I’m not a fan of bandwagons. People tend to either fall off, get pushed off, or looked down their noses at.
And bandwagons can happen to anybody or anything that gets hyped up. Even Trim Healthy Mama. *gasp* Yes, I’m pretty sure some of you die-hard THM’s are ready to push the x and close your browser. But hear me out. It might not be what you think.
After being so horribly sick with morning sickness last fall and winter, I pretty much let myself go during pregnancy and ate what felt good. I know that’s not the healthy way to do it. But I declare hot fudge sundaes taste three times better when expecting a little one! However, these hot fudge sundaes also led me to packing on the pounds.
Strange thing this mommy business is. I found out that what Mommy eats . . . everyone else eats. Whether they’re pregnant or not! And this led to some general weight gain throughout the household.
So a couple months following delivery of our little Dallas, we decided it was time to take back our health. And that of our family.
This will be a very honest opinion of the last few weeks of our lives, so give me a little grace. There is good and there is “not so good for the Shoe”. I believe each family needs to decide what suits them, their lifestyle, budget, and goals.
If you’re not familiar with THM, the main principle is this: to LOSE weight, you need to separate your carbs and fat. Eat meals like this: protein with good carbs OR protein with fat.
Here is how it worked for us.
- Stevia – This was the one hurdle I knew we would have a hard time adjusting to. I love my sweets! If you read this blog much, you know that I believe chocolate should be one of the main food groups. In fact, I have one board on Pinterest completely devoted to chocolate. Sad, but true.
So we tried some of the THM desserts using Truvia from the grocery store. And we gagged them down until finally one evening at supper, my little family had had enough. They were feeling rather sick. And I had noticed that I’d started aching all over. Come to find out, stevia can cause aching in some people. Who knew! Some of you might be ready to tell me it was candida die-off. Hold your breath. I already thought of that, but I wasn’t hanging around to find out.
Secondly, I tried KAL stevia extract powder. Again, they couldn’t hack it, although I like it in my shrinker tea and smoothies THM recommends.
Next up was a sweetener that THM approves called xylitol. I knew this one had the side effect of causing tummy troubles and diarrhea in some people. So I tried this one out on myself – rather than inflicting pain on my little children. Gallant, aren’t I? Sure enough, within two hours, I was running for the restroom.
At my wit’s end, I finally decided I’d make one last ditch effort. By this time, it was getting expensive trying different kinds of sweeteners, foods, etc. I decided if this didn’t work, I’d have to figure something else out. I tried coconut sugar. Now this is not THM-approved, but, frankly, I was tired of having THM tell me what to do. Coconut sugar is supposed to be lower-glycemic than white sugar. So, I tried a dessert using coconut sugar plus KAl stevia and held my breath. Didn’t have to hold it long. It was a no-go. Nada. We were done with other sweeteners.
So we made the executive decision that went against everything THM. We would keep sugar in our diet – only reduced from what it used to be. I also like to add in some coconut sugar, since I now have a bag to use up. And for myself, I can handle the KAL stevia in my shrinker tea and smoothies. In liquids it seems fine – I can even get used to the taste.
- THM can be brain-tumoring. Meaning, this way of eating takes a while to get used to. You have to think quite a bit about food – how to match it, what time you should eat it, plus how to feed the little ones that aren’t following it closely.
- I felt like somebody had run over me with a truck. I’m nursing a three-month-old, so that could have been part of it. I also would call myself a sugar-addict. That might have been the other part of it. But for the first few days doing THM very religiously, I felt awful. Shaky, lightheaded, horribly crabby, achy, so very drained, and lethargic. After eating a few days like normal (although healthier), I’d feel better and then repeat the cycle again. This whole time I was trying to find ways to cook THM to where my family liked it. And I was also trying to pack lunches for my husband and oldest son the THM way. I was nearing burn-out and needing carbs. Like NOW. This lasted for the first month, until we finally decided to scale it back and keep reduced sugar and cut the stevia use.
