If you’re wondering, “What is THM?”, my hope is to answer that here for you! Whether you’re looking to lose weight or simply get healthier, I would argue that this plan has everything you need, including my absolute favorite aspect: Balance.
I’ve been following the THM eating plan for about a year and have learned and grown from it in a lot of ways. It all started when I was chatting with a girlfriend about how I needed to eat healthier and incorporate more veggies and whole foods in my diet. She suggested I look into Trim Healthy Mama. To be honest, I wasn’t too impressed by the name, but I went ahead and ordered the book anyway. I actually didn’t read it for a couple months, and even when I did, I kinda doubted I would follow it. You see, I’ve never had any interest in dieting and assumed this plan would be no exception. Thankfully, my assumptions were wrong!
What is the THM Eating Plan?
THM is short for Trim Healthy Mama, and it’s an eating plan that boasts “food freedom”. Whether you want to lose weight, gain weight, or maintain weight, you can follow and benefit from this way of eating.
The basic characteristics and principles of THM are:
- Blood Sugar. It’s all about controlling your blood sugar. The idea is that once blood sugar is controlled, many other aspects of health will fall into place (including but not limited to weight).
- The Bible. It’s based on the Bible. The authors of the plan (who are also sisters) were tired of trying every new diet fad under the sun. Other diets left them without energy and in different states of imbalance. After trying everything from veganism and raw food to low carb diets, these sisters went to the Creator of our bodies as the best resource for understanding how to be healthy. They found Biblical support for eating fats, carbs, and meat. No food groups or macronutrients eliminated here!
- Fats/Carbs + Protein. It leverages both healthy fats and healthy carbohydrates, anchored by protein. But, according to this plan, if you’re trying to lose weight, you should only give your body one of these fuels at a time (i.e., healthy fats + protein OR healthy carbs + protein). If you’re not trying to lose weight, go ahead and mix ’em in the same meal.
- Designated Meals and Snacks. It advises that we allow our bodies to fully digest a meal or snack before starting another one. It celebrates the cycle the body uses when absorbing nutrients, the joy of eating when you’re actually hungry, and the satisfaction of experiencing a full belly at the end of a meal.
- Grace. It celebrates a 3-hour reset. If you fall off plan, you’re only 3 hours away from your next victory. No need to get caught up in “failure”, just keep moving forward.
- Flexibility. It is flexible and tailored to each individual. “Trim Healthy Mama my way”, baby. If you’re a “purist” who only eats whole foods, ferments her own grains, and can’t stand the thought of buying packaged anything, this plan works for you. In fact, one of the authors (Serene) is a “purist” and has some awesome tips for you. If you enjoy a good “semi-prepared” (packaged) food item, you can still follow this plan. The other author of the plan (Pearl) describes herself as a “Drive-Thru Sue” and has some awesome and easy-to-implement tips.
- Budget. The plan is thankfully budget conscious. All of the meal ideas can be as simple or as “fancy” as you want, depending on your budget. The authors have two awesome cookbooks and one central theme is “NSI: No special ingredients”!
- Anyone Can Do It. Anyone can do it, including children, pregnant and nursing mothers, and men. Each of these groups would simply stick with mixing both types of fuel (carbs and fats) in the same meal while cutting out sugar and processed flours.
Do I Have to Count Calories on THM?
No. THM is not about counting calories or macros or anything like that. It’s about freedom in eating healthy! That said, if you’re following THM, you’re advised to at least be conscious of calories. We don’t want to abuse them. This mindset becomes important when baking things with 100% almond flour (which is very calorie-dense), eating only rich, heavy fat-centric meals (think: bacon, eggs, cheese, all the time).
Can I Eat Fruit on THM?
Thank the Lord, yes. This is actually one reason I never wanted to go on a diet. I never wanted to be told I couldn’t have a banana or an apple. It was just counterintuitive to me. That said, THM recognizes that most fruits are good sources of carbohydrates, which means if you’re trying to lose weight, you wouldn’t pair them with fat. (e.g., Instead of a banana with peanut butter, think a banana with oatmeal or nonfat yogurt.)
Is THM Gluten Free?
No, THM is not gluten-free. I’ve actually experimented with adding gluten to my flourless baked goods to try and achieve a more bread-like texture! You’ll find on-plan gluten in sprouted whole wheat items, however, many of the carbohydrate sources on this plan are naturally gluten-free (like brown rice, sweet potatoes, and fruit).
What Can’t I Eat on THM?
The lovely authors of this plan would probably refrain from using the word “can’t” here. The eating plan is all about food freedom and what you CAN eat. And, honestly, there’s a lot you can eat!
The only things they advise against are refined flour (including pasta), white rice, any non-sprouted bread, and sugar (including pure maple syrup and coconut sugar). Why are these food items excluded? Because they spike blood sugar, and the whole crux of the plan is about the role of blood sugar in our health. They also recommend sticking to healthy oils like coconut oil, butter, ghee, or red palm oil (which is different from palm oil).
Note: Raw honey is on-plan, but not advised if you’re trying to lose weight.
What Are the Different Types of Meals on THM?
As mentioned above, the THM eating plan separates meals out by fuels (carbs vs. fats) and anchors each one with protein. The basic four types of meals are as follows:
E Meals: A healthy carb meal is known as an “E” meal (“E” for “Energizing”, and that they are!).
S Meals: A healthy fat meal is known as an “S” meal (“S” for “Satisfying”, and oh, mama… yes they are!).
XO Meals: A meal that combines both carbs and fats (again, not the most helpful if you’re trying to lose weight) is called a Crossover (you’ll sometimes see it abbreviated “XO”).
FP Meals: A meal that is super light on both fats and carbs is known as a “Fuel Pull” (“FP”).
The thing I love most about this eating plan is that it’s all about balance. If you’re following the THM eating plan, you should mix up your E’s, S’s, XO’s, and FP’s to always keep your body guessing. Just like our muscles benefit most from varied and strategic exercises, our bodies benefit most from varied and strategic sources of fuel.
What Does a Day on THM Look Like?
Sometimes the best way to understand an eating plan is through examples. A day on the THM eating plan might look as follows:
Breakfast (E): Banana bread oatmeal, cooked in almond milk with cinnamon and a little stevia. (Or, if you’re feeling feisty, make some spicy Mexican Hot Chocolate Oatmeal instead.) To anchor it with protein, mix in some protein powder or collagen, or have a low-fat protein side, like egg whites.
Snack (FP): Nonfat yogurt with berries (and a bit stevia, if preferred)
Lunch (S): Ground beef (or any fattier meat, like chicken thighs) over a mound of veggies (roasted in delicious, drippy butter), topped with melted cheese
Snack (S): A pumpkin spice muffin (depending on how hungry you get, you might pair with an S or FP side)
Dinner (S): Sirloin steak with roasted broccoli (and maybe a chocolate shake or some THM-friendly Thin Mints afterward)
How Can I Get Started on THM?
As I mentioned above, the plan is very budget conscious. You don’t have to buy any of the books or any special ingredients. But, I do really recommend starting off with at least the following:
- Trim Healthy Mama Eating Plan (the actual plan; over 1100 reviews and 4.5 stars) or Trim Healthy Table (a cookbook with a run-down of the plan in the beginning)
- Listening to The Poddy (which is free)
- Joining the Trim Healthy Mama Facebook Group (also free)
Those are the minimum I would recommend starting with. I do love their other cookbook as well.
If you have any other questions or comments about THM, I’d love to hear them in the comments below!