Tuesday, September 22, 2015

THM and Me (sorry - I couldn't come up with a better title)*

(You can read my intro to Trim Healthy Mama here.)
*submit your better titles in the comments!  

While it's true that back in March of this year, I was still carrying around plenty of baby weight from from 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - and 5 babies, and I was probably carrying around pounds that weren't related to babies at all, I wasn't actually looking for a diet program.  I wasn't actively looking to lose weight or eat better or "get healthier" (soooo generic, I know...)  But I stumbled upon the mention of Trim Healthy Mama in Erica's blog and it went it a little something like this...  

Hmmm... a weight loss program that's working for someone I "know."  Oh look!  She's provided a link!  *Click*  Huh, would you look at that.  Hmmm... there are so many amazing testimonials here AND there are recipes for cakes and things that look like ice cream???  Oh, woah.  The book is $30??  Maybe they have it at the library.  *Click click*  They do!  

My husband was out of town for a long weekend in the middle of March and I spent my alone time in the evenings sitting in front of the fire alternately crocheting and devouring the book.  I was immediately intrigued by a few things (1) the book is written by sisters Serene Allison and Pearl Barrett, Christian woman who developed the plan and wrote this enormous book while caring for and homeschooling their large families, and that sounded fun and familiar and appealing, and (2) the book starts out talking about the affects of insulin on our bodies, and that really caught my attention since I'm already familiar with the ins and outs of insulin (or lack thereof) from taking care of my son Aaron who has type 1 diabetes. 

After finishing the book and feeling very convinced that this was something that was worth a try, I jumped in.  And I didn't ease into it, I just jumped in and haven't looked back.  I eventually had to (reluctantly) return the book to the library, but ended up buying my own, and then recently bought the new plan book and cookbook (which are better laid out than the old book.  But the old book is sufficient if that's all you can get your hands on.)

 I've been living the THM life for almost half a year and here's why this plan works for me: 

  • There's no calorie counting.  When my third child was about 6-9 months old I lost about 20 lbs calorie counting and exercising.  I liked the results, but most of the time I was miserable.  Calorie counting, for me, was wretched.  I was always hungry and angry about what I could and couldn't eat.  I felt like I was on a diet plan like this:  
      Breakfast - eat two egg whites and 1 almond.  
      Morning Snack - water.  
      Lunch - lick a cucumber.  
      Afternoon Snack - water.
    Dinner - look at a stalk of celery and then put it back in the fridge for tomorrow's breakfast.
      Evening Snack - Seriously?  You're asking for another snack??  You've already had two today!  

       I've tried calorie counting a few times since that one successful time and I usually eat a great and low-cal breakfast and then by 10 o'clock I'm starving, eat whatever I want, and decide that I'll actually start the real calorie counting thing the next day ;)  

       With THM, while you obviously have to be careful not to completely and totally overdo it on calories every single meal, you do not have to calorie count.  Your body will burn the fuel you give it, fats or carbohydrates, depending on the type of meal you've chosen.  You don't have to worry about how many calories are going in and you don't have to keep track of how many you burn exercising.  It's so freeing!!  And I am NEVER starving!!  

egg white omelet with zucchini and mushrooms and a fuel pull waffle with
greek yogurt and raspberries (fuel pull is a meal  that is low carb AND low fat)
THIS is the kind of breakfast that will hold me over till lunch!
I haven't even eaten one piece of celery since starting THM, let alone look at one...
but I do eat plenty of veggies!  Here's what a THM dinner can look like -
cauliflower chicken casserole (heavy on the cauliflower) and roasted
asparagus spears with shredded parmasan.
  • I eat healthily while still enjoying things like ice cream, chocolate, cake, and peanut butter.  Have you ever heard of a weight loss plan that included all that??  Since THM is meant to be a long term lifestyle, it only works for me because there are treat involved!  I'm not the type of gal who would swear off dessert in the name of health for the rest of my life.  Oh no no!  But with THM, desserts and snacks fit right into the plan.  

