Tools to Get Healthy in 2015 Coming Soon!

{affiliate links included}
Several months back, I chose not to participate in the Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle Sale.  I was coming off morning sickness with Baby #9, and was more in “survival” mode than “get healthy” mode.  But, here at the end of my pregnancy, I am ready to jump into 2015 with the tools I need to become a healthier me.

Thankfully, Ryan, Stephanie, and Erin of Ultimate Bundles are making the Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle fully available again for 48 hours starting on December 29 at midnight!

The bundle sold almost 20,000 copies in the previous sale, and Ryan, Stephanie, and Erin worked hard to get permission from all the authors of this amazing collection of books, courses and resources to allow for 2 more days of this bundle to help transform your family’s health!

So, mark December 29 at midnight on your calendar!

As soon as that window opens, you will be given all the information you need to order during this 48 hour sale.  I’m looking forward to grabbing my own bundle this time!

Oh, and while you wait for the sale to start, sign up for the FREE guide:

Four Steps to Your Healthiest Year

P.S. In case you haven’t seen these already, here are the testimonials from the people who bought the Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle in September.

My Trim Healthy Mama Refresher

At 2 weeks from delivery our newest blessing, I decided to refresh my memory on all things Trim Healthy Mama.  It was this same gestation 2 years ago, I got my book for the first time.  Here are a few things I learned reading the book for a second time | RaisingArrows.netA little over 2 years ago, at 38 weeks gestation with our 8th child, I sat down and started reading my brand new copy of Trim Healthy Mama. {affiliate link}  I started implementing a few things in those last weeks, but once baby arrived, I jumped in full force and lost 75 pounds over the course of the following year.  (You can read about much of my journey HERE and HERE.)

However, I had my struggles, and often found myself in a love/hate relationship with THM.  I would get stuck in a rut – eating the same foods, fighting cravings, stalling out.  Then, early this year, I found myself in the ER with heart issues.  The issues were minor, and due mostly to stress, but one thing concerned the doctor, and that was my low potassium level.  He asked me if I had lost my weight doing a low carb diet.  Because I completely misunderstood the E meals in Trim Healthy Mama, I believed THM to be a low carb diet.  I had always had trouble wrapping my brain around the carb count in THM, so I avoided it by eating almost entirely S meals.

After my ER visit, I backed off of THM, watched my weight begin to rise, and found myself pregnant a few weeks later.

All that being said, I have never found an eating plan that balanced my blood sugars as quickly as Trim Healthy Mama.  I had never seen weight pour off my body the way it did with Trim Healthy Mama.  Despite my lack of complete understanding of the program, I had found success with it, and wondered if it warranted another look.

And then my friend Lynne started THM.  I would go to her house and she had all these amazing foods to share, sometimes S, sometimes E.  I realized things I thought were “off plan” were fine in E meals/snacks.  The organic blue corn chips from Aldi was one of the snacks we had one day.  I had stayed far away from them, thinking they were not on plan, but they were!

So, while I have not had the wherewithal to really stick to THM during this pregnancy, I did find myself wanting to go back and reread the book, this time trying to wrap my brain around the entire plan, and not just the parts I understood from my days on the South Beach Diet.

Let me say, refreshing my brain on THM was so worth it!  Initially, Trim Healthy Mama can be a bit like drinking from a fire hydrant.  I never fully grasped the concept of E meals, so I just ignored them.  This is where it would have been good for me to seek out the Facebook group and really take the time to learn, but because I was seeing results with just the S meals initially, I didn’t bother.  Serene and Pearl even warn against this on pages 34 and 72!  Again, reason why ONE reading of the book is NOT enough!

So, as I read through the book again this past week, I found myself making lots of notes in the margins, finding more pages to flag (see my Trim Healthy Mama book flagging post - new flags included!), and having a lot of “AHA” moments.  I am finally getting a grasp on E meals.  I also see where my Fuel Pull breakfasts were not the best for me, and I am committed to jumping back in with both feet and a whole lot more knowledge.

I’ve lost the weight once before.  I know I can do it again, and this time, get even further along in the journey!

How about you?  What aspects of Trim Healthy Mama do you have trouble wrapping your brain around?  What are your goals for the upcoming year?

