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 “Fuel Pull” Tuna Wraps Recipe

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If you’re used to reading my blog, you’ll know I am a long-time fan of probiotic-rich foods. For Trim Healthy Mama “Fuel Pull” days I like to make tuna sandwiches wrapped in lettuce. Here’s my simple recipe:

THM Fuel Pull Tuna Wraps

 Ingredients:

1 can of tuna (or salmon)

1 tsp.  light mayonnaise (optional)

2 T nonfat Greek yogurt

1 tsp kefir, plain

2 T “real” probiotic-rich sauerkraut (homemade or from a whole foods, health food store/section)

1 T “real” probiotic-rich dill pickle relish (from a whole foods or health food store/section)

Seasoning to taste (sea salt, pepper, Italian, etc.)

1 large lettuce leaf

Method:

Mix all and spread in a lettuce leaf. Add strips of red bell pepper, a little nonfat mozzarella cheese, sunflower seeds or some additional sauerkraut, if you’d like. Wrap in the lettuce leaf and eat.

Note: I also like making creamy, ranch-style “E” salad dressings with all of the above except the tuna and lettuce leaf.

Comparison of THM “S” Foods to other Diets

Nourishing Traditions book photo

In comparing the “Trim, Healthy Mama” (THM) diet to other diets out there,  I find that the “Satisfying S” foods are similar in many ways to the healthy fats and proteins of the following diets: GAPS, Paleo, Nourishing Traditions, The Maker’s Diet, and The Schwarzbein Principle.

The biggest difference is that THM would not allow certain starchy carbohydrates to be eaten with the fats–at least, as long as you’re trying to lose weight. For the same reason, THM authors advise never eating fruits or fruit-like vegetables with your “S” meals if weight loss is your goal. That means tomatoes are not allowed. Also, they advise not eating nuts or avocados in “Deep S” weight loss meals, so almond flour, peanut flour, and substituting avocados for butter or oil are out. After you lose the weight and want to maintain, you’re free to add in “S Helpers” like tomatoes, almond flour, peanut flour and even grains with your “S” meals.

One thing I have noticed is that it’s easy to find low-carb “E” and “Fuel Pull” recipes on the internet, but “S” and “Deep S” recipes are more of a challenge–mainly because fats–even healthy ones–are still seen by many as unhealthy.

Here are a few examples of “S” recipes and substitutes:

  1. Pesto pasta with meatballs smothered in cheeses, but the pasta has to be made of zucchini or spaghetti squash or maybe  glucomannan “miracle” noodles or kelp noodles (I cheat and use pine nuts as S Helpers in my pesto.)
  2. Deep-fried donuts dipped in powdered Truvia or xylitol and maybe a sprinkling of cinnamon or cocoa powder, but the donuts would have to be made of something low-carbohydrate and non-nut, like coconut flour, flax meal and psyllium husks.
  3. Ice cream made with cream cheese, THM skinny chocolate chunks, THM-approved sweetener, and maybe some butter or coconut butter. Mix, freeze and eat as ice cream. (I haven’t tried this yet, so if it’s bad, I’ll remove it from the list; if they’re good, I’ll leave it.)

*Note: I know that raw nuts and seeds are promoted as being super healthy–and they usually are–but the high phytate levels therein can cause kidney problems, so sometimes roasted is better–or just eliminating nuts and seeds and substituting other ingredients. You can pre-soak seeds and nuts in water and a little yogurt, but it’s such a bother, I don’t do it anymore.

My THM Diet Progress

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The THM diet is truly amazing. Out of curiosity I looked back over my past years’ records posted to SparkPeople.com. Just as I thought—on the days I ate THM-style meals, I lost weight and almost every one of those meals happened to be a “Deep E” meal. I tried some high healthy fat meals, but they were all mixed with carbs, so it’s no wonder I never lost weight. At least I finally know the reason behind all that gaining, losing and stalling!

Now that I have discovered the key to THM’s meal cycling plan, I am enjoying “S” meals filled with satisfying, healthy fats. Bring on the yummy, fatty, healthy oils and let me live off the “fat of the land!” I’m feeling more full and less hungry. My cravings are much lower with “S” meals. (The glucomannan recipes are a big help.)

