My Favorite Trim Healthy Mama Tweaks and Resources

My Favorite Trim Healthy Mama Tweaks & Resources | RaisingArrows.net

I’m sure you have all heard of Trim Healthy Mama by now.  It’s everywhere, isn’t it?!  If you follow my blog, you also know I don’t follow THM to a tee.  And honestly, I would encourage others to tweak it as well.  Why?  Because any eating plan that forces you to ONLY eat a certain way isn’t doable long-term.  I’m pretty sure Serene and Pearl would agree with me on this as well.

So, today, I want to share my favorite tweaks and resources for Trim Healthy Mama.
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THM by day, Crossover by night – When I just can’t manage THM all day, I try to do breakfast, lunch, and snacks the THM way and eat a “normal” dinner with the family.  When I do THM for only breakfast and lunch and not snacks too, I don’t lose, so doing THM snacks are a key component for me.

Fuel Pull Snacks – I like to do FP snacks because I don’t have to think about how many hours it has been since I last ate.

Keep the little things that make you smile.  There are a smattering of chocolate chips in my morning Greek yogurt.  There is flavored creamer in my coffee.  Someday I might find a suitable substitute, but until then, I’m keeping the little things.  Wean yourself down to smaller amounts, but don’t feel guilty for keeping a few of your favorites.

Keep your favorite THM items on hand.  There are certain items I keep in stock because they are staples of the way I eat.  I’ll tell you what mine are, but don’t be afraid to find your own favorites:

Fage Greek Yogurt 0%

Our ALDI has this brand in stock right now for $3.99.  I buy 3-4 a week as this is my breakfast most mornings and sometimes a snack too.  I like it with a couple of dashes of pure stevia (see below) and a tiny swirl of peanut butter and a smattering of chocolate chips.  In the summer, I liked it best with the stevia and a swirl of strawberry Polaner All Fruit.

Pure Stevia (powdered)

Don’t balk at the price. It will take you a LONG time to use up that little bottle!  I do not use any other stevia but this.

Protein Powder

It’s only been in the last few months that I’ve begun to use this more. It’s great for those Fuel Pull drinks!

Almond Flour
almond flour
I use this ALL the time. I’ll be ordering 5 pounds of this from Azure next month.

Flax Meal

This gets paired with the almond flour a lot, especially for the Muffins in a Mug.

I also keep fajita chicken from ALDI and salad fixings on hand.  I have an S salad nearly every day.  What makes it an S salad?  It’s my YUMMY homemade ranch that does it!  I got the recipe from Heavenly Homemakers and it is all we use now.

Join a Trim Healthy Mama group.  I am part of a small Facebook group that started several months ago.  Most of us there have large families and have known each other for quite some time. It’s a safe place to share our struggles.  There is also a large Facebook group started by Serene and Pearl HERE.

Use Pinterest for inspiration.  I have several THM Pinterest boards, but they are nothing compared to the wealth of resources on other people’s boards!  Do a quick search there, you’ll see what I mean!  Start your own THM boards and get to pinning!  Here are my sad little boards (can you tell which type of THM meal I don’t like that well??? lol)

E MealsTHM Snacks boardTHM S

Find some Trim Healthy Mama bloggers.  I need inspiration and these gals have got it!  Two of my favorites are Stacy from StacyMakesCents.com and Sheri from SheriGraham.com.  Follow their blogs, follow their Pinterest boards, be inspired!

trim healthy mama

Flag Your Book.  I didn’t do this at first, but once I did, boy was I glad I took the time!  It is sooooo much easier to find what you are looking for in the book!  Gwen shows you how HERE, but I tweaked it a bit to fit my style (hmmm…there’s a theme here).

Try the recipes and find your groove.  There are some really great recipes out there, you have to just jump in and try them.  Start with some in the book that sound good to you.  A couple of my favorites are:

Cheeseburger Pie – page 326

cheeseburger pie

and Cottage Berry Whip – page 379
I use frozen berries from ALDI (picking out the strawberries and giving them to my kids), walnuts, and regular cream cheese.  No stevia necessary.  (there I go again tweaking!)

After you find some favorites there, try some recipes from the resources you’ve been gathering and create an entire arsenal of great recipes!  Print them off and make your own Trim Healthy Mama recipe binder!  Share them with friends.  Share them with family!  (Yes, my family eats THM.)  You just have to learn to tweak things and make them yours!

PS – Did you hear that Serene & Pearl are going to be at ALL 4 Teach Them Diligently Conventions in 2014?!  I am so excited!  More info HERE!

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43 thoughts on “My Favorite Trim Healthy Mama Tweaks and Resources

  1. Maybe I’m missing something, but I don’t like that in the recipes you don’t know what a serving size is. I’m used to filling up my plate, so I guess I just have to use common sense. Lol! ;) great tips though!

    • I admit, the way they write their recipes in the book is a bit maddening. I honestly felt very discouraged when first starting out because if I had tried to stick ONLY to the recipes in the book, I would have starved to death. lol So glad there are so many resources out there now!