Cookie Dough Dip {Trim Healthy Mama Makeover Recipe}

Trim Healthy Mama Cookie Dough Dip (Recipe Makeover) | RaisingArrows.netWhen I first started doing Trim Heathy Mama, I stuck to the basics.  I’m not a foodie, so experimenting with recipes is not my forte.  However, as I’ve gotten more confident in building and changing recipes, one of my favorite things to do is THMify favorite recipes.  This is one of those recipes.

About a year ago, I came across an amazing Cookie Dough Dip recipe from Add A Pinch. It is decadent, let me tell you!  The kids were asking me to make it again, but I knew it was going to be an instant sugar overload, so I decided to experiment and see what I could come up with that would taste just as wonderful, but not send my blood sugar through the roof.

This is the result of that experiment…

I first set out ingredients for a double batch of the Add a Pinch recipe because I have a large family and knew I wanted to have enough extra to make some of it by the recipe and some of it THM’d for me.

Once I had the butter and cream cheese creamed, I took out 1 cup of the mixture and set it aside as “mine”.  (You could definitely use a lower fat cream cheese to help cut down on calories.)

Trim Healthy Mama Cookie Dough Dip Recipe Makeover |

From there, I continued on with the original recipe for the kids.

Cookie Dough Dip (a Trim Healthy Mama Makeover Recipe - S) | RaisingArrows.netWhile they dipped their ooey-gooey goodness up with graham crackers, I started throwing together my version.

To the 1 cup of butter/cream cheese mixture, I added 1/4 tsp caramel extract and 1 Tbsp Trim Healthy Mama Sweet Blend.  (If you don’t have the Sweet Blend, take a look at this conversion chart and find an alternative sweetener you do have.)

Lastly, I stirred in 1 oz of chopped unsweetened baker’s chocolate.  It’s what I had on hand, but you could use any plan approved chocolate, including skinny chocolate!

Trim Healthy Mama Cookie Dough Dip (S) |

The result was so YUMMY!  I chose to simply use my spoon and savor tiny bits of this dip at a time – no carby graham crackers needed!  However, you could use this recipe for low-carb cinnamon dippers to be your vehicle for getting this tasty treat to your mouth.

You can do what I did above and make some for you and some for the rest of the family by taking out a portion for yourself and THMifying it, or you can use the recipe below and share the sugar-free goodness!  The recipe below will make plenty to go around!

Trim Healthy Mama Cookie Dough Dip (Recipe Makeover) |

Trim Healthy Mama Cookie Dough Dip

Cream together:
2 – 8 oz cream cheese
1 c. butter

3/4 tsp caramel extract
3 TBSP Trim Healthy Mama Sweet Blend
(or other sweetener of your choice)

Stir in:
3 oz of plan-approved chocolate, chopped

Enjoy!  Share!  Save some for later!

How I Flagged My Trim Healthy Mama Book

How I Flagged my Trim Healthy Mama Book |

Note:  Since writing this post last September, I have added a few more flags.  Specifically, they are S Foods, E Foods, S Helper Info, Crossover Info, and Eating Out.  You’ll find the exact pages I flagged in the post below.

Not long after I purchased my copy of Trim Healthy Mama {affiliate link} a friend of mine who was also “on plan” came over to visit and shared with me how she had flagged her book.  She had used Gwen’s instructions on flagging, but she didn’t have quite enough flags for my taste, so I added several more flags and separated my categories in a way that fit my style so I could find exactly what I needed quickly.

How to Flag Your Trim Healthy Mama Book |

Today, I’m going to share with you my flagging system, along with page numbers for each flag just in case we have the same “style.” :)

First of all, you need to get a set of these flags:

See the clear adhesive?  That’s what you want so you can stick it to your book and still read the recipes through it.

You’ll also need a pen.  It doesn’t matter what kind of pen, just be sure it is something with a fine tip so you’ll be able to fit everything you want to write on the flag.

OK, let’s go…

How to Flag Your Trim Healthy Mama Book |

I first flagged the specific S, E, and FP sections:

S – page 65
E – page 77
FP – page 103

As Gwen mentions, you will want to flag these pages with each flag a bit further down on the page than the last flag.  For the main S, E, and FP sections, I separated them quite a bit.  For the other sections, I did not separate them out as far.

