How To Stay On Plan as a THM Beginner- Tips From a 5 Year THM Vet

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You’re excited and ready to go, armed with some stevia and sprouted bread. Your fridge is stocked with Greek yogurt, eggs, and real butter. You’re a THM beginner, and you’re ready to rock this new way of eating!

And then your first week happens… you’re hungry, trying to wade through the book and learn a new language (XO, anyone?), and you find your feet wandering towards the pantry checking to see if there are any Oreos left.

Starting out as a Trim Healthy Mama beginner can feel overwhelming. With over 5 years on plan under my belt and as a physician assistant helping tons of patients lose weight, take my hand and let me walk you through how to rock your THM journey from the very beginning.

This is the first day of the rest of your life. Get these core concepts firmly settled, and you’ll love how you can easily customize your Trim Healthy Mama plan to your health and your preferences.

We’re going to work with who you are and how your body loses weight, not against it!

You’re gonna do amazing, my THM beginner friend!

Feeling overwhelmed with the basics of THM? Or not sure what the Trim Healthy Mama diet is? Read all about it and how I lost all the baby weight in 4 months here!

1. Know Your Diet Style

I know that “diet” is kinda a taboo word because it signifies a temporary change, whereas THM is a lifestyle and a new way of eating. However, I’m going to use the word “diet” just a little to help you think about where you’ve been and what can propel you into massive weight loss success in the future.

Think back to other meal plans you’ve been on? When did you have the most success? What type of diet gal are you?

Are you the stick-to-the-rules because one bite of off plan stuff completely derails your trim train?

Are you a “I-can-stick-to-this-if-I-know-that-I-can-cheat-occasionally” type of girl?

Would you rather have someone just tell you what to eat and when to eat it?

There are grace and options for all of you ladies as a THM beginner. Embrace who you are, how God made you, and spend a minute planning on how to make the most of it!

Personally, I’m that girl who needs to stick with it completely once I start. One bite of off plan stuff derails my efforts, so it’s better for me to just think of how good that thing tastes and then focus on my yummy on plan foods. I know this about myself, so I plan ahead.

I bring on plan treats when we travel (check out these 50+ on plan lunchbox options for when you’re on the go) or to a potluck and I bake ahead.

One of my THM friends craves whatever she’s told that she can’t have. For her, there’s soooo much freedom (and success!) in knowing that she can cheat when she wants to and hop back on plan in 3 hours. She actually cheats less knowing that she can choose the right thing but that nothing’s “off limits” forever.

One of my brilliant THM friends has great success with one scheduled cheat meal each week. She plans and looks forward all week to the one meal that she has on the weekend that is her special meal.

Take comfort in the fact that as time goes on, you’ll often find that your taste buds change. You’ll even get to a point where you crave the healthy, on plan goodness!

I know that sounds weird, but it’s so true! I actually don’t LIKE white bread anymore– it has so little taste compared to yummy sprouted bread!

Also be warned: It can take 1-3 weeks to totally get through sugar withdrawal symptoms– so going off plan may reset that withdrawal clock! Going off plan may also spark sugar cravings (and of course it’s not great for your body and blood sugar).

Want a FREE, one week THM menu plan that just tells ya what to eat and when to eat it? Check it out here:






2. Accountability Is Key for THM Beginners

Next, take a minute to think about what motivates you and keeps you accountable. How can you set yourself up for success?

Do you need to hang your goal jeans front and center in your closet so that you see them every day? A picture of yourself at goal weight tucked into the corner of your mirror? Set a jump rope on your kitchen counter as a reminder to get healthier so that you have more energy to play with your kids?

Fix firmly in your mind and write down somewhere the reason that you want to lose weight and get healthy. Review it every morning for a month.

With your reason for being a THM beginner front and center, now we’re ready to dive into what can help hold you accountable to that motivation.

Write It Down

Are you like me, and does writing down what and when you eat help you to stick with it? Check out my daily planner that pairs great with THM and helped me to stick with the plan and finally lose weight!

Check In With THM Friends

Do you want to check in with lots of friends and have them cheer you on? Check out the daily roll call in the THM Beginner Facebook group.

Added Accountability and Motivation

Would having something more tangible, like putting your money where your mouth is (literally), help you to stick with it? You can even make money to stock your new THM pantry!

It’s not for everyone, but HealthyWage has helped several of my friends kickstart their weight loss and stick with it when nothing else helped.

HealthyWage has some great research to back it up showing that people are more likely to stick to their healthy eating and exercise plan with a dual approach.

With HealthyWage, you want to stick with your weight loss plan to avoid losing the money you’ve invested every month and to get rewarded by making even more money when you reach your weight loss goals.

3. Get Super-Duper Familiar With Each Fuel Type

Write it down, memorize it, learn it in morse code… let the fundamentals sink into your mind.

Some ladies I know have even printed out lists of S, E, or FP foods and taped them to their pantry door so that they know how to build an on plan meal or snack.

Knowing your fuel types are foundational to building on plan meal, and on plan meals set the stage for on plan days, which lead to weeks of weight loss!

4. THM-ify Your Regular Dinners

What are your favorite meals? What does your family love?