  2. I became so discouraged trying to follow their plan because I discovered I an allergic to stevia. It gives me bad headaches, as it is in the ragweed family which I’m allergic to. How would you handle this? I’m not going to use artificial sweeteners, we use honey and the organic sugar that Costco sells. So much of their plan is promoting all the yummy things you can eat using stevia. :/

    • Oh man, I’m so sorry! Here’s what I would recommend…
      Follow the principles of THM by separating out your fuel sources. Don’t worry about the sugar, just be sure to follow it with a low fat protein. So, eat eggs, greek yogurt with honey swirled in, THM pancakes and berries, cheeseburger pie, etc. Just don’t worry about the desserts. I honestly don’t do too many of the desserts. I think you will still see the benefits.

    • You can use xylitol instead! I’m just getting into THM, but I’m positive a few people have said that they use xylitol, and that it is also plan-approved.

    • I can’t do Stevia, either! I find that I can do Truvia in small amounts, but overall, I try to avoid sweetener as much as possible. It took a while to adjust, but now things are much sweeter naturally than I found them to be before THM.

  3. I keep thinking about THM (my book is sitting right here in fact), but after looking at the recipes it will take a lot of tweaking because of dairy intolerances in the family. Glad to see how well it’s working for you…K

  4. You know I’ve been holding my breath waiting for this post! Thanks for sharing your tweaks! :)

    I agree with you — I find it hard to implement the E meals. The S meals are so much more, well, Satisfying ;) and easier for me to put together without a brain drain!

    I really appreciate you sharing your insights! Can you share some of your favorite FP snacks?

    Thanks!

    Elizabeth

  5. Great resources! I have been on THM almost a year, I have lost 90lbs! I love this way of eating. I do have to say that I couldnt keep old favorites, non plan food..when I do indulge in an old goodie, I stall and have to work harder..so I try my best to follow the plan to the T. And my body has been under a major restoration to healing, health, youthfulness and weight loss! love, LOVE THM! It gave me my life back!

    • The favorites I am mostly talking about are the little things (like coffee creamer), not the big things. Chocolate chip cookies are a serious weakness for me and I just cannot seem to control them. I try to avoid those even those I dearly love them. ;)

  6. I have been hearing about THM for a while now, but I was wondering if someone who has to avoid dairy and gluten could use this plan? Anyone with any experience that could comment would be greatly appreciated! I would hate to buy the book and then not be able to use it.

    • Fabulous! I highly recommend finding a group to be a part of too to give you tweak ideas because doing things all or nothing is going to burn you out. And don’t hesitate to contact me, Angela, if you need help. :)

  7. Hi Amy!
    Your posts are so encouraging. I just started reading THM this past week and have started to implement some of the principles. I’m confused about when to eat an S or E meal. Is it just however you would like to, or is there a balance you should maintain? Also, I’m 31 weeks pregnant and I know they talked about just focusing on the S and E meals at first before adding in the “extended family”. I’m wondering if it would be wise for me to use them now or not? My goal isn’t to lose weight right now only to try and eat healthily and not grow another near 11 lb baby. LOL.
    Blessings – Amy

  8. Thank you for sharing your tips. This is just what I needed to think of how to do snacks as fuel pulls. I’m rearranging my 3 THM binders now.

      • Yes, for the recipes I used 3 separate binders. They are in page protectors to prevent splatter and they are quite big in the 8 1/2 x 11 but that’s ok. I am planning on tagging the recipes as S, E and FP. I think I may color code them or at least use Top for S, Side for E and bottom for FP. I know there are many recipes that are all of the above but I can’t think of an easier way to do it. Now I need to make a binder for recipes that I print from pinterest and elsewhere.

  9. If you are “tweaking” recipes….does that mean that you aren’t FOLLOWING THE RECIPE????? Might It turn into ?amyzogna? lol
    SEEEEE it’s not always bad to “tweak” or improvise.
    I loved the info and passed it on to some other friends.

  10. Thank you so much for sharing!! It answered quite a few questions i had and encouragement that it is ok to do it in way that works for each individual! Rather that way than throw out the whole thing if things seem unappitizing! Yes please share your cheat sheet and more!!!

  11. And don’t let anyone try to convince you that you need all the special ingredients! I started following loosely during pregnancy #6 and only gained 22 lbs (unlike my regular 40+ lbs!)… 2.5 wks after birth, I was back to pre-pregnancy weight… the only special items I had were Truvia & coconut oil… I did have some protein powder, but the budget has not allowed for that for a few months now :)
    I looked at what we ate first & tweaked my portion (ex: no bun for my burger!)… I’ve only just started really looking more into their recipes as baby is 8 wks old & nursing is well established now (we had trouble for several weeks, which is a whole other thread!)

  12. First off, congratulations on your success!! I have followed the THM program myself for months with great success, as have some other relatives and friends I have recommended it to. I know firsthand that it is not “easy” as some seem to think. Like all we eat is bacon and eggs and we lose weight – ha!

