And what to do instead.
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.
It has been an eye-opening experience to read and answer questions about weight loss on Quora.com.
When I was a personal trainer and I had my fitness studio, I would often ask what people want when it comes to a nutrition and training program. The simple answer is that they want results.
My history with significant long term weight loss taught me that reducing carbohydrates and building muscle reliably causes fat loss and reshapes the body. When I would offer body transformation challenges at Gordon Studio, nine out of ten participants would lose weight over the six week course, and even the few clients who didn’t lose pounds would lose several inches in all the right places. I even had one student who lost two sizes while staying at the same weight.
Now that I am focused on my creative work as a singer, dancer, and musician I will be sharing my personal program for fitness and nutrition. My new motto, “Eat for Yourself,” encourages my readers here, and my viewers at The Sugar Freedom Channel To find what works for them when it comes to food.
My two essential key’s to permanent weight, fat, and inch loss are:
- Drop Sugar.
- Lift Weight.
The info-graphic you see above is the macro-nutrient plan I will be using for the next nine weeks to optimize my “instrument” as a performer: my body.
I will share the journey here for accountability, and because it was the success of other women like me who had cut carbs and used resistance training to get lean, healthier, and happier that made me believe I could change for the better myself.
The Sugar Freedom Diet at sugarfreedom.com contains the food lists, and many of the recipes and meal plans I will be using, but I will be limiting my carbohydrates to 10 total grams per day instead of the 20 grams that are listed in the Sugar Strike. This gives me a good sized salad and a serving of a low-carb cooked vegetable each day. My experience with the Steak and Egg diet and Carnivore has taught me that I really can function well without carbs, but I did discover back in 2017 that a combination of very low carb and lifting was the best plan I have ever followed, so for the next nine weeks I will be comparing this plan with the no-plant food plan I have tested since 2018.
Post menopause, I have discovered that I need to find the levels of carbohydrate restriction and fitness training that give me the best chance to dance, create, and perform with freedom. I look forward to sharing what I learn with you.
As always, be well and eat for yourself,
by Catherine Best Gordon
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.
Meat, 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.
Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar, Lemon Juice, other sugar free vinegars, 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.
Tracking and Nutrition Facts: Fitday.com
Clink the link below for my complete eating plan:
I answer questions about weight loss on Quora.com, and here is my latest answer to a good question about jogging or badminton for weight loss.
Here is my answer:
When I finally figured out how to overcome my own struggle with overweight and obesity in 2008, the most important change I made was the shift from traditional steady state cardio to resistance and interval training. Jogging can certainly be effective, and you can get good results in less time with interval training. Here is a quote from and excellent study in the medical journal Obesity on High Intensity Intermittent Exercise:
Conclusions and Clinical Implications
Research examining the effects of HIIE has produced preliminary evidence to suggest that HIIE can result in modest reductions in subcutaneous and abdominal body fat in young normal weight and slightly overweight males and females. Studies using overweight male and female type 2 diabetic individuals have shown greater reductions in subcutaneous and abdominal fat. The mechanisms underlying the fat reduction induced by HIIE, however, are undetermined but may include HIIE-induced fat oxidation during and after exercise and suppressed appetite. Regular HIIE has been shown to significantly increase both aerobic and anaerobic fitness and HIIE also significantly lowers insulin resistance and results in increases in skeletal muscle capacity for fatty acid oxidation and glycolytic enzyme content.
You can read the entire study here: High-Intensity Intermittent Exercise and Fat Loss
Here are the three main benefits of HIIE for the overweight or obese individual who wants to lose weight:
- It works. Studies show consistent weight and fat loss for people who do HIIE.
- It takes less time. A regimen of three 12 minute HIIE sessions per week can lead to more weight and fat loss than a program of traditional cardio workouts that last more than an hour.
- If you use good form and respect your limitations as you work up to HIIE, there will be less chance of both acute soreness and chronic injuries from your exercise program.
So the answer is that jogging can be very effective if you transform it into interval training. You can use a timer to tell you when to pick up the pace and when to rest. I like to use a 30 second acceleration interval where I jog or run with a 30 second rest interval of walking. You should adjust the interval to suit your fitness level by picking a recovery time that leaves you eager to accelerate again.
