It’s been eight weeks since the floor literally blew up at Gordon Studio.
The doors are closed, much of the equipment sold, and everything I kept is put away in its place.
It has been wonderful to get back in the gym, and return to the training that changed my body and my life eight years ago.
So many times, I have pursued the latest thing in diet and exercise in order to get leaner faster.
Every time I have had to face the fact that I can’t get greedy and try to cut my calories too low, while making my training sessions too long.
In my case, that always leads to rebellious over eating, skipped workouts, and beating myself up for fooling myself again.
Does any of that sound familiar to you?
I don’t stay down for long though. My solution is to get back to what works:
No sugar, grains, or processed vegetable oils in my food plan, a limit of twenty grams of carbs per day until my appetite is obviously reduced, and three weight lifting sessions per week without fail.
I add bodyweight training, yoga, or dance class two times per week, and I make sure I do activities I enjoy on my two recovery days like gardening, walking with my husband and son, and training and romping with my dogs.
The one thing that guarantees that I will take all of these actions is accountability from a like minded group of individuals who are pursuing clear fitness goals.
If this style of health training sounds good to you, this is my invitation to join me starting September 6th for a four week accountability challenge in the closed Facebook group: Sugar Freedom/LBD Challenge. The group is free to join.
Go to https://www.facebook.com/groups/972825209446395/ and click the join button in the cover image.
If you would like meal plans, tailored training sessions, or coaching by phone or Skype, please e-mail me: firstname.lastname@example.org by August 29th. Tailored plans are $50.00 for a limited time, and weekly coaching is $250.00 for the 4 week session.
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.
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. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/oby.21371/abstract
#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 SugarFreedom.com <===Click here!
For six weeks starting in May, four Gordon Studio Members took the Six Week Sugar Freedom Challenge and ran with it. Even though I seem to remember one member telling me, “I’m not giving up sugar” when she first joined, her change of heart led to a change of figure.
They all eliminated sugar, grains, and processed vegetable oils from their diets, and they did resistance and interval training three to four times a week. They could choose to eat a bonus meal every week that contained their favorite foods, as long as these weren’t trigger foods. (Trigger foods are defined as any food that you can’t eat in a standard serving without triggering cravings and overeating.) In addition, all four members had their weight and measurements recorded, and they all took before and after photos.
Although they did experience some uncomfortable symptoms of withdrawal from sugar and grains, all of them lost significant amounts of body fat, and several inches overall. I’ll begin with Paulann’s results, as she was a challenge alumni who had already lost 10 pounds in the first 6 Week Challenge that Gordon Studio ran at the end of 2014. Paulann lost another 6 pounds in six weeks, but the best part in my opinion as her trainer and coach is the fact that she lowered her waist to hip ratio to .8. This is regarded as a healthy waist to hip ratio, and it is an excellent indicator of good overall health.
The three other participants were doing the Sugar Freedom Challenge for the first time, and I was delighted and gratified by their efforts. Cherie lost 11.6 pounds and 12 inches, Whitley lost 11.2 pounds and 14 inches, and Candy lost 13 pounds and 10 inches.
Although the case study sample was small, every participant lost a least a pound a week, and three of them lost almost 2 pounds a week, which is considered an ideal amount when it comes to losing fat while preserving lean muscle. Even better is the fact that they all improved their strength, balance, flexibility, and energy for daily living.
As a Certified Turbulence Trainer and ACE certified nutrition specialist, I believed that I had the tools to help my clients lose fat and transform their bodies, but nothing compares to the thrill of seeing the combination of Sugar Freedom and Turbulence Training get results live in the studio.
Most of all, I am so grateful to all of the Gordon Studio members and Sugar Freedom readers who have the dedication and willingness to try new and challenging fitness techniques. It is so worth it.
When I first walked into Catherine Gordon Studio, I had no idea this place was going to be so much fun! From the very first Zumba class, to trying out Turbulence Training, and then entering the Total Transformation contest…this has been a life-altering experience for me. For the last 12 weeks, I have seen amazing changes not only in my physique, but also in my mental and emotional health.
