Monday, September 21, 2015

"Have you Heard the Good News?!" (How talking about Trim Healthy Mama feels like street corner evangelization)

Have You Heard the Good News??*

Since April, I've been eating according to a "plan" called Trim Healthy Mama.  I actually wish it were called something else because then it might be a little easier to talk about it... especially with strangers.  It sounds a whole lot cooler to say words like "Atkins" or "Paleo" or "Whole 30" or "Clean Eating."   It's not my favorite thing to have to say "Trim Healthy Mama" when someone asks about what I've been up to...  But because it's what I have been up to, I will at least give the plan credit and call it THM :)

I like THM a lot, but I haven't written much about it yet because I don't want to be like that street corner evangelizer that has a good message but usually manages to make everyone else feel awkward or irritated about it. Some people just don't want the tracts.  Some people are already doin' their own thing and don't need something new.  Some people know what kind of crazy you're talkin' because they've heard it before.  Some people hear the message and roll their eyes.  Most people just walk on by because they're aware of a pretty solid bet in life - people that hang out on street corners generally aren't dispensing information, goods, or services that you want to get tangled up in.  

I've been to enough talks on evangelization to know that the most effective evangelizing is the kind you do with your life - your attitude, your actions, your decisions, and your relationships.  (Who was that one guy who said, "preach the gospel at all times and when necessary use words"?  Oh, right.  A saint.**) It's most effective when you have a relationship with a person and they witness your faith, and then eventually they're open to hearing about what it's done for you.  Maybe... then... just maybe... they might start asking questions about what this "thing" could do for them.   Usually how it works, right?  Have you heard many a witness talk about how a person was converted after a ten minute chat with the greasy guy on the boulevard who spends 8 hours a day shouting about the approaching apocalypse???

Well, I'm definitely not the doom and gloom type.  There are no winged horsemen hot on my heals.  But I've had enough people now (social media friends and in real life friends) witness my weight loss and ask me what this is all about, so it seemed like the time to share about THM.  I've managed to avoid the temptation to wear a "THM Rocks!" sandwich board sign on any street corners  (to everyone's relief...).   I'm simply in a position to have a friendly chat with you about what it is and what it's done for me :)

Trim Healthy Mama
(a plan and book by Serene Allison and Pearl Barrett)
(an overview by a *relative* newbie)

Here are some highlights:
  • THM is not a diet.  It does have a weight loss component (which I have used) but it's not a quick one-time weight loss diet.  You don't do THM for a set amount of days or until you lose a certain amount of weight.  It's a low glycemic lifestyle, meaning that it's a method of eating which prevents unhealthy spikes in blood sugar, and is a sustainable and healthy method of eating for the rest of your life, even after you've reached your goal weight.  Once you've reached your goal weight, you don't stop THM.
  • The plan is not just for moms and not just for women :)  Don't let the name fool you.  It's for all people of every age - kids, grandpas, pregnant or nursing women, their husbands, etc...  It's a plan that can be adapted for many different needs and health issues.  Again, it's not just about weight loss.
  • The plan encourages eating both slow-acting carbs and healthy fats (yay!!!) but not in the same meal.  Meals and snacks include a protein and then your fuel source - either fats (called S (Satisfying) meals) or carbohydrates (called E (Energizing) meals).
  • What's the reason behind this??  Both fats and carbohydrates fuel our bodies.  However, carbohydrates raise our blood sugar.  High blood sugar (glucose) is such a dangerous situation for our bodies that when we eat, our bodies process the glucose first.  In a meal with both high fat and high carbohydrates, our bodies deliver the glucose from the carbs to feed our cells first, and by the time it can start processing the fat we ate, our fuel cells are "full" and the fat is stored instead of burned as fuel.  By separating fats and carbs, the body is only required to deal with one fuel at a time and there is nothing left that will be stored (on my waistline or elsewhere ;) ) 
  • You can change your fuel type every three hours.  So you can have Trim Healthy Pancakes and fruit for breakfast (an E meal) and three hours after you finished you could have a pizza with lots of pepperoni, sausage, and cheese and other veggies on a cauliflower crust (an S meal).  There are so many tasty things to that you can eat on this plan, sometimes it's hard to choose!  
  • As with every healthy lifestyle change, there are some things you just don't eat when you commit to the THM lifestyle.  Some foods that aren't on plan are milk, wheat flour, white potatoes, white rice, all types of pasta, sugar, honey, and even real maple syrup.  While sugar, honey, and maple syrup are all natural sweeteners, they are not gentle on your blood sugar levels.  The THM preferred sweetener is stevia.  It's natural, low calorie, and low carb.   

