Sunday, May 29, 2016

Week 2 of the Spring Fling THM - Challenge

Happy Memorial Day weekend!

So I finished week 2 of the Spring Fling THM-Challenge and I am starting week 3. First of all....a NSV (non scale victory). My NSV is that in 14 days....count 'em....14!!!....I have not veered from the plan even once. THAT to me is a victory. In all my years....I have never stuck to a plan this long without at least a little cheat. So as you can see....for's big! I am extremely proud of myself and honestly, my body feels better for it. I have already lost the sugar cravings and I have never once felt "physically" hungry, the whole time.

I say "physically" hungry, because I will admit that there were a few times where I felt a few "emotional" hunger pains. You know what I am talking about. Your kid is suppose to be home at midnight and you haven't heard from him at 1 a.m.. The washer broke down and now you have to haul a U-Hauls worth of clothes to the laundry thought you were doing so good losing weight and you overhear someone make a less than flattering remark about your muffin top. Any and/or all of these things can send you over the bend and directly into "emotional" hunger. You know the hunger.....where you are tearing the house apart looking for those cookies you hid just in case or yanking up couch cushions looking for abandoned jelly beans.

Luckily, I was able to talk myself off the emotional ledge, but there were a couple of close calls. I have found that drinking water...a lot of moments such as this does help. Another old trick that I use is when I know I am emotionally hungry and nothing more, I brush my teeth with the mintiest toothpaste I can find. After that, nothing but water is palatable for at least an hour and by then it is either time to eat or enough time has passed that the emotional issue is no longer an issue.

Even though I have been a "perfect" THMer this week, the scales showed only a 4/10 of a lb loss. I won't lie, after last weeks loss, this was a bit disappointing. I had to remind myself that even though it was small, it was still a loss and not to look a gift horse in the mouth. It did however make me take a closer look at my "perfect" week.

I think I said before that I keep a daily food journal. It is just a little notebook that I write down the foods I eat, how much water and GGMS I drink and my daily exercise. So on looking back at last week, the one area that was glaringly absent was EXERCISE. I managed to walk one day last week and the rest of the week....nahda. I also think that perhaps I had too many S meals and needed a few more E's and a few more FP's thrown in. While I never fell off plan once this week, after the week before, perhaps I needed to shake my meals up a bit. I will implement those changes with more exercise this week and then by next week, the scales should positively reflect the changes. Fingers crossed!

It is very easy to get frustrated, discouraged and down right fed up when you feel as if you have done it all right and the scales don't give you the numbers you are hoping for. It is at these moments that it would be easy to throw in the towel and find the first available cheesecake and devour the whole thing. However, when you are changing your life for the better, sometimes you have to take the good with the not so good. There will be weeks that the scale simply doesn't reflect all we feel we have put into our plan. That is when you look beyond the scale. Do your pants fit looser? Can you now fit into shorts that you couldn't a month ago? can now actually button your blouse. My hands aren't swollen from too much sugar. I was able to walk an extra mile two times this week, and I am now down to two chins instead of three. In essence, whether the scale is reflecting the changes or not....your body is. Don't judge your progress by your scales alone.

So, yeah....I did well this week even though the scales didn't move as much as I would have liked. I feel good and my body is feeling good. I have set a goal and I intend to keep it, knowing that this journey for me is about learning who I am, listening to what my body is telling me and proving to myself that I am worth the time and effort it takes to take care of me.

I hope you all are having an amazing Memorial Weekend and please remember those who have given their all so that we might remain free!

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Donut Girl and Some Tips for Success in THM

Happy Sunday everyone! Yes...another blog. I didn't really plan another blog on Celery Girl, but I had a comment this morning that kinda made me want to.

First of all, today it has been one week since the Spring Fling Challenge started. I was faithful all week and stayed within plan. It paid off. I will not say how it paid off and I will not be posting any kind of numbers until June 30th at the end of the challenge. I will just paid off. 

This brings me to the comment I received this morning on yesterday's blog. I am going to share it here:

Donut Girl May 22,2016 at 11:05 AM

"I loved this blog but I am so frustrated. I am trying to work my way through THM and I am try to eat like others in the different groups but they are losing a lot of weight and I don't seem to be doing anything. I want to cry. No one any to go eat donuts. Can you help me please? Tell me what I'm doing wrong and tell me how to fix it."