I first joined TT just to find out what it was about. I remember mentioning to Catherine that I was concerned about my shoulder since I had had major surgery the year before. She was enthusiastic and positive and she said to me..”great! It’s time to strengthen that shoulder!” No sympathy here! I thought. That’s what I needed to hear. No excuses, just do it!
For the next 12 weeks, I learned about the TT Metabolic Monster, TT for Buff Dudes and Hot Chicks (I thought this name was pretty funny!) and one of the best Home Workout Revolution. I was amazed at myself when I started seeing my own progress. The prisoner squats and mountain climbers, became easier. No so much with the burpees. However, my favorite is the plank. This is where I noticed how much stronger my core was getting. I am able to hold the plank for two whole minutes!
Working out at TT twice a week and doing the Home workout revolution at home and Zumba at least once a week, has become my new hobby. I like to practice yoga in order to release tension. And now…TT is accomplishing the same purpose.
As much fun as I was having working out, I wanted to make an all-around lifestyle change. I didn’t feeI was overweight and I felt healthy, but I decided to follow some of the SugarFreedom recipes and between TT and making different food choices, I have lost 8 pounds and 10 inches. And that’s only in 12 weeks. I can only imagine what is to come as I keep traveling this journey. With the support of the wonderful ladies that I get to work out with, the inspiring transformations that are happening and the support of a wonderful trainer like Catherine….the sky is the limit!
I’m so proud of Maria’s accomplishments. What an inspiration!
This week, six of my students at Gordon Studio entered the Turbulence Training Transformation Contest.
My transformation journey began with inspiration from a woman like me who found a way to get the results she wanted.
I hope these stories inspire you too. Here’s Sharon.
My story starts 12 years ago after having cancer surgery and deciding that I wanted to be a happier, healthier person. I weighed 260 lbs and am 5’5” tall. I was 47 years old and very unhappy with myself. Four months after my operation I decided that I didn’t want to be fat anymore so I joined Weight Watchers and met a woman that would change my life, Trish. She taught me that to lose weight it just wasn’t changing my eating habits but getting more active. So I joined a women’s workout gym and started to walk. I did this for quite a while then started jogging, first 2 miles then working my way up to 5 miles. But the bad thing was in all these years my body stayed the same. I would jog 3, 4 even 5 times a week and nothing was happening. I was ready to give up, in fact I was only going out a couple of times a week. Then I started to talk to one of my WW ladies about her success and what she was doing, she told me about Gordon Studios and especially about Catherine Gordon. I went in for a Zumba class but soon found out about TT, I was hooked.
I started to really get serious about my TT about 6 months ago. I love that each class is different. Some nights Home Workout Revolution, or maybe its TT Metabolic Monster, other nights I love it when we do TT for Buff Dudes and Hot Chicks. Its always different and NEVER gets boring. It may sound crazy but the class of 1000 reps is one of my favorites, because when we get done I feel like I have climbed a mountain. If you had asked me 12 years ago this is where I would be right now I would have laughed. I am so blessed to have TT and Catherine in my life, and its not just for now but this is forever.
Here in the Sierra Foothills, the daffodils are blooming, and we’re so grateful for the rain, and the snow that has finally come to the mountains this year.
Yes, it can be windy, wet, and cold this time of year, but green buds hint at spring, and the time to shed our winter coats. This year, March 4th is also Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday, the day before the start of 40 days of lent. These coming 40 days are very important for me too, as my 50th birthday comes just 9 days after Easter this year.
50 is an important milestone for all of us. Who doesn’t assess health, family, work, and relationships at age 50? For me, the message is of 50 is that The Time Is Now.
It’s time to be more than an apprentice or a journeyman in my life. It’s time to become a master at what I’ve chosen to do. Is it time for you to do the same?