Hmm, I think that's a decent brief overview.  I plan to follow this up with a little about my own story (THM and Me...hehe) and what a typical day's worth of food looks like for me.  (After that, I'll go back to my regularly clacked out posts about crocheting, books, coffee, and kids.  Or I'll shut down the blog.  Homeschooling is just keeping me too too busy these days ;) )  

How about you?  Have you heard of THM before?  Ever try it??    


* "Diets" and food plans tend to be pretty personal decisions and what works for some isn't the right fit for others.  But this post and the combox is not a place to pit one method against another.  I'm happy to answer your questions about THM and to hear about what works for you, but comments that are negative or critical will be deleted.  

**  St. Francis of Assisi :)  


  1. I'm curious, and can't wait to hear more. Do you recommend buying the books, or can you get buy with checking them out from the library? Also, are there receipe pins on Pinterest for THM?

    1. Before I totally committed to the plan I was using a library book to scope it. out. I recommend that before plunking down the money for your own copy. But, if you are going to do the plan you should have the book. People that try to do it w/o reading the book are usually VERY confused!
      And yes, there are TONS of THM boards on Pinterest. I keep my own which are divided primarily by meal, which you're welcome to follow! There is also an official THM pinterest board :)

  2. A friend of mine did this a few years ago. I tried a few good recipes, but I've never been one to stick to a plan very well. ;) However, this sounds similar to what I'm going to start for myself to be healthier after the baby is born, so I may be hitting you up for support and some more recipe ideas!

    1. There are SO many great recipes! I'm hoping to share a few "original" ones later this week :)

  3. All I know is you keep pinning things on Pinterest that make me drool. And you look awesome. So whatever you're doing is clearly at least a little evangelization worthy!

    1. Thanks, Mary!! I DO love my Pinterest boards for this!

  4. Fascinated to hear your experience. Yes I had heard of it before, was reading the Above Rubies mags when I was a teen, still reading, thought they've changed. I digress. A friend is doing THM and enthused too, though she isn't making much progress. I admit I looked into it a bit but was not drawn to a couple of areas; stevia- tastes awful and dh was not happy that it was 'artificial'. Also there was a huge emphasis on 'you can still eat sweets' and we tend to be more of the opinion that sweets are a treat (think Why French Women don't get Fat) but then perhaps my friend misunderstood?

    But genuinely happy for you, don't want to sound like a wet blanket, just my journey or rather the journey I didn't take.

    1. So funny that you mentioned that about dessert, Erin! That issue just came up recently on a fb group I follow. Someone mentioned how all the recipes people share are for sweets, etc... It IS a little lopsided in some of the forums. One of the reasons I like this plan is that it allows for treats and desserts that don't wreak havoc on your blood sugar. I'm so happy to have those options available to me, but certainly don't eat decadently every day!

      As for the stevia. It IS an acquired taste. I have found that the product most comparable to sugar is the THM Gentle Sweet. You can assure your husband that stevia is a NATURAL product. (artificial sweeteners are not encouraged on the plan) It is extracted from the stevia plant, just as sugar is from sugar cane, however stevia is low calorie and low carb, whereas sugar is not.


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