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!} | RaisingArrows.net

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 | RaisingArrows.net

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 | 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.
{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 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!

60 Pounds Gone!

60 Pounds Gone! | Raisingarrows.net

That’s right!  I’ve lost 60 pounds!  WHOA!  I can hardly believe it myself.

{affiliate links included}
When I walked out of the hospital following Creed’s birth, I was determined.  I had already started reading Trim Healthy Mama and I had managed to gain very little the last 2 weeks of my pregnancy.  But, when I first stepped on the scales postpartum, I was a little discouraged.  Creed weighed nearly 11 pounds and I had only lost 15 pounds total.  But, I was still determined.

You see, after the birth of my 7th baby, it took a LONG time to lose my pregnancy weight.  I had barely gotten it off when I got pregnant again.  I was just happy I wasn’t OVER my pre-pregnancy weight, but I was so sick of starting out pregnancies so huge.

This time I had a goal!  Well, actually, I had a whole bunch of small goals.

Before I even had Creed, I had written out a weight loss goal list.  They were small baby step goals and I covered them with a piece of paper and taped them to the back of my closet.  Every time I met a goal, I pulled the paper down to the next goal.  I didn’t want to see what was beyond, just the next step.

My first goal…
Pre-pregnancy Weight…in 6 weeks.

I’ll be the first one to tell you for most people this is NOT a realistic goal.  But I was overweight to begin with and I knew I could do it.  And guess what?!  I did!

I was thrilled!  That’s me at my 6 week postpartum check up in the photo below.  I was wearing normal clothes (albeit XL’s and size 18 jeans) and I was feeling ready to tackle anything.

6wks pp

So, if you are keeping track, that was 40 pounds of pregnancy weight off and 25 pounds off from that first weigh-in post-baby.

I clicked along through my baby-step goals pretty well until I hit a plateau at 45 pounds down (or 20 pounds below postpartum) about 5 months into the process.

20 pounds below

After hanging out there for nearly 3 months, I needed to do something different.  I wasn’t ok with that weight and it was time to move on.

When I really thought about it, what I was lacking was motivation and encouragement from others.  I needed some accountability and I chose to get that from Weight Watchers meetings.  I managed to get another 10 pounds off before deciding I needed to return to my THM buddies and save the time and money I was spending to attend meetings.

NOTE:  It might sound like I was being wishy-washy or fickle, but I am a big advocate for doing what you need to do when you need to do it.  My husband taught me this and I am deeply grateful for his support and encouragement!

OK, so where were we…

That’s right, I was now hovering at 30 pounds below pre-pregnancy weight and about 55 pounds down from post-baby weigh in.30 pounds down

This is where I got back on the Trim Healthy Mama bandwagon.  I’ve lost another 5 pounds since then to bring my total to 60 pounds! (35 pounds below postpartum)  Frankly, these last 5 pounds have made a HUGE difference in how my clothes fit and how I feel.  Amazing what a few pounds can do!

70 Pounds Gone + Favorite Trim Healthy Mama Tweaks & Resources

So, here are the weight loss progression photos for those of you who like to see them side-by-side:

70 Pounds Gone + Favorite Trim Healthy Mama Resources | RaisingArrows.net

So, you might be wondering if I’m done.  Honestly, when I started this journey I would have told you this was an only-in-my-dreams weight.  I haven’t been this weight in 15 years!  Surely I would be satisfied here.

But, I’m not.

I know I can do better.  I know I am still eating too much and struggling with cravings.  I am hard-charging toward another 10-15 pounds before I say I’m done losing weight.  And you know what?  I actually believe I CAN do it!  Never before have I felt so equipped to actually get the weight of and KEEP it off!

Tomorrow, I’ll share with you some of my favorite Trim Healthy Mama Tweaks and Resources, so stay tuned!

Keep the Fat Clothes or Pitch Them?

Keep the Fat Clothes or Pitch Them? | RaisingArrows.net

I have a dilemma.  It’s a good dilemma to have.  I am now 35 pounds below pre-pregnancy weight.  From the day I walked in the hospital doors to have my son nearly 9 months ago, I have lost a whopping 75 pounds!  I am currently a weight I have not seen in 15 years!

And nothing fits.

Until about 10 pounds ago (remember my plateau?) everything still fit.  In fact, I realized I had been STUFFING myself into clothes that didn’t really fit for a LONG time.  Now I own a closet full of clothing that is entirely too big.

For most people the dilemma of Keep or Pitch when it comes to fat clothes is a no-brainer.  Get rid of them, girl!  You don’t ever want to end up back there!  But, I don’t plan on ending up back there…unless I get pregnant again.

When I hit my lowest ever pre-pregnancy weight about 5 pounds ago, I told you I did not want to miss the blessings of another baby simply because I was blessed to have lost all this weight.  So, there is a chance I will need some “in-between” clothes, if you will.  And therein lies my dilemma.

