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My Trim Healthy Mama Review and a Trim Healthy Mama Quick Start Guide

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The Trim Healthy Mama plan, also simply known as THM, is taking the diet world by storm! It was designed by 2 sisters, and it can be modified for any age or stage of life, including pregnant mamas and growing kiddos.

It offers ways to lose weight in a healthy way and keep it off. 

It’s been a huge blessing in my life by helping me easily lose the baby weight while nursing and my husband to lose the 20 pounds that he gained when he started a desk job.

And I did it while eating cake, kale chips, and bacon-wrapped chicken.

I know that it can be a big help for you or your family, too. THM can seem a bit overwhelming at first (their first book was over 600 pages! Whew!), but let me break it down into baby steps.

We’ll take a look at the THM principles, my THM journey (which began in 2014), and a basic building blocks THM quick start guide to get you on the THM plan quickly and easily.

There’s even a one week sample menu to get you up and running in no time (sign up in the side bar if you just can’t wait!)! No worries, you don’t really have to add running unless you want to!

Ready for 5-Ingredient THM-Friendly Meals?

Want to make THM easier? This Slim & Speedy Menu has 3 days of 5-Ingredient Meals to help you fuel your body fast with slimming foods. (THM-friendly!)


The THM Workins exercise DVDs are also a perfect companion to the plan, and they’re great for pregnant and nursing mamas, too! You can check them out here and read about my experience with getting to my smallest adult size (size 2 jeans, baby!!!) with them here!

Already familiar with THM and want to jump in? Check out the 5 things you actually need with my Beginner Checklist For Starting Trim Healthy Mama (only 2 things cost money!).

Overview of THM

THM is a way of eating that incorporates every food group (protein, healthy fats, complex carbohydrates, lots of veggies) in certain combinations to help you reach and keep a healthy weight.

It promotes a low-glycemic index way of eating. Overall, this means that the food you eat in their recommended combinations should encourage healthy blood sugar levels and healthy weights.

There are several ways to keep a healthy blood sugar level:

1. Make protein the focus of every meal.

Protein is digested slowly and helps to even out blood sugar levels. It also provides the nutritional building blocks to create muscles, organs, cartilage, and even forms the backbone of your immune system.

You don’t have to count protein grams or anything, but you start with your protein as you create any meal or snack.

2. Eat frequently. 

Eating every 3 hours gives your body and brain a nice steady supply of nutrients to keep running at their peak.

As an added bonus, it also keeps your body from thinking that you’re going into starvation mode, so it can help to rev up your metabolism to lose weight!

3. Use certain sweeteners. 

Certain sweeteners are more friendly to a stable blood sugar level, while things like white sugar and high fructose corn syrup can spike them sky-high.

I’m an integrative medicine physician assistant, so I wanted you to know that there is mounting concern in the holistic health community that sugar is a leading culprit in causing inflammation in the body.

It’s also highly addictive, which makes it hard to break the cycle of eating sugar, spiking the blood sugar, crashing when your blood sugar levels come down, and reaching for more sugar to get energy again.

Many people report several days to 2-3 weeks of going through “sugar detox” when they start THM, but it’s worth it since most feel much better and more energetic after that!

4. No whites.

Like white sugar, white flour and white rice can cause similar spikes in blood sugar. These are no-no’s on the THM plan, but there’s so many great recipes and food alternatives that most people don’t miss them! White potatoes also typically ignite blood sugar levels, but you can have them rarely on THM.

There are a couple of other core principles of the THM plan:

1. Lose weight by separating fuels. 

This one reminds me a little of Suzanne Somers’ Eat Great to Lose Weight, which my mom and I followed for a month when I was in high school. Thankfully, this is much better and doesn’t include eating fruit all by itself 30 minutes before a meal (that always made me feel awful cuz it spiked my blood sugar levels!). The premise is that fats and carbs are processed, digested, and stored at different rates, so you give your body one fuel at a time to lose weight.

For THM, you start with your protein.

Then, you either focus on fats and low carb foods or complex carbs and low fat foods.

The fat-based, low-carb meals are known as “S” meals, which is short for Satisfying.

The low fat, complex carbohydrate based foods are called “E” meals for Energizing.

Ready for 5-Ingredient THM-Friendly Meals?

Want to make THM easier? This Slim & Speedy Menu has 3 days of 5-Ingredient Meals to help you fuel your body fast with slimming foods. (THM-friendly!)

You can pair non-starchy vegetables and up to 1 cup of berries with either meal.