I have never enjoyed any diet more than this one, because it is so successful! Another discovery: I’m losing more weight more rapidly when I eat about 2 “Deep S” meals and 1 “Deep E” (refuel) meal per day…and I stall or gain weight every single time I “cheat” with the slightest bit of starchy carbohydrate eaten with a fat. Lessons learned. Everyone is different, of course, so you might not want or need the same combinations of foods, but experiment and see what works for you! You have a good chance of really figuring out what works and what doesn’t with the Trim Healthy Mama eating plan.

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.

THM “Deep E” or “Refuel” Foods Chart

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“E” stands for “Energizing.” “E” meals are protein-centered meals that have a medium amount of carbohydrates, but have less fat. They utilize glucose as their chief fuel. The result is weight loss.

When you are working to lose weight, you want to eat what Serene and Pearl call “Refuel” foods, along with the “S” and “Fuel Pull” meals. What is confusing to me in the book is that “Refuel” foods are actually “Deep E” foods, so that’s what I call them.

“Deep E” foods are those foods restricted to the initial 2-week weight loss cycle for those just starting out on the THM diet. The purpose of these two weeks is to detoxify your body and get you accustomed to this new way of eating. It’s kind of like a practice run before getting into the THM lifestyle.

Deep E (Refuel) Foods for Days 6, 7, 13 & 14 of Weight Loss Cycle

Forbidden Deep E Foods

Allowed Deep E Foods

Allowed Deep E Foods
Beverages

  • No cream or coconut milk in coffee

Dairy

  • No kefir
  • No goat’s milk

Protein

  • No egg yolks

Oils & Nuts

  • No more than 1 tsp fat with any meal/snack

 

Beverages

  • Almond, hemp or flax milk
  • Black coffee
  • Tea
  • THM earth milk

Vegetables & Fruits

  • Any vegetables (except potatoes)
  • Sweet potatoes!
  • Berries
  • Apples
  • Any fruit in moderation (except bananas)
  • 100% fruit jam/jelly

Grains & Legumes

  • Beans
  • Quinoa
  • THM pancakes*
  • THM pan bread*
  • Sprouted breads
  • Sprouted wraps
  • Chana dahl = dried lentils, peas or beans

 

Oils

  • Low fat and minimal, but not nonfat
  • No more than 1 tsp fat with any meal/snack
  • 1 tsp nuts/seeds/nut butter/meal

Proteins

  • EAT PROTEIN WITH EVERY MEAL!
  • Chicken breast
  • Fish
  • Cottage cheese
  • 0% fat Greek yogurt
  • Egg whites

Desserts

  • Meringues*
  • Slick trick puddings*
  • Smoothies*

 

*Recipes from the THM book

THM “Fuel Pull” Foods Chart

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A Fuel Pull (“FP”) day is low in carbohydrates and low in fats. Consequently, they are naturally low calories days. They utilize the body’s own body fat for fuel since they do not contain a primary dietary fuel.

The FP meals are intended for days 4, 5, 11 and 12 of the initial THM weight loss cycle and for any days that you want to push weight loss into a higher gear. However, Serene and Pearl caution readers not to eat Fuel Pull meals for more than two solid days in a row.

Fuel Pull Foods Chart

Forbidden Foods Allowed Foods Allowed Foods
Beverages

  • No cream, fatty milk, or coconut milk

Fruits & Vegetables

  • No fruit, except berries
  • No potatoes
  • No sweet potatoes
  • No bananas

Grains & Legumes

  • No processed grains
  • No high-glycemic grains
  • No legumes, except for de-fatted peanut flour
Dairy

  • 0% Greek yogurt
  • 1% Cottage cheese
  • Carton egg whites or Egg Beaters
  • Whey protein (Swanson Premium or Jay Robb)
  • Nonfat cream cheese
  • Laughing Cow or Weight Watchers light cheese wedges