  • I am rarely tempted by "regular" food because with THM there are so many "respectable alternatives," as I call them.  This is huge for me!  Imagine my family sitting down to a pizza dinner and me sitting nearby licking my celery stalk.    Not cool.  Or having half a piece of pizza because I'm calorie counting or points counting??  Still sad.  With THM, I make myself a pizza crust out of cauliflower or I pile all the tasty awesome pizza toppings I want into a zucchini boat or half a bell pepper.  And believe me, it tastes good enough, that I'm not tempted to eat the "real" pizza. 

"Respectable alternatives" make this plan doable for normal people who like pizza and chocolate and hamburgers.  Don't get me wrong, do THM approved chocolate peanut butter cups taste just like or as good as Reese's Peanut Butter Cups?  No way.  BUT, the replacement is tasty enough to satisfy me.  I'll say it again -- respectable alternatives. 

  • You don't have to go off plan for special occasions.  I've allowed myself to have a few "off plan" meals recently, like for a birthday celebration, but for the most part, I've stuck to it even during family festivities.  I've made THM coffee cakes and frittats for Sunday brunch, donuts and cake for a recent girls' tea party, and chocolate cake for a just-because-it's-Saturday dessert.  Just because you're celebrating doesn't mean you can't do it the THM way :)

  • I do not have to make separate dinners for myself.  That would have been a deal breaker for me.  I'm used to making my own breakfasts and lunches, but under no circumstances will anyone in my home ever get a custom-made dinner, including me ;)  I don't have that kind of time.  So my family eats THM dinners or I make slight modifications, like the pizza crust alternatives I mentioned.   My family has liked every THM dinner I've made.  In fact, they like my breakfasts and lunches too, so I usually make myself a big meal (especially breakfast.  I typically eat lunch alone during the kids' rest time) and expect to share with some or all kiddos :)  
See?  Here's my breakfast (spinach mushroom egg bake, low-carb everything bagel - in the shape of a pretzel ;) - and strawberries.  And then there's my breakfast companion :)  I love him!

This is Cheeseburger Pie (THM pg. )  My family eats it like a sloppy joe, on a
whole wheat hamburger bun.  I ate it on a bed of greens with mustard and dill relish.
Everyone has a veggie side.  This is an example of the type of slight modification
I'd make to a dinner.  But I'd never make a different dinner for myself.

Another modified dinner.  The rest of the family is having hot dogs and veggies?
So am I.  I just put that bagel dough around a Hebrew National all beef hot dog for myself.
I think the kids has corn that night too, but I skipped it.

So what has it done for me??
  • Since starting THM I do things that I would have previously scoffed at - like consuming a daily dose of unrefined coconut oil (which I do by way of a piece of tasty chocolate!), taking a daily 2 Tbsp of apple cider vinegar for its probiotic benefits, drinking protein shakes and eating ancient grains.  These were seriously things that I would have brushed aside as being altogether too "crunchy" and weird for me in the past, but now they're a normal part of what I do.  Who knows if it's all coincidence, but, uh... I feel great! 
  • Yep.  I feel great.  My weight loss has been stalled for a couple of months, but I keep doing this because I feel so good.  My digestive system is healthier, I'm less bloated, I'm not sore when I wake up in the mornings as I used to be, my monthly period is now entirely pain free (that's as far as I will ever go down the TMI trail...) , my frequent headaches have subsided.  
  • I appreciate flavor over sweetness more.  For instance, I used to think that natural peanut butter, the kind made with just peanuts and no sugar and salt, was vile.  But now I love it.  A dash of vanilla in whipped cream goes a long way, I love my coffee without sweetener now, and when I make shakes I go heavy on the flavors (chocolate mint, anyone?) and lighter on the sweetener.  
  • I used to think I could never live without pop or crystal lite type drinks.  It never occurred to me before to brew herbal tea to make cold, refreshing flavored drinks.  They're delicious!  
  • Finally, during my first three months on THM I lost about 15 lbs.  It was a wonderful accomplishment for me.  I feel amazing and I like the way I look.  I can hardly believe that I wear clothes that haven't fit me since I just had two kids (can you hardly believe that I saved them?)  I haven't lost any weight over the summer, (well, I stopped exercising over the summer too...) but I'm not discouraged.  (I'd like to lose about 8 more.)  I continue to eat according to the plan, I feel great, I haven't gained anything back, and now that the new "school year" is underway, I'm hoping that I'll make a little extra time to start working out again (and by "working out" I mean spending about 40 casual minutes on the elliptical while I watch Netflix and crochet.) 
So, what about progress photos, you say??  I didn't take "before" pictures of myself (or take my measurements) before I started.  It just felt weird.  I don't regret it.  For me, the real results have been how good I feel and how many more choices I have for what I wear each day :)  I do not feel very comfortable posting progress pictures of myself, but I admit that I love seeing other peoples' and have found them encouraging, so for the first and probably only time, I will share a few with you.  