One of the great things about THM is the flexibility! While most diets leave pregnant and nursing mommas by the wayside, THM encourages you to combine S and E fuels to gain weight in a healthy way to support a growing baby. The same principles can be applied for growing kiddos and even skinny husbands.

2. The main low-glycemic sweeteners. 

Because the THM plan is based on keeping your blood sugar stable, they recommend 4 specific sweeteners that are kind to your glucose levels and your waistline. They know that sweets and treats are a natural part of life (yay!), and these help me to stick with plan long-term.

The preferred on plan sweeteners are stevia (which comes from a plant), the prebiotics/sugar alcohols erythritol and xylitol, and monkfruit, a superfood. 

While not conducive for weight loss, technically coconut sugar, maple syrup, molasses, and honey can be used sparingly, but they will have a more significant impact on blood sugar levels, especially for diabetics.

My family uses coconut sugar as our main sweetener, and I’ve found that the longer I’m on plan, the less I need to use to sweeten my treats. My husband even lost 20 pounds in 2017 when he hopped on plan with me!

3. Food freedom plus fun community. 

A lot of THM’ers refer to things as “on plan” or “off plan” when referring to choices and ingredients.  And, one of the best things about THM is that you can make almost anything “on plan.”

When the THM authors refer to food freedom, they usually mean that there are no food groups that are restricted on the plan. For me, it has also meant that find recipes that THM’ify anything that I’m craving! I love that I can have what I want and still stay on plan!

There’s also a great, super-supportive, free Facebook community for THM to keep you motivated and inspired! There are groups for many different ages and stages of life from pregnancy and nursing mamas to actual nurses!

Related Post: My Top Tips for THM Beginners To Stay On Plan

My THM Journey

While I’ve never been overweight, I’ve always felt uncomfortable in my own skin. My body worked fine, but I never felt like I had great energy levels or was super “healthy.” I’ve always carried around a little more weight than I wanted to. It seemed like my body’s set weight point is about 10 pounds higher than where I wanted it to be.

There have been two very brief periods in my life where I shed those unwanted “donkey” (aka stubborn) pounds, but they both involved vigorous periods of exercise lasting 1-3 hours a day. That much exercise is not super healthy for the adrenals, gut, or thyroid, and it’s completely unrealistic in this season of life with little babies!

Because when I got pregnant with my first, I was terrified.

Of course, I was super excited that our family was growing and I couldn’t wait to meet our little darling! But, I also knew that some of the women in my family gained weight during pregnancy and usually kept up to 10 pounds as a souvenir after the baby was born. Long after that baby arrived. And 10 pounds from each pregnancy…. And one of my grandmothers had 12 kids! That’s quite a bit of baby weight!

My sister-in-law started posting frequently on Facebook about THM right before I found out I was expecting. She shared some success stories, both her own (she lost over 30 pounds in a few months!) and from the THM Facebook groups. One of those testimonies came from a preggo mama about a healthy weight gain during her pregnancy and easy weight loss in the postpartum period.

I was intrigued.

I read every testimonial on the THM website, and the pregnancy/nursing ones twice! Then, I joined the Facebook group. I even ordered the giant 600 page original behemoth of a book (which I still love!). I thought if I could follow these principles, maybe I could have a healthy weight gain during the pregnancy and get my body back afterwards.

It totally worked! And, added bonus, I even lost those 10 donkey pounds! Woohoo!

With my first pregnancy in 2014/2015, I felt amazing! I did gain a little more than I wanted (38 pounds, 10 of which were when I fell hard off the THM wagon in my last month and also felt awful from being off plan). The weight came off quickly and easily after Little Lady #1 arrived. By 6 months postpartum, I was back into my regular jeans and had lost all the baby weight. I even lost those last 10 pounds, too!

Added bonus, I felt terrific! I had a ton of energy to keep up with my busy, passionate, adorable girl!

My second THM pregnancy has been different but still overall good. I have had almost all the pregnancy symptoms, like intermittent nausea, headaches, crazy varicose veins, fatigue, mood swings, and acne. 

But I’m sure that things would be worse if I went off plan. My OB keeps reminding me that every baby and pregnancy are different, so I wanted to encourage you that it’s still important to do good things for your body and baby even if the feelings and results aren’t what you expected!

I had better weight gain with my second baby– I gained 32 pounds total. Additionally, I started at a lower weight than with my first, so I ended my pregnancy about 15 pounds lighter than with my first. 

