Catherine’s Blog

June 9, 2018

Craving Freedom

Yesterday, my cravings came back with a vengeance.

The day started well, with a full Ashtanga yoga series, work in the back yard with my son, and an audition taping session with a young actor and his mom.

As they were leaving, she asked, “Did you hear about Anthony Bourdain?”

I closed the door after them, and immediately went on line to CNN.  The renowned chef, writer, and travel show star had taken his life in a hotel room in France, where he had been shooting his latest episode of, “Parts Unknown,” for the cable news network.

On Tuesday, I had been shocked and saddened by the death of designer Kate Spade.  She was 55, just a year older than me, and the mother of a 13 year old girl.  Bourdain has a young daughter as well.  Why did they end their lives? These two individuals weren’t just successful.  They were loved and respected because they had turned their work into an art form.

Spade’s designs put a high level of beauty and style within reach of so many women, and Bourdain used food and his show to connect people and help them understand each other.  They were truly finding a way to express themselves, and make the world a better place with their work.  These were the kinds of individuals I have always looked up to and wanted to emulate.  If they couldn’t made it another day in this cruel world, what did that say to a regular woman like me?

For the remainder of the day I was restless and constantly thinking about binge foods.  I have struggled with overweight and obesity, which has been driven by fear, anxiety, and self hatred for years.  You see, my father took his own life when I was six, and that’s when I started binge eating to ease my pain and fear.

Bingeing on sweets and starches blocked the pain and fear I felt as a child, but it also led to a fatter body which made me ashamed.  It took decades for me to develop a way of eating and moving that allowed me to truly live.  The essence of my solution is to leave out foods and forms of movement that increase my appetite.  When I eat sugar and grains I get hungry.  Actually I get ravenous, and I start eating in a way that is out of control.  When I do traditional calorie burning cardio, like an hour long aerobic dance class, I end up ravenous too.

My solution is to leave the sugar and typical cardio out, but yesterday I slipped.  I won’t describe all of the sweets and starches I ate, but I will describe the consequences.  This morning I am achy, swollen, and sad.

When I get up from my desk in a few moments, I will brush my teeth, get my keys and my bag, and go to the gym.  I will warm up, I will lift, and I will live.  I’ll come home and have a meal that is sugar and grain free.  By Monday, when I train my first client of the week, the bloating and most of the sadness should be gone, or at least tucked farther back in my mind.  Today I will ask myself, “How can a woman live and be happy in the body and the world she is in right now?  If success, fame, and slenderness don’t protect us from sadness, what does?  I will move, eat, live, and love my family.  If we stay present, reach out to each other, and treat ourselves with loving kindness, I hope that we will all have the time we need to find the answers.


I have pasted the national suicide prevention lifeline below so that anyone who needs it or wants to share can do so.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

Call 1-800-273-8255 Available 24 hours everyday

What do you do when calorie counting and cardio don’t work?

I spend a lot of time trying to understand and figure out for my own sanity what it is that I have done and that I continue to do that helped me to overcome overweight and obesity for going on 10 years now. What is the motivation?  I’m an actor and that’s the old cliché. What’s my motivation? And the joke answer is, “your paycheck,” right?  You do what the director tells you, and you do what the author tells you in order to fulfill your job and get paid. But the truth is that motivation is not necessarily the thing that people reach for when they’re trying to achieve their health and fitness goals.

        The first thing you think about if you want to lose weight or get lean or get healthy isn’t necessarily, “what’s my motivation.”  And yet for me it is.

For years I’ve been thinking what is it that I am doing and thinking differently that has allowed me and so many of my clients and readers to achieve the goals that they wanted? It does start with motivation. So this challenge that’s going to last from March the 20th through it’s four weeks, so it really goes to April the 17th, but we’re going to give it until April twentieth to help people get their pictures in and get their, a waist measurements in. If you want to enter the, uh, the prize contest by email, give you a couple of extra days to get that picture in, but it’s four weeks. And the concept is that it’s going to be a positive challenge.

Too often I get caught up in negative thinking, spending a lot of time thinking about the things that I did in diet and exercise that didn’t work. And my frustration over those things. The truth is, is that my classes are small. Back when I was teaching a more conventional, more fun and popular type of exercise back in 2012, my classes were very full. I was able to keep, the price was low and the music was loud and everybody was having a good time, but unfortunately what I’ve found is that I was gaining weight and uh, my knees were hurting. I’m 53 and I’ve been doing, I used to do a lot of cardio and I have some osteoarthritis in my left knee, so I have discovered that what was, what was popular and what was filling my classes was actually hurting me. So I’ve had to readjust and I’ve had to change the way I train.

As a result, my, my classes are very small, so I have had to, I cast my net to get people to join my challenges with my sugar freedom fans, my sugar freedom readers, and of course listeners like you. So what I’ve had to accept is that what works is not necessarily going to be what is especially popular or what sells especially. Well. Most people really do. Most women I have found really do they want to come into a fitness class and they do want to burn calories. The paradox that I have discovered though is that when I try to burn calories, I ended up burning muscle and getting hungry, so I’ve had to do something completely different, so I’m making this audio which is going to be also turned into a blog post and an email in order to invite people who have not succeeded with what we call CICO to try something different which would be working with me, Catherine Gordon, doing sugar freedom and Catherine training.

    What is C.I.C.O.?

CICO  stands for calories in, calories out, and it’s usually the first line of defense against overweight and obesity. Way Back when I was eight years old, do the math. I’m 53, going on 54 in at the end of next month I became overweight, about 20 pounds overweight and went to the pediatrician and I will never forget the pediatrician turning to me and saying, so Kathy, how would you like to count calories? And I remember thinking I wouldn’t, but I said sure. I like approval. So of course, and not to. Not to digress, but I think about one of the ways when I was very small to get a approval was to clean my plate and it does kind of make you wonder if going after that approval in terms of cleaning our plates does set us up for overeating down the road.