    That being said, I want to share with you and your readers a grave concern regarding the use of stevia. The first couple of months that I was on THM, that was my sweetener of choice, as it seemed the most natural. Xylitol and erythritol are basically just hydrogenated sugar alcohols, and are incredibly destructive to the GI tract, so those were out of the question. I used stevia in plant form from my garden (has the same aftertaste, so I knew that part was “natural”), dried green stevia leaves, as well as the white, powdery Trader Joe’s brand organic stevia extract. As the book suggested, I quickly got past the aftertaste part, and adding sea salt helped offset that even more.

    However, soon after starting the program, I often felt like I was going to faint: feeling light-headed and dizzy, seeing black spots, tingly palms, etc. First, I suspected that due to the low-carb nature of S meals, my blood sugar had gotten too low, but even eating a tsp of honey would not affect my symptoms. Then I thought maybe it was just a side effect of losing weight relatively quickly. I also have naturally low blood pressure, and I know that stevia lowers BP even more, so I figured that my symptoms were due to my BP getting too low, which partly is true. However, I eventually realized that no matter where my blood sugar or blood pressure was at, even the tiniest amounts of stevia (I was only ever using tiny amounts) caused these severe reactions in me.

    I became pregnant while on THM, and miscarried at about 5 weeks. Okay, that’s not unusual, and I still had not made the connection between my symptoms and the stevia, thinking my symptoms were just caused by rapid weight loss. However, I became pregnant again on my next cycle, and miscarried at about 7 weeks. Two miscarriages in a row seemed very concerning, as this was not normal for me at all. Right around this time, a blog reader shared an article with me regarding stevia use and miscarriage, which finally allowed me to connect my symptoms to the stevia, and sadly, I think it is also at least partially responsible for my miscarriages.

    When I shared this information with others, one friend who also does not use BC (so she has all her kids spaced about 2 years apart) told me that about a year ago, she had started drinking tea that was stevia sweetened, and had not gotten pregnant in all that time, whereas normally she would have had a baby by then. She was concerned because she felt she was suffering infertility for some unknown reason. She discontinued the tea, and became pregnant on the next cycle.

    I also brought this up in one of the FB THM groups, where many other moms reported the same, but the thread was quickly discredited as anecdotal quackery and shut down.

    All that to say this: while stevia may not affect all women the same way, I am convinced it does affect some enough to cause miscarriage. Traditionally, the herb was used by South American women as a form of birth control, both by inhibiting fertility, but also by helping to “bring on” their period because the herb has a negative effect on the lining of the uterus, much like BC pills etc. do. For those who believe that life begins at conception (as I do), knowingly creating a hostile environment for the conceived child is unconscionable. I did it in ignorance, and was thankful someone showed me the truth.

    It is still very possible to follow the THM program without the use of stevia or other unnatural sweeteners like xylitol and erythritol. Personally, I use raw, unfiltered honey in very small amounts (1 tsp or less) for S meals, and moderate amounts in E meals. Raw honey has a very low glycemic index of only about 35, and has minimal affects on blood sugar. Coconut sugar is also a very good option for sweetening. Overall, I would say that I have to mostly stay away from sweets, especially anything baked, but I find that for example making a greek yogurt smoothie with lots of berries and vanilla only needs a tiny bit of honey, anyway.

    I am currently 4 months pregnant. I was not on THM for the first 12 weeks of my pregnancy due to the fact that while pregnant on THM, I would get hungry an hour after eating, which would trigger nausea. However, now being completely past the nausea, I have resumed my adapted version of THM, and am feeling great, eating lots of food, but not gaining thanks to keeping the carbs and fats separate (I did gain in the first trimester, and started out still a little overweight, so this is not a problem). In fact, I have lost several lbs in the last week alone, even though I am eating more than ever. I am only following the program for about 2/3 of my meals, but staying away from simple carbs entirely as they bring on nausea (To read how I finally figured out the cure to my hyperemesis, please read this post: http://stevenandersonfamily.blogspot.com/2013/11/the-cause-and-cure-of-morning-sickness.html)

    Blessings to you and your readers ~

  13. I’m just starting out and fairly overwhelmed as I like to understand everything in the beginning. Have you posted your cheat sheet?

  14. Amy,
    First of all – thank you for sharing your website with us. now for my question. I have my book but have not flagged it. would you mind posting what categories you used? I have read GwensNest notes of how to tab but it did not make much sense to me.

    • Sorry it took me so long to respond! I had to get through the morning sickness so I could actually look at my book and write down the flags. Here they are:
      S, E, FP (these are flagged on the informational pages about these toward the beginning of the book)
      All one color: Breakfast Eggs, Breakfast Grains, Smoothies, Greek Yogurt
      Second color: Muffins, Bread, Pizza
      Next color: Lunch Sandwiches, Lunch Salad, Lunch Misc.
      Next color: Supper Crock Pot, Supper Oven, Supper Stove Top, Supper Skillet, Supper Mexican, Supper Pasta
      Next color: Veggies
      Next color: Dessert
      Next color: Snacks, Dips, Quick Snacks
      Next color: Sauces and Such
      Next color: Cultures
      Last color: Fuel Cycle
      Phew! Hope that made sense!