Beverages

  • Almond, flax milk or hemp milk, unsweetened
  • Fat Stripping Frappa (recipe in book)
  • Glucommannan smoothie
  • Coffee – black or with nut/seed milk
  • Any FP smoothie with berries or cocoa powder and glucomannan powder

Vegetables

  • Avocado (in moderation)
  • Non-Starchy Vegetables
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots (one small raw per meal)
  • Cauliflower (for making “Fotato Soup” – in book)
  • Celery
  • Cucumber
  • Leafy Greens
  • Red bell pepper
  • Sauerkraut –the “real” kind
  • Tomatoes

Fruits

  • Berries
  • All-fruit jams

Desserts

  • Fat free Reddi Wip
  • Glucomannan powder for making puddings and smoothies
  • Muffin in a bowl (recipe in book)
Meats

  • Chicken breast (3 oz)
  • Chicken sausage
  • Fat free chicken broth (base to most Fuel Pull sauces and soups)
  • Fat free chicken soup
  • Grilled tilapia
  • Lean steak strips (3 oz)
  • Lean turkey or chicken breast
  • Light Progresso soups
  • Salmon burger
  • Tuna
  • Turkey pepperoni
  • Turkey bacon

Condiments

  • Mayonnaise, low calorie, low carb

Grains (or grain substitutes)

  • Oats (allowed after the initial 2-week weight loss cycle is complete)
  • Oat fiber –not oat bran (from Netrition.com)
  • Wasa crackers
  • Coconut flour
  • GG crisp bread crackers
  • Shirataki, Miracle or Konjac Noodles
  • Kelp noodles
  • Protein-Plus Peanut Flour, defatted (from Netrition.com)
  • Wasa Crackers
  • GG Crisp bread crackers
  • Joseph’s pitas & crackers
  • Psyllium husk powder

Oils

  • Avocado (in moderation)
  • Nuts & seeds (in moderation)
  • Use oils very sparingly, such as in a spray form for cooking.

 

THM Creamy Mocha Smoothie Recipe (FP, E or S)

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A friend and I like to swap THM recipes, so today I’d like to share one of my favorites. It’s not original. It’s merely my adaptation from the THM book, but it’s delicious and, due to the glucomannan powder, very filling.

Creamy Mocha Smoothie (FP, E or S)

1 cup almond milk (FP or E) or coconut milk (S)

1/3 cup Greek yogurt or nonfat cottage cheese (FP or E) or lowfat cottage cheese (S)

1 scoop of protein powder—egg whites (FP or E) or whey (S)

1 tsp vanilla

~1/8 tsp sea salt

½ tsp glucomannan powder

2 T xylitol

1/8 cup cocoa powder

1 T flax meal

¼ tsp. any super green powder (i.e. spirulina or chlorella)

6 coffee ice cubes

Method:

1)      Blend all but the ice.

2)      Let rest 20 seconds to let the glucomannan gel.

3)      Add coffee cubes.

4)      Blend.

5)      Serve.

THM Diet: Starchy vs. Non-starchy Vegetables

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I did it again! I was following the THM diet and doing so well, enjoying a lovely “Deep S” day. It’s fall right now, so I decided to make a crust-free pumpkin pie with egg whites, xylitol sweetener, and coconut milk. It was divine! But I didn’t lose any weight that day. What had happened? With a little research, I discovered that pumpkins are high in starch. I had “E’d” myself on an “S” day.

On one hand, I could be discouraged, because my weight loss was held up for a day. On the other hand, I’m so, so grateful to finally know what causes weight gains and weight loss plateaus. I ate some good, healthy “Deep S,” fat-rich coconut milk with a starchy pumpkin. It’s one of THM’s most basic weight loss principles: Eating starchy carbs and with any fat prevents weight loss!

I have to remind myself again: no bread with butter, no bananas and peanut butter, no cake and ice cream, no macaroni and cheese. I can make healthy THM versions of all these foods, but if I eat them together and I’ll pack on the pounds.

To make things easier for me (and for you), I copied down the following charts of starchy and non-starchy vegetables so there will be no more confusion.

