Want to listen to this? Check out the podcast version of this post here.
From May of 2014 to May of 2015, I lost more than 30 pounds.
People who know me in real life may have wondered that I had 30 pounds to lose. Well, I did (need to lose it). I'm tall and carried it pretty well — yet it got in my way, made me depressed, and I wanted it gone!
And it's not like I hadn't been trying other ways to lose it.
Here's where I found myself. I was working out regularly and watching my “carbs”. Yet even though I'd been eating healthy for many years, I was still gaining a bit of weight each year (though not excessive amounts… just a bit).
It's super obvious now that I've put my before and after photos next to each other (top photo). I don't have a full body photo from “before” — however, look at the chubbiness in my face and upper body!
And the numbers? Well, I already told you one of them — 30 pounds lost. I don't actually know how much I weigh now, though, because our scale is unreliable that way. What I do know is how much it has moved in a year — 30 pounds down.
I was in a tight 14 and now I'm size 10 (sometimes 8). I've also continued to build muscle and re-shape my body through weight lifting.
How Did I Do This?
I ate all traditional foods. I even ate more of those darned carbs than I had been eating before. And, I felt utterly satisfied and in love with my food. I felt more energized and purposeful (which tends to happen when you get consistent results). I lost weight steadily and regularly.
That all's great. What about the things I didn't do?
I didn't feel deprived. I didn't eat any Frankenfoods. And no — I didn't follow any diet scheme that was hard in the least. I didn't lose dramatic or scary amounts of weight all at once (which would suggest starvation or deprivation).
Okay, you're saying.. this doesn't make any sense. How can this be?
Well, hold on now. Let me explain.
I followed a diet plan called Trim Healthy Mama. (In fact, in Trim Healthy Mama circles, this one year anniversary of following the plan is lovingly named a “Trimaversary” and I just reached mine.)
Trim Healthy Mama In Simple Terms
A very simplistic overview of Trim Healthy Mama is this:
There are 2 types of foods that provide fuel — carbs and fats. As we age or get more sedentary, we need less of these fuel sources, yet we are probably eating the same amounts we always have. Which means, we're getting more fuel than we need.
Uh-oh. And what happens to the excess? The body stores it as body fat. Uh-oh is right.
The simple way around this is to avoid eating both types of fuels (fat and carbs) in any given meal or snack. While always eating protein; it's important.
So the meals are composed of either carbs and protein –OR– fat and protein. That's how any one meal or snack provides your body with just 1 fuel source — and therefore nothing extra to store as fat.
And honestly, the fairly easy (in my experience) weight loss probably has a lot to do with reducing excess caloric load, too. When you're careful about keeping sugar down, for instance, you simply don't eat extra calories which don't get stored as fat.
Again, you're saying: Hang on! Is there really something to this?
Does this really work?
I'm not going to say it works for everyone. Yet it did work for me, and that's the point of this post — to share my story.
(In fact, sharing my story is all I'm allowed to do. Trim Healthy Mama is very clear that users of the plan aren't authorized to teach the diet to others; so please get the book to get the whole scoop.)
So, yes, this is just my story and my experience. I'm thrilled to share it with you!
You've heard about the transformation, now let me tell you some of the ways I implemented this way of eating with 100% traditional foods.
Traditional Foods On THM
Although both authors — they are sisters — of Trim Healthy Mama have a healthy bent, one of them is a traditional food lover. This means that traditional foods and methods make regular appearances in the book's recipes and discussions. However, non-traditional convenience foods make appearances, too.
I'm sharing my take on this plan because I want to show you how I followed it without using non-traditional foods like fake sweeteners or pasta, refined foods, or unnaturally defatted foods.
Traditional foods actually lend themselves very well to separating out their macronutrients such as carbs and fat.
Take a whole chicken, for instance. The dark meat is higher fat (for fat-protein meals) and the light meat is lower fat (for carb-protein meals). Separating the 2 types of chicken meat is easy to do — and I do it all the time. I use the light meat in carb-protein (E – Energizing) meals/snacks; I eat the dark meat in fat-protein (S — Satisfying) meals/snacks.
