I first heard about Trim Healthy Mama in late 2016. I was very overweight and suffered from several different ailments – extreme fatigue, brain fog, low energy, heartburn, aches and pains…the list goes on.
Being in my early thirties, I thought I was way too young to be feeling so old.
I knew something had to change.
In the past, I had tried so many different diets and had put in so much effort to lose weight and become healthier.
Some plans worked, but I felt so miserable and deprived while on them. They were just not sustainable. Other diets I had high hopes for, but I never felt any better and the weight didn’t budge.
So, when I first heard about the Trim Healthy Mama eating plan, I’ll admit that my immediate thought was:
“Yet another fad diet.”
It turned out that I was completely wrong.
WHAT EXACTLY IS TRIM HEALTHY MAMA?
Trim Healthy Mama is not a diet. It’s a complete, sustainable, healthy way of eating that you can easily adapt as an actual lifestyle change.
Skeptical? I was, too.
I’ve heard of other plans claiming to be a “lifestyle change,” but they required you to cut out entire food groups in order to be compliant with the plan.
And then, when you tried adding those foods back in, you either became violently ill or the weight would all come rushing back on again. The only solution was to vow to never again eat that food group.
That’s too restrictive for me, and not really the kind of “lifestyle change” I wanted.
Trim Healthy Mama is truly different.
This plan was developed by two sisters – Pearl Barrett and Serene Allison – who had also experienced the same issues with all the other diets out there. It wasn’t until they started noticing real dietary deficiencies in the way they were eating that they turned to the Bible for guidance.
It’s funny how we sometimes try to come up with solutions ourselves, without consulting God, or how we sometimes think we don’t need His help.
But in reality, we can’t do anything without Him. He has all the answers we need – whether the situation is big or small – and what better way to find out what God wants for us than to consult His word?
Studying what scripture has to say about eating and nutrition was an eye-opener for Serene and Pearl. That was when they realized that God gave us ALL food groups to nourish our bodies with and didn’t tell us to cut out any major food group from our diets.
That was a major eye-opener for me as well, and this information really resonated with me.
It was the first time I’ve ever read a plan that made logical sense to me not only from a scientific standpoint (like how certain foods affect the body and how we metabolize them) but also from a biblical standpoint as well.
Why would God create certain foods that were not meant for us to consume? He is perfect, and He doesn’t make mistakes. So, who are we to say that carbs are evil, or eating fat will kill us? God knew what He was doing.
When we eliminate the highly processed junk foods that God truly didn’t intend for us to eat and choose to include all the foods that are as close as possible to how God made them, that is when we will reap real health benefits (of course, this doesn’t apply to those with actual food allergies and sensitivities who do indeed need to eliminate these foods from their diets).
I was left with this freeing realization that it wasn’t necessary to eliminate entire food groups from my diet, and that I could eat ALL the food groups that God has provided for me on this earth.
I was beginning to see that I could enjoy wholesome, nutritionally-dense foods that fuel my body, give me sustained energy and mental clarity, and help my body function optimally without depriving myself of any one entire food group.
So that point in and of itself is what really sold me on this plan. It just made so much sense to me. And it sounded very sustainable, as well.
THIS was a plan I could finally stick to.
HOW THE PLAN WORKS
While the plan does have you eat some low-fat dishes and alternate them with some low-carb dishes, this is not an exclusively low-fat or low-carb plan. You really can eat all the (healthy) fats and carbs you want, if you eat them sensibly. The plan book explains the science behind consuming certain foods together and spacing out certain foods, and how that all contributes to weight loss.
The Trim Healthy Mama plan will also help heal your broken metabolism and get it functioning again the way it should be, which means that if you have extra weight to lose, you will see the weight start to come off as well.
The Fuel Types
When eating the Trim Healthy Mama way, you are alternating your meals between “S” foods (which stands for “satisfying” – think healthy fats) and “E” foods (which stands for “energizing” – these are healthy carbs).
Each meal should be anchored in protein, and if you are trying to lose weight, then you will not want to combine both fats and carbohydrates in any one meal (this would be considered a “crossover” meal).
Once you reach your ideal weight, you no longer have to separate every meal into S and E meals and can introduce more crossover meals at that point.
Peppered in between your S meals and E meals are “Fuel Pull” meals and snacks, which are high in protein and low in both fats and carbohydrates (these FP meals and snacks help accelerate weight loss).
The idea behind this is that the body will burn through the protein and fat in an S meal, or the protein and carbs in an E meal, and then will use the body’s stored fat as fuel next (thus, resulting in weight loss).
Additionally, the book also discusses the importance of eliminating highly processed, unhealthy foods (such as sugar and white flour, for example).
Starchy veggies are also avoided while you are actively losing weight but can be added back in once you’ve reached your goal weight and are maintaining your weight loss.
