What is a good way to lose weight?

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.

There are plenty of satisfying foods in the outside aisles of your grocery store.

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.

A lettuce or cabbage wrap at lunch instead of a traditional sandwich.
Colorful vegetables for roasting.

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.

My Perfect Carnivore Meal Plan

Perfect macros for my goals: 102 grams of protein, 88 grams of fat, 6.4 grams of carbohydrate, 1250 calories.

One Diet that Always Works

When I was preparing to sing at Carnegie hall in 2019 I had two essential goals for my nutrition plan. It had to allow me to get leaner, and it had to be anti-inflammatory.

When you are a singer, and you eat anything that causes inflammation, the first place you notice it is in your voice. The vocal chords have to lengthen, shorten, and vibrate in perfect sync with the demands of the singer’s intentions.

Getting ready go on.
Onstage at Carnegie Hall

The vocal chords, like the heart and the digestion, are autonomic. Here is the definition of autonomic:

1 : acting or occurring involuntarily autonomic reflexes. 2 : relating to, affecting, or controlled by the autonomic nervous system or its effects or activity autonomic drugs.
Autonomic | Definition of Autonomic by Merriam-Webster

Any inflammation will reduce the vocal chords’ ability to respond to autonomic reflexes.

I Went Carnivore in March of 2018

I expected to lose body-fat and have more energy, but I didn’t expect more glowing skin, more hair growth, smaller moles, and extra high notes at the top of my vocal range. It was as if eating mostly meat and animal foods had reset my body’s growth regulation to increase growth where I wanted it, and limit growth where I didn’t.

How is it possible that one diet could help me lose fat, and grow longer thicker hair at the same time? I believe that the healthy action of the Carnivore diet comes from the way it heals hyperinsulinemia.

Here is the definition of hyperinsulinemia:

Hyperinsulinemia (hi-pur-in-suh-lih-NEE-me-uh) means the amount of insulin in your blood is higher than what’s considered normal. Alone, it isn’t diabetes. But hyperinsulinemia is often associated with type 2 diabetes.
Hyperinsulinemia: Is it diabetes? – Mayo Clinic

I believe that the Carnivore Diet allowed me to improve my insulin response to food to the point that my entire body was able to perform better.

Eating in the Time of Covid-19

When we went into physical distancing in March of 2020, all of my singing events were cancelled, and I decided to go back to a low-carb diet that incorporated many vegetables and some fruits. My appetite increased immediately, and my motivation dropped. I attributed this to the lockdown blues, but since I returned to Carnivore after Thanksgiving a little more than 3 weeks ago, the sun has come out, my motivation has returned, and I’ve even lost some fat.

I have decided to claim the right to eat mostly meat, but I have designed the meal plan I posted here in order to keep my meat consumption at or below the amount of meat consumed by the average American which, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, was about 10 ounces of meat per day in 2019. The meal plan above contains 10 ounces of red meat. It is my opinion that red meat is safe and healthy in the absence of sugar, grains, and processed vegetable and seed oils.

I intend to honor the animals I eat in order to live by living fully with honesty, integrity, and generosity. Now that I eat mostly meat, I consume less of everything, including meat. I look forward to consuming less and creating more.

Here’s to a happy, healthy, productive future for all of us.


How to Cook A Beef Rib Roast

Learn this simple recipe, and get a fabulous Rib Roast every time.

When I was shopping for our family Thanksgiving meal, I found this rib roast for just $6.99 a pound. The usual price is 14.99, so this $70.00 roast was only 32.99. I bought it, took it home and put it in the freezer.

A few days before I was ready to roast it, I put it in the refrigerator to thaw. One of the most important tips I have for getting a delicious, evenly cooked roast is to allow it some time, usually between 30 and 45 minutes, to sit on the counter and return to room temperature before putting it in the oven.

Here are the ingredients and directions.

1 Beef Rib Roast. This one is just about 5 pounds.

3 Tablespoons of butter at room temperature

Salt and pepper to taste

1 teaspoon of Garlic Powder

1 teaspoon of Onion Powder

Pre-Heat the oven to 450 degrees. Place the Roast in a roasting pan and pat with paper towels.

Salt and pepper the roast and sprinkle with the garlic and onion powders.

With a butter knife, spread the butter over the top and sides of the roast.

Put the beef in the oven and roast at 450 degrees for 15 minutes.

Reduce the heat to 350 degrees and roast until a thermometer inserted into the center of the roast reads 150 degrees for medium rare, about 20 minutes per pound of total roasting time.

Place the beef on a cutting board, and allow to rest for 15 minutes before carving.

I slice the ribs off of the bottom of the roast and set them aside before carving.

