugar fruits, until you find your personal level of carbohydrate tolerance. Hey, I think I just found my topic for next weeks blog post.

Until then, stay strong and Keto On. (Note: Scroll Down For Details.)

What makes a food plan Keto? Keeping carbs to 20 grams per day.

Are you an exercise compensator?

Back when I was struggling to overcome obesity back in 2008, I was doing up to 12 hours of cardio per week, and doing my best to follow a low fat/low calorie diet.

Maybe this sounds familiar to you. I would try to be “good,” for a few weeks and I might lose five pounds, only to end up bingeing on sweets and starches, and gaining it all back almost overnight. It was especially frustrating because a few of the other clients in the gym, plus the trainers always said that cardio worked for them.

I admit, I thought that they were in denial, or just saying what they were supposed to say about exercising for weight loss, but they may have been telling the truth as they saw it. Here is the abstract to a study of 35 obese, sedentary individuals who went on a cardio exercise program for 12 weeks:

Individual variability following 12 weeks of supervised exercise: identification and characterization of compensation for exercise-induced weight loss.

King NA1Hopkins MCaudwell PStubbs RJBlundell JE.

Author information



To identify and characterize the individual variability in compensation for exercise-induced changes in energy expenditure (EE).


Twelve-week exercise intervention.


Thirty-five overweight and obese sedentary men and women (body mass index, 31.8+/-4.1 kg m(-2); age, 39.6+/-11.0 years) were prescribed exercise five times per week for 12 weeks under supervised conditions.


Body weight, body composition, resting metabolic rate (RMR), total daily energy intake (EI) and subjective appetite sensations were measured at weeks 0 and 12.


When all subjects’ data were pooled, the mean reduction in body weight (3.7+/-3.6 kg) was significant (P<0.0001) and as predicted, which suggested no compensation for the increase in EE. However, further examination revealed a large individual variability in weight change (-14.7 to +1.7 kg). Subjects were identified as compensators (C) or noncompensators (NC) based on their actual weight loss (mean NC=6.3+/-3.2 kg and C=1.5+/- 2.5 kg) relative to their predicted weight loss. C and NC were characterized by their different metabolic and behavioural compensatory responses. Moderate changes in RMR occurred in C (-69.2+/-268.7 kcal day(-1)) and NC (14.2+/-242.7 kcal day(-1)). EI and average daily subjective hunger increased by 268.2+/-455.4 kcal day(-1) and 6.9+/-11.4 mm day(-1) in C, whereas EI decreased by 130+/-485 kcal day(-1) and there was no change in subjective appetite (0.4+/-9.6 mm day(-1)) in NC.


These results demonstrate that expressing the exercise-induced change in body weight as a group mean conceals the large inter-individual variability in body weight and compensatory responses. Individuals who experience a lower than predicted weight.

What a difference: from 33 pounds lost for the most responsive exerciser, to nearly 4 pounds gained for the most susceptible “Compensator.” I know from my experience, and that of many other Sugar Freedom readers that cutting sugar, grains, and excessive cardio can prevent the hunger and cravings that derail the best weight loss intentions. So what should compensators do instead? For the past 11 years a combination of resistance exercise and short rounds of interval training have kept me lean, strong, and energized. Please check out the workouts on my you tube channel, and remember to listen to your body, and honor how you respond.

Feel free to e-mail me: with any questions!


My Perfect Weight Loss Meal Plan

My Perfect Meal Plan for Weight Loss is Sugar Freedom: no sugar, no grains, no vegetable oils.

I used to wish that I could add sugar, grains, and high sugar fruits like bananas, but every time I tried re-introduction my cravings came roaring back, and away I would go with over eating.

The truth is that the way I eat now is very similar to the way I used to eat, and the way the actors, singers, and dancers around me ate, when I was working in show business.

From film sets, to commercial shoots, to the officer’s dinner on the cruise ship I worked on, most of us ate the same way.  My fellow dancers and performers chose protein, vegetables, some fat, and a bit of fruit.  Bread, pasta, and potatoes were out, and rice was only eaten occasionally.

I have been studying nutrition for almost ten years now, and I have come to a clearer understanding of why the elimination of grains and sugars is so important for working dancers.  First, wheat and other grains can cause inflammation in susceptible individuals.  You can imagine why this would be troubling for a dancer: aching joints don’t make for beautiful movement. When the body metabolizes sugar it produces advanced glycation end products or A.G.E.s., which have been shown to accelerate aging.  Worst of all for me, sugar and grains cause my insulin levels to shoot up causing fatigue and irresistible cravings.

