I had this post written 3 weeks ago…but I’ve been scared to share it. I know a lot of people have been watching my Instagram account with expectation – curious to know more about Trim Healthy Mama. And I realized that there might be some who would skip reading the books for themselves and just take my word for it. So, I just want to preface this post by saying that I have not mastered this plan. I do not operate on plan everyday (yet). I can just tell you my experience, the why’s behind my choices, and encourage you to read it for yourself!
My Experience with THM
Emotions + Food
I don’t own a scale. If you have one in your bathroom, I may jump on it out of curiosity. I normally have an idea of how much I weigh based on how I feel and how my clothes fit.
But I broke up with the scale years ago. I couldn’t handle the temptation to judge my “health” based on that 3 digit number. When that number was stuck in my head, I would make bad decisions. If I felt like it needed to go down, I would eat less even when truly in need of nourishment. Or I would indulge in plain old junk if I felt like the number was low enough, because of course, I had proven that I “earned” it.
To say that I had an unhealthy relationship with food, and more specifically sugar, would be to state the obvious. But to change this relationship, I would have to let go of more than just the scale.
I would have to learn to surrender control over my own body – size and all.
Through 4 pregnancies, I was forced to learn (more deeply every time) the beauty of God’s design. How a woman’s body can grow and carry life is an ever-awe-inspiring miracle. I have learned to honor my pregnant body.
But that wasn’t easy.
See, I loathe gaining weight. The simple thought of food (while pregnant) would make me gain a pound – or two. During the first trimester of every pregnancy, I gained around 15 pounds. This is during the stage of pregnancy when the baby isn’t actually gaining any weight and it’s considered “healthy” to only gain 2-3 pounds – losing weight during this time due to lack of appetite is also considered normal.
15 pounds! All fat for the most part. And every ounce felt like a taunt. For whatever reason, personal or cultural, I am scared of gaining weight. I don’t like to feel my clothes getting a bit “tight.” With limited resources, I can’t just buy a new shirt every time a couple extra pounds create a bulge or a roll. When my clothes fail to hide my insecurities, I start to panic.
Structure + Food
Not only do I have issues in my head with the way my body changes from food, but I also have physical problems that are food induced.
For seven years I was a vegetarian because whenever I would eat meat, my belly would bloat to painful proportions. It took a year of testing and experiments to finally come to the conclusion that meat wasn’t my friend (that all changed during my 2nd pregnancy when I was known to get aggressive in order to have a burger).
In 2015, I was beginning to go through weird food changes again. I went to an allergist after a couple weird reactions to food – itching and swelling – and I found out that I was extremely sensitive to a handful of everyday foods.
I decided to commit to a Whole30 as a means of cleansing out everything that was causing my body to be so inflamed and “angry” all the time.
After that experience, I can say that my body wanted to stay clean and pure from a lot of foods – dairy, sugar, and wheat. During the “reintroduction,” I felt torn. I could technically eat whatever I wanted now, but if I did then the risk of a stomach ache, inflammation, or whatever was high. I tried to stick closely to a Paleo plate, but it just wasn’t economical. I was feeding my family conventional foods and buying double so that I could not eat what I fed them.
It just wasn’t adding up. So, I gave up. I ate whatever sounded good. I struggled with structural pains and negative physical side effects. I tried to keep the worst trigger foods at bay – dairy and chocolate – but even then, sometimes I just wanted cheese or a mocha.
After having Naomi and going through the whole pregnancy cycle of body-crazy-awareness, I was not about to diet. Now, I am convinced that the fat from pregnancy is all a part of the design! I no longer fear it, but embrace it for a season – the season of spending my physical life to sustain the physical life of another requires that I have a few extra pounds so that both of us can function stably.
So, I ate whatever sounded good. I did my best to balance my diet, and I was eating a boat load of calories (nearing the 3K mark). But the pain was getting to be more than I could manage. Since taking meds for pain while nursing isn’t a great idea, I knew that my only option was to pursue getting to the root causes of my pain.
So, I finally booked an appointment with a Kinesiologist. (I say finally because I’ve wanted to do this since I first heard of the work Dr. Boven was doing back in 2003!)
I wanted to be ready to change. I needed relief, but when she started detailing the relationship between my physical structure and food – I felt discouraged. I didn’t want to hear that I would have to make changes in my everyday life. I just wanted relief from the pain in my back and hips. Coming to her for help with my back still seemed separate from what I ate. I thought something like: I appreciate your encouragement to eat well in order to feel well, but I just want relief from the pain. Let’s deal with food after that.
