How I Lost Weight Eating 6 Times a Day (spoiler: TrimHealthyMama)
This morning, I got up at 5:30 and tried to get ready to get out to work as quietly as possible so as not to wake the various sleeping bodies in the bedroom.
Realizing that I had not picked out a shirt the night before, I grabbed a tee that was hanging on my bathroom towel bar and put it on. It belongs to my 13-year-old daughter. And it fit.
Since late December of this year, I’ve been losing weight steadily and easily. So easily, in fact, that I’ve had to consciously increase my calorie intake in an attempt not to lose any more weight. I got down to 122 (which for me, just shy of 5’5″, is uncomfortably thin). Right now I’m around 125 which is just right for me.
A few weeks ago a friend asked me if I was “starving myself“, and I was pretty taken aback. Not only would I never do that because I love food, but I would also never risk losing my milk supply that I worked so hard to establish when my preemie was born.
So, I decided to come here and explain how I lost weight (spoiler: TrimHealthyMama).
For starters, I quit eating sugar.
This is when most people immediately begin to get that glazed look. I suspect that for many, the idea of giving up sugar is so painful that they stop listening right then. (I don’t talk about my weight loss because it’s embarrassing, but people do ask, so I answer.)
But honestly, the no-sugar thing has been the most important. And I love it. I will never go back to eating sugar, no matter what. I have found many benefits from the sugarless lifestyle and am glad to be free of the chains of sugar addiction. Especially when I can have my cake and eat it too. Pictured below is sugar-free Turtle Cheesecake. It’s sweetened with stevia, and everyone in my family loves it.
If you spend any time online reading lady-penned blogs, you must have come across the concept called TrimHealthyMama©.
I certainly had, and regrettably immediately wrote it off as a faddish, gimmicky weight loss scheme that probably worked as well as all the others (read: not very well). I so wish that I had given it more consideration after my 7th child was born and I struggled to lose the baby weight.
Finally, frustrated with results from low-carb diets (which, although initially effective, left me exhausted, something I later learned often happens to people with thyroid issues on low-carb), picked up a copy of the plan book and read it, and was blown away at the research and common sense therein. If you’re interested in seeing what all the hullaballoo is about, don’t do what I did – read the book before making a judgment.
The TrimHealthyMama concept distilled down to its main points:
1) No sugar. Period. Also no white flour. Carbs are ok if they’re low-glycemic: sweet potatoes, beans, fruit, brown rice. Nothing that causes blood sugar spikes.
2) The body runs on two main fuels: fats and carbs. Separate your fuels most of the time, and anchor all meals and snacks with protein. Eat fats with protein, and eat carbs with protein. Non-starchy vegetables fill up your plate.
People, that’s pretty much it. Everything else is just window dressing. (This concept isn’t exactly new with THM, it’s called “carb cycling” and others have written about it, but the two ladies who came up with THM put it in a way that’s far more palatable.)
So let me explain how point #2 works out in real life. Let’s say I decide to have eggs for breakfast. I would have them with vegetables or bacon or cheese, but NOT carbohydrates. My fuel for this meal? Fat.
If I had instead opted for oatmeal (carbs), I would have eaten it with berries and maybe (lower fat) chicken sausage (for protein), instead of bacon. Fuel here? Carbs.
Now it’s lunchtime. I decide to have a baked sweet potato. I’ll add black beans, some leftover cooked chicken breast for protein. But I won’t add too much fat. Just a teaspoon on my potato. That’s because I’ve chosen Carbs for my fuel this meal.
And so on.
It took me about two weeks to learn these concepts well enough to do them, several times a day, without accidentally eating Fats + Carbs in high amounts in each meal. (Even doing that occasionally is no problem and encouraged – it’s called a Crossover, and you need those too, especially if you’re pregnant or nursing or have hit goal weight.)
On a typical day, I eat 5-6 times. In fact THM encourages you to eat every 3 hours when you’re awake. Seriously! This is what I ate Monday:
Coffee with cream, small handful of almonds @ 7
Instant cheesecake @ 9
Greek yogurt with peanut butter @ 11
Tuna with Tabasco, celery @ 2:30
Chocolate peanut butter cake @ 4
Cajun-style Dirty Rice (brown rice, ground turkey cooked with onions, bell peppers, celery, spices, red beans) @ 6:30
Clearly, I’m suffering with all that instant cheesecake and chocolate peanut butter cake. 🙂
Image credit: Images Frozen in Time
A few benefits, in addition to weight loss, I’ve noticed from a sugar-free TrimHealthyMama diet:
– no puffiness and swelling. My face, hands and feet aren’t swollen anymore, and neither are my joints. Guess what? Swollen joints hurt. Sugar causes inflammation, meaning pain. I know that I know that I know that giving up sugar would help a lot of people because I hear women sharing that their joint pain diminished every single day on the THM Facebook page.
– my waist is smaller. I’ve never had a particularly small waist, even when I was thin. My waist is definitely defined now, which is a measure of good health – messed-up hormones cause us to gain in our waistlines. No more muffin top, and I can see my ab muscles!
– my mood and energy levels are more stable. I think this is due to improved hormone levels, but since sugar is such a stimulant and blood sugar crashes are often responsible for low moods, keeping blood sugar levels stable has a stabilizing effect on mood and my energy is more sustained (something I really struggle with, so I appreciate any help I can get)
– no hot flashes. At 41, I am definitely experiencing perimenopausal symptoms. I had ONE hot flash several months ago, and I don’t wish to experience another! A friend of mine who is several years older than me told me that giving up sugar made her hot flashes disappear.
– control over cravings, more willpower. I definitely have far more control over my cravings than before. I used to crave sugar every day in the afternoon, and could never say no to myself when faced with dessert at gatherings. Now, I can easily skip dessert and my kids eat things in front of me all the time that I don’t share. The evidence is in. Sugar is addictive. Why would I eat something that destroys my health when I can have a stevia-sweetened treat?
I’ve fallen in love with the THM lifestyle and even started a TrimHealthyMama blog to document my menus, recipes, “non-scale victories” and sustained weight loss. The only thing I don’t love about it? The name. I throw up a little bit every time I say it.
But that’s a small thing. 🙂
One last thing. I have to mention exercise here. Everyone thinks that you need to exercise a ton in order to lose weight, but that’s simply not true. In fact, exercise just increases your appetite.
Exercise (actually, I dislike the term) Movement is very important for a thousand reasons, but losing weight isn’t one of them. The only exercise I did during my weight loss phase was walking, and I didn’t do it every day. I wanted to see how well THM worked so I intentionally ramped down my activity level.
A few more of my posts about how I lost weight on TrimHealthyMama (from my other blog)
– How to do TrimHealthyMama When You Hate Cooking (or Don’t Have Time!) – a response to those who claim that doing THM means spending hours a day in the kitchen