When I went to see my doctor back in early March, I weighed 140 pounds and had been stuck there for a year. No matter what diet I tried, no matter how much I exercised, I could not bust through that plateau and get “unstuck.” My doctor told me to stop eating all sugar and all white, refined grains. I was about 80% there, so following her instructions was not hard to do. I started doing Crossfit workouts in June. From March through mid-August I followed Tosca Reno’s “Clean Eating” diet and lost weight slowly, incrementally. Finally, I reached 135 pounds and stayed there. Stuck again. I was frustrated. Yes, I was glad I had lost weight, but I hated that I still had a roll of fat around my waistline, even though I was doing everything right—still working out (and hard), still eating healthy and clean. I stayed stuck until…
In mid-September a friend of mine told me about the “Trim Healthy Mama” (THM) diet. She and a number of THM groupies from Grenada Community Berean Church have been following the diet and losing weight like crazy. When my friend Anne described what people were eating on THM, I told her I was already eating all those same foods. True, but was I eating them in this specific order or in these specific combinations? No. It sounded strange, but since so many friends were losing weight, I decided to try it.
I am now a full-blown THM advocate! I have, at long last, busted through that stupid weight loss plateau and have lost 4.7 pounds in 16 days. Now, some of you may think that is not a lot of weight over that period of time, but it is for me. After being stuck for so long, this is amazing, miraculous progress for me. Every day that I weigh myself (and I do so every day), I’m losing about .3 pounds per day and I see it on the scale.
Enough about how great the diet is; let me explain a little about what it is. The book, “Trim Healthy Mama,” by sisters Serene Allison and Pearl Barrett, is available online in either hard copy or ebook form. To be honest, the book is not easy to follow. In fact, in places, it’s downright confusing. I’m a visual learner and I need charts, graphs, lists, and color coding to help me organize just about anything. The confusion really came when trying to distinguish which foods to eat to lose weight and which foods to eat to maintain weight. It took me a few days of drawing up charts and lists and “practicing” the diet, including making several mistakes, before I could really begin the diet. I wasn’t frustrated, however, because even on those pre-diet practice days, I began losing weight!
The diet encourages eating high (healthy) fats, low carbs, and high proteins, but not on the same day or in the same meal. In fact, to lose weight, THM recommends a 14-day cycle of eating the following types of foods in the following order:
Day 1: “Deep S” (stands for “satisfying”) = high fats, moderate proteins, and no carbohydrates, except for non-starchy vegetables
Day 2: “Deep S”
Day 3: “Deep S”
Day 4: Fuel Pull (refers to your body’s ability to pull fuel from stored fat) = high protein, low fat, low carb
Day 5: Fuel Pull
Day 6: Refuel (a “Deep E,” day, which stands for “energizing”) = high protein, moderate carbs, low fat
Day 7: Refuel
Repeat Days 1-7 for days 8-14.
There are a number of rules on the THM diet:
1) NEVER EAT MUCH (IF ANY) FAT WITH A CARB. (That means no bread with butter, no grilled cheddar cheese sandwiches, no bananas and peanut butter, no PB&J sandwiches)
The book explains a little of the science behind the fat-carb theory, but I don’t pretend to fully understand it. All I know is that this principle alone has helped me to lose weight.
2) Bananas and potatoes are forbidden during the weight loss cycles, but are allowed occasionally in weight maintenance.
3) For weight loss, never eat nuts, seeds, grains, legumes, avocado, tomatoes, or fruit on a high fat “Deep S” day.
Another important point you’ll notice right away about the THM diet is that it’s not only low carb, it’s low-glycemic. In other words, the diet ensures that your blood sugar remains stable. There’s no sugar and there are no refined grains or flours on this diet. Sprouted grains, however, are allowed and encouraged on days 6, 7, 13, and 14 of the weight loss cycle. Those are also the days that most fruits are allowed. Believe me, after doing without grains and fruit for five days, you’ll be excited about eating them again.
Another thing you’ll notice about the THM diet is that there is no weighing, no measuring, and no calorie counting. I know other diets make this claim too, but this is truly the only one that has worked for me. I just eat the foods on the plan until I feel full and I lose weight.
I’ll write a shopping list blog in a future post regarding the ingredients you’ll need for the THM diet, but one of the key weight loss ingredients you’ll want to buy right away is glucomannan powder. It’s a natural thickener made from the konjac root. Not only does it thicken puddings and smoothies; it expands in your stomach and makes you feel fuller faster so that you don’t to overeat. I buy the powder in a bottle of capsules, break open the capsules, and stir them into my foods. Make sure you buy capsules and not tablets, unless you feel like grinding up the tablets in a coffee grinder.