Do you keep clothes that are too big for you in case you need them post-partum?

I’ve talked to my girlfriends, I’ve talked to my husband, and I’ve thought through this long and hard and here’s what I’ve come up with.

Pitch the stuff that is stretched out, ugly, and just doesn’t look that great on me.  I have no idea how they get in my closet, but they never look right.  I hang on to them because I didn’t have a lot of things that fit me well.  Oh, and remember, I was stuffing myself into clothes that were too small for me, which explains why a lot of my clothes are now super-stretched out and hang on me like a tent.  These are the things that automatically get pitched.

Pitch anything that is SUPER big.  Yes, I *could* use these super-sized clothes during pregnancy, but WHY?  I hate feeling frumpy while pregnant and that is exactly what oversized normal clothes do to me.  If it was all I had, fine, but it’s not all I have.  After 8 babies, I have a pretty good-sized stash of maternity clothes.  No need to keep the super-sized stuff.

Pitch anything I don’t love.  This is different from things that are ugly or don’t look good on me because I can have clothes that look nice on me, but shouldn’t be kept because they aren’t fabulous.  The truth is, when you are post-pardum you are looking for ways to feel normal AND beautiful.  I’m not going to keep something that is just “okay”.  Which leads me to…

Keep what I love.  Frankly, this isn’t a huge pile.  There are some sweaters, the skirt shown above, and a few really nice clothes I use for speaking engagements.  It was just too hard for me to get rid of these things because I really did like them.  I’m packing them away in my maternity storage tubs.  They will be there post-pardum if and when I need them.  By then, I may have changed my mind about what I love, but at least for now I don’t feel bad about getting rid of clothes I really liked, even if they were my “fat clothes.”

By the way, my husband, who has lost 66 pounds, is pitching at will.  Yes, even the Bourne sweater I loved so much.  He is now the same weight he was when he graduated high school!  He doesn’t plan on getting pregnant any time soon, so he is NOT keeping his fat clothes.  (And yes, that is an Olympic Torch in his hands…and no, he was not in the Olympics, but after losing so much weight he might start thinking about it!)

Ty with torch

Replace Those Potato Chips! {the REAL food way}

Replace Those Potato Chips with Real Food! | RaisingArrows.net

Last month, I decided my go-to side of potato chips needed a revamp, so I did what all modern homemakers do when they have a question…

I asked on my Facebook page!

Screen Shot 2013-09-25 at 5.12.09 PM

I got so many GREAT ideas, I thought I’d share them here!  (I added some links to help give you a visual.  There are affiliate links in this post.)


Dried fruit

Popcorn (try it with some natural flavorings!)

Nuts (almonds, walnuts, peanuts, etc)


Ideas from Kitchen Stewardship’s Healthy Snacks on the Go

Stacy’s Pita Chips (or make your own pita chips!)

Make your own potato chips in the oven or microwave.  (Pampered Chef has a potato chip maker or you can use your oven or your own dehydrator)

Dehydrate salted slices of sweet potato, squash and zucchini or beets (also try these with olive oil and other seasonings or cinnamon on the sweet potatoes!)

Make kale chips (you can season these too!)

Dehydrate apple & banana chips

Plantain Chips

Cubed cheese

Cheese Crisps


Mini rice cakes

Pretzels (or Pretzel Crisps)

Check out the snacks listed on 100 Days of Real Food (I really like this site!)

Veggie chips like the ones shown above (or make your own in the oven!)

Crackers (regular or gluten free)

English cucumbers with Irish cheese

Green Bean Chips

Dried Okra Chips


Laughing Cow Cheese

Hard boiled eggs

Slices of bacon

ak-mak Crackers

Greek yogurt

Food Should Taste Good Chips


Snap peas

Wasa Crackers

Non GMO Corn chips & homemade salsa

Veggie Straws

Sunflower seeds



Granola bars

Spiced Nuts

Real Food Power Balls

Lentil Crackers

Seaweed Chips

Cheat Thins

Roasted Chickpeas

Homemade Gluten Free Chex Mix

Make your own Crackers or Crackers or Crackers!

 And if all else fails…

go ahead and eat potato chips, in moderation, of course. ;)

Today Would Be a Good Day to Buy T-Tapp!

{this post contains my affiliate link because I really like this workout!}

You’ve heard me talk about T-Tapp before as a way to get in 15 minutes worth of good exercise that is low-impact and something even new mothers can do.  In fact in my son’s quest to lose weight (he’s down 25 pounds!), this is the workout he chose.

So, if you have been considering purchasing it, today would be the day to do so!

Today only, the workout I use, Basic Workout Plus, is 50% off at $19.98!