Let me first say Donut Girl....I feel your pain and I have been in your shoes. I think honestly, most of us can say this. Also, I am not an expert in anything except myself and my own body. That being said though, I do have a bit of experience with diets, dieting, losing and failing tremendously. I know the frustration, the anger and the ultimate disappointment of feeling as if once again I failed. I also know how it feels to look in the mirror and not like what I see and not like how I feel. Plain and simple.....IT SUCKS! 

This is why I am writing today's blog. No....I won't be boring you daily with this blog, mostly because I have two other blogs in which to bore people with. Today though, I want to reach out again, to those who feel as if they are the hamster in the wheel, doing all the work but getting no where.

To begin with, changing your life through food is much different than dieting. Trim Healthy Mama (THM) is truly a life change and up until now, most of us have been on diets. What's the difference? EVERYTHING.....from the way we think to the way we eat and how our bodies feel. With diets we have to measure, count calories or if it is done for us, then we have to eat small portions of food that we really have no idea what chemicals are in them or how they will affect our bodies. Diets can also leave our bodies missing nutrients and causing our hormones to get out of whack. This leaves us unsatisfied, in a bad mood and often times feeling worse than before we started. Mentally....the word "diet" is unpleasant and most usually, sets us up to fail, before we even get started.

Serene and Pearl went out of their way in making THM, to ensure we wouldn't have to deal with any of the "diet" unpleasantness. They have designed this plan so that while taking weight off, we learn to eat properly and fuel our bodies properly. The trade off is, we do our own cooking and we learn about the foods we put into our body and how our bodies work with those foods. There are none of the highs and lows of blood sugar issues, hormones going crazy or our bodies becoming malnourished because we aren't eating the right combinations of good fats and carbs. There are no extremes and done properly, there are no mid-day crashes, no middle of the night munchies and no feelings of anger from being hungry and not being able to eat.

This is however, a full body experience which means mind as well as body. In essence, the first step to success is not to let your negative brain override your positive new plan. The brain is powerful. It can tell us we are hungry when we really aren't and it can cause us to trip up and fail just because it is telling us we are on just another diet. Fortunately.....after about a week of realizing that your body is fully fed, not missing out on good treats like chocolate and desserts and that your hormones aren't running a muck, your brain starts to settle down and get with the program.

Now here are some tips to making THM a permanent lifestyle change and how not to derail yourself.

1) Get both of the THM books. The first one Trim Healthy Mama Plan is a little more challenging to understand right off the bat, but as you progress, you will find yourself coming back to it more and more. The second book Trim Healthy Mama Cookbook is the recipe book and it is my cooking bible. It is full of recipes and information to help make the plan easy to jump into. Both can be purchased from the THM website.

2) Get on FB and look up THM pages. There are many THM pages and I suggest you join several. You will find out that you are not alone in this journey and there are many who will help you and cheer you on. Eventually you will find the groups you are most comfortable with and that will become your THM home.

3) Ask questions. If you don't know by one started out on this journey having all the answers. It is always about asking questions and learning. No question is stupid if it helps you to better understand the plan.

4) Don't compare your journey to others. I see this every day on the THM pages. Mary followed Sally's menu for the week and she lost 8 lbs. Susie also followed Sally's menu for the week and she only lost 2 lbs and poor Amy followed it too and she gained 2 lbs. It's enough to make a person eat an off plan donut....or six.

5) DON'T weigh yourself everyday. Our bodies, especially if you are a woman, can fluctuate from morning to night. We retain water, sometimes we have to poop and during our time of the month.....fuggitaboutit. A good rule of thumb is to not weigh more than once a week. Weigh the same time of day, (usually first thing in the morning after you have gone to the bathroom). Try also to weigh in the same clothes each time. Also....don't judge your success by the number on the scale. As you get more active and work out, you will begin to build muscle. Muscle weighs more than fat and sometimes you will see a bit of an increase in numbers because of this. Also, with THM, the non scale victories (NSV) are every bit as important as the numbers on the scale. Maybe the scales didn't move this week, but you can now wear a smaller size, someone at work noticed that you are losing weight or your child notices that your lap is now bigger and they have more room to sit. What the scale says is only a small part of changing your lifestyle, so don't drive yourself crazy by weighing everyday. All you will do is get frustrated and derail yourself. Once a week and no more!

6) Each of us is different and we are going to lose weight differently, even if we follow the exact same menu. If you are bigger and start off weighing more, then chances are in the beginning you will lose weight faster. After a few weeks though, the quick weight loss will stall out and then you have to mix up your menus with S's and E's and FP's thrown in along the way. Exercise may also need to be amped up when you stall out and believe it or not.....sometimes a cheat day is necessary just to shake your body up and throw it out of stall mode. Yes, cheat days have their place, but only as a last resort.

