Diets are bad and fats are good. Seriously, that is what I believe. As a core fitness specialist and the founder of Fit2B, I’ve worked with thousands of people worldwide and observed the damage of diet rollercoasters and fat phobias. However, if you believe you have some “extra love” to lose, and you’re interested in a long term solution, and you don’t want to count calories, but you do want to eat less processed sugar, and gluten isn’t your family’s friend, but you need creative recipe ideas, and it has to be something you can stick to 90% of the time with room for grace (and bring on the full-fat dairy) then here is my review of Trim Healthy Mama:
Note: This post contains affiliate links which means anything you purchase after clicking them will earn Fit2B a small commission which doesn’t affect the price you pay.
Why did I decide to review THM?
Fit2B provides hundreds of streaming home workout videos focused on TummySafe fitness strategies, and – as its founder and main instructor – I exercise regularly and eat pretty well…
But one word: Pandemic, during which I have discovered I am a boredom eater AND during which I got bored enough to cook AND realized this is my opportunity to use food to help address my low progesterone and other looming signs of perimenopause.
Before stay-home orders, my food structure and choices revolved around a certain lifestyle and routine. My life was full of events and errands that orchestrated when I ate and even sometimes what I ate. I’d eat until full, and that was seldom too much, and I could count how many times I ate ice cream straight from the tub on one hand. I could enjoy an occasional treat without wanting 5 more, and if I had a bedtime snack – well, it was a snack, not a meal.
Thanks, Covid-19, for ruining all of that, but maybe also thank you for revealing a weak spot I needed to improve? And thank you for motivating me to eat better and giving me enough time to sort it out?
Yeah, people… I’m sure you can relate: About 3 weeks into social distancing, I realized I was eating very poorly. With nowhere to go in the mornings, 1-2 cups of coffee had become 4-5 cups. My weekly ice cream while watching a movie had become a daily indulgence (coping mechanism) with a generous side of Netflix. Also, my subconscious was telling me to eat all the things due to news of food shortages, and who cares about salad when the world has been turned upside down? Why not have cereal for dinner + more takeout to support all those essential workers with lovely tips.
Time for Trim Healthy Mama
My body began to complain. My chest felt big and heavy while exercising. I was okay with my weight, but when I measured my body fat, I didn’t like that percentage. I knew I was eating too many treats and not enough protein and healthy fats, but – tell me if this resonates with you – while I knew what I needed, knowing what I should have been eating and actually assembling it in an edible manner were two different things, right?
I needed a guide that would help me eat MORE not less – because (like any human) if you tell me I can’t have something, I’ll just want it even more! Having always promoted Trim Healthy Mama (THM) to my clients who need such guidance, because I vetted their cookbooks and language long ago… well Now, it was my turn.
Some Numbers: The commonly touted healthy/fit range for women is 18-24% body fat, and I was higher above that range than I’d like. In the first 3 weeks of doing THM my way (details below) I lost 2% of my body fat and 3 lbs off my scale weight.
NOTE: I’m not sharing my precise weight, body fat percentage, or any before/after pictures in this blog because those can be triggering, and my “before” might be your “after” and vice versa. Also, I’m fine with my weight and how I look.
THM is about food freedom and balance
Trim Healthy Mama has encouraged me to eat every 3 hours, where before I often didn’t eat until afternoon, living on creamer-laden coffee with collagen. THM promotes variety in meals, dividing them up into E for energy from carbohydrates, S for satisfaction from healthy fats, FP for fuel pull, and XO for crossover meals that have both carbs and fats in them. It’s not keto. It’s not paleo. It’s about protein anchors and how you blend and mix your foods.
The Pros & Cons of THM
Right away, I want to be blunt and say what I haven’t liked:
- It can take a minute to figure out their abbreviations and wording.
- It can feel like a diet if you choose to be rigid with it and not read what they’ve written and put in their podcast about all the room in the plan for personal choices, drive-thrus and “off plan” situations.
- I had to buy some special ingredients and their cookbook.
