How To Train If You Want To Perform.

When, I was in college, I learned this age old advice to actors:

“Only pursue a career as an actor if you can’t do anything else.”

From 2012 to 2020, I tried to channel my exclusive desire to work as a theatre professional into a career as a Certified Personal Trainer, fitness studio owner, and diet book author.

Although I helped thousands of people lose weight and gain strength, this choice caused me a lot of harm. It also harmed my family and other relationships because I was desperately unhappy once I gave up acting, singing, and dancing in order to do something to help people: something that mattered.

In her book, “Big Magic,” Elizabeth Gilbert writes,

“Do whatever brings you to life, then. Follow your own fascinations, obsessions, and compulsions. Trust them. Create whatever causes a revolution in your heart.”

What fascinates you? What are you compelled to pursue? What kind of training would free you to create your world?

Giving up sugar and cardio freed me to to act, sing, and dance again. Something about metabolic health has lessened my obsession with the way I look. What’s even more important is that good mental health is removing my obsession with what other people think or say about the way I look.

For the performer, the body is the medium. Today, my medium is a mature woman with gray hair, a few wrinkles, and a zest for life that is bigger than it ever was in her youth. I eat, train, and practice in a way that keeps my body as ready as possible to respond to the demands of my creative spirit.

My specific training is a combination of resistance, intervals, dance and yoga. These routines can all be found in my earlier posts on this blog. This post asks you to consider what kinds of training would develop your ability to be truly happy.

Now, I’m going to practice my piano and guitar. Later, I have choir practice and dance class downtown. In between, there will be cooking and housework to do. With acceptance of the fact that I only want to work as a performer, I have the energy and enthusiasm for all of it.

I wish you the time, energy, and enthusiasm to create the life and living you long for.

Carnivore Confessions.

I have three primary faults: greed, sloth, and vanity.

I have plenty of other faults in different permutations and combinations, but greed, sloth, and vanity are like the three primary colors that mix with black and white to produce an extraordinary spectrum of shades.

My three primary faults get in the way of my usefulness by keeping me out of service.

Greed, which shows up in my overeating and over spending, slows my body down and increases my guilt over debt, waste, and clutter. The guilt makes me want to hide from the world. My food greed shows up as fat that makes me shrink from the work I want to do.

That longed-for work has always been in the arts. The longing to act, sing, and dance for a living has been with me ever since I saw my first musical, “The Student Prince,” with my mother in Chicago when I was six years old. Vanity, my third primary problem, keeps me from pursuing jobs by convincing me that I am not pretty enough to get paid to perform. In the past, sloth and vanity combined to give me the excuse to wait until I looked better to go on auditions or book performances.

My excuses faded away when I went carnivore.

Within days of eliminating almost all plant foods from my eating plan my constant hunger, persistent desire to shop, and obsession over what people thought of me began to disappear.

By week two, I was going to the gym to lift weights, do intervals, and practice dance, in spite of the fact that I used to think I wasn’t fit enough to be seen at the gym. The vanity which shows up as avoidance and insecurity wasn’t getting between me and the progress I needed to make as a performer any more.

Today, my need to look younger and prettier in order to be accepted is shifting into a desire to be strong and energetic in order to be of service.

Carnivore Paradox.

My animal based diet has cleared my mind to the point that I am deeply aware of my impact on the environment due to my dependence on animals to survive and thrive. My family bought young hens, and they are laying most of the eggs we eat now. I drive less by combining shopping trips, especially because I learned that cutting just six miles of driving each day offsets the carbon impact of my diet. Best of all, my greed and vanity have diminished to the point that so many products like hair color, cosmetics, fast fashion, shoes, purses, and the latest decor just don’t tempt me the way they used to.

Carnivore cleared my path from consumer to creator.

I confess that my dependence on animals makes me concerned about my impact on the planet, but by eliminating most plants from my way of eating I end up consuming less of everything else, including meat.

My hope is that everyone can find a way of eating that brings peace and energy to life. If we can shift from and economy of extraction to an economy of experience, we can continue to survive and live fully together.

