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 body...so 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 is.....is 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 Virgina......you 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 it....to 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 THM.....you might never see those pounds again!