And she did help me with a lot of my structural issues. Out of every doctor that I’ve ever seen in my life, she actually found and addressed the root issues to many of the physical problems I have had. With her help, I was getting close to feeling whole, but I still had nagging issues. So, I took a break from the weekly and biweekly visits for a couple months and in that time I enjoyed all the crazy bad foods that the winter holidays have to offer.
But even with all my eating, I was never satisfied. I could eat thirds at dinner and still feel a bit hungry. I knew something just wasn’t right. My back and hips were feeling okay, but the rest of my body just felt fragile. I felt frayed.
THM + Healing
Enter Trim Healthy Mama.
I was introduced to this plan 4 years ago. And like I do with everything I’m interested in – I borrowed the book from the library and jumped in to understand all the facts. Back then, I wasn’t in a place of interest in healing. I just viewed the plan as a nice way for women to eat in order to quit sugar. (And at the time, that was a deal breaker for me. Man, do I love my sugar.)
With my mind set on finding foods to not only satisfy my raging hunger, but also to balance my hormones (and thereby my whole world) I found myself staring at the Trim Healthy Mama books. I was sucked into their ideas – including all food categories, balancing fuels and blood sugar, and introducing healing superfoods.
THM + Superfoods
I recognize that many people have tried the THM plan without ever purchasing a “special ingredient,” and that is even encouraged in the books! But for me, I was coming to the plan with no weight loss goal in mind – only the hope of healing through foods.
Just to give you a glimpse at one of the intriguing ingredients – here’s integral collagen’s resume*:
- Support the immune system
- Release fat-burning glucagon
- Soothe anxiety
- Aid sleep and ease insomnia
- Improve digestion
- Help heal a compromised (leaky) gut
- Detoxify the liver
- Decrease allergies and food intolerances
- Increase production of human growth hormone
- Boost metabolism
- Satiate and dampen cravings
- Beautify and strengthen skin, hair, and nails
- Remineralize teeth
- Fight arthritis
- Strengthen bones and joints
- Reduce cellulite by improving connective tissue
- Help prevent heart disease
- Reverse atherosclerosis deposits
- Battle against prostate cancer
- AND MORE (but you’ll have to read an encyclopedia to exhaust all that this superfood can do.)
Can you believe all of this? I can honestly say that I wanted every single one of these properties (minus the prostate one) to be active in my diet.
In a nutshell, I understand it to be a plan that can help me balance my blood sugar, heal my hormones, and fuel my body with foods that will satisfy, energize, and nourish my mind and body.
Even though all foods are allowed (carbs, proteins, fats, etc.), they are not all eaten in the same setting. For example, an “E” meal is an energizing meal that consists primarily of healthy carbohydrates and protein. There are also “S” (Satisfying meals – protein and fat), “FP” (Fuel Pull – foods with low/no fat and low/no carbs), and “XO” (Crossovers – meals with fats and carbs, these meals are primarily for those wishing not to lose weight).
Everything in the cookbook is labeled with these identifying letters so that you can design your own menu based on the meals you need in order to make best use of the plan.
In the plan, the authors include specific guidelines for all different preferences and life stages – for example, there are specific recommendations for a pregnant or nursing mother, someone trying to lose weight, and even for husbands and other family members.
I’ve just begun to scratch the surface of understanding the depth of the implications of what eating this way will be. I just know that it has been difficult to implement without owning the Plan. I own the cookbook, and I use it daily for the drinks, muffin in a mug, meals, and so much more – but in order to understand what I can eat that isn’t in the cookbook and how to plan a day or a week to stay “on plan” is contained in the plan.
Do I recommend this plan to others? Definitely. I think that everyone will benefit from quitting sugar and all of the seriously damaging over processed foods that are common in the American diet.
Find these books at your local library – go online and place a hold because I’m sure they are probably popular in your area too.
Or you can purchase them on Amazon (afflinks):
Feel free to ask me questions in the comments about my experience! If you have specific THM questions, I’ll try to answer or point you in the right direction.
Watch my video update on my THM journey and see inside the cookbook!
*List of health benefits copied from pages 143 - 144 from the Trim Healthy Mama Plan. I am not affiliated with the THM plan at all. This post was written by my own design and not because I was contacted by anyone at THM. If you are planning on buying the special ingredients - I do recommend buying from TrimHealthyMama.com only because they are much cheaper than Amazon. But do your own research and make your own educated decisions!