Three Myths About Weight Loss

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.

Catherine’s Keto Diet

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:

  1. Drop Sugar.
  2. 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,

Catherine Gordon

catherine@actwithfreedom.com

Sugar Free Meal Planning

by Catherine Best Gordon

Macro-Nutrients

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.

Extras/Seasonings


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:

Sugarfreedom.com

Does Jogging Work for Weight Loss?

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.

Would jogging or badminton be more effective in weight loss? Let’s say an alternate jogging days of 2km with a daily one hour play of badminton. I’m obese and trying to lose weight!

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:

  1. It works. Studies show consistent weight and fat loss for people who do HIIE.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
VERIFY: Yes, it is safe to exercise outside as long as you keep a safe  distance | wthr.com

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.

File:Badminton-1428046.jpg - Wikipedia

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

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
My Favorite Freedom Carbs.

5. Fats: Have enough fat grams to feel satisfied up to 80 grams of fat per day.

Resistance Training 3 Times Per Week

3 super-sets

8 repetitions per exercise. Do a total of three rounds for each super set.

For example:

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:

You can do this without weight if you’re a beginner!

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.

https://amzn.to/2MkyZJJ

Thanks!

Catherine

 

 

Three Day Sugar Detox

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.
Pork
Poultry
Fish
Shellfish
Tofu (The simple tofu that comes in a “brick” that is found in the produce aisle.)

  1. 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)
Walnut Oil
Macadamia Nut Oil
Avocado 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.

Frozen Foods
meats, fish, and vegetables on hand. Frozen berries after the 3-day sugar strike.

Canned Goods
Canned versions of the above vegetables, also olives. Tuna and wild salmon.

Nuts and Seeds
Raw Organic almonds
Walnuts
Ground Flax Seed
Chia seeds.
(Note: no nuts on the 3-day sugar strike.)

Condiments
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.

Other:
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.

Catherine

The entire Sugar Freedom is available at: SugarFreedom.Com

4 Keys to Weight Loss

Here is the weight loss question I answered on Quora today:

How do I decrease weight from 74 kg to 60 kg of a 5’3 female?

Answer:

In 2008, I followed a food and fitness program that took my weight from 67 kg to 60 kg in 12 weeks. What was even better is that I lost three dress sizes in that time and my waist went from 78cm to 66cm.

Here are my 4 keys to losing weight and sizes quickly and permanently:

  1. Eat adequate amounts of whole natural protein and fat, and eliminate added sugars and processed carbs. The saying I used during my program was, “Nothing out of a bag or a box.”
  2. Lift weights to maintain muscle and metabolic rate. The top goal of weight lifting isn’t calorie burning. The top goal is to build or maintain muscle so that your diet won’t burn it and leave you with a higher body fat percentage and a slower metabolism.
  3. Add interval training to increase fat burning and help manage appetite.
  4. Set goals for success. Choose a specific period to focus on your food and fitness changes. In my training practice my clients used 6 or 12 week programs. Choose a smart weight loss goal. Two pounds a week is reasonable when you are eating and training effectively. Follow process goals as well as outcome goals. Plan your menus, shop for, and prepare your food. Schedule your training sessions: for example: lift 3 times per week, and do interval training 3 times per week.

In my case, the diet I used was a whole food diet of 20 grams or less of carbohydrates per day from vegetables that grow above the ground, 100 grams of protein, and 80 grams of fat. I call this a “Leaner Keto” diet, and I used these exact macros to get excellent results when I did the “Ketogains” program a few years ago.

I am not a doctor or dietitian, and you should consult one before starting a diet and exercise program. My motto is, “Eat for yourself,” because I do believe that you need to discover and focus on what works for you when it comes to food and fitness.

Wishing you well,

Catherine

If you have question on food, fitness, and goal setting, post one in the comments or email me at:

catherine@dareshine.com

My complete nutrition program is available here: Click Here for Sugar Freedom http://sugarfreedom.com

My book on Amazon: https://amzn.to/3ql26LB