7) Water. I know that with Good Girl Moonshine and Sippers that there is no issue of thirst going on in the plan, but water is still crucial. It is proven that those who manage to drink 48-62 ounces of water per day when trying to lose weight, have much better results. Now I just hear some of you out there saying....."But I can't stand water." I know that for some it is an acquired taste but it is necessary and trust me, you can learn to not only like water, but after a time, you will actually prefer it to other things. At any is key in weight loss so I encourage you to develop a long and lasting relationship with it.

8) Pinterest. It's not just for decorating your home and yard anymore. There are many THM recipes on Pinterest and most are labeled as S or E or FP. There are a lot of creative people out there who make it their mission to make every recipe a THM recipe and then to share it. Take advantage of their generosity and let them help you make weekly menus. Also....there are some amazing blogs that you can find through Pinterest and through the THM fb pages that will help to encourage you and keep you on the THM track.

9) Weekly menus. For some these are crucial to maintaining the plan. Some people are much more apt to stay on plan if it is mapped out for them in advance. Planning ahead and knowing what you will be preparing and having all your ingredients on hand ahead of time, is a great help for many and the key to success. It takes the guess work out of life and also takes last minute indecisiveness out of the picture.

10) I keep a journal. It is not a typical dieters food journal. It is more or less the recipes I use, where I found them and how we liked them. I also have notes about how I tweaked them to my families liking. This way I have a list of go-to recipes when I am planning my week out. I also keep track of my exercise and my water intake. This way if I have a week where I don't lose or I feel like I didn't do my best, I can look back and see what changes I need to make.

11) Finally, find some THMers close to you. Maybe you live in the same town and you can workout together. Maybe you can form a group and get together monthly and share recipes and talk about your ups and downs. If no one is close to you, then find yourself a fellow THMer online and keep in touch with them. Use each other to ask questions, throw out ideas and share the the highs and lows of changing your life. Don't feel alone and don't think you are the only one who deals with the lows. At the same time....share those highs. Each positive change in your life is going to bring you that much closer to a healthier you.

So yeah, a blog two days in a row. Mind blowing...right? Donut Girl....I hope this blog helped and I hope you realize that you can do this. I have faith in you! Really though, I'm not saying anything that most of you don't already know. I'm just putting it altogether as a reminder. Each and every one of us has the ability to achieve our goals whether they be health, fitness or weight loss. Some days are easier than others, but by making a few changes and following some basic rules....we've all got this.

Please feel free to comment. I look forward to hearing your stories, comments and questions. And as always....thank you for reading the Celery Girl blog.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

My THM Story So Far........

So since I have been blogging here and there about Trim Healthy Mama (THM) and started a "local" THM for Us 2015 facebook page, I have gotten some questions. They are mostly the same questions that I asked as I started this journey. So for your reading pleasure on this wonderful Saturday, I thought I would answer some of those questions while telling you a little bit about what I have learned about myself, THM and my far!

I am 50ish. Since I have been in my teens, I have probably lost and gained 500 lbs. No....I have never weighed 500 lbs BUT, the amounts of weight that I have lost and then regained and lost again over the years, would probably easily hit that number.

Truthfully, I have tried every "diet" out there and I have even tried some more dangerous avenues to weight loss such as diet pills (you know...the ones that actually killed people before the FDA stepped in). In my efforts of trying to make my young 115 lb body into perfection, I developed an eating disorder and for years was extremely unhealthy.

Now, I know my story is similar to many peoples. When I was growing up in the 70's and 80's, curves were not "respected" as they are today. If your bones didn't protrude from your skin and you weren't rocking a size 0, then you were considered FAT! I was 5'1", I weighed between 110 and 115 lbs and I wore a size 7. Looking back, I was small.....very small, but society told me a different story. Society told me that I was overweight and I felt ashamed. Keep in mind too, that back then, even the medical community was more concerned about "how" you looked and what the scale said, than how healthy you actually were.

After I started having children, I would never quite get all the baby weight off before I had another one. By the time my youngest was born when I was only 27 weeks pregnant and yet bigger than I had been with my other pregnancies, I knew there was a problem. It was at this time that I began to stress eat. My son was in the NICU for 5 months and diagnosed with a myriad of health issues. My husband died unexpectedly just months after my son came home from the hospital and within months of that, my mother died from cancer. Food was about the only thing that I could control and that made me feel temporarily better and over the years my weight continued to climb.