For a delicious ketogenic meal, I like to serve this dish with roasted broccoli, and simple egg and cheese quiche cups. My sugar free diet program is available at Sugar Freedom.com

I hope you enjoy this recipe, and remember: Eat For Yourself.

All the best, Catherine

How Do I Lose Arm Fat?

How Do I Lose Arm Fat? Is the question I just answered on Quora.com.

Quora has been very helpful in showing me what people are really looking for in fitness advice, so I’ve decided to share my answer with you.

Catherine’s Answer on “Arm Fat.”

When I was trying to overcome obesity back in 2002, I did a lot of cardio and almost no resistance training. As a result, I lost muscle in my legs and arms, and I experienced loose skin starting in my late 30s. When I learned how to lift weights with proper form and technique, I was able to bring definition back to my legs and arms. When I had my fitness transformation studio, by clients were always amazed by the fact that when they trained their arms with resistance exercise they got smaller, not bigger!

Here is one way lifting makes the arms look better: If you build the deltoid muscles, which are at the top of your arms, that lifts and lightens the skin on the opposite side of your arms.

Here are my favorite exercises for defined arms:

One Arm Overhead press, Deltoid Raises, Tricep Kickbacks, Bicep Curls, Hammer Curls, Bent Over Double Tricep Extensions, and Butterfly Raises. You can find video examples of all of these exercises on YouTube, and I would incorporate them into your fitness routine two or three times per week. A sample arm day would be One Arm Overhead Press: 8 reps per arm 3 rounds. Tricep Kickbacks: 8 reps per arm 3 rounds, Bicep Curls: 8 reps per arm 3 rounds, Deltoid Raises: 8 reps 3 rounds.

Finally, it sounds like your diet is already working for you, so if you keep doing what works in the nutrition department, you should definitely see improvement in four weeks if not sooner with these exercises.

I Could Have Trained With Vince Gironda

I could have trained with Vince Gironda at Vince’s Gym on Ventura Boulevard in Studio City,CA, but I didn’t. I bought a membership at the Holiday Heath Spa across the street instead.

I wish I had known back in the 1990s when I was pursuing a career as an actor, singer, and dancer that Vince and his wife Peggy did train women at his gym. Peggy was a former showgirl, and she had established the first gyms for women in Los Angeles in order to teach them how to achieve that Hollywood physique.

If only I’d had the courage to ask, who knows what I could have achieved physically with Vince’s help in those early years of my performing career.

Fast forward to 2008.

I’m a stay at home mom trying to figure out to overcome obesity at age 43. I made two changes to my health routine that I’m sure Vince and Peggy would have approved of. I cut carbs, dropped cardio, and I started lifting weights with a focus on excellent form instead of just more weight and more reps.

Within 12 weeks I had transformed my body, and embarked on a new lifestyle, which I have maintained ever since.

Still, something changed four years ago as I finished going through menopause.

I found my hunger, cravings and my waistline creeping up. I also found my strength, optimism, and motivation going down. My Low Carb/Ketogenic diet wasn’t quite maintaining my weight, and my enthusiasm for lifting at the gym was fading away.

In March of 2018, I discovered Dr. Shawn Baker’s Carnivore Diet.

I followed it in order to get ready to sing at Carnegie Hall in March of 2019. After that, my health and happiness started improving, leading up to the Summer of 2019 when my husband and I got to see our son Colin graduate from High School. We were all so happy, and Colin decided to enroll at Columbia College and work in retail while he took his general education courses and considered his future.

I was writing and rehearsing a one-woman show about the Irish Opera Diva Catherine Hayes when Covid 19 hit and upended all of our plans. Still, I am so grateful that my husband is back to work teaching, and my son is working and taking his courses on line. Best of all we are all healthy, but these eight months have left me feeling heavy, sluggish, and sad.

In Costume as Catherine Hayes

This is where Vince Gironda comes in.

Vince was one of the modern pioneers of carnivore, because decades ago he started putting his clients on the Steak and Egg diet. Here’s how it goes according to guys who trained with Vince in the past:

For five days in a row, his trainees would eat as many eggs and as much steak as they wanted to get satisfied at two meals per day, and then they would have a day off to eat whatever they liked, then back on steak and eggs for five days, and repeat until the desired level of body weight and leanness was achieved.

I know that steak and eggs for five days might sound crazy, but I’ve done carnivore, and Dr. Blake Donaldson’s Strong Medicine Diet, so I’m not scared. Of course I would never recommend this approach to anyone else. I’m just an actor. I’ve never even played a doctor on TV, so be sure to ask a real doctor before you try anything like this. Still, nobody will ever know if this approach is safe long-term if nobody admits that they’ve tried it.