Weight loss after my second baby has been a bit more challenging. My second little one is now 18 months old, and I’ve still got 5 pounds to go to get back to pre-pregnancy weight. 

I’m certain it would be worse though without THM! I’ve had several medical issues after having my second (including postpartum depression and PTSD, both of which lead to adrenal fatigue and leaky gut). As those conditions are healing, the weight is coming off.

I’ve also gotten to learn the fun of Fuel Cycles to rev up my metabolism and lose the stubborn weight (lost 3 pounds in one week!! woot woot!).

THM Quick Start Sample Menu

Want to try THM, too? Here’s an easy, one week menu that will tell you what to eat and when to eat it to get a feel for the THM diet, even before your book has arrived!

I also wrote this amazing menu THM Beginner Meal Plan for Fast Far Loss when starting with THM.

THM Quick Start Guide

I definitely recommend that you read the books to get a full explanation of the THM plan. It’ll go into way more detail, and you’ll have them to reference when you need them. I own all three books, and they each offer something unique.

If you’re anxious to get started quickly and want a bare bones version of the plan, check out the newest book Trim Healthy Table. The first three chapters of the book are devoted to a short and sweet summary of THM, and then the rest of the book is filled with delicious recipes and gorgeous pictures. It’ll introduce you to the plan and get you cooking slimming meals in no time. Plus, the pictures and book itself are so pretty, and I’m pretty sure that food tastes better when it’s pretty.

The Tri
m Healthy Mama Plan book is great for people who want more details and menu plans to follow. This book provides more thorough explanations of the meals on plan and even has a special 1 to 2 week cycle to help you push through plateaus or stubborn weight issues. If you want to use the menu plans, it’s best to also pick up the first cookbook, Trim Health Mama Cookbook: Eat Up and Slim Down, since it uses only recipes from there.

The original, huge Trim Healthy Mama book is still one of my favorites. It goes much deeper into the sisters research and their journeys that led to creating THM. My favorite part is middle section, which is full of quick and easy recipes that don’t require expensive ingredients. After over 3 years on plan, I’ve gone back to that one for those delicious, quick, and cheap recipes like ginger snaps, creamless creamy veggies, and roasted garbanzo beans. If you love research and data and have some time on your hands, this is a great addition to the THM library.

So, definitely make sure to read one of the books to get started for real. As you’re figuring it out,  here’s my super-slimmed down (haha, couldn’t resist) version of THM guidelines to keep in mind. The following are lists of which foods and ingredients fall into which categories.

S Stuff:  (the fatty stuff that makes us skinny)

Any meat or seafood
Whole eggs
Essentially any dairy (this means any cheese, cream, cottage cheese, kefir–just no cow’s milk), keep yogurt to 1 cup or less
1 cup berries or 1/2 cup blueberries
Seeds or nuts (high in calories, so keep it to 1/4-1/2c portion; smaller portion)
Nut butter
Cold-pressed oils (coconut, olive, red palm, avocado, sesame)

E Edibles: (the carbs that give us energy and make us happy!)

Lean meats (chicken breast, tuna, shrimp, tilapia, 1 slice turkey bacon)
Egg whites
Low fat dairy (like low fat cottage cheese, fat free Greek yogurt, fat free redi whip, and includes smmmalllll amts of low fat cheeses for garnish)
Grains (up to 2 slices of sprouted wheat bread or sourdough bread, 3/4 c quinoa, 1.25 c old-fashioned oatmeal cooked, 3/4 c brown or basmati rice, 3/4 c barley, 1 sprouted tortilla, 4 Wasa crackers, a serving of baked corn chips, or 4-5 c low fat popcorn)
Fruit- 1 serving of any fresh fruit (if you pick a banana, just one small one)
Beans and legumes (black beans, kidney beans, pinto beans, lentils, split peas; stick to 1 cup if densely packed, 2 c if in a very brothy soup)
1 tsp oil or butter or nut butter
Starchy veggies (carrots, 1 medium sweet potato, peas, butternut squash, acorn squash)
Light progresso soups

Here’s some of the Easiest E Meals Ever for Busy Trim Healthy Mamas

FP Fun: (add these to either of the above categories to round out your meal):