Badminton is an excellent addition if it is an activity you enjoy. I believe that the secret to training for weight and fat loss is that it should feel good and be fun for most of the session, with brief periods of hard work to improve your weight, body composition, and overall fitness.
Of course and effective eating plan is essential to get good weight and fat loss results. The exact program I used to to lose 70 pounds and keep it off for more than 12 years is available here ===>Click Here!<===.
You can also check out this post for ideas on creating meal plans for fat loss in this post: Fast Fat Loss Plan
Whatever fitness activities you choose, give yourself permission to enjoy your training while you work to improve your abilities.
Fast Fat Loss Plan: 14 days of food and fitness
Summer Is Here! Enjoy It In Good Health.
My ketogenic food plan enhances your energy, mood, and shape by getting rid of bloating, flattening the belly, and shrinking the waistline. I developed this plan when I was working with my training clients at Gordon Studio, and it was effective for women and men of all ages. Note: check with your doctor before starting a new nutrition and fitness program.
For my book on creating a life long fitness plan you can get my kindle book on Amazon: https://amzn.to/3amo1vi
Here are the guidelines for my 14 day fat loss plan:
- Every day: Drink the Freedom Tonic. 1 Tablespoon of Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar, 1 Tablespoon of lemon juice, and 8 ounces of water. You may add liquid stevia to taste to cut the sourness.
(We had a saying at Gordon Studio, “Hold Your Nose and Drink Your Tonic.”) It may not taste great, but it helps stabilize blood sugar levels, aid digestion, and we all swear by it to increase fat loss.
- Every Day: Drink an additional 6 glasses of water. You can make “Freedom Water” by adding cucumber, mint, ginger, and sliced lemon to a large pitcher of water, and finishing it by the end of the day.
- Protein: Eat 1 gram of protein per pound of your ideal body weight per day. I’m 5’1″ and although my preferred body weight at age 56 is 123, I go with 110 grams of protein per day.
- Carbohydrates: Limit carbs to 20 grams total or less per day. Here is my list of favorite low carb vegetables, along with their carbohydrate grams per serving.
5. Fats: Have enough fat grams to feel satisfied up to 80 grams of fat per day.
Resistance Training 3 Times Per Week
8 repetitions per exercise. Do a total of three rounds for each super set.
Super set #1: Squat/Push up
Super Set #2: Romanian Deadlift/ Dumb Bell Rows
Super Set #3: Reverse Lunge/ Bicep Curls
Here are 5 more examples of effective super sets for fat loss and muscle growth or maintenance: Forward Lunge/Tricep Extension, T-Bend/Overhead Press, 1 Leg Sit To Stand/Chin-up or Dumb Bell Pullover, Goblet Squat/Reverse Fly, Bulgarian Split Squat/ Butterfly raise.
You can complete your fitness session with interval training. My favorite style is to use my favorite House and Shuffle Dance steps Tabata Style. Here is an example of Tabata Style Training:
The most important goal is to use these 14 days to discover what exercises work best for you.
You can e-mail questions to Catherine@dareshine.com
I’ll be blogging for the next 2 weeks to fill in all of the details for this Fast Fat Loss Plan.
In the meantime, be well, and eat for yourself.
You can click the sponsored link below for the Kettle Bells I recommend.
This shopping list is one of the most important parts of the Sugar Freedom Diet that I published through Clickbank.com six years ago.
The three day “Sugar Strike,” is a whole food ketogenic diet that I wrote in order to pass on the way I was able to finally get off of sugar and permanently recover from overeating, overweight, and obesity.
Disclaimer: This is not a recommendation to eat a ketogenic diet. It is simply my way of eating, and my training clients have used it to lose weight quickly, typically five pounds over 3 days. Note that much of that pound loss comes from the fact that a low carb approach has a diuretic effect so it reduces bloating. Here is the shopping list:
Three-Day Sugar Strike Shopping List
No Sugar, No Grains, No Processed Vegetable Oils = No Cravings!
For the Daily Freedom Tonic: Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar, Lemons.
Mix 1 Tablespoon Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar with 1 Tablespoon lemon juice. Mix with at least 8 ounces of water and drink each morning.