This is obviously a very simplified explanation of how the plan works, and the book does a much better job at explaining this than I do. But this explanation at least gives you a glimpse of the main plan structure.
The Learning Curve
I will be honest and say that the plan can be a little overwhelming at first.
You don’t count calories or track any numbers like you would with other plans, but you do have to pay attention to how you combine your foods at each meal.
When I first started Trim Healthy Mama, I did a lot of thinking and second-guessing about whether my plate contained S foods or E foods, and it took some time to really get the hang of it.
But after a little while, it became second nature to me, and now I can plan all my meals and snacks easily, with very little thought.
WHY I LOVE THIS PLAN
Like I’ve mentioned above, I had tried many, many different types of diets over the years. I’ve failed at every single one of them, for one reason or another. And each one of them had valid points as to why they “should” work.
But not one of them used the Bible as a reference for how we should be eating and fueling our bodies.
The minute I read within the pages of the Trim Healthy Mama plan book the logical explanation for where the sisters’ got their inspiration for their plan, it was like a lightbulb went off in my head.
THIS made total sense to me.
So, I tried it.
And I fell in love with this way of eating.
It’s been almost two years now, and I don’t think I will ever eat any other way again.
I’ve even successfully had two fully THM-approved Thanksgivings, that were incredibly satisfying and didn’t leave me feeling bloated and tired (I even dropped a couple pounds over each Thanksgiving weekend – what?!).
My Results and Continued Progress
Since starting this plan, my skin has become so clear, my hair and nails are growing, I have way more energy, I feel more mentally alert, all the aches and pains in my joints are gone, I sleep better, and I’ve been able to almost effortlessly drop excess weight.
Now, I will be completely transparent here and mention that I had a health problem pop up over the past year that has stalled the progress I was seeing with my weight loss, and has even caused me to put a few pounds back on.
This was mostly due to some strong medications I was on, and also — being completely real and vulnerable here — a little bit due to feeling a bit depressed over said medical problem. Emotional eating had definitely gotten the better of me. Just being truthful! We’re all human, right?
But I’ve since gotten back on track, I’m off those medications now, and I’m starting to see real progress again with my weight loss and my health — yay! I’m excited to write a follow-up post in the near future to share all of my progress with you!
So that’s another reason why I love this plan so much. It’s something that I know I can, and will, always come back to as my TRUE way of eating.
Even if I fall off the wagon for one reason or another, I know I will always come back to this because I just feel so good eating this way!
It’s Not Just for Mamas, but for Husbands and Kiddos, Too!
My husband and my kids have even joined me on this journey and are thoroughly enjoying this new way of eating!
Of course, as growing children who do not need to lose weight, our kids eat all “crossover” meals that combine protein with both healthy fats AND healthy carbs.
We even made THM-approved homemade pizzas a few weeks ago that the kids claimed were even better than Grandma’s not-so-healthy (but delicious!) homemade pizza. (Sorry, Grandma!)
WHAT KINDS OF FOODS WE EAT
Since adopting this way of eating, I have eliminated all the junk from my diet and have replaced it all with nutritious, plan-approved foods that I actually ENJOY eating.
I’ve even been able to convert my favorite unhealthy dishes into Trim Healthy Mama approved versions.
Some of my all-time favorite THM meals are:
- Buttah Chicken (S meal, Trim Healthy Mama Cookbook, pg. 49)
- Chicken Fried Double Rice (E meal, Trim Healthy Table, pg. 53)
- Deconstructed Stuffed Peppers (S meal, Trim Healthy Table, pg. 54)
- Eggroll in a Bowl (S with E and FP options, Trim Healthy Mama Cookbook, pg. 62)
- Bangin’ Ranch Drumsticks (S meal, Trim Healthy Mama Cookbook, pg. 162)
- Ranch Hand Taco Salad (S meal, Trim Healthy Table, pg. 200)
- Bread Puddins’ (E meal, Trim Healthy Mama Cookbook, pg. 354)
And some of my favorite THM desserts:
- Trimtastic Chocolate Zucchini Cake (S dessert, Trim Healthy Mama Cookbook, pg. 296) *My all-time favorite THM dessert!
- Payoff Day Candies (S dessert, Trim Healthy Mama Cookbook, pg. 381)
- Skinny Chocolate Truffles (S dessert, Trim Healthy Mama Cookbook, pg. 384)
- Choco Chip Baby Frap (FP dessert, Trim Healthy Mama Cookbook, pg. 421)
- Magic Salted Caramel Cupcakes (S dessert, Trim Healthy Table, pg. 379)
- Brownie Fudge (S dessert, Trim Healthy Table, pg. 404)
For copyright reasons, I can’t share the actual recipes from the cookbooks here, but I am planning on sharing many of my favorite THM-style recipes that my husband and I have come up with over the past few years in future blog posts (many of which are also keto-friendly, if that’s your thing!).