- I had to give up my fave coffee creamer… but then I found a good “personal choice” option.
- They use a lot of “skinny” verbiage which can come across as “fat phobic” and “body shaming.”
- Stevia and I have a love/hate relationship
What I have liked: The free mobile THM app that lets me look up any food and see if it’s S, E, or FP to easily make meals from what I have. They allow for “not on plan” moments, so if my daughter makes a dinner that doesn’t match, I enjoy it and then move along with my next meal 3 hours later. I have started drinking tea and eating more fruits, veggies, and healthy fats! My family likes what I make!
Major positives: My cycle went from 24 to 27 days! My hay fever vanished! My chest is smaller, and jumping is fun again! I’ve done THM about 90% of the time for 2 years now (updated June, 2022) and I’ve maintained a much healthier body fat percentage and that longer cycle!
Confession: I stick to their cookbooks, and have only ever skimmed the main, massive THM book because I know that’s not how I learn and it will just overwhelm me. I gave away my copy to a client a long time ago. What works for me is just starting, learning and experimenting as I go, and having someone guide me. So early on in my journey, when I first wrote this blog, I decided to work with Erin Odom who is a trained THM coach. Here is part of our coaching session!
My THM coaching call results
Meeting with Erin about 10 days into my trim healthy mama journey was a major help! She gave me some easy homework like encouraging me to add okra to my daily veggies since I want to lose a bit more body fat. She told me to get the Trim Healthy Table Cookbook which has all the basic info + hundreds of recipes. I obeyed and have used it every day since. On days that I workout, She said I need to eat at least one E meal before or after my workout. She mentioned secret shakes which I am now hooked on, too!
How I’m doing THM my own way
When I downloaded the THM app, I had to click ‘agree’ on a message about having grace on myself before I could continue. It was a single paragraph that was essentially about not fixating on numbers or portion sizes, and remembering that every 3 hours is a new meal. This is a crucial part of THM that I’m leaning on because – thanks to lockdown, so much is already canceled – and I refuse to give up Tuesday Take ‘N Bake Pizza night or our Sunday Soda & Taco Bell right now.
Guess what?! After 2 years as a Trim Healthy Mama as of June, 2022 you should know that I’m doing well in “maintenance mode” as the call it. I have kept those non-negotiables + eat several off plan meals each week, and I continue to experience many improvements. Like fitness, whatever you do the most wins!
My Favorite THM Foods and Recipes
It only took me a few minutes of googling “easy THM recipes” to get my bearings on my first day. In addition to all the great recipes on the main Trim Health Mama website, some top-notch foodie bloggers produce wonderful content centered around the THM lifestyle. The following have become my go-to faves!
- Brianna Thomas’ Single-Serve Brownie in A Bowl (S) – I like to put all the dry ingredients in 4-5 little jars, then just add the egg and butter when I’m ready to have one. I top with blueberries or blackberries picked on our farm!
- The Shrinker (FP) – This cool, refreshing afternoon sipper made with Oolong tea is a gamer changer! The goodies in this are also beneficial to my female hormone health!
- Wonder Wraps (FP) – Make these easy wraps to use in place of starchy tortillas! Give yourself a few floppy attempts before you get the hang of them.
- Secret Big Boy Shakes (FP) – The link takes you to the pumpkin spice one, but I love the Mocha Secret in their Trim Healthy Table cookbook even more because it has coffee in it… duh!
- Trim Train Taco Soup (FP) – This makes a LOT + my family loved it, and I leftovers for a whole week!
- Trim Healthy Pancakes or Waffles (E) – This is a single-serve recipe that makes 3 which is helpful for when I want/need to eat separate from my family.
My THM Day
When I was first getting started with Trim Healthy Mama my goal was to eat two satisfying meals, one energizing meal, one or two FP snacks, and one FP sipper each day. Drinks are my jam, but I used to drink a lot of junk. it’s nice to know I’m drinking things that bless my health. Here’s the routine I settled into right away that worked wonders for me in those first months:
S Breakfast: Coffee with half ‘n half + a teaspoon of xylitol in it alongside a brownie in a bowl with blueberries, or a “Heavy S” of Eggs with okra & cheese.