List of Non-Starchy Vegetables[i] for Deep S and Fuel Pull Days

  • Amaranth or Chinese spinach
  • Artichoke
  • Artichoke hearts
  • Asparagus
  • Baby corn
  • Bamboo shoots
  • Beans (green, wax, Italian)
  • Bean sprouts
  • Beets
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Cabbage (green, bok choy, Chinese)
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery
  • Chayote
  • Cucumber
  • Daikon
  • Eggplant
  • Greens (collard, kale, mustard, turnip)
  • Hearts of palm
  • Jicama
  • Kohlrabi
  • Leeks
  • Mushrooms
  • Okra
  • Onions
  • Pea pods
  • Peppers
  • Radishes
  • Rutabaga
  • Salad greens (chicory, endive, escarole, lettuce, romaine, spinach, arugula, radicchio, watercress)
  • Sprouts
  • Squash (cushaw, summer, crookneck, spaghetti, zucchini)
  • Sugar snap peas
  • Swiss chard
  • Tomato
  • Turnips
  • Water chestnuts
  • Yard-long beans

List of Starchy Vegetables[ii] for Deep E (Refuel) Days

  • Beans (dried)
  • Beets
  • Carrots
  • Corn
  • Parsnips
  • Peas
  • Potatoes
  • Pumpkin
  • Squash, winter
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Turnips
  • Yams
  • Parsnips
  • Plantain
  • Taro

THM “Deep S” Foods Chart

S image

You cannot mix fat with starchy, sweet carbs or you will gain weight! I am learning the hard way that Serene and Pearl know what they’re talking about. I need to stick with their tried and true plan. No more fruits or fruit-like vegetables or and starchy vegetables on a “Deep S” day!

Deep S

So, let me explain what a “Deep S” day is and hopefully make it easier for you with my two columns of forbidden and allowed “Deep S” foods below. (I apologize that the columnar lines of the chart do not always show up in wordpress.)

“S” stands for “Satisfying.” The high (healthy) fat content in these meals makes you feel full and satisfied so you’re not hungry. (Adding just a little bit of glucommanan powder to each meal helps a lot too.) “S” meals are high in fat, high in protein, and low in carbohydrates. The only carbohydrates allowed on “S” days are leafy greens and other non-starchy vegetables.

Deep S Foods

Forbidden Deep S Foods

Allowed Deep S Foods

Fruits & Vegetables

  • No fruit of any kind, not even berries
  • No tomatoes in any form
  • No starchy vegetables
  • No sweet potatoes
  • No potatoes

Grains & Legumes

  • No grains (except for Wasa crackers)
  • No beans (except for green ones)

Oils & Nuts

  • No nuts
  • No seeds
  • No avocado
  • No peanut butter

Dairy

  • No yogurt of any kind!

 

Beverages

  • Almond milk
  • Flax milk
  • Coconut milk
  • Coffee with cream or coconut milk

Vegetables & Fruits

  • No fruit, except for a little lemon or lime juice
  • Non-starchy vegetables
  • Leafy greens
  • Very few onions
  • Mushrooms

Oils

  • Coconut oil and butter
  • Olive oil
  • Oily salad dressings
  • Butter & cream

Proteins (Dairy, Meats)

  • All meats (especially salmon)
  • Eggs (whole, omega 3 eggs)
  • Small amounts of cheese (cottage, ricotta, goat, cream, cheddar, etc.)
  • No yogurt!

Desserts

  • Skinny Chocolate*
  • Tummy tuck ice cream*
  • Meringues*
  • Slick trick puddings*
  • Whey smoothies*

*Recipes from the THM book

THM Shopping List

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In the THM diet book, Serene Allison and her sister Pearl Barrett have shopping lists available, but they’re not organized the way I would like. I wanted a list organized into weight loss categories and I did not want any foods on those lists that were for weight maintenance rather than weight loss.

So, below is my shopping list, categorized according to general locations in the grocery store and labeled “S” for Satisfying, “E” for Energizing or Refuel, and “FP” for Fuel Pull: (If any foods are in all three categories, I just wrote “ALL.”) Please bear in mind that the labels are important in your diet. Do not eat an E food with an S food, unless you see and S and an E together or the word ALL. As Serene and Pearl say, you might be eating an E meal and accidentally S yourself or vice versa. This can ruin your weight loss efforts for the day. But isn’t it great to finally know why you gain weight or can’t lose it? It’s better than years of not knowing and always wondering what you’re doing wrong. And you can get back on track right away or the very next day!

