December 18, 2015

how i lost 50 pounds

July 2014 and December 2015
Earlier this week, I told you about my incredible 50-pound weight loss in the last year. Because so many people have asked me (and my mom, who has lost 30 pounds in the last nine months) how I did it, I thought I'd just post here.

I took the basics of Trim Healthy Mama and adapted them to fit me--so what I've done isn't really THM anymore, but it worked for me.

Here are some pointers for following THM:
  • The main thing to remember is to separate your carbs and fats and don't eat them in the same meal. As long as you know the difference between fats and carbs, you could make a go of this diet without knowing anything else.
  • There are three basic types of meals: S (fat), E (carb), and FP (low fat and low carb). I mainly ate S meals with a few Es and FPs thrown in. If you're looking for recipes, etc., you need to understand this terminology.
  • In an S meal, you need to keep your carbs very low. 10 grams or fewer is recommended.
  • In an E meal, you keep your fat very low. 5 grams or fewer.
  • Just say no to refined sugar and processed foods.
  • Protein is a must with every meal.
  • Eat every 2-1/2 to 3 hours. Definitely do not eat more frequently than that, and don't wait much longer, either.
Now here's where I made the diet my own:
  • One of the basics of THM is eating carbs that are low on the glycemic scale--so sweet potatoes and brown rice are OK; white potatoes and white rice are not. Corn is also a no-no, with the exception of popcorn every once in a while. I did not follow this at all. If I wanted a small baked potato with a carb meal, I ate a baked potato ... plain (well, usually with a heavy dose of garlic salt), because you don't want to mix your carbs and fats.
  • THM allows for certain non-nutritive sweeteners: stevia, erythritol, and xylitol. After some research, I grew uncomfortable with using these sweeteners, so I switched to using honey, grade b maple syrup, and coconut sugar in moderation. And I still lost weight :-) (The unsanctioned Facebook group Trim Healthy Mama - Whole Foods Style was very helpful as I switched sweeteners.)
  • THM recommends an upper limit of carbs in an E meal. After the first month or so, I stopped counting--and now, I couldn't even tell you what that limit is! Simply separating carbs and fats worked for me.
  • I continued drinking diet pop (the one place where I didn't cut all artificial sweeteners)--I just limited myself to about one per week, and I never drank diet pop that contained aspartame.
A few things I learned along the way:
  • While the official THM Facebook groups can be helpful, I found that they were not for me--too many people are very dogmatic about what is and is not allowed, and some even treat the book as if it were an extension of Scripture. I know that sounds crazy, but there's definitely some of that going on! Also, many women on the main boards post about incredibly rapid weight loss, and that can get discouraging for people who lose more slowly.
  • That said, the THM Beginners group is a great place to go with questions when you're just starting out.
  • Be prepared to feel terrible for the first few days to a week. You're probably going through withdrawals ... especially if you're coming right from the Standard American Diet. You will feel better soon.
  • You absolutely do not need any of the special ingredients that show up in a lot of recipes, like oat fiber, glucomannan, nutritional yeast, or konjac noodles. In fact, if you're local and trying THM, I have some oat fiber, glucomannan, and konjac noodles that you can have. For free. Seriously. Of all the special ingredients I bought, the only thing I still use is the nutritional yeast, which has a cheesy flavor. (I'm currently dairy free because of thyroid issues, so the nutritional yeast has come in handy.)
  • If you don't mind using stevia, Oikos Triple Zero Greek yogurt will become your best friend. It's no pricier than any other Greek yogurt (so it's still not cheap), and it makes a great protein-packed snack.
  • Keep it simple. You could spend all of your time cooking, but you don't need to.
  • Google is your friend. There are some amazing THM-centric food blogs out there; just Google what you're looking for. Keep in mind that there are also absolutely disgusting recipes out there...I had probably a 50% success rate with THM recipes I found online. (Here's a link to my Pinterest board that contains THM recipes I tried and liked. It doesn't have many pins ...)
  • Many Paleo recipes will work with THM if you're following a whole foods approach.
  • There is now a Trim Healthy Mama paid membership site with videos, recipes, etc. While I haven't joined the site, I know many people enjoy it--but it is absolutely not necessary to join.
Here are some examples of meals:
  • Breakfast: Fried eggs and bacon or sausage (S); omelette (S); steel cut oats with a bit of brown sugar and cinnamon (E).
  • Lunch/Dinner: Bacon cheeseburger without the bun and roasted green beans (S); casserole with brown rice, baked chicken breast, and tomato sauce (E); roast beef or pork (S).
  • Snack/dessert (keep in mind that if it's a dessert, it needs to be the same type as your meal): 85% dark chocolate (S); Oikos Triple Zero (E or FP, depending on how much); coffee with cream or half-and-half (S); full-fat Greek yogurt, unsweetened or sweetened with stevia (S), air popped popcorn (E).
If you have any questions about anything, please leave a comment. I'd love to help!