As the weight packed on, I tried Adkins, Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig, just to name a few. They all worked temporarily, until my mind rebelled against the word "diet" and my finances rebelled against expensive meal plans and weekly dues that I had to pay. I would lose, 15-20 lbs and then gain it all back and more because I was learning nothing about myself or the food that I was putting into my body. I expected these plans to do all the work for me while I ate my way back to 110 lbs. I had no concept of how food, calories, fats, sugar or carbohydrates worked in my body and more over.....I had no real idea of why I stress ate. It was a losing battle and the biggest loser was starting to become my health.

Since my youngest is special needs and will likely need me for most....if not all of his life, I feared that the cancer that runs rampant in my family would one day attack me and take me away from him. I was also terrified of all the auto-immune diseases that my family seems to be overrun with. I had already developed Hashimotos Diease which is a thyroid disease and I had nightmares about Lupus, rheynods and RA taking over my life. I had all this fear and felt totally out of control and had no idea that I could take control.

Along with all of this and the stress of having a special needs son whose condition could go from fine to devastating in the blink of an eye, I felt physically bad most of the time. My body ached, I had constant migraines and I was developing horrible stomach issues. I felt as if my body was falling apart and all this made me want to do was EAT more!

Then....a friend started talking to me about this eating plan she had heard about and was trying. She knew me well and knew that I was a stubborn creature, so she gradually introduced the fact that she was trying it and how it was going for her....into our conversations. Ever so often I would hear words like "Good Girl Moonshine", "Sipper" and "Bread in a Mug" come into play as we were talking. Then one time she came to visit and her travel bag was loaded with apple cider vinegar, flavoring extracts and stevia. I would have thought her crazy except for the fact that this woman, whom I had never thought was overweight, suddenly looked amazing and about 20 years younger. That is when she sat me down and talked about THM. I listened, but my negativity got in the way and I heard, "THM, blah blah blah, apple cider vinegar, blah blah blah, lifestyle change, blah blah blah.....lost 60 pounds." Now honestly, while the rest did not resonate much with me, the lost 60 pounds, kinda did.

Still I did nothing, until one day I looked in the mirror and literally hated what I saw. It was a reflection of how I felt on the inside and my insides felt like crap. So that very day, I downloaded the THM ebook online. I began to read it. By that evening, I had a headache as I ate a piece of cheesecake and tried to decipher what Serene and Pearl (the original THM's and the writers of the book), were trying to tell me.

It was as if everything I had ever been taught about food and eating were being crumpled up and thrown in the trash. They were telling me that butter was good for me. Fats were good for me and not all fruits and veggies were good for your body. They said that eggs were good and meats were good and that "diet" foods and chemically altered "low fat" foods were.....dare I say.....evil....or at the very least, working against weight loss and my body. I was trying to unlearn everything I had learned over the course of a lifetime about food and it was confusing and frustrating. My mind immediately said, "NO! This is too hard." So I bought a bag of gummy bears and drowned my sorrows in a 2 liter of Diet Mt. Dew.

Finally, I called my friend and told her that I simply didn't understand the plan and I was throwing in the towel. She suggested instead of giving up, just to slowly start working some THM into my diet here and there. She told me to start with GGMS (Good Girl Moonshine) as she knew I drank entirely too much diet soda. She also suggested that I just try a THM recipe here and there and see if I liked it. So begrudgingly....I tried.

I began by finding a GGMS recipe on Pinterest that had many of the healthy components of Diet Mt. Dew. I played with the flavorings and tweaked them until I found something very comparable. It took me very little time and I was able to give up soda and drink only GGMS. I didn't see much weight loss with only this change though, but I did see some other things that I found quite interesting. I had been suffering with leg and feet pain. It was especially bad if I had to get up during the night and first thing in the morning. Suddenly, I realized that was gone. I also noticed that my migraines had been reduced significantly. I went from about 20/per month to about 5-8 and most of those seemed to be weather or atmospherically related. Finally, I noticed that I was just generally feeling better. Hmmmm......

Being me though, I fell off the GGMS wagon and began drinking the Dew again. Within a week, the feet/leg pain and the migraines were back. I started feeling like crap again and started self medicating with food again. It took me awhile to admit that it was my diet Dew, but eventually, the headaches and leg pain simply weren't worth drinking diet soda or any soda for that matter.