Drink Bone broth, vegetable broth, or bullion for “Keto Flu” feelings of low energy, headache, and cravings. These replace the sodium and electrolytes that can be lost in the first few days of going low carb.
1.In the Produce Aisle:
Salad Greens (lettuce, spinach, cabbage)
Other Leafy Greens (Swiss chard or other chard, collard greens, kale, bok choy)
Herbs (basil, parsley, cilantro, etc.)
Other salad vegetables (radishes, sprouts, cucumbers, tomatoes)
Other green vegetables (avocado, asparagus, broccoli, green beans, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower)
Other non-starchy vegetables (peppers, green onions, onions, eggplant, artichokes, mushrooms)
2.Meat, Poultry, Fish, Seafood, Eggs, Tofu
Eggs: Preferably Organic Free Range.
Beef: All cuts, especially grass fed.
Tofu (The simple tofu that comes in a “brick” that is found in the produce aisle.)
- Dairy Case
Heavy Cream, butter, full-fat cottage cheese, sour cream, full fat organic cheeses, ricotta, full fat yogurt with no sugar added, including Greek yogurt. (Note: heavy cream is the only dairy on the 3-day sugar strike. Add the other dairy choices once carb cravings have eased.)
4.Fats and Oils
Butter (From grass fed cows like Kerrygold Butter)
Coconut oil (Organic)
Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
Soy Free Vegenaise (Made with grapeseed oil)
Macadamia Nut Oil
Note: home-made mayonnaise is your best choice, but if you’re concerned about using raw egg, or you need the convenience of prepared mayo Grapeseed Vegenaise is helpful for mixing with canned tuna and salmon, and for sauces and dips for wraps and veggies. Use sparingly.
meats, fish, and vegetables on hand. Frozen berries after the 3-day sugar strike.
Canned versions of the above vegetables, also olives. Tuna and wild salmon.
Nuts and Seeds
Raw Organic almonds
Ground Flax Seed
(Note: no nuts on the 3-day sugar strike.)
Mustard, full-fat mayo (Not made with soybean or canola oil, Soy Free Vegenaise as above.) salsa, pesto, dill pickle- up to 2 per day, sugar free relish, hot sauce, Braggs Organic vinegar, or any vinegar without added sugar. Bragg’s Aminos, Coconut Aminos.
Unsweetened almond or Coconut milk
Unsweetened coconut flakes
Unsweetened Chocolate and cocoa powder.
Three Day Sugar Strike Meal Plan
Breakfast: 2 eggs, spinach sauted in olive oil or butter. One tablespoon of salsa.
Lunch: Large mixed green salad with 4-5 ounces of meat, poultry, or fish. Oil and vinegar dressing. One cup cooked low starch vegetable.
Dinner: Repeat lunch.
The point of the Sugar Strike is to reduce carbs to 20 grams per day, while you enjoy simple, nourishing foods that won’t cause sugar or carb cravings.
If you get hungry, have a hard boiled egg or some more meat, poultry, or fish.
The point is to give up some variety in exchange for satisfaction, energy, some fat loss, and de-bloating. After three days, if the food plan feels like a good fit, you can continue on it with a typical weight loss of about a pound a week.
This has worked for me and my readers for several years now, and I hope you find it helpful.
Be well, and remember, eat for yourself.
The entire Sugar Freedom is available at: SugarFreedom.Com
Throughout the year, I will be answering the Quora questions I get the most from my followers, and the question of the day is:
Is it normal not to lose weight after 2 weeks of working out?
When I was doing my original body transformation in 2008, I didn’t lose any weight for the first four weeks. I was also participating in an on line forum with other women and men who were using weightlifting, interval training, and whole food nutrition, (nothing out of a bag or a box) to get lean and lose weight. I remember that about 25% of the posters on that forum didn’t experience any weight loss for the first few weeks.
After I began working as a certified trainer in 2012 I noticed the same thing in some clients who started a training program. Here is my theory on what happens to keep the scale from moving at the beginning of new fitness program. First, there is truth to what you have heard about muscle being heavier than fat, but beyond that, if you are training hard enough to experience muscle soreness, you will retain water due to the process of body re-composition.
