Disclaimer: I recently shared on Instagram that I met my weight loss goal of loosing 35 pounds over the last 6 months. I received a number of requests to share how I did this, so here is a little more detail into my story for whomever might find it helpful. I am cautious sharing this, because I do not want to spread guilt for those who are struggling with weight. I know so many different factors can contribute to weight gain, so please take this all with a grain of salt. I struggled myself with putting my hope in weight loss over these past few months when I didn’t see progress for weeks at a time. God had to constantly remind me not to put my hope in that…but in Him alone. I share to simply offer some ideas and resources that were helpful to me. But make sure you are resting in Christ and keeping your hope in Him through it all. And let me also say…there is plenty of grace available for you. There will be seasons when weight loss is possible, and seasons when you have to put it on the back burner, and that’s okay! I was struggling with milk production after my 5th baby, and I knew it wasn’t wise to stress about weight loss when I needed to make sure my baby was growing healthy and strong. So after he was weaned, I began this journey…
I was introduced to Trim Healthy Mama shortly after my fourth child, Helen, was born in 2015. I had been able to lose pregnancy weight fairly easily for my first three pregnancies, but number four produced a more difficult challenge. I began looking into healthy weight loss options, and Trim Healthy Mama stood out among the many trending options. Why? THM authors, Serene and Pearl, are two lovely God-fearing sisters, who have sought to support the Christian community by offering a simple balanced healthy lifestyle, as opposed to a weight loss diet. I love THM because it is doable. It doesn’t eliminate any food groups, but teaches you how to enjoy all the food groups in their proper balance and proportions. I appreciate how they believe all the food groups are part of God’s creation, and therefore to be enjoyed. I followed their recommendations pretty faithfully, with a little grace and flexibility and was able to lose my pregnancy weight.
Two miscarriages and a fifth pregnancy later, I was having a hard time loosing extra weight. I was still 35 pounds over my healthy weight recommendation, even after one year postpartum. I knew it was time to take some more aggressive action. With the help and accountability of my husband (who also needed to lose 20 pounds), and a useful free app, Lose It! (I just used the free portion and did not pay for premium), for calorie tracking, I went back to a more strict THM lifestyle. What I found is that following THM without considering portion control, can be very difficult. Many healthy recipes can still be pretty high in calories, so if you aren’t taking that into consideration, you can easily over eat! All things in moderation is the key.
My favorite cookbook from THM is the Trim Healthy Table cookbook, as it has so many easy family friendly recipes. If you want to get started with THM, the Trim Healthy Mama Plan book is the most useful in explaining the whole lifestyle. Their facebook group and free web-zine emails and podcasts are also very useful.
This time, I decided to exercise more consistently through walking and biking (using my bike on a trainer with Zwift app for indoor exercise), and tracking my calories. I exercised three times a week for at least 30 minutes, usually 45 minutes to an hour on Saturdays.
What I enjoyed about Lose It! was that I could set a weight goal for myself, based on the healthy weight recommendation reflecting my height and age, and then the app would set a finish line for me if I stayed within the recommended daily calorie count. So basically, it recommends you lose 1.5 pounds each week (which is the healthy weight loss recommendation), and then it will set a daily calorie budget for you. For me, I needed to get within 135-155 pounds, and I decided to shoot for 145 pounds, right in the middle of that range. My daily budget was around 1250 calories. It took a few weeks longer than initially projected, as I had some stalls in my weight loss, but ultimately it worked! Many THM recipes were already set up in the app, and I could easily scan products and make my own recipes by scanning individual ingredients within the app as well. This enabled me to track my food intake pretty easily.
My personal menu over the last few months has consisted of the following:
Breakfasts: Eggs with bacon or turkey sausage with my coffee and cream (limiting to 1 Tbsp half n half with liquid stevia drops for sweetener, my favorite being the English Toffee flavor), 1/2 cup or so of oatmeal with about 1/4 cup plain non-fat greek yogurt and THM sweet blend to sweeten, or THM pancakes or my own banana pancakes with monk-fruit maple syrup.
