The Fat Loss Food Pyramid

TT Body Transformation Contest Winner: Catherine GordonWe’re back with part 2 of my interview with the 2nd TT Transformation Contest winner, Catherine Gordon. Catherine quickly went from being mistaken for her son’s grandmother to his lean and sexy mom by simply following a healthy diet and the TT workouts. If you missed the intro to this interview then head back to part 1.

Today, Catherine talks to us about nutrition and the role it played in reshaping her physique.  Her tip on creating your own personal food pyramid is a great one, so make sure you don’t skip over it!


Craig: Let’s talk about how someone needs to prepare the nutrition when they first get started in the transformation contest or even if they’re just first getting started with fat loss in general.

What steps did you take and what was the most EFFECTIVE thing that you did and the SIMPLEST thing? We do like to keep things as simple as possible.

Catherine: Well, I agree. I get my son on the school bus every morning and then come back and make my breakfast, so it has to be fairly simple for me. The most important thing for me with nutrition is satisfaction.

I have to find foods that SATISFY me or it’s over. I eat clean, no bag, and no box kind of stuff. I keep a lot of the processed food out of my diet and really focusing on lots of vegetables and fiber.

I make an omelet in the morning with a little zucchini, onions and tomatoes one egg and maybe egg whites for the rest of it, or sometimes with two eggs. The most important thing is that is so satisfying.

I have found that the way to get that is to stick with the whole foods. I tend to be a fairly high protein person, that’s just what seems to satisfy me. Do you know what I think we all need to do?

Craig: What’s that?

Catherine: I think we all need to come up with our PERSONAL FOOD PYRAMIDS.

Craig: I think you’re right, to be honest with you.

Catherine: Forget what the USDA says or whatever. Look at what you eat that makes you feel good and helps you stay lean and say, “That’s my food pyramid.”

Here’s what mine would look like….

At the bottom of the pyramid would just be a ton of vegetables and lettuce and some fruit. Then next would be lean protein. Then next would be not a whole lot of beans and grains with some fat mixed in. I like my natural peanut butter and stuff like that.

Then the tiny little bit of sweets at the top, which would be a special occasion or a cheat meal or something like that. But, I think you said, “Try a new vegetable every week,” or something like that.

Craig: Yes, try something new every week.

Catherine: The other thing that you have said specifically, which can be really helpful if people will do this is that you have that cooking day either on Saturday or Sunday, depending on what your schedule is like. That is one of the things that I would like to do for this upcoming contest. I’ve done that where I’ve had leftovers for maybe a couple of days.

I haven’t done it where I’ve really cooked a bunch of chicken breasts and then throw them in the freezer so that I can then microwave them; I haven’t gone that far yet. That is what I want to do now. I really want to try to just do that big shopping trip on Saturday and do a lot of cooking for me so that lean protein is in there and ready and that all vegetables are washed and everything is cut up, that kind of discipline.

Now, even if you don’t have that kind of discipline you can do it one meal at a time if you get in a rhythm, and you get the recipes that you know work. I would say, obviously, breakfast is just so important. The other thing for me personally is that I cannot allow myself to get too hungry.

If I look at where things fall apart and where things go wrong, and they do, even in the contest where I did really well, the contest that I won and the last contest that I came in third I had some bad days in there.

In every instance, if I look back, my troubled eating always came from the days that I had missed a meal or I had allowed myself to become just ravenously hungry.

So, that’s the thing…

…Prepare your healthy foods if you can and don’t ever let yourself get too hungry.

Very specifically you’ve got to have the snacks. My favorite snack in the first contest was a piece of string cheese and 20 almonds. If you’re going to eat almonds you have to count them.

I think people have talked about this on the boards before.

Craig: Yes, absolutely. That’s really good stuff there. Like you said, you have to plan ahead. That’s so important and critical.

Catherine: The other thing I definitely want to get in that was incredibly helpful was the bodyweight times 11. There’s a great deal of confusion about how much to eat and calories. I don’t know who that came from or what it was, but it was somebody that you had interviewed or somebody you had talked to.

Craig: It’s in the nutrition report from Dr. Chris Mohr that comes with the program, yes.

Catherine: It has really just been sensible. I have gone from when I started the program I was at 153, now I’m at 123, so obviously my weight has changed. Actually, I’m not sure I’m still at 123; I’ve got to weigh myself for the start of the next contest. It might be more like 126.

As long as you kind of stick with that math it does work. I hear a lot of people saying that for women my size that you’ve got to go down to like 1200 and I just think that’s kind of low.

Craig: Yes, that is pretty low.

Catherine: As far as I know you’re never supposed to go below that, even if you’re tiny. But, that did seem to work.

Craig: That’s pretty tough to stick to on a regular basis.

Catherine: It is tough. It’s really funny, because if you can just get up to 1400, just that extra 200 calories it’s two other mini-meals or it’s another little meal in there and it makes a very big difference.

Craig: So, how many calories were you generally getting? You were sticking to the bodyweight times 11, so that worked out to about just over 1500?

Catherine: Yes. I’m staying between 1400 and 1500. I’m a good eater, I love to eat and I love volume, so I’m probably getting closer to 1500, but I’m also getting pretty muscular. I think that allows me to be on that upper end of the range.

In between contests I’ve still been keeping track of what I’ve been eating and I’ve been up around 1700 or 1800 and I’m maintaining pretty well. For somebody my height that’s not bad.

Craig: Yes.

Catherine: I’m 5 foot 2 and I would say if I can keep it right around 1500, maybe on the low side, maybe closer to 1400. Some days are going to be lower, some days you’re just in the zone and the hunger isn’t that great, and sometimes I’m lower. But, I would say I’m staying between 1400 and 1500 during the contests.

Craig: Great. Then that keeps you pretty satisfied during the day too.

Catherine: It does. Well, one thing that I have noticed with myself is dealing with WINE, chardonnay specifically, which I like so much. That’s been one of the things that has been a challenge over the last year is figuring out can it be a part of my life.

The decision that I finally came to is that I’m just not buying it, not bringing it in the house.

If I’m going out to dinner once a week then I’ll have a glass of wine with dinner, but that’s been a big change. I was trying to keep it in my diet, but what was happening is that was a lot of food I could have been eating.

I finally had to have a talk with myself and say, “Look. Wouldn’t you rather EAT those calories?”

That’s the decision that I had to make. I have to admit that even during the contest that I won and the last contest there were certainly times when wine was consistently a part of my diet.

But, I did find that when I finally dropped it and pulled it out that the fat really started to move. It made a BIG difference.


So that’s a wrap on part 2. Check back tomorrow for part 3 where Catherine discusses the correlation between social support and fat loss.

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