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!


  1. I am getting ready to try this diet. My goal is 50 before 50, which will occur next February:) I am wondering how much you exercised? I am not a big exercise fan, and I am limited by fairly serious back issues as to how much I can do. Walking or water exercise is pretty much it. What did you do?

    1. Honestly, I hardly exercised at all. The plan totally works without exercise, though the weight loss might be faster if you did exercise. I walked for about 45 mins 3 or so times a week when it was nice out, but I hardly did anything in the winter months, and the weight still came off.

    2. Overall, I think this is about as simple as I can make it--but if you have any other questions, I'll do my best to answer them!

  2. Thanks. I have a long history of diet failure or yoyoing, so I am skeptical. I am hoping that it works for me:)

  3. Oh my, almost 4 year old post and it hits the nail right on the head for me!
    I cannot wrap my head around some of the thm stiff, I am trying SO hard but at almost every meal I have to ask thm on fb about what I’m choosing. It actually gives me anxiety because I want to do it right but feel like I think WAY too much about food. I am so not into the collagen and the sweetener they suggest or much of any of the things they push to buy. Though I have discovered cauliflower and radishes to replace mashed and fried potatoes and they are yummy!! I never liked these things before. I need to do this my way but am so afraid my way will not work. How encouraging to read your post!!

    1. I'm so glad this was helpful! I think it's really important to make the program work for you. I found the "official" facebook groups to be really discouraging, and I know there are even more of the special ingredients now than there were when I wrote this. I would say to keep it as simple as you can--separate your fats and your carbs, and space out your meals/snacks by about 3 hours. If you want to incorporate the rest, fine, but you can absolutely lose weight by just doing those things.

      Full disclosure, I've gained back about 10 pounds since I wrote this--I began following the AIP diet for my thyroid, and as I eased off of that, I went Paleo. I'm just now beginning to incorporate THM principles again, but I feel way better than I did even at my smallest, and I think how you feel is more important than the number on the scale.


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