For those of us who are physically addicted to sugar, and the starches that break right down to sugar when we eat them, the cheating game has to stop so that we can reach our goals and achieve peace and balance with food. I used to dream that reaching my goal weight would cause me to be spontaneously healed from my addiction. It simply isn’t so. I can eat well, feel satisfied, and get on with the life I love only when I abstain from sugar and grains. In addition, I’m sad to have to admit that my last binge was triggered by…
This is how powerful my dopamine response to fructose is. I eat one banana, and I must have sugar, sugar, sugar, until I’m so full that I can’t eat another bite. Back in 2010, I was completely abstinent from sugar and grains for 9 months. I dropped all of the fat I wanted, even to that point where people started asking me when I was going to stop losing weight.
“You’re so tiny, Your face is so thin, You’re going to disappear on us!”
Those are a small sample of the comments I heard. Then, I threw my abstinence away when I read a diet book that told me I could eat whatever I wanted one day a week, and get leaner than ever. One problem: the book was written by a young man who had never been overweight: let alone obese and addicted to sugar and flour! Ever since that first Saturday binge, I have had to struggle again with the call of the sweets and starches that so many of my family members, friends, and colleagues can eat. Now I have to accept that just because they can enjoy cheat meals and cheat days, I simply can’t if I want to stay healthy, happy, and sane.
As a personal trainer and fitness studio owner, I travel to conferences and maintain contacts with amazing fitness pros who have been training clients for so much longer than my two years. They write and develop powerful programs that get great results for their clients, and the truth is that my research indicates that only 15% of the overweight population is genuinely addicted to food in the same way that I am. How many of you who are reading this blog are addicted? Please take the test that you will find at this website: http://www.yaleruddcenter.org/resources/upload/docs/what/addiction/FoodAddictionScale09.pdf. It will give you powerful insights in to the behavior that indicates food addiction.
If you don’t recognize yourself and your habits in this questionnaire, you may be free to enjoy a much broader menu of fat releasing foods than you find on Sugar Freedom. That’s wonderful, and the truth is that those of us who are addicted have certainly had our share of sweets and starches, and it’s time to leave those goodies to somebody else who can handle them.
As for me, I have accepted that it’s time to go back to the peace and happiness I had before I let sugar back into my life. So Sugar Freedom is no longer just for dieting, or getting ready for summer, or even for Lent. It is a way of eating for life, one day at a time.
Now, the brief pleasure I might have found in snacks will be replaced by enjoying my family, friends, students, and the beauty of the coming Spring.
Permanent fat loss happens when you discover that there is something, often many things, in life that gives you far more satisfaction than eating or drinking.
You are ready to change your eating habits, and release all the fat you wish, when you start to care more about creating, and less about consuming.
You definitely need plenty of food to nourish and satisfy you so that you have the energy and motivation to get out into the world and make your dreams come true.
Too often, we get into a “Diet Emergency,” and try to loose five pounds in three days by eating nothing but cabbage soup, or just drinking that weird lemon juice, honey, and cayenne pepper thing, whatever it is. This Three Day Camera Ready Diet is nothing like that.
If anything, you will be eating more food by volume than you usually do if you are currently living on breakfast cereal, sandwiches, and pasta.
The point of the Camera Ready Diet is to reduce inflammation, (especially facial puffiness) and give you energy and a healthy glow.
My former student, and now fellow Zumba instructor, Melanie and I will be shooting three episodes of “Simple Fitness” for our local cable channel this Sunday. Can you imagine trying to do three thirty minute interval workouts in a row on a juice fast? I certainly can’t.
So here is the eating strategy that will get you glowing, and ready to power through your office party, yearly family photo, or help you look smashing and dance all night on New Years Eve.
First, lets get the “Nos” out of the way:
No alcohol, sugar, grains, or dairy. It’s just for 3 days off of the alcohol and dairy, and trust me, it’s worth it.
You’re going to focus on foods that are nutrient dense, and high in fiber and water content. Vegetables for breakfast? You bet. (IHOP may suggest that you eat breakfast for dinner, but if you want to look fantastic, I suggest you turn that suggestion around.)
Start your day with the juice of 1/2 lemon in warm water that I always recommend. If you need to sweeten it, use a few drops of liquid stevia.
If you drink coffee, lighten it with unsweetened almond or coconut milk.