Or, homemade yogurt from raw milk (or at least non-homogenized): the cream rises to the top just as it does on fresh, raw milk. I skim away that “soured” yogurt cream and make butter out of it, leaving the skimmed yogurt as a naturally low-fat food. Also, the 24-hour fermentation for my homemade yogurt reduces the milk sugar to virtually nothing. Therefore, both the fat and sugar have been reduced, and that means I can use it in whatever type of meal/snack I want. Combine with fat for an S meal; combine with carbs for an E meal.
Or, homemade cheese. I use skimmed milk (I make butter with the cream) to make homemade cottage cheese or cheddar cheese or easy soft cheese. They're either fuel-neutral (if fermented long enough for the sugar to be reduced) or E (if the cheese still contains some milk sugar).
Grass-fed beef? Naturally lean protein and therefore can be combined with fat for an S meal or carbs for an E meal.
Wild salmon? Again, a naturally lean protein which can be combined into either an S meal or an E meal.
But It's Not Natural!
Look, I know some reading this may balk that I'm “separating” foods and worrying about which foods I'm eating when. You may be thinking: that's not natural!
First of all, separating food really is an age-old practice (just as not separating it is natural, too). For ages, people have skimmed cream to make butter or creme fraiche. They've used certain parts of animals for some dishes and other parts for other dishes. And sometimes they leave it all together. Neither separating nor leaving it whole is unnatural or to be feared.
Second, this isn't meant to be a life-long way of eating. If you have a goal to meet, such as weight loss, it's a temporary thing to follow to help you meet that goal. It's a lot like weight lifters who eat their carbs, protein, and fats at specific times — coordinated with their workout schedule. Or someone with compromised gut health eliminating sugars and starches until their gut microbes are in balance again.
Our bodies are beautifully and wonderfully made — and complex. We live in a fallen world; sometimes we have goals that can't be met through general nutrition, so we need to get a little more specific.
That's what this has done for me. THM allowed me to stay nourished and lose weight while still eating all the traditional foods I love. All I've done is rearrange the order/time/composition of eating them.
My Favorite Foods
Here are some of my favorite Trim Healthy Mama meals. Remember — S meals (fat-protein) or E meals (carb-protein).
These barely scratch the surface! I've had a lot of delicious meals and snacks in the past year, yet these are my favorites. 🙂
Have a listen to the podcast version of this post, where I describe these foods more.
Favorite E (Energizing; carb-protein) Meals/Snacks
- sourdough bread (einkorn) with wild salmon and cottage cheese
- THM pancakes (from the Trim Healthy Mama book) as bread with chicken breast or wild salmon and veggies
- skimmed yogurt with pre-soaked oats
- “mayo” from blended soft cheese or cottage cheese, herbs/salt added (and spread on E sandwiches or used as a salad dressing for E meals)
Favorite S (Satisfying; fat-protein) Meals/Snacks
- coconut flour wrap tacos (recipe for wraps in our Allergy-Free Cooking eCourse or eBook)
- meat sauce with spaghetti squash or zucchini “noodles”
- taco salad — seasoned ground beef and cheese over a bed of lettuce with taco toppings (onions, avocado, tomato)
- skimmed yogurt smoothie with cultured cream added back + lemon extract + stevia
- fried eggs in butter with bacon and cheese (or omelet)
- pizza on cauliflower crust
What About Dessert?
One huge benefit of THM? I've become un-addicted to sugar, and I simply don't crave it anymore. I eat very few sweetened foods, and when I do, I use stevia — a naturally sweet-tasting herb that doesn't contain sugar. My favorite brand of stevia is Sweet Leaf. I am comfortable with the processing, and there's absolutely no after-taste.
Here's what I have when I do want something sweet:
- tea sweetened with stevia
- lemon yogurt — homemade yogurt + stevia + lemon extract (or lemon juice) or this recipe with lemon essential oil!
- dark chocolate (90%)
- cheesecake in jars sweetened with stevia
I am pretty happy with where I am, so I am focusing on maintaining. That means I eat frequent “crossover” meals that contain all three food types — protein, fats, and carbs. If my weight creeps up, I know what to do. 🙂
Want to hear all this info? Check out the podcast version of this post here.
How do you manage your weight? Do you eat Traditional foods on THM? Do you have a weight loss story to share?
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