Are any of them already on plan or could be with a little tweak?

Even before THM, I would make baked tilapia, roasted zucchini, and baked sweet potatoes for an easy, healthy dinner. Voila– an E meal that my family already loves!

We used to have meatloaf, mashed potatoes, and salad. I swapped the bread in my meatloaf for ground oats and the mashed potatoes for mashed cauliflower. Bam! On plan S meal!

Can you change Taco Tuesday to Taco Salad Tuesday, even if the rest of the fam has tacos and you put yours over salad?

You don’t have to go crazy trying new recipes that your family may not care for. Consider what y’all already love, and tweak it for THM!

5. Be Prepared

Don’t be caught unprepared for dinner or the snack monster!

We’ve all been there– it’s 4pm, you’ve had a busy day juggling appointments and errands, and the kids are tugging on your pants asking for a cookie. Your stomach growls, and you suddenly remember that the last thing you ate was a salad with chicken on top (and you’re not a rabbit, so you’re proud of yourself for staying on plan but secretly you want to eat a whole bag of Doritos).

You open the pantry door to grab something for your little one, and you see that bag of Doritos that you bought “for your husband” staring back at you. Your THM menu says that you’re making an on plan mug cake for snack, but you that’ll take 5 minutes to prepare. And the Doritos are just waiting for you…

Wait! Let’s fix this scenario!

Preparing ahead can be so helpful for staying on plan. It’s a lot harder to fall off plan when you’ve already got your next, on plan meal just sitting in the fridge waiting to be heated up.

Essentially, we need making “on plan Doritos” or simply on plan, quick-pick snacks and meals as THM beginners to give us all the help we can get to easily stay on plan. And, we probably shouldn’t even keep Doritos in the house (just sayin’).

Here’s some awesome, easy ways to keep your pantry and fridge stocked with prepared, on plan goodness:

  • Bake every day or every other day for the first week and freeze extras. It takes less time than you think it will, and you’ll have a full fridge and freezer faster than you thought possible!
  • Prep your next meal as soon as you finish your first. I know this sounds weird, but I started doing this after my second baby was born (in those crazy, feeding-frenzy newborn days). It is a game-changer for staying on plan!
  • Consider making a super simple dinner schedule– here’s the one that we’ve been reusing every week for months. It’s completely customizable for your taste buds and your family’s preferences with a ton of variety but simple structure.
  • Tons of THM bloggers have great monthly dinner plans to give you plenty of ideas. Here are some great places to start: Darcie’s Dish for monthly dinner menus, a variety of meal plans from Briana Thomas, tons of menus and quick-start options from The Well Planned Kitchen
  • Have snacks ready! Keep store bought or homemade snacks on hand so you can grab and go when you get hungry.

6. Find a Favorite Dessert or Snack

This is so huge for building momentum and staying on plan in the beginning.

Try out several different snacks and desserts, and find one that you absolutely LOVE.

When you’re armed with a recipe or two that you know appeals to your tastes and that actually makes you happy, you’re more likely to stick with this plan in the beginning. Finding joy in your food and THM journey will light a fire in you that will keep you on plan.

I often make half the recipe for something new so that I don’t waste special ingredients if a recipe isn’t my favorite (although I often use Amazon gift cards earned free from Swagbucks to get my special ingredients for free).

Try out different recipes until you find your favorite that can be a quick go-to or a larger recipe that you can keep stocked up in your kitchen for when you Just. Need. A. Snack (or dessert).

Many THM beginners find that cheesecake desserts are their favorites in the beginning. Cheesecake often masks the flavor of the new, on plan sweeteners and are more like their off-plan counterparts than baked goods.

7. Stay Motivated

You can do this, friend!!! I know that you’re going to do amazing!

You can think of me here on the blog cheering you on, and you can hop in the THM Beginners Facebook group, too, for encouragement and motivation when you need it most.

I’ve also found the THM Podcasts (the Poddies) to be a great way to encourage me to stay on plan. A new one is released every Monday, and there’s a whole bunch to get you started.

You CAN Do This, THM Beginner!

You can do this, friend! I believe in you, and I know that you’ll find your groove!

What else has been helpful for you to stay on plan while starting out? I’d love to hear it in the comments! <3

Would it be helpful if I made a mini workbook to help you get started with THM? Let me know in the comments!

More THM-Friendly Resources:

  1. Struggle to Stay On Plan?-  Check out this easy way that I stay on plan with Trim Healthy Mama every day! I struggled to stay on plan for almost 3 years, and this easy thing changed everything! 
  2. Save on Healthy Meat– ButcherBox is my new favorite way to buy antibiotic free, grass fed beef, pork, and chicken! It’s cheaper than I can get it in the local stores, and it comes right to my door! Use the code AP10 to get $10 off your first box and FREE nitrate-free bacon!! 
  3. Get Healthy Foods for Less- Thrive Market is like the online Costco for healthy groceries, and they even have healthy meat and seafood! We love saving money with wholesale prices on healthy groceries and products that get sent right to our home! Get an extra 25% OFF your first order when you sign up at Thrive Market HERE!

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