Today, I am starting Vince Gironda’s steak and egg diet, and I will follow it all the way to the end of 2020. On the sixth day of each week I will follow my original Sugar Freedom Diet which is low carb, but which includes above ground vegetables, full fat dairy, and a small amount of low sugar fruit. This will be ideal because it will allow for more conventional holiday meals on Thanksgiving and Christmas.

If you are interested in the plan I used to overcome obesity at age 44 you can ===>Click here for Sugar Freedom<===

Although I am looking forward to getting leaner and taking a couple of inches off of my waistline, those aren’t my main reasons for doing Vince’s diet. The main reason is that the more glucose I eliminate form my eating plan, the more energy, motivation, and enthusiasm I have for everything else in life. Why? My research has taught me that sugar and the foods that break down to sugar can have a negative effect on the hormones that control mood and motivation like dopamine. In my next post, I’ll be writing about the science of dopamine sensitivity, and reporting back on my results on steak and eggs.

Until then be well, and always remember:

Eat for yourself.

Simple Pork Roast Recipe

Start with a two to three pound pork roast.  I like to pick one that has a cap of visible fat.  This, along with the butter in the recipe, will baste the roast as it cooks. 

Ingredients and directions:

Pork Roast 2-3 pounds

Salt, Pepper, and Garlic Powder

3 Tablespoons of butter: at room temperature

Pre-Heat oven to 450 degrees.

Place the pork roast in a baking pan, and season with salt, pepper, garlic powder.  Add a sprinkle of herbs like Thyme, Rosemary, or Herbs de Provence if you have them on hand.

Spread the butter over the top of the seasoned roast, then put the roast in the oven at 450 degrees for ten minutes.  Reduce the heat to 350 degrees and continue to roast until the meat reaches an internal temperature of 170 degrees: about 20 minutes per pound.

You can’t beat a tender pork roast for the price!

The Best Workout For You.

The Best Workout For You, Is the One You Are Willing To Do.

I love to train, I really do, but there are three things that put me off when I mentally prepare to train.

  1. I think it will be boring.
  2. The exercises will feel too hard.
  3. Training sessions take too long.

The Psychology of Training

When I think about exercise I get mental pictures of how it will feel, and of how much I will enjoy it, or not. What follows is a negotiation in my mind between the id, which wants to stretch out and check Twitter, and the superego which wants the benefits of training.

My superego, which is writing this post, has the intention and discipline to find a way to win the negotiation. Here is the solution to my dilemma: Come up with a workout that my id is willing and eager to do.

I have designed a short attention span training session that contains a single set of exercises with no repeats.

This resolves the anticipation of too much boredom, difficulty, and time. By resolving these perceived drawbacks of exercising, my willingness to train is assured, and all systems are go.

If you decide to learn this system, you will gain strength and results, become more skilled, and get willing to add repetition and difficulty, so that you can progress. Once you discover the fun and gratification of getting better at training, you have entered the positive cycle of “work and reward.” This cycle makes you eager and willing for the next session.

I have found over the past dozen years, that a program design made up of a body-weight warmup, six exercises super setted as three rounds of each pair of exercises, followed by about 9 minutes of intervals, is the most effective workout design for fat loss and positive body transformation. I have also learned that I have a lot of stubborn resistance to the length and difficulty of this design. The exercise session below is my compromise. It consists of 12 exercises performed straight through as one giant set as follows:

  1. Suitcase squat 8 reps
  2. Push up 8 reps
  3. Romanian Deadlift 8 reps
  4. Dumb Bell Row 8 reps
  5. T-Bend 8 reps per leg
  6. Overhead Press 8 reps
  7. Calf Raise 16 reps
  8. Reverse Fly 8 reps
  9. Standing Leg extension 8 reps per leg
  10. Bicep Curl 8 reps
  11. Plie Squat 8 reps
  12. Tricep Extension 8 reps.

The warmup is simply 4 reps of each movement performed without weights. When I am done with this session I am ready to dance, write, rehearse, or get on with the other tasks of the day. I hope you will try it if you ever experience those days when it’s hard to get willing.

If you want a copy of the Turbulence Training Program I used to learn how to exercise for life you can find it at my affiliate link: ===>Click Here<==.

Train on my friends!


Sugar Free Transformation

Transformation Story in Pictures.
Sugar Freedom Plan here: http://sugarfreedom.com

Sugar free transformation is what this blog is all about.

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

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

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

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

Positive Effect of Giving Up Sugarless Gum:

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

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

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

Be well, and eat for yourself.