My solution, which has allowed me to permanently overcome obesity, is to simply leave those foods out permanently that get in the way of my work.  I would rater act, sing, and dance than eat bread and sugar.

After years of trial and error, I have discovered the macro-nutrient amounts that reliably keep me lean, and that can promote fat loss when needed.  Her is a screen shot of my weight loss meal plan from  Note that as a Certified Fitness Nutrition Specialist, it is beyond my scope of practice to tell you what to eat. However, I do have the freedom to tell you what I eat, and that is shown here.  The feeling of energy, satisfaction, and peace I get from this meal plan, is worth letting go of any of the foods I used to crave.

Weight Loss Meal Plan
My Perfect Weight Loss Meal Plan.

Fat Loss Menus Uncategorized weight loss

Three Great Reasons To Get Off Of Sugar

Here are three great reasons so get off of sugar, plus a free meal plan.

There are so many reasons to leave sugar behind, and today, I’m going to share my top three.

#1.  Eliminating sugar makes you look younger.  When I finally committed to changing my health lifestyle, it wasn’t just because I was sick of being overweight.  What really drove me nuts was being asked if I was my son’s grandmother, and being offered the senior discount, regularly, at age 43.  Within six month of going sugar free, I looked so much younger, and my skin looked so much better, that I threw out all of my foundation makeup, and many of my readers report that they have been able to do the same thing, including my sister Patty, who is 5 years older than me.  How does giving up sugar make you look younger?  When the body doesn’t have to metabolize as much glucose, it doesn’t produce as many age promoting free radicals.  Also, burning sugar causes a process called glycation, which increases the visible aging of the skin.  Here is a brief description of glycation from PubMed:

Nutrition and aging skin: sugar and glycation.
Danby FW1.
The effect of sugars on aging skin is governed by the simple act of covalently cross-linking two collagen fibers, which renders both of them incapable of easy repair. Glucose and fructose link the amino acids present in the collagen and elastin that support the dermis, producing advanced glycation end products or “AGEs.” This process is accelerated in all body tissues when sugar is elevated and is further stimulated by ultraviolet light in the skin. The effect on vascular, renal, retinal, coronary, and cutaneous tissues is being defined, as are methods of reducing the glycation load through careful diet and use of supplements.
Copyright 2010. Published by Elsevier Inc.

So when you lower your sugar consumption, you can lower your visible age too.

#2.  Eliminating sugar aids weight and fat loss by reducing appetite.  I knew that getting off of sugar, and the foods that break down to glucose like grains, had a powerful effect on my appetite.  In the four years that I have spent as a Certified Personal Trainer and Transformation Coach, I have had the rewarding experience of seeing many of my clients and readers lose their cravings for sugary starchy foods.  The result?  They lost weight without experiencing the hunger and constant “food thoughts,” that are a normal feature of typical diets.  Although most formal studies on sugar have addressed the dangers of consuming too much, one major study published in the journal “Obesity,” demonstrated that  cutting sugar from children’s diets improved their health in just ten days.

#3. Reducing sugar consumption improves mood.  When my readers reduce sugar in their meals, they automatically reduce processed foods.  Why?  The vast majority of foods that come in a bag or a box contain sugar.   Eliminate sugar and get rid of foods that have been shown to increase the risk of depression.  A study published in the British Journal of Psychiatry found that, “In middle-aged participants, a processed food dietary pattern is a risk factor for CES–D depression 5 years later, whereas a whole food pattern is protective.”

The truth is that a sugar free lifestyle can make you look and feel so good that you will be too busy enjoying life to miss the junk food.  So how do you get started?  Here is a sample of the kind of menus I follow every day.  (Be sure to check with your doctor or a registered dietitian before changing your diet, especially if you have a health condition.)

Enter your e-mail in the box in the upper right hand corner to get another meal plan, recipes, and to take the sugar addiction quiz.

Want even more options for great results?  Get the Sugar Freedom System at <===Click here!

These menus help my readers lose fat and keep it off.
These menus help my readers lose fat and keep it off.







Getting The Most Out Of The Last 7 Days Of The Challenge

We are coming to the last week of our customer appreciation challenge, and I want it to be your very best.

These challenges are so powerful because they teach you how to bring your very best efforts to your heath and fitness goals.  Body transformation is a creative process, and to bring an imagined goal into reality, you need a structure for success.

