So this post is for those friends and family who’ve asked about my dietary changes… if you’re not one of them you may want to skip! :)
One of the things I’ve struggled with for my entire life is my weight. About 9 years ago I was successful at losing about 40 pounds by counting calories and exercising – the type of weight loss plan recommended for years and years. I maintained that weight loss for about 3 years (I’d stop counting calories, gain about 10 pounds, then start over again to lose it). Then I stopped counting calories for good and the weight crept back on. Honestly, I hated constantly counting calories and spending so much time focusing on my food. It depressed me to think about having to live that way forever in order to keep the weight off. I think all that focus actually encouraged an unhealthy relationship with food – I would become obsessed about what I was going to eat next and started a lot of emotional eating when I was stressed or upset.
Last year my nephew was getting married and my sister wanted to have a family weight loss contest. Perfect motivation. Around the same time, I started hearing about the book Trim Healthy Mama and because I was altering our family meals so much already trying to eliminate gluten from my son’s diet, I thought I’d try it.
The basics of the plan: eliminate sugar and processed wheat products, eat every 3 hours, every meal/snack should be based on a protein, and don’t mix fats and carbs. In other words, each meal/snack will have protein and carbs, or protein and fats. Easy, right?
Ha ha, I know it doesn’t sound easy, but honestly this is the “easiest” way I’ve been able to lose weight, ever. It quickly becomes second nature, and even though it’s a huge change to my diet I feel as though I can eat this way the rest of my life! I’ve lost nearly 35 pounds in 16 months – which isn’t a fast pace for sure, BUT – the other changes have really been more important than the weight loss. I have more energy. I am completely satisfied with what I’m eating – I don’t feel at all deprived. I no longer turn to food for emotional satisfaction (which is HUGE for me). I don’t have cravings for sugar-laden foods. My diabetes is under much better control. And I feel like for the first time I have a healthy relationship with food.
Here is a link to the Trim Healthy Mama website, where you can learn more. The original Trim Healthy Mama book is huge and there is a ton of great info in it. (FYI, Just recently they came out with a new, more condensed version). Ordering the book is highly recommended because at least at first, changing your diet completely can be hard! The authors of the book go into a lot of detail about why this way of eating works, and as a diabetic it just makes so much sense to me! They are Christians and their faith is also a part of the story.
Here are some tips for getting started:
- Buy a book and READ it. You can get the original Trim Healthy Mama on the Trim Healthy Mama website or you can get the new Trim Healthy Mama Plan at your favorite online bookstore.
- Ask questions! I’d be happy to answer any, and the THM Beginner facebook page is also a good resource.
- Start out simple. Don’t go crazy buying a bunch of special ingredients you’ve never used before. Simply try to separate your fats and carbs for a few days.
- Look through your well-used recipes or meals and choose those that are THM-friendly or that can be made THM-friendly by either leaving out or substituting ingredients. You’ll be surprised that many are! And remember a meal can be as simple as protein, veggies, and if you have kiddos, you can add something for them that you won’t eat.
- Know that you may experience some withdrawal symptoms from sugar within the first week. I had a headache and felt pretty cranky for about 5 days and then it was gone. And amazingly, with it went all my cravings for sweet stuff. I couldn’t believe it!!
- Once you get used to separating your fats and carbs, then you can branch out and buy some special ingredients to give you some variety. The first ones I’d recommend – truvia (or some other stevia or erythritol-based sweetener), almond flour, and almond milk. These are pretty readily available, too.
- Know that when you first start using those ingredients you’ve bought, things might not turn out right. Baking with low carb flours and stevia-based sweeteners is completely different. My hints: I always use about 1/3 to 1/2 of the sweetener recommended in a recipe to start out with, then taste before baking and add more if needed. I also find that the low carb flour recipes that come out the best usually have something in them to add more moisture – like sour cream, zucchini, etc. Just know there will be a learning curve!!
If it’s something you’d like to look into more, there are a whole bunch of bloggers who have been amazing resources for me. Here are a few:
Gwen’s Nest – she has a Quick Start Guide which is really helpful when you are just diving in!
Mrs. Criddle’s Kitchen – she has some great recipes that my whole family loves
The Coers Family – another site for delicious THM recipes
Feel free to let me know if you have any questions!!