Lunches: Main dish salads (with any combination of lettuce, veggies, lunchmeat, pepperoni, cheese, hard boiled eggs, or roasted chicken on top for protein) or THM dinner leftovers for lunch. I’d stick with a non-fat salad dressing or just a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. I also enjoyed THM smoothies from the Trim Healthy Table cookbook a lot! They have a fabulous Cinnamon bun shake, pina colada shake, frisky, lemon-blueberry cheesecake shake, and triple-berry power shake that we all love! The shakes alone are worth the cost of this cookbook :).
Snacks: Larabars!! Yes, I am obsessed with them. They only have 5 ingredients and are THM approved. They are tasty too! I used the Amazon subscribe & save on these babies, and was able to get a great price. My favorites are the Coconut Cream & Key Lime Pie flavors. Alternatively, I’d eat 1/2 apple with 1 Tbsp peanut butter.
Dinners: THM dinners (see below). I stuck with high protein and veggie combinations for the most part, and avoided white breads/carbs, etc. I also eliminated alcohol and desserts for the most part. Calorie tracking has enabled me to sneak in a few treats along the way as well, as I could adjust my food intake based on the treat of choice. Yes, I did enjoy a few donuts along the way!
THM is family friendly as well, especially in their newest cookbook, Trim Healthy Table. Every recipe is super simple and has adaptations to make in slow cookers or instant pots as desired. Or tips on how to add more carbs for growing children to serve alongside the meal. For us, this usually meant, I served brown rice a lot with dinner for the kids.
Our Favorite THM recipes:
Easy Chicken Fajita Casserole (Joy Filled Eats)
Easy Taco Casserole (Joy Filled Eats)
Simply Crunchy Ranch Chicken Strips (Heavenly Homemakers) (I use THM baking blend instead of flour in this recipe to make it THM, but you can also easily use some ground up rolled oats for an alternative)
Low Carb Zuppa Tuscana
THM Cheeseburger Pie
Pizza (I’d use whole wheat crust for the kids, and make mine on a Joseph’s Lavash bread)
Spaghetti (Kids would have brown rice noodles, and I’d use the Miracle Noodle Shirataki Pasta)
Omelettes (an easy breakfast for dinner option)
Egg Roll in a Bowl (from Trim Healthy Table)
Chicken Fried Double Rice (from Trim Healthy Table)
Tuscan Cream Chicken (from Trim Healthy Table)
BAM Waffles (from Trim Healthy Table)
THM Double Soft Chocolate Chip Cookies (Trim Healthy Table Cookbook) - These are incredibly delicious! My favorite find in the cookbook! I do use 1/2 cup each of xylitol & coconut sugar (coconut sugar is not THM approved, but I find its more delicious and a good healthy option in moderation), and just 1/2 cup chocolate chips.
THM plan products that I use:
THM Sweet Blend (I do use this product from THM and love it! Couldn’t find a cheaper alternative that was quite the same for all the shakes and such that we love!)
THM Baking Blend (I used this very infrequently, mainly for our favorite cookies above, or to replace any bread crumbs called for in a recipe, like our favorite Ranch Chicken Strips or Meatloaf. It’s just too expensive to make a lot of THM friendly desserts with it.)
Xylitol (blending in coffee grinder gives the powdery consistency of THM gentle sweet, but a cheaper alternative)
Baobab Powder (I buy from Amazon subscribe & save) - this superfood is amazing! The highest source of vitamin C and so easy to add to smoothies!
Whey Protein Powder (I typically used Tera’s Whey grass-fed, stevia sweetened whey, wherever I could find for the best price).
So thankfully, with my husband’s help and accountability, we both were able to meet our respective weight loss goals! I highly recommend getting an accountability partner if possible. Aaron lost 20 pounds over 3-4 months, and I lost 35 pounds over 6 months. We feel a lot better overall and are really enjoying continuing to exercise and stay in shape moving forward. My husband has gotten so excited about biking as a result…he’s now training for local bike races. A fun side benefit that I didn’t anticipate! I’m preparing to run a quarter marathon in the next month too. Running is the last thing I ever wanted to do…but with a friend, I think it’s going to be fun. Yahoo!
Ultimately, our goal is to stay healthy so we can be fit and ready to serve the Lord in whatever he calls us too. Also, if he calls us to have another baby, I didn’t want the excessive back pain and such that comes with extra weight and pregnancy combined (like I experienced with baby #5). I’m so thankful for God’s grace that made it possible to achieve this goal. It can be really quite fun to set a goal, find an accountability partner, and go for it!