But that’s actually a different topic. Back to  CICO. The doctor suggested a number of changes, and one of them was counting calories, but he also told my mom to pull the eggs out of my diet. I started eating cereal pretty much every day, and my Mom put me on the swim team, which of course is cardio without any weight-bearing. I remember from that point being hungry literally all the time. For decades I was hungry, and I would just  try to suck it up and keep moving. This was the beginning of my struggles with overweight and obesity, and it became worse and worse.  I did manage my weight by smoking and taking Dexatrim, but that had to stop when I wanted to have a baby. I stopped doing all of the unhealthy things that were keeping me relatively small and lean, and my weight just went crazy. I’m five foot one and I ballooned up to 210 pounds when I was pregnant.

In order to overcome that, I had to do what was completely different from what I was told to do.

I was told to do more cardio and eat less fat and I had to literally throw all of that out the window. I had to learn how to lose weight. Ultimately I had to eliminate conventional cardio completely. A interval training. Yes. High intensity interval training for short bouts. Nevermore really quite honestly than like eight minutes at a time. Yes, I said eight minutes. This is, this is really the maximum, um, of constant type exercise that I do. What I will do is when I’m lifting weights, what I do find that is fun and effective [inaudible] yes, I like to have fun when I trained two is to simply add in a body-weight interval to my weightlifting, and so here’s a really good tip for you if you want to make your make your fitness routine more, more effective in terms of getting leaner and stronger.

So if you’re super setting, which is usually two noncompeting exercise exercises, which might be a chest press or a push up with some kind of squat, what you could do is that you could add a crossbody mountain climber to that, so you’re superstar set. Instead of just being chest press and goblet squat would be chest press, goblet squat and cross body mountain climber makes sense, and then you do three rounds of that to make it complete superset. If you join the challenge, I will be designing these kinds of workouts, training sessions for you. Oops, I said workout really meant training session and you’ll really learn this technique. One of the things that’s kind of funny is that if I do my job correctly, you’re not going to need me anymore, so that is the great paradox of of a good teacher, why most of you may know that I’m a singer and dancer and choreographer and a good teacher is actually going to move their students along.

When I first started dancing, first started taking ballet. I was taking ballet at a certain level. When I became better, I moved on to different teachers. Now I might go back to my original teacher and make sure her check my form or have him check my form, but. But the truth is, is that w, the way a dancer progresses, if you’re. You’re starting with ballet one then belly to than ballet three, so you’re going from beginner to intermediate to advanced. So truly my goal is to get you to the point where you can move on from my instruction if you show. So choose. I do teach fitness classes at Tca dance at the dome. We have this wonderful floor that’s a like a floating floor. It’s on foam blocks, but the truth is, is that we also share the studio with tap dancers, ballet dancers, and so I’m not going to have a whole bunch of heavy equipment in there right now.

The heaviest weights I have in there are 15 pound kettle bells and dumbbells. I am going to be bringing in some twenties, but I’m certainly not going to go any heavier than that. Heaven forbid we don’t want to damage the floor. So if you do need to move on, and if I do my job right, you are going to be moving on to lifting heavier. Ultimately the goal is that you are going to be able to go into a commercial gym and know what to do and have the confidence to train yourself. However, really the only exercises that, um, I really can’t provide the waits for, for people who are working with me live are pretty much the, the debt, some of the dead lifts and some of the squats. If we’re working upper body and if we’re working any single leg exercises I had, believe me, I have plenty of weights to challenge you.

And certainly if we’re training the triceps and the biceps and the shoulders, the weights that I have at a Tca dance at the dome are going to be certainly heavy enough. I have actually achieved a physical transformation with just a pair of 10 pound dumbbells. It can be done, but you do have to use focus, compression contraction, and you have to know the proper techniques. Speaking of proper techniques, it really does start with nutrition. Eighty percent of our results from the challenge are going to come from our eating and the eating strategy that will we will be using is sugar freedom, which means no sugar, no grains, no processed vegetable oils. So this is getting. Yeah, this is getting to the point where about as long as I wanted to make this recording for today, which of course is then I’m going to have it transcribed and put it up for you.

        What is the T.E.A.M. Technique?

The TEAM technique is thinking, eating, adherence, and movement.  Those are the things that you need  to have in order to succeed short term and long term when it comes to body transformation.  If you want to join the challenge, email me, There may be some issues with that email,  you can use  Just email me saying that you’re interested in the challenge, and I can send you the details. It’s $50 for the four week program.  If you are training with me personally, one on one, then the challenge is included.  If you’re buying a six class series at TCAA it’s also included.

      What comes with the challenge?

You’ll have the diet, and the meal plans which are suggested. Note: I am not a registered Dietitian, I am a fitness nutrition specialist. I cannot specifically tell you what to eat: that’s beyond my scope of practice, but I can tell you what I eat and what has worked for me, and then of course you can check with your doctor or a registered dietitian before you make changes to your dietary program. You will also get all of the training instruction for the four week course.  Plus you get shopping guides,  recipes, e-mail coaching and troubleshooting from me, and the chance to win a cash prize. Today is the sixth of March, and we’re starting on the twentieth so I can get you all of the materials so that you can do your grocery shopping and  plan where you’re going to train,  and have equipment ready.

In my next post I’ll write about a challenge to train for joy, find out what it is in your life that gives you joy, and then become trained, healthy, and happy so that you can do those things.

E-mail me:, because I can’t wait to get you into the challenge. There are two prizes for the most inspiring transformations of $125.00  Just a little  prize to salute your wonderful work as we go through the challenge.  Make it a great day. Get out there, eat clean, train, and  be good to yourself.