The first is from Easter, 2015.  I had been doing THM for 2 weeks and had already lost a few pounds and felt great.  The second is from early summer and the last is from a few weeks ago.

This is a THM intensive week here at the blog.  So stop back tomorrow when I share what a typical day's worth of food looks like for me, as well as some additional ideas for breakfasts, lunches, and dinners.  And Thursday and Friday I'll share a couple recipes and tips I use for staying on plan as a busy mom.   Come on back and hang out the next few days!

As always, I'm happy to chat and answer questions!  Have a beautiful Tuesday!

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  1. Theresa, good for you! You look so great, and the food also looks so great!

  2. You look amazing and are really inspiring me, I'm off to out the book on hold from the library and start following your pinterest boards.

    1. Ok, question. If I am going to but the book, kindle or hardback?

    2. Thanks, Ann-Marie! I definitely recommend the hard copy. I can't imagine using an e-copy for browsing recipes, etc... I have heard a lot of women say that they bought the digital version and regret it.

    3. Ordered it this morning! I'm excited to get started.

  3. Is the new book very similar to the old one? I have the old one in Kindle but I am thinking getting the new version in hard copy will be better for me.

    1. The new book is WAY better! As much as I love the plan, I thought the old book was terrible. It was poorly laid out and organized. The Index was a hot mess. The new books (both the plan book and the cookbook) are way better. It's nice to have them separate too, the bold book was cumbersome especially when you just wanted a recipe. Also, as I mentioned in Ann-Marie's comment, I've heard a lot of people say it's much easier to use the hard copy. I've only used an actual book for this, but because it's a "reference" book and cookbook, I imagine the physical book would be much better.

  4. You are stunning and all those dishes look DELICIOUS! Now you must share recipes! Goodness it all looks so good (I'm mainly looking at you, beautiful and delicious-looking desserts..)! Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thanks, Amanda! The desserts really are a great bonus to this whole thing!

  5. Okay, you are seriously so skinny, and I didn't know you weren't always that way. I'm sold!! Ordering the book (through your link, of course) right NOW!! Get ready for an onslaught of support neediness from me :)

    1. Yay! You've got my number; you can be needy any time :) I love sharing ideas and hearing about what everyone else is eating so I can new ideas for myself!

  6. Thank you SO much for sharing this! I think its literally an answer to prayers. :) I ordered and started the plan last week, felt GREAT and.... fell off big time. It was so dishearting! But, last night, I was honest with myself and I know, I have to do this. I ordered the cookbook last night (I think that was the missing link--I have the book, but I need some real recipes so that I'm eating the right thing and so that I can get some variance in my diet!) and I had a great S breakfast! (can't say no to coffee with half and half right? Almost makes up for the fact that there's no sugar in it! ;) ) Again, thank you for posting about this!!


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