E Lunch: Steel cut oats with fat-free greek yogurt and blackberries, or low-fat cottage cheese with cherry tomatoes, fresh basil, pickles, and a slice of artisan sourdough.
FP Snack: Pickled asparagus wrapped in turkey slices, or a Big Boy Secret Shake, or some strawberries in non-fat greek yogurt with a bit of sweetener.
S Dinner: Recent faves from the Trim Healthy Table cookbook have been Tuscan Cream Chicken, Fat-Burning Chicken Noodle Soup, and the BLT Frittata. We also eat BBQ & salad a lot, or I serve up simple plates of sauerkraut, summer sausage, salad greens, full fat cottage cheese, fresh basil, and cherry tomatoes as pictured.
Two years later… I’m in what they call “maintenance mode” where my body has found a happy place and I can mess with Crossover (XO) meals more. I’ve found these to be vital to consume before I lift weights or before a long race walk training session. I structure my food choices around my day, and I feel very aware of what my body needs. If I’m going to do a hard workout, I’ll eat an XO or an E before and/or after that workout depending on how draining it is to my body. If I have a lot of carbs or “junk food” at a celebration, I start my next day with some simple coffee + collagen, then do a “Deep S” breakfast of eggs, spinach, sauerkraut, and cheese to help my body soak up stuff. I continue to find new recipes that I enjoy, and I continue to learn how to nourish my body in smart ways.
Insider Tips for Trim Health Mama Noobs
Newbie = Noob … Which was me with all this when I was first getting started with Trim Healthy Mama, but I have sorted a few things out that I’d like to pass on to you. I hope these help if you’re considering starting THM anytime soon.
- It’s okay to source your own ingredients, and every single time something weird like xanthum gum or “gluccie” is recommended, you’re provided with alternatives! My favorite brand of collagen is discussed here, and it’s not the THM brand 😉
- Before you start, get really clear on your “why” and decide to be graceful from the get-go. Make it your own and enjoy experimenting to make it work for you!
- If eating “off plan” for one meal makes you feel like a failure, or if a “cheat meal” has you “falling off the wagon” completely, or if you have a history of disordered eating, then Trim Healthy Mama may not be the best fit for you right now. You may need some serious diet deprogramming and food re-education, in which case I recommend the Balance365 program.
- Weigh and measure (if you’re doing that) once a week in the morning before you eat, preferably after a bowel movement. Use something like this to accurately track your body fat.
- Consider getting a few THM store products to ease your beginning. Some of the items I got and love include:
- Super Sweet Blend – Because life is short
- Cuffin Mix – For when I don’t feel like mixing my own brownie
- Lemon Love Hydrates – To keep me away from soda
- Gluccie – AKA: Glucomannan which is a thickening fiber supplement
- THM Baking Blend – Because mixing GF flours is a pain
- Baobab Boost Powder – Lotsa health benefits + used in many recipes
I’m just so grateful to be able to lean on other people who have done the research and figured it out for me. I’m very good at designing workouts, but I’m not very good at assembling all the nutrients I need! I am enjoying how Trim Healthy Mama packs so many things I need to be eating into their recipes!
Here on Fit2B, we provide amazing home workout videos, but we don’t believe anyone can out-exercise constant poor food choices, at least, not without hurting themselves. If you eat a certain way, and you aren’t exercising, and you start exercising, and you keep eating the same way, you may lose weight. However, most weight is lost in the kitchen, and this is why I’m talking about this AND why we have nutritionists who address healthy food choices in several of our online courses.
Leave a comment!
Do you struggle with your weight? Have you tried multiple diets? Regain weight as soon as you eat one thing outside your diet, then give up, eat everything, and gain even more weight? Have you tried Trim Healthy Mama? What did you think of THM and their plan? Got a favorite recipe you’d like to share? Leave a comment below!