- You are supposed to wait 3 hours between switching fuel meal types. Your E (energizing – protein/carb) and your S (satisfying – protein/fat) meals need to be 3 hours apart. This includes snacks. I don’t like being tied to a clock as to when I can eat or can’t eat. That was a big hurdle for me and one I knew I wouldn’t be doing for the rest of my life. I also got so hungry I couldn’t make it three hours between meals and would cave and eat something very off-plan!
- I felt bound to the book. I don’t think it’s healthy for relationships when you go to someone’s house and can’t eat what they’ve spent hours to prepare (unless, of course, you have a real medical reason not to). I love eating in other people’s homes! This was one thing I didn’t want to give up – at all. But following the book so closely took away the pleasure I got from receiving food at the hands of others. I felt like I was cheating and being a bad girl. And I don’t like that feeling.
Now lest you think it’s all a bad review, read on.
What we took and applied from Trim Healthy Mama:
THM made me realize how much sugar we were consuming, and how much more protein we should be consuming. Our carbs to protein ratio was off. But THM says this way of eating also needs to be sustainable. And sustainable for us might be different from you, and is definitely different from most die-hard THM’ers. We are taking from THM what we can sustain, and applying it to our lives.
- For us, this means we are reducing the sugar products, and even sugar in our recipes.
- We are also reducing the gluten, even getting our oatmeal cookies to be completely gluten-free (which we will share later). Lowell found he felt better when not eating gluten.
- We are eating suppers together that are either E (protein/carb) or S (protein/fat). Most evenings we eat more S’s than E’s just because I figure we get enough carbs during the day, and also that our bodies don’t process carbs as well in the evening.
- Some mornings we will have an S breakfast. But during the day, we eat regular – especially with packed lunches for Lowell and the kids.
- Sometimes I will make myself an S lunch, so most days I get two meals per day that are THM-approved.
- We have begun to sprint in the mornings. THM doesn’t tell you to do this, but we believe it helps get metabolisms going. Lowell had been sprinting earlier than Derek and I, but this morning we all did it together. And I’m beyond excited to tell you that I was the bear bait of the bunch! Around here, the joke is that whoever is last in the pack is who the bear catches first. That was me. But if you’ll remember that, only 5 1/2 years ago, my husband was in ICU and we thought this day would never come – it makes the defeat even sweeter!
- I’ve found some oldie-goldies that I’ve fallen in love with! Foods like parmesan cheese, coconut oil, olives, and broccoli. Things that we hadn’t been using much but have come to love now!
Now on to the results . . .
Does THM work?
In one word . . . yes. THM works, at least it has for us so far! And this is with following it very loosely. We didn’t want to throw the whole thing away just because some parts didn’t work for us. So we’ve kept the parts we can incorporate and sustain for years. This way we do it also fits with our social lifetstyle. We can still eat around another family’s table, and thoroughly enjoy it! In fact, it has made my children appreciate the hot lunch at school so much more. Every Tuesday now I hear somebody say “Yeah! Tomorrow is hot lunch!” You wouldn’t believe how awesome warm, garlicky french bread is until you’ve gone without.
In the few weeks we’ve been eating healthier, we’ve all seen a drop in weight – somewhere around 13 pounds combined! However, I do watch the little ones carefully since they don’t have extra pounds to lose. But Lowell, Derek, and I have each been pleasantly surprised at having our clothes fit looser.
We also found that even the weeks that the scale didn’t budge, our clothes continued to fit a little looser.
We’re happy. So happy we might celebrate with something smooth and creamy – like chocolate.
So even though we are not die-hard THM-ers and are probably only halfway on the bandwagon, I wanted to tell you our experience since we will probably be including some supper recipes that would be Trim Healthy Mama style. But for those of you who do not eat the THM way, don’t worry, we’ll still be including good, old-fashioned recipes on here too.
And since this post is getting really long, you’ll have to wait until the next post to hear the answer to this question: “What does the Shoe eat the loose-THM way?”