December 15, 2015

one year later...

I began following the Trim Healthy Mama diet one year ago, in large part due to the picture below. (I'm on the far left in the 2nd row.)
Photo from the 2014 Nebraska Christian Christmas card
But before we get to that, let's go back to the beginning. I've had a weight problem nearly all of my life. I don't know for sure when it started, but I do know that I was quite chunky by the 8th grade.
At Awana Scholarship Camp, 1995.
I don't know what my highest weight was, as the scale definitely wasn't my friend, and I avoided it as much as possible, but I can tell you when it was: six years ago.
This picture was taken on December 11, 2009. I realize it's no body shot, but no one needs to be reminded of that! About three weeks after this photo was taken, my body basically fell apart on me, and I ended up in the emergency room with what I thought was appendicitis and turned out to be a gallbladder attack.

After that, I dropped 20 pounds fairly quickly by sharply cutting the fat I consumed. So how did I replace the hole in my diet? With sugar and carbs. In fact, I can vividly remember making some extremely low fat chocolate cookies that consisted basically of egg whites, cocoa, and powdered sugar. In retrospect, I know this swapping sugar for fat was a terrible trade off, but at the time I thought I was at least sort of taking care of myself. 

Over the next five years, as I went through a lot of health stuff (which I talked about here), I gained and lost the same 15 pounds repeatedly. 

As December 2014 dawned, I was frustrated with myself and my weight. I'd been gluten free (for thyroid reasons) since the end of May, and I'd only dropped two pounds. Around that time, I started seeing lots of Facebook posts about this diet called Trim Healthy Mama. I finally decided to buy the book, which is a nearly 650 page tome. (The authors have since released a much smaller--and cheaper--version.) Once I had the book in my hands, I was pretty overwhelmed, and the book just sat on my coffee table ... until the day we took the picture at the top of this post. The instant I saw the picture, I knew something needed to change. I went home that night and started reading the book, and the next day I started following the plan. While I only followed it halfheartedly through Christmas, I dove in for real on January 1.

To my surprise, it worked!

From December 2014 through August of this year, I lost 41 pounds! Then I started following the AIP diet to try to heal some thyroid issues, and the weight loss slowed down. 

Still, I have lost 50 pounds in one year.

That number is nearly incomprehensible. When I look in the mirror, I still see the same Becky ... though the size 10 pants and medium tops confirm that I am much smaller than I used to be (16/18 pants and 18/20 tops).

Never before did I understand how an anorexic could see herself as fat, but now I do. When I was obese, I saw myself as much smaller than I really was. Now that I'm on the low end of overweight (yes, according to the charts, I'm still overweight), I still see the 206 pounds in the mirror (or at least the 206 pounds as I saw them at the time). It's bizarre, really. Only when I see photographs do I really believe the truth. So here's a look at me through the year.

Christmas 2014. My face absolutely cracks me up ... but see how much fat there is around my face and on my forearm? Weight: 204

March 2015. With Charissa, the head speech coach, at our last regular season meet. Weight: 185

July 2015. With Mom (who had been on THM for three months at this point) visiting my sister over the 4th of July. Weight: 170

September 2015. Blue & White Day during Homecoming week--we're recreating a photo we took several years before. Weight: 160

November 2015. Pretty much the only full body shot I have, and Isis the cat is obscuring it! Weight: 156.

December 2015. With Mom on an unseasonably warm Sunday. Weight: 154.

Honestly, I thought I'd always be fat ... so I'm very grateful to Serene and Pearl for the Trim Healthy Mama diet! While I only strictly followed the diet for about two months, I've applied the principles throughout the year--and Mom (who has lost 30 pounds) and I are proof that it works!

Several people have asked me for tips on implementing the diet, and I'm working on a post about that now. I hope to have it up by this weekend.

To those of you who have been following along on my weight loss journey, thank you for the encouragement you've given me along the way! A simple "You look great!" goes a long way ... even when I don't quite know how to respond. I especially am thankful for the support I've received from my parents--who never tried to get me to "cheat" and have always encouraged me to keep up the hard work--and from my sister Val, my biggest cheerleader. 

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase an item, I will receive an affiliate commission or referral bonus. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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