Whether you’ve started THM or are just hearing about this new eating plan, there are always lessons to learn and areas for growth! Here, I share my personal experience on the Trim Healthy Mama eating plan.
It all started about a year ago. I wanted to ditch the processed foods and snacks and incorporate more veggies into our meals. I was intrigued by the Whole30 plan, but it sounded too daunting for me. Impossible even. No cheats for 30 days? I wasn’t there yet.
A friend told me about Trim Healthy Mama (THM) and suggested I look into it.
If you’re wondering what Trim Healthy Mama is, you can check out my synopsis of the THM plan here.
THM Experience | My Pre-THM Challenges and Chains
“Diet” has always been a dirty word for me.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m all about health, wellness, and balance, but I absolutely hated the idea of calorie restriction or the elimination of an entire food group (like grains, fruits, dairy, or meat).
That said, a lot of the success people have on low-carb diets had gotten into my head. “Maybe apples aren’t that good for us after all?” “Why bother making oatmeal for breakfast? Is it really that healthy?” “There’s no point in giving my kids carrots — they hardly count as vegetables.”
Argh! Maybe it all sounds absurd to you, but it was a reality I dealt with in my mind.
Not only was I essentially frozen from making any decisions about food, but I was also experiencing some health issues myself. I knew I had some kind of inflammation going on, from excessive dry eyes to low energy. I wanted to take a more natural and holistic approach to wellness.
THM Experience | What I’ve Learned
After reading the official THM plan book, I was surprised to hear the authors talk about the beauty of God’s produce, from apples and bananas to kale and spinach.
Their research and perspective on nourishing and caring for the body inspired me.
I discovered that instead of striving for a bikini body, this plan was about celebrating the beauty and freedom of wellness and balance.
The way God intended.
I eventually invested in some on-plan ingredients to make some of their recipes. Mango smoothies and raspberry-oat bars come to mind. They were delicious and I loved that I was fueling my body with foods I could enjoy, guilt-free.
A couple of days into starting THM, I intentionally went off-plan to have a double-bacon western cheeseburger from Carl’s Jr while the kids played in the jungle gym. It was gross and I felt like junk afterward. What a good lesson for me to learn early on — that healthy foods can actually be way more enjoyable than the junk I thought I loved to “indulge” in so much.
I also realize now why I used to resort to junk food on a regular basis. Maybe I was busy, maybe the kids were cranky, or maybe we were out of groceries. Whatever the specific details of the situation were, my mindset was of defeat every time I chose those foods.
“It’s been a rough day, I’m just gonna drive through In- N-Out.”
“I’m just so exhausted, maybe we’ll order a pizza tonight.”
Through these excuses, I was essentially giving myself permission to sit in that defeat of exhaustion. I should have nourished myself out of it instead.
This plan has always been about choosing life, joy, and balance. I can’t think of a better approach to food and it’s something I delight in sharing with my family.
THM Experience | Challenges
I’m delighted to say that, over the past year, I’ve encountered very few challenges on this plan. I enjoy eating this way! In fact, I enjoy it a little too much. If we’re out of groceries or I need to eat something quick, the old junk food doesn’t cut it anymore. It doesn’t taste as good to me, and I FEEL a difference after I eat it too. I’m spoiled by good nutrition. It’s an issue I’ll be happy to take.
Another challenge is that I do spend more time in the kitchen. I enjoy it, but it can be hard with little ones. I used to opt for quick and easy dinners, so it has taken a bit of adjusting to do more cooking and meal prep.
But perhaps what I’m most challenged by at this point is the sweetener issue. The main sweeteners you’ll see on this plan are stevia, erythritol, and xylitol (which is poisonous to dogs, so I never use it — with messy kids, our dog is our vacuum cleaner!).
Stevia is great. I have no complaints. However, it isn’t a 1:1 sugar substitute, so it can be a bit tricky trying to nail down the right amount of sweetness in any given recipe.
Erythritol is a sugar alcohol that has no impact on blood sugar. It is usually seen mixed with either stevia or monkfruit extract and allows these sweeteners to have more of a sugar-like taste. It also allows these sweeteners to be used like sugar (often as 1:1 substitute). However, I get a cooling/numbing sensation on my tongue with even a little erythritol, so I try to avoid it. But, this can be difficult when baking.
That said, this plan is all about freedom and finding a Trim Healthy Mama way that feels right for you. So, for me personally, I’ve been mostly using pure stevia (no erythritol). And lately, I’ve been incorporating raw honey and coconut sugar, two sweeteners that are easier on the blood sugar. I’m at goal weight, so I’m not concerned about how this might impact weight loss at this point.
THM Experience | How I’ve Changed
Although I didn’t intend to lose weight on this plan, I’ve lost nearly 20lbs and — much to my surprise — passed my goal weight. But more importantly, I’ve noticed the following non-scale victories:
- clearer skin. This is something I appreciate since I’m in a yoga-pants-and-no-makeup season of life right now.
- more energy. This is critical when you’re running around after little ones all day.
- changing taste buds. Many things I used to enjoy are now kinda gross.
- improved self-awareness. I’ve noticed a very clear relationship between my blood sugar and my attitude. I never realized that my snacky tendencies and the times I was easily frustrated were because my blood sugar was low. It sounds so silly and obvious. But, during those times I never actually felt hungry in my stomach. I only felt a lower level of energy. Now I can see how, after 3-4 hours of eating, even if I don’t feel hungry in my stomach, my energy levels decrease and I’m more likely to lose my patience with the kids.
- a renewed love for veggies and fruits. This might be one of my favorite victories. Fruits and veggies are my favorites!
- a surprising spiritual connection. There’s a connection between the body and the spirit. Having been pretty stable on this eating plan for the past year, I can see that connection much more clearly now. Here are a couple of examples, although I hope to share more on this with you soon.
- When I’m hungry or under-nourished, I’m more subject to poor thinking and general oppression in my spirit.
- Now that I’m pretty much off sugar, I can see the role its addictive nature played in keeping me chained to a lifestyle of consuming rather than living.