Dry Goods  Coffee, black – ALLTea – ALLBeans/legumes – E

Sprouted grain bread – E

Nuts and seeds – E, FP

Nut butters – E, FP

Chicken broth – ALL

Brown rice – E

100% fruit jam – E, FP

 

ProduceLeafy greens – SMushrooms – S

Tomatoes – E

Sweet potatoes – E, FP

All vegetables but potatoes – E

Berries – E, FP

All fruit in moderation but bananas – E

Avocado – FP

Lemons and limes in moderation – ALL

Dairy/DeliCoconut butter – SButter – S

Goat cheese – ALL

Eggs, whole omega 3 – S

Cheese, in moderation – S

Egg whites – S, E

Ricotta cheese – S

Cottage cheese regular – S

Cottage cheese, nonfat – S, E

Yogurt, plain, Greek nonfat – E

Laughing Cow or Weight Watcher’s cheese – ALL

Turkey bacon – ALL

Turkey pepperoni – ALL

 

Health Foods & BulkDried, unsweet coconut – SWhey protein powder – S

Hemp protein powder – S

Sprouted grain flour – E (optional)

Quinoa – E

Glucommanan powder – ALL

Fat free Reddi Wip – ALL

Glucommanan “Miracle” noodles – ALL

Defatted Peanut Flour – E, FP

Psyllium husk powder – ALL

Bragg’s liquid aminos – ALL

Kelp noodles – ALL

Any of the following sugar free sweeteners: xylitol powder, liquid stevia, stevia powder, Truvia or eyrithritol – ALL*

Almond flour – E, FP

Maca powder – ALL (optional)

Chia seeds – ALL (optional)

Goji berries – ALL (optional)

Vegetable glycerin – ALL (optional)

Canned/BakingPlain almond, hemp or flax milk – ALLCoconut oil – S

Extra virgin olive oil – S

Oil, any healthy – S

Cocoa powder – ALL

Pumpkin, whole canned –E

Cinnamon – ALL

Pumpkin pie spice – ALL

Ginger – ALL

Sea salt – ALL

Pepper – ALL

 

Grains, Breads, PastasWasa crackers – E, FPDreamfields Pasta – E

Sprouted wraps – E

Sprouted grain bread – E

 

MeatsAll nitrate- free meats – SGrass fed beef – S

Salmon – S

Chicken breast – ALL

Tilapia – ALL

Lean fish – ALL

CannedCoconut milk, full fat – SCoconut milk, nonfat – E, FP

Coconut cream – S

Tomato sauce – E

100% fruit jam/jelly – E

*I use xylitol or Truvia for sweetener.

I hope this makes understanding the book easier for you.

Please note that I will continue to add to or modify this list if I have forgotten anything or made a mistake somewhere. If anyone notices an error, please let me know so I can rectify it. Thanks!

Weight Loss Cycle

As I mentioned before, I did not find the THM book especially easy to read. For one thing, it is not organized the way I would want. I look forward to the new edition to their book coming out in 2014, which should clear up all questions.

Someone wrote in and told me the following, which might be helpful if she’s correct (and I’m not even super clear on it): “One of your largest errors is saying the Fuel Cycle is for the initial two weeks for those starting the THM lifestyle. That fuel cycle should ONLY be used after following (free styling) for at least 3 months and then only with the other qualifers explained in the book. Many of us never need to use the more restrictive fuel cycle.”

The authors recommend leaving a three-hour gap between an S meal and an E meal; any closer together and the opposite foods will clash in your body and stall your weight loss progress. They also recommend S desserts after an S meal and E desserts after an E meal. Fuel pull meals can be eaten close to any meal.

 

Trim Healthy Mama (THM) Weight Loss Progress – Day 16

Trim Healthy Mama THM Book Photo

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.

Key Ingredients

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.