“PURISTS” AND “DRIVE-THRU SUES”
In the Trim Healthy Mama plan book, Serene and Pearl talk about two different kinds of people – what they lovingly refer to as “Purists” and “Drive-Thru Sues.”
A “Purist,” according to Serene and Pearl, are those who eat only the absolute cleanest foods, buy everything organic, do not purchase anything boxed or processed, and makes everything from scratch.
A “Drive-Thru Sue” is considered someone who wants to eat a healthy diet, but isn’t concerned with organic this or that, and doesn’t mind buying the quick, packaged “convenience” foods (as long as they are still on plan) for the sake of saving time.
Whether you are a Purist or a Drive-Thru Sue, this plan can most certainly work for you. There are recipes in here for everyone, and there are ways to make this plan with only the purest ingredients, or with easy packaged items – whichever you prefer.
As for me….I fall somewhere in between both descriptions but lean a little more heavily toward Purist.
THOSE ON A BUDGET
The Trim Healthy Mama plan does call for some “specialty” items. They are helpful with weight loss and good for your health, but are absolutely not required. I know many people who are very successful with this plan without buying a single THM product.
That said, here are some of our favorite THM products:
Don’t have it in the budget to spend extra on specialty items like these? No worries.
Like I said above, they are not a requirement of the plan at all, and many people have reaped incredible health benefits just from implementing the guidelines of the plan using basic food items found at their local grocery store.
HELP AND SUPPORT
The best part of this plan – the part that I have always struggled with in other plans – is how you are given grace if *ahem* when you mess up.
In the past, any time I had slipped up on my diet and eaten something off-plan, it would spiral into a never-ending binge of overeating all the wrong things, and I would be right back where I started.
In contrast, if I ever mess up on the Trim Healthy Mama plan, I know that I can just get right back on track with my very next meal.
The book even goes into detail about what sort of things you can do to help you get back on track and not even skip a beat if you do happen to falter.
It’s very refreshing and has helped me so much on this journey!
Beyond the Book
In addition to the guidance and support you receive right within the pages of the Trim Healthy Mama plan book, there are several other ways to get support as well.
There is a Trim Healthy Mama Facebook page with tons of information, and even better, there is also a Trim Healthy Mama Private Facebook Group that you can request to join. It’s a wonderful community where you can ask questions and get tons of resources for help with the plan.
Serene and Pearl also host a podcast called The Trim Healthy Podcast, where they talk very openly and casually about all things plan related. The sisters are so sweet, and listening to the podcast not only provides so much encouragement but also makes you feel as though Pearl and Serene are chatting with you in your own living room!
The Trim Healthy Mama plan book is a great starting point, but if you need help figuring out what to eat, and need some recipe ideas, the sisters have also published two amazing THM cookbooks that are chock full of incredible recipes – the Trim Healthy Mama Cookbook and more recently, Trim Healthy Table. I have both books, and I’ve been blown away by the delicious recipes in each book!
Another cookbook I have is Briana Thomas’ Necessary Food. Her book contains all THM-approved recipes, and I have been thrilled with each of her recipes as well. Briana also blogs over at Briana-Thomas.com, where she shares tons more amazing THM recipes.
I’ve found many others who love the THM lifestyle as much as I do, and have noticed that dedicated THM food blogs have been popping up over recent years.
I’ve found tons of valuable information, as well as delicious THM-approved recipes, at each of these blogs as well.
THIS TRULY ISN’T JUST ANOTHER FAD DIET
Trust me, I know how skeptical you must be. I was totally there myself, too.
It seems like everywhere you turn, there are people who swear by one diet plan or another. And, I do know that some people are able to achieve great health and weight loss benefits from other diets. I’m not knocking those other plans at all!
But for me, when I tried cutting out main food groups, or trying this or that technique for losing weight, or spending tons of money on expensive nutritional supplements or shakes…it just didn’t work for me. They were too restrictive, too expensive, too unsustainable.
I was extremely skeptical when I began Trim Healthy Mama, but I gave it a good, honest chance and my life was forever changed!
It was the missing piece to the puzzle, an answer to prayer, and something I knew I could do for the long haul.
SO WHAT ABOUT YOU?
Are you also a Trim Healthy Mama? Or is this the first time you’re hearing about this plan? I’d love to know your thoughts, so leave a comment below!
Disclaimer: The author of this site is not a certified nutritionist and makes no claims to be one. Each individual’s dietary needs and restrictions are unique to the individual. The reader is ultimately responsible for all decisions pertaining to his or her own health. The reader assumes full responsibility for consulting a qualified health professional regarding any health conditions or concerns, and before starting a new diet or health program.
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