I’ve written about THM before. Since December 2015, I’ve been on this eating plan. And I love it. People often claim that it’s too complicated, but I’ve learned to keep Trim Healthy Mama simple and to make it work for me… while cooking for a family of 9. Here are some tips.
Trim Healthy Mama Simple
At its heart, Trim Healthy Mama only has three main simple rules:
1) Separate fats and carbs in your meals most of the time
2) NO SUGAR
3) All meals and snacks anchored with protein
I think most people get tripped up when they look at the THM cookbooks and see ingredients they’re unfamiliar with. Glucomannan, sunflower lecithin, frozen okra, nutritional yeast, etc – most people don’t use these items on a daily basis. While I personally have integrated these items into my diet because I think they’re beneficial, they’re not necessary on the plan.
To be sure, NO “special ingredients” are required – a fact that the authors of the Trim Healthy mama books emphasize over and over. Many of the recipes in the books are marked “NSI” (no special ingredients) for this reason.
You can keep Trim Healthy Mama simple by not worrying about these unusual ingredients (at least not at first – you might find them very useful once the diet is second nature!).
Separating Fats and Carbs
This part is confusing for some. For one, they’re unclear about what fats and carbs are. In THM parlance, carb-fueled meals are “E” (for energizing – while to me it would make more sense to call them F and C for fats and carbs, I didn’t invent the diet!) and fat-fueled meals are “S” (for satisfying).
So what are carbs? Brown rice, sweet potatoes, fruit, oatmeal, grains.
Fats include fatty meats (bacon, sausage, beef), full-fat dairy, peanut butter, oils, butter, whole eggs
Trim Healthy Mama is NOT a low-carb diet
Trim Healthy Mama works because when you eat a meal, your body gets busy burning the fats first (a pure fuel source – this is why the keto and paleo diets work for weight loss). If you have a lot of carbs in your meal, your body doesn’t get around to burning them before you’ve eaten again. Those extra carbs end up sitting around your waistline.
But THM isn’t a low carb diet. Carbs are necessary for brain health, mood stabilization, and adrenal and thyroid health. (As I explain in the video below, eating low-carb kills my thyroid gland and I find myself unable to lift myself off the couch after a few days! This is not the “low carb flu” – it doesn’t go away.)
So what does separating fats and carbs look like in a typical day?
Breakfast for me is almost always a fat fueled meal. Carbs don’t appeal to me in the AM. So it’s usually a “muffin in a mug” – made with gluten-free, low carb flour, a whole egg, stevia to sweeten and a bit of dark chocolate or berries. Or it might be a fried egg with bacon or sausage, coffee and cream (fat fueled)
Lunch: For energy, I typically something with carbs mid-day. For example: black bean soup or oatmeal with berries. Keeping in mind that THM meals and snacks are always anchored with protein, I’ll add a bit of chicken breast to the soup. With the oats, I might add egg whites (added at the end and cooked for just a moment, they make oatmeal very creamy!) or eat my oats with low-fat Greek yogurt.
Snack: A bit of dark chocolate with nuts (fat fueled) or fruit with greek yogurt (carbs)
Dinner: Mango chicken with black beans and rice (a family favorite, carb fueled) or something like salmon with butter and veggies (fats) or beef stew, a Mexican-inspired dish with cheese and ground beef (also fat fueled).
If I’m fueling with carbs, I keep the fat content low. So no cream or tons of butter with my oatmeal, for example. If I’m fueling with fats, I keep the carb content low. So no potatoes in my beef stew (instead, non-starchy vegetables).
Does that sound like deprivation!? Absolutely not. I get to eat decent portion sizes of food and I don’t get hangry inbetween meals because of the way THM stabilizes my blood sugar.
If you prefer watching, here is a video I did on Facebook a while back explaining how to do Trim Healthy Mama simply:
The Main Benefits I’ve Noticed with Trim Healthy Mama
As I mention in the video, I had life-long troubles with hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). In school, my parents had to make special arrangements to allow me to eat inbetween breakfast and lunch, or I would pass out in P.E. class or have trouble with math (if it was before lunch!). I would experience uncomfortable symptoms if I ate carbs (because I didn’t know about the importance of anchoring them with protein). So stabilizing my blood sugar is a huge benefit I’ve seen on THM.
I have also stayed at my ideal weight effortlessly and without exercise. This is a biggie. People still believe that exercise leads to weight loss when research doesn’t back up that idea. Abs are made in the kitchen! I intentionally did not exercise during the weight loss phase. Exercise is important for your health and mood, however.
People often ask me which of the Trim Healthy Mama books I recommend. The oldest one is far too wordy for most people and was self-published, and its conversational style turns some people off. For someone wanting to keep the Trim Healthy Mama diet simple, I recommend buying one of the newer cookbooks!
I have both of the cookbooks and use them daily.
The plan is explained in the opening pages of both, and it’s probably enough for a new person to get the basics. Focus on the recipes marked NSI for “no special ingredients”. There are also Facebook groups that provide support for people on the diet. People share recipes and tips. Just search Facebook!
If you want more info and to understand the “why” behind the rules of the diet, get the new plan book.
I have a small blog all about the THM diet. A couple of the most popular posts:
– How to do Trim Healthy Mama when you hate to cook or don’t have time
Have you ever tried Trim Healthy Mama? What were your challenges?
p.s. I cook meals for my family that are “on plan” and noone has any complaints!