Freedom in the Trim Healthy Mama Eating Plan

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One of the reasons I began following the THM eating plan was that authors Serene and Pearl make it very clear that they intend for people to do whatever they need to do, in order to make the plan work for them as individuals. There’s not a lot of pressure in their methods. They don’t want anyone to count points or calories or grams of carbohydrates and fats. Instead, they want you to start thinking about broad categories of foods–foods that are high in healthy fats, fruits and vegetables that are starchy vs. non-starchy, foods that are relatively low in carbohydrates, and foods that don’t contain fats. Then they want you to pay attention to they way you combine certain foods in certain meals. (Watch the video on their website at: http://www.trimhealthymama.com/)

I’ll admit that this new way of eating is taking some time for me to understand and I made a lot of mistakes at first. The wonderful and amazing thing is that THM is very forgiving. I lost weight right from the beginning, even when I made mistakes.

Now I’m excited that my husband is going to join me in my new THM way of life. (Finally!) I have been busily preparing meals for his first two “Deep Cycle” weeks. I’m going to redo those weeks with him and I expect to keep learning and losing weight along the way.

My approach is not your approach and I may not follow THM strictly to the letter all the time. Remember that THM is not a “one size fits all” way of eating. I often experiment with new kinds of healthy sweeteners (ones that are less glycemic, for example) or new types of low-carbohydrate flours. If I gain weight from one of my recipes, I scrap it or tweak it. I’m still trying recipes from the THM book too. (Have you tried their frozen yogurt with strawberries and vanilla? It’s so good! I think it’s the reason my husband is willing to try the THM plan!) I am allergic to dairy fat, so “S” recipes are tricky. I substitute coconut oil and ghee for butter, nonfat cream cheese for regular cream cheese, hemp protein powder for whey protein, and skim milk mozzarella for fatty  cheeses. The point is that my approach fits me and my family and that’s what matters.

I encourage you to try the Trim Healthy Mama eating plan. It may take awhile for you to come up with just the right recipes that work for your weight loss or weight maintenance needs and that’s okay. But also remember that everyone loses weight and inches differently. Some weeks I lose weight; other weeks I lose no weight but I will lose an entire inch all over. I pay close attention to all positive changes in my body and rejoice that my diet and exercise are working better now than ever before.

So, be happy, be free, and don’t stress out. With time and practice you’ll get the hang of the Trim Healthy Mama way of eating and I’m hopeful that you will reap the rewards that I and so many other people are enjoying.

God bless you!

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THM “S Helper” Foods

quinoa photo (quinoa)

I’ll tell you about “S Helper” foods, but first a few personal notes….

I am about three weeks into the Trim Healthy Mama diet and, although I’ve had a couple of errors (and I know why, as noted in former blogs), my progress continues to be steady overall and I’m completely amazed! It’s slow at only .1-.3 pounds per day, but after being stalled and unable to budge the scale for so long, I’m happy with any progress at all!

People have asked me if adding workouts have helped me to lose weight. The answer is no. I have been doing about the same level of exercise for the past several years and haven’t altered my plan during my THM regimen. I get bored easily, so I change things up a lot. Some days I walk, hike or jog (or a combination of all three) for 30-60 minutes, some days I do a short 10-20 minute HIIT Crossfit-style workout, sometimes I take a one-hour ballet class, and sometimes I’ll swim laps for 30-60 minutes. I work out 5-6 days per week. Despite all that exercise, I worked super hard on dieting years and saw very little progress until I started on the THM food cycling plan.

I followed the THM weight loss cycle for about three weeks before attempting to experiment with “S Helpers.” I’m finding that I’m most consistently losing the most weight and keeping it off when I stick to more “Deep S” days. This is surprising to me, because the foods are so rich, creamy, and delicious with all the chocolates and puddings, creamy sauces, coconut milk smoothies, etc. All the foods are filling, yet the numbers on the scale keep going down! It’s nothing short of miraculous! In fact, I thank God every day, because it has been a huge frustration in my life to try all the “right” ways of eating that seem to work for everyone else but me. Now I finally know that–at least for me–eating the right foods in the right combination is the key to weight loss and weight maintenance.

About “S Helpers”

In their THM book, Serene and Pearl explain that S Helpers are carefully selected, THM-approved carbohydrates and healthy starches added to “S” meal plans. They do not recommend them until you’ve gotten good at following the THM weight loss plans for at least two months. Well, I guess I’ve cheated a little in this regard, because I tried some “S Helper” meals before I reached the two month point. I agree with the THM authors that adding “S Helper” carbohydrates to “S” or “Deep S” meals will slow your weight loss. That’s definitely what happened to me. However, I also agree that this is not necessarily a bad thing, as long as the loss is steady and consistent.

Here is a List of Approved “S Helper” Foods:

  1. 1 piece of sprouted Trader Joe’s, or Ezekiel bread, or 1 thin slice of homemade sourdough bread, or ½ piece of homemade regular whole wheat bread
  2. 1 medium Trim Healthy Pancake or Pan Bread
  3. ¼ -½ cup of cooked quinoa (it’s more gentle on blood sugar than most other grains)
  4. ¼ cup (no more) of cooked brown rice or other starchy grain (it’s harder on blood sugar)
  5. ¼ -½ cup of cooked oatmeal
  6. 1 extra small serving of fruit, such as ½ apple, ½ orange, or 1 mandarin
  7. ¼ -½ cup of cooked beans (you can use a more liberal and generous ½ cup serving of chana dahl)

Note: My “S Helper” was a handful of sweet potato chips. Serene and Pearl don’t even list sweet potatoes as S Helpers, but I was able to add a few and still continue to lose weight.