Here is a sample success structure for creating your shape including:  eating, training, and recovery.

  1. Plan your meals.  Here is the eating strategy that I am currently using:

On awakening: Water, Freedom Tonic, Coffee with organic heavy cream

Breakfast: 2 eggs, 2 strips bacon, 1-2 cups non starchy vegetables cooked in pastured butter or coconut oil. 2T salsa, 1/3 avocado.  I make sure to cook enough vegetables for lunch and dinner.

Lunch: 3 oz chicken, 2 cups green salad with cucumber, olive oil and vinegar dressing. 1 cup cooked non starchy vegetable (today is yellow squash and cabbage), 2 T salsa, 1/3 avocado.

Dinner: Repeat lunch.

For the next 6 days simply use different proteins like beef or turkey, and different vegetables like broccoli or asparagus.

Note that I am leaving out my usual serving of fruit for these seven days.

2. Plan your training.  If you are a Gordon Studio member, all you have to do is come to class at least 3 times during the week.  For those of you who aren’t in Sonora, I recommend 2 resistance training sessions, and one high intensity interval session as a minimum, with an extra HIIT session if desired.  Also, add enjoyable movement like, dance, gardening, window shopping, or yoga.  Just don’t over do it, and end up spiking your hunger.

3. Get to bed.  I believe fat oxidation is optimized when we sleep, and we have excellent research that shows that good sleep helps us manage our appetite: especially for sweets and starches.

Here is a body weight HIIT session for you to use this week, or anytime.


Screen Shot 2015-06-27 at 9.32.49 AM


Holiday Recipes

Thanksgiving and all of the holidays we celebrate are more fun with guilt and trigger free desserts.

Please try these. They are easy, delicious, healthy, and great to share with friends.


Freedom No-Bake Pumpkin Mousse
Serves 4

1/2 12 oz package cream cheese
1/2 15 oz can of plain pumpkin
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup Xylitol granulated sweetener
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

In a medium bowl blend all ingredients well with an electric hand mixer. Pour into dessert bowls or glasses and chill at least one hour. Sprinkle with cinnamon before serving.


Sugar Freedom Chocolate Mousse

1 ripe avocado
1/4 cup cocoa powder
10 drops stevia or 1/4 cup swerve (or Xylitol to taste.)
1/4 c raw cream, almond milk, or coconut milk
1 teaspoon Vanilla extract

puree/ serve chilled


Menu For the Day Before “After” Pictures

We’re coming to the close of another 6 Week Sugar Freedom Challenge, and I want you to have this sample menu.

It’s got a little less fat, no fruit, and it contains some of my favorite water releasing vegetables.  I have noticed that on the days when I eat asparagus, mushrooms, spinach, cucumber, and parsley, I have less bloat, and I wake up looking my best.

Anther tip is to have fish for lunch or dinner.  Simply place a fish fillet on foil, squeeze lemon on top, add salt and pepper, and a tablespoon of salsa.  Close up the foil and cook in the oven at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, or until the fish is cooked through.

Here is your sample menu for the final day of a challenge or transformation contest.

2 eggs, poached, served over a bed of spinach cooked in olive oil, and topped with salsa.
Celery Sticks with organic salsa.  (No fruit salsas for now.)
3-4 oz. organic turkey breast, served with 2 cups romaine lettuce, cucumber, celery, and olive oil and vinegar dressing.
1 cup steamed broccoli.
1-2 more ounces of turkey, more celery and salsa if you are hungry for a snack.
3-4 oz broiled salmon, 1 cup steamed asparagus with lemon, 1 cup sliced mushrooms cooked in olive or coconut oil.
I designed this plan for it’s simplicity, and it’s bloat releasing effect.  If you own the Sugar Freedom program this is day one of Sugar Freedom XP.
Continue to drink your tonic each morning, do your 3 Minute Wake Up Call, and perform 3 TT Home Workout Revolution training sessions per week.
Here is the recipe for the tonic:
16oz water, juice of ½ lemon, 1T Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar, enough liquid stevia to cut some of the sourness.  If it’s too strong, reduce the vinegar and lemon, and work up to the full amount.
Drink a minimum of 64 oz of pure water per day.
The result?  Expect glowing skin, and a noticably smaller waistline on Picture Day!
Finally, whether or not you are in the challenge, please send your questions to:, because Sugar Freedom is only as successful as you are.



We Are Unicorns

imagesWe 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.images