The veggies that are the star of the show for these three days are: Spinach, onions, celery, carrots, tomatoes, mushrooms, eggplant, asparagus, and parsley. You don’t have to limit yourself to these, but other than the carrots, stick to vegetables that grow above the ground. Some of these are stars for containing phytonutrients that enhance the color and texture of your skin, and some support proper fluid balance.
Note: Remember the water paradox: the more you drink the less you retain, so drink up.
For breakfast yesterday morning I sautéed onion, celery, carrots, spinach, and parsley in 1T coconut oil, and seasoned it with organic iodized sea salt, ginger, and turmeric. I added 2 poached eggs and I was in heaven. Now you don’t have to have eggs. This may sound odd, but I want you to get in some fish that’s high in omega 3s over these three days, so you could have salmon or tuna instead.
Here’s a way to prepare canned salmon that I love: To one drained 4 oz can of salmon with bones removed add 1T vegenaise soy free-mayo, 1t dijon mustard, and 1/4 cup chopped raw unsalted almonds or walnuts, plus 1 T chopped celery, and 1t onion if you like. You can even form these into a patty and cook them in coconut oil, ghee, or kerrygold butter. This works great at breakfast, or you can serve the salmon or tuna over romaine lettuce at lunch.
Speaking of lettuce, a big salad at lunch dressed with extra virgin olive oil and Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar is a must! Use whatever mix of oil to vinegar that you like best.
Other proteins for lunch besides salmon or tuna include poultry, grass fed beef, or pastured pork. Portion size? It should be about the size of your palm. Please eat as much salad, and or cooked vegetables as you need to fell full and satisfied, not stuffed.
Dinner is going to be the same as lunch, with vegetables cooked in one of the fats listed above and salad filling most of the space on your plate, (or plates). Then add serving of meat, poultry, or fish.
If you want a snack choose up to two servings of low sugar fruits like berries, or an organic granny smith apple. Add an ounce of almonds or walnuts if you wish. If you need a more substantial snack, add some sliced turkey, or have some left-over salmon or tuna salad.
Remember it is the simplicity of this 3 day strategy that makes it work. The motto here is to trade “variety for satiety” so that you can look great for your picture or event.
You have a busy, active life so going hungry is not a good option. Focus on “Beauty Foods” like colorful vegetables and omega 3 rich fish and you will be
I like to think of fat loss and body transformation as a journey.
The destination is a beautiful, exciting place where wishes are fulfilled, goals are reached, and yes, dreams come true. I’m a bit of a romantic by nature, but that’s a good thing because it fuels my optimism and that keeps me moving forward.
Here in Sonora, CA at Gordon studio, the transformation journey starts with training.
Today, I’m writing about the reality that when we start to train, we build muscle, and sometimes, if our goal is to lose fat, and our measure of fat loss is downward movement on the scale, we end up on a weight loss plateau.
I see the commitment and discipline of my students every day, and I see how nervous it can make them when the scale stops moving, so I want to share some strategies that you can use to keep moving toward your fat loss goal.
First, we have to consider whether your basic fat loss/body transformation strategy is dialed in.
Here is that basic strategy:
1. Choose a nutritious whole food plan that satisfies your appetite, while allowing for a moderate energy deficit.
2. Perform transformative exercise consisting of a full body warmup, resistance training, and intervals to shape the body, stimulate fat burning through increased metabolism, and moderate appetite.
30 minutes three times a week is optimal: This has been demonstrated through research, and in my experience at Gordon Studio.
3. Get at least 7 hours of sleep a night, ideally in a dark room.
I know, I know, in our busy modern world those three elements can be a challenge to bring together, but I trust my clients when they tell me that they are following those three strategies, but fat loss still appears to have stopped.
It may be possible, even likely, that muscle growth is masking fat loss when it
comes to the numbers on the scale, but if frustration is occurring because the scale hasn’t moved in over two weeks (the absolute minimum amount of time that must pass before you even start thinking plateau) here are some strategies you can add to your program that do not include additional calorie cutting.
(Note: nothing is more likely to backfire than further restriction of nutrition, especially if you are doing Turbulence Training, or Shawna’s Challenge Workouts. In my experience, trying to get off a plateau by further restricting food intake leads to overeating blowouts. Then you’re not just stuck- you gain weight.)