Next, I flagged the Breakfast Section.  Again, as Gwen suggests, I used the same color scheme for each section of the book I wanted to flag.  So, starting at the top of page 215, I flagged the Breakfast Section in hot pink like this:

Breakfast Eggs – page 215
Breakfast Grains – page 221
Smoothies – page 241
Greek Yogurt – page 251

The next section I flagged was Breads, and I did it in yellow.

Muffins – page 257
Breads – page 265
Pizza – page 275

Then, I did Lunch.

Lunch Salmon – page 283
Lunch Soup – page 289
Lunch Sandwiches – page 297
Lunch Salad – page 301
Lunch Miscellaneous – page 307

Next, was Supper (or Dinner – depending on where you’re from, my friend).

Supper Crock Pot – page 309
Supper Oven – page 317
Supper Stove Top – page 329
Supper Skillet – page 339
Supper Mexican – page 347
Supper Pasta – page 349

Then, I marked:

Dessert – page 367
Snacks – page 391
Dips – page 403
Quick Snacks – page 407
Sauces & Such – page 411
Cultures – page 415

And finally, I finished off by flagging the Fuel Cycle pages and later some extra sections I felt would be good to reference (see note at beginning of post).

S Foods (ready reference for building S meals) – page 73
E Foods
(ready reference for building E meals) – page 87
S Helper
(because someday I will be there!) – page 91
(again, because someday I will be there!) – page 95
Eating Out
(something our family enjoys doing) – page 137
Fuel Cycle – page 429

I also have a huge paper clip holding pages 497 – 542 shut as suggested by Serene and Pearl.  I have kids who will read anything they can find, and those pages are for Mommy & Daddy’s eyes only. ;)


In a later post, I’ll share with you another way I keep my in-book THM recipes at-the-ready, but hopefully, this gives you a jumping off point if you haven’t already flagged your book!

Is your Trim Healthy Mama book flagged?  What are some other ways you keep the recipes easily accessible?

Click the link to read more about some of my favorite Trim Healthy Mama Tweaks!

Learning How to Build Trim Healthy Mama Meals + FREE Non-Starchy and Starchy Vegetable Guide

Since Fall, I’ve stalled out a bit in the weight loss department.  In fact, I gained 5 pounds over Christmas and have been unable to get the weight back off.  I could blame it on holiday foods, stressful situations, and a move, but ultimately, the real issue is what I am putting in my mouth.

When I tried to go back to eating Trim Healthy Mama style after the holidays, I couldn’t seem to drop any weight.  I got to talking with my little THM support group and finally acknowledged what I had known all along.

I wasn’t using Trim Healthy Mama to its fullest advantage.

I had gotten into a rut where I only ate certain things and most of them were S meals.  I wasn’t losing weight because I wasn’t keeping things interesting for my palate and my body.

So, I have recommitted to really understanding THM and taking its principles to a level where the food is interesting and {S}atisfying…and yes, even {E}nergizing!

Learning How to Build Trim Healthy Mama Meals {+ FREE veggie guide!} |

There are quite a few things I need to get a grasp on, and as I work toward getting back on track and learning (and re-learning) some of the crucial aspects of THM, I want to share some of the tools I am using with you!

I decided I needed to start with learning how to build Trim Healthy Mama meals.  One of the most difficult things for me to understand when it came to building meals was how to add in the vegetables.  So, I talked it over with my THM group and made myself a chart.

Trim Healthy Mama Non-Starchy & Starchy Vegetable Guide |

a copy for yourself!

I knew I needed to be adding in more variety in the vegetable department, but when you aren’t sure what to add in for which meals, you tend to stick with what you know or do nothing at all.  I was also terribly confused about squashes and carrots.  Having this “cheat sheet” gives me a quick glance guide to help build meals that are colorful, varied, and delicious!

So, let’s get back in the fight together!  You can do this!  WE can do this!

My Favorite Trim Healthy Mama Tweaks and Resources

My Favorite Trim Healthy Mama Tweaks & Resources |

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.
{affiliate links included}

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 and Sheri from  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!