Once I was back on the GGMS, I decided to start trying some of the THM recipes as my friend suggested. While I did need to buy some ingredients that I didn't normally have around the house, I was also able to STOP buying some of the stuff I normally bought. I went out and purchased almond flour, coconut flour and ground flaxseed, coconut oil, butter, radishes, strawberries, blueberries and sprouted bread. I quit buying AP flour, milk, sugar and anything low fat, fat free or diet. The grocery bill was actually less because I wasn't wasting money on soda, candy, processed foods such as chips, cookies and boxed meals. I was shopping the perimeters of the store and 90% of the groceries I bought were fresh meats, veggies and fruits. The THM recipes that I was making were both healthy and family pleasing, which meant I didn't have to fix something for them and THEN fix my food.

As time went on, I was about a 50/50 THMer, meaning I was eating about 50% healthy and still 50% not so much. Then some things happened all at once that turned my world around and truly changed my way of thinking and my entire families way of eating. The first thing was that I changed doctors and had to have a full medical workup. While I really hadn't lost a lot of weight because I wasn't eating THM fully, my doctor was amazed at my blood work and over all general health as compared to the notes he had gotten from my previous doctor from a year ago. My blood pressure had gone from 140/95 to 117/60. My cholesterol had been high and now it was very good my thyroid was being well controlled. He asked me what I had done to make these changes and I told him about THM. He had never heard of it, but he said it was obvious that what I was doing was working, so to keep it up. That right there made me realize that it was time to get off the 50/50 fence and start working towards weight loss and a permanent lifestyle change.

Following that, I learned that my youngest son was getting alarmingly underweight. This often happens to kids with cerebral palsy and when it does, this affects how their already low tone muscles work. I made up my mind then and there that he would become a full fledged THMer. I started giving him S (satisfying smoothies first thing in the morning full of coconut oil, protein powder, avocado, banana and almond milk) and I started making sure that he ate every 3 hours.....just like me. From February to May he went from 74 pounds to 87 pounds and he is much more able to use his muscles, ride his bike and use his walker. Now granted, for him to gain weight, he eats double the good fats and I am not stingy on anything "healthy" he wants to eat.

Finally, in that same time period, we found out that my older son had celiac disease. He was gluten intolerant and it was making his life absolutely miserable and almost unlivable. Being as miserable as he was, he was willing to do anything to feel better, including to start eating the THM way. Within a month of faithfully adhering to THM recipes and eating every 3 hours, his symptoms had completely subsided. He had lost about 8 lbs and all the inflammation in his abdomen. He had regained his life.

THM is not a miracle, fast cure for all that ails you. What THM a lifestyle change that cuts out the chemicals, additives and things that your body can't process and actually can cause harm to your body. It puts into your body healthy oils, fruits and veggies that help your body to burn fat and lose inflammation. It kills sugar cravings and gives healthy alternatives to foods and recipes that you already love. In fact, done correctly, you will never feel hungry, your blood sugar spikes will be at a minimum, your fat burning ability will be at its maximum, you will find joint pain and inflammation to be almost non-existent, your energy level will be at an all time high and your hair, skin and nails will look amazing. In fact, you will find yourself transforming not only your looks but your health and you will be fighting heart disease, cancer, diabetes and all forms of auto-immune diseases. So yes can once again take control of your life and your health.

May 15th, I started the THM Spring Fling 42 day challenge in the THM Challenge Group on Facebook. I am 100% all in and even in this short week, I can tell a huge difference in how I feel. I am still learning and still reminding myself that how I used to think of food didn't make it correct and just because it was a habit didn't make it right. I am learning that mashed cauliflower is even better than mashed potatoes, that radishes are an excellent replacement for little red potatoes in a roast and that this peanut butter and jelly junkie can still have her peanut butter and jelly, just made healthy. All the recipes are delicious and as I said in another blog, there are those ladies, God bless their souls, who spend their days making just about any recipe into a THM recipe....and sharing it in blogs and on Pinterest. Thank you ladies from the bottom of my heart.

As you do THM, it gets easier and soon, like me, you will realize that it is the greatest gift you can give yourself and your family. So, don't be like stubborn me, get the book, get on Pinterest and get on Facebook and learn. Ask questions, try recipes and soon words like "on plan","E, S and FP" and "Singing Canary" will be a part of your vocabulary too. Best of all, you will see yourself becoming the best version of "you" that you can be.

I hope this helps some of you who either didn't know about THM or who were riding the fence about get out there and try it. Again....remember, it is not a fast fix, it is a lifestyle fix. You didn't gain the weight overnight and you won't lose it overnight, but with might never see those pounds again!