1. Drink and record 8 eight ounce glasses of water a day.
Go ahead and argue, but I’ve seen it time and time again- busy people get dehydrated, and I really don’t know any one who can metabolize fat in a state of dehydration. I drink the juice of up to half a lemon in water every day.
Here is the entry from Web MD explaining lemon’s use as a dietary supplement: “Lemon is a plant. The fruit, juice, and peel are used to make medicine.
Lemon is used to treat scurvy, a condition caused by not having enough vitamin C. Lemon is also used for the common cold and flu, H1N1 (swine) flu, ringing in
the ears(tinnitus), Meniere’s disease, and kidney stones. It is also used to aid digestion, reduce pain and swelling (inflammation), improve the function
of blood vessels, and increase urination to reduce fluid retention.
In foods, lemon is used as a food and flavoring ingredient.
How does it work?
Lemon contains antioxidants called bioflavonoids. Researchers think these bioflavonoids are responsible for the health benefits of lemon.”
2. Add 30 minutes of restorative movement 3 times a week.
Restorative movement is walking, yoga, flexibility practice, or any movement that doesn’t go much above a 4 on a scale of 1 to 10 on the rating of perceived exertion scale.
Please note that I am not advocating extra cardio. This is so important. My direct experience and observation does show that individuals who are under 35, and who have never had a serious weight problem, do seem to be able to do as much cardio,
aerobics, treadmill running, or elliptical pedaling as they want. But these are not the people who need my expertise. For those of us over 40 who have been seriously or even moderately overweight, extra cardio just seem to increase appetite, and the likelihood of injury.
We do have proof that restorative, very low intensity movement uses fat and preserves muscle, but I think it works because it provides pleasurable movement.
To explain further, I believe that, very often, we over-eat as a pleasure seeking behavior. If you can get that same enjoyment out of movement, that’s a genuine win/win situation.
I can hear you now,
“Who has time to meditate?”
“How do I learn to meditate with out wanting to jump out of my skin?”
“Will meditation interfere with my beliefs?”
I would never recommend any practice that would give you an uneasy conscience, but when I added daily meditation back in 2009, my body and my life went to the next level of transformation. 20 minutes a day with a guided meditation program on my iPod was incredibly effective, and I continue to love this practice to this very day.
Here is a simple meditation you can try today:
Find a comfortable place to sit or lie down, and then imagine yourself walking in a beautiful setting in nature. I like to imagine the beach in Malibu CA.
In your meditation, take a walk in your ideal body. What are you wearing? How does it feel to move in this body that you’ve been training, eating, and changing your habits for? Imagine yourself running or jumping, if you wish- use your imagination. You can imagine that you meet friends and loved ones on your walk. Imagine that they respond just the way you would like them to when they see how healthy and happy you look. By exploring how it feels to reach your goal, you re- commit to the behaviors that will get you there.
Finally, I think that we need to find more and more ways to get enjoyment from our healthy transformative habits. I wanted to lose weight and fat in order to live a more fulfilling life, and my students want the same thing.
Very often, pleasurable non-food behaviors help fill the empty space we used to fill
Hydration, restoration, and meditation might just be the three keys to getting off of that weight loss plateau for good.
This dish may not be my most beautiful recipe, but it will make you look beautiful.
Cook 3 cups of spinach in 1T coconut oil. I added onion and red cabbage because it was handy. I seasoned this with organic ginger, turmeric, and sea salt. Top with 2 eggs cooked in coconut oil, and organic salsa.
I’ve been recommending this breakfast for more than 3 years now because it keeps me full all the way to lunch time, even if I eat as early as 6:30AM.
The secret to letting go of sugar and grains is making sure to get nourished on satisfying food. Plus, dark leafy greens and colorful vegetables literally make your skin glow with healthy color, and who couldn’t use that this time of year?
Don’t forget to opt in at the right so that you can get The Sugar Freedom Plan at a deep discount when it’s released this December 26th. It literally contains all of the meals that I used to lose 60 pounds, and keep them off for good.