Muscle hypertrophy is caused by the micro tears in muscle tissue that happen during a body re-composition training session. It takes water to heal those micro tears, and I believe that soreness and water retention can explain why the scale doesn’t move even though your body is getting leaner.
This is why I recommend taking at least three measurements at the start of a training program, and continuing to measure for life. The scale can’t tell you if you’re getting leaner or smaller if dropping sizes is your goal. So Measure your chest, waist, and hips as a reference.
In addition, you need an eating and macro-nutrient plan if you are serious about your goals. I am not making a recommendation, but I will share that I overcame obesity with a ketogenic approach that includes 80–90 grams of protein, 90 grams of fat, and fewer than 20 grams of carbohydrate per day, mainly from vegetables that grow above the ground.
When my clients’ weight loss got off to a slow start I would suggest tracking, weighing, and measuring their food for a week.
I hope these suggestions help you to start getting the results that you want, because I believe so strongly in the benefits of working out for life.
Do you have a question about fat loss? Leave it in the comments.
I’m happy to answer this question because it lets me dig in to some of the things I’ve discovered about walking, jogging, running, and sprinting in the course of the past 45 years.
When I was in the 7th grade, I struggled to jog a mile in P.E. even though I was pretty good at sprinting. It wasn’t until I learned how to do intervals in my 40’s that I was able to use walking, jogging, running, and sprinting to lose weight and to increase my speed and endurance.
There are some good studies that demonstrate the connection between muscle fiber composition and running ability, here is an article in Runner’s World that goes into this topic in depth:
It’s good to understand how your muscle fiber genetics can affect your walking and running, but my experience with walking and jogging for weight loss is that the method you enjoy the most will give you the best fat loss.
I suggest using walk/jog intervals like this: warm up with five minutes of easy walking, then jog until you become winded. Your level of conditioning will determine how long this takes. Ease back into a walk until your breathing and heart rate come back down, and you feel eager to jog or even run again. Repeat this sequence for eight rounds, and then walk until you feel completely rested. Repeat the interval session if you wish.
When I was a certified trainer, I learned that fat burning and conditioning happen during recovery from an interval as well as during exertion.
In other words, every time your body returns to baseline from the exertion of jogging or running, you are getting just as much fat burning benefit as when you are working on your endurance. To wrap up my answer, I will say both walking and jogging enhance weight loss and fat loss, especially when you perform them in intervals.
No matter what, enjoy your training, and I wish you well.
I answer reader questions on Quora, and here is the one I just answered this morning:
“What is a good way to lose weight? I’m always tempted to eat right after I promise myself I won’t, and I end up feeling extremely guilty after.”
Here is my answer:
I struggled with my weight during my youth and young adulthood. I controlled my appetite with cigarettes and diet pills until my mid thirties. When I gave those up, I became obese, and I wasn’t able to stop overeating until I made a major shift in my eating and training habits.
The simplest change in my eating was guided by an old saying among bodybuilders,
“Nothing out of a bag or a box.”
Of course there can be exceptions to this suggestion, but it can help you to think about what is left to make up your menu plans. Consider the outside aisles of your grocery store. Here’s a description of my shopping pattern starting on the left and working my way around the store to the right: vegetables and fruits, dairy, eggs, meat, butter, bacon, and cheese. (No, I don’t go overboard with the last six items.) In order to get nourished and satisfied, I set macro-nutrient targets for protein, fat, and carbohydrates.
Note: I gave up my fitness and nutrition certifications in 2018, and I am careful not to make diet recommendations. I simply share the methods that helped me personally overcome obesity more than a dozen years ago.
The most important idea I want to share is that minimally processed foods satisfy my appetite, while foods that have been processed and packaged leave me even hungrier than I was before I started eating.
By writing down my menu in the morning, and following it throughout the day, I avoid cravings and guilt, and I have plenty of energy for working, training, and fun that don’t involve food.
The bottom line is that in order to stop overeating, I had to replace the foods that stimulate my appetite with foods that satisfy it.
My motto is, “Eat for yourself,” and I sincerely hope that this is the year when you will find the nutrition plan that works for you.
My complete nutrition plan including a three day sugar elimination diet, ongoing weight loss, eating out guide, shopping lists, and maintenance plan, is available at Sugarfreedom.com.