Nonstarchy veggies (arugula, asparagus, bean sprouts, beets, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, chilies, cucumber, eggplant, green beans, green onions, jicama, leeks, mushrooms, onions, peppers, radishes, salad greens, spaghetti squash, spinach, summer squash, tomatoes, watercress, zucchini)
Condiments (mustard, sugar free ketchup, horseradish sauce, hot sauce, vinegar, soy sauce or coconut amino)
Specialty items (collagen or gelatin, approved protein powder, gluccie, almond milk, baking blend, on plan sweetners, pressed peanut flour, not naughty noodles, not naughty rice)
Personal choice items (low carb tortillas, Joseph’s pitas or lavash breads, one serving of Dreamfield’s pasta served hot-not reheated, light laughing cow cheeses or light baby bel cheese, fat free redi whip)

To build a THM meal:

1. Pick a protein. If it’s a fatty meat, you’re having an S; always choose a lean meat or a FP protein (like lean dairy or collagen/gelatin) for an E.
2. Add something from the S or E list (fats for an S and something from the E list for an E)
3. Round out your plate with non starchies veggies. Can also add any of the other things.

THM on a Budget

Looking to save money and stay on plan? Check out these 14 things that save my bacon.... so I can buy more bacon. 😉

Easy rules for eating out:

1. Pick a salad topped with meat. Usually ranch or oil and vinegar are your best options for staying on plan. You can load it up with non starchy veggies and cheese! No croutons, though. (S)
2. Sandwich with chicken breast on sprouted wheat or sourdough bread; pair with a salad of greens and low fat dressing and/or fruit or low fat soup (E)
3. Panda bowl (from Panda Express, follow similar guidelines from another Asian restaurant) – 1/2 brown rice, 1/2 steamed veggies, teriyaki chicken without the sauce and add soy sauce   (E)
4. Any meat and non starchy veggies with lots of butter or cheese. Can also add a salad (see #1).  (S)
5.  Meat sauce or alfredo or another cream sauce over veggies (I know most places will let you sub broccoli or zucchini for noodles)… warning–you just have to avoid the garlic bread 😛
6. Check out the “lighter fare” sections of the menu and see if anything might work with the above lists. This one can be tricky because sometimes they add extra sugars in sauces and stuff to enhance the flavor of a “low fat” dish.
If you want some awesome checklists and pretty printables to get you started on your very own THM journey, check out these great resources from THM blogger Gwen.
You’ve got this, friends! I’m so proud of you for looking into THM and starting on the road to stable blood sugars, weight loss, and food freedom!
I’ve got a FREE, one week, THM menu that contains no special ingredients. It’s easy and quick to get you started on plan in a hurry, even if you’re still waiting for your books to arrive! You can sign up for it in the side bar!
Are you on the Trim Train? How’s your THM journey going?

Resources That I Love

…for a healthy body, soul, and budget:

  1. Stay On Plan with THM and Supercharge Your Weight Loss Goals- Staying on plan and losing weight just got a TON easier with this amazing health and wellness planner! As a holistic healthcare provider and 4 year THM vet, I’ve seen how my patients crush their health and weight loss goals when they have the right tools. Grab yours HERE! 
  2. Walmart Grocery Pick Up– This makes my life soooo much easier! You place an order, they shop for you, and then they load it into your car when it’s time to pick it up. I save time not having to shop, I save money by not making impulse buys in the store, and it saves my sanity not loading up two small kiddos into a shopping cart. If you haven’t tried it yet, use this link to get $10 off your first order!
  3. 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!! 

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  1. Thank you for mentioning coconut sugar! My husband has not been on board with the alternative sweeteners….he’s very health minded. But coconut sugar is one we agree on! But I thought it was not doable with THM. Now perhaps I will try this plan again – with coconut sugar. I found like you, that alternative sweeteners almost made me eat more because they were not satisfying. Thanks again!

    1. You’re so welcome, Kendra! I’ve found that often I don’t need quite as much coconut sugar as others sweeteners (like Gentle Sweet), and I love when I can make a treat that my whole family will eat! There used to be an unofficial THM Facebook group for mamas who use honey and coconut sugar; I think it was called THM Whole Foods? Many of them had great success following THM using coconut sugar. So encouraging! 🙂

  2. You’re the first person I’ve seen who has said that they use coconut sugar and still lose weight! I cannot tolerate any of the other sweeteners and really want to use coconut sugar but also want to lose baby weight. So you just used coconut sugar for any recipes that called for Gentle Sweet and the plan still works?!

    1. Hi, Jo! My husband and I both have had success with THM using coconut sugar as our main sweetener. I try to stick to 1 Tbl or less of coconut sugar in an S setting, and sometimes a little more with an E. I find coconut sugar to be a little sweeter than gentle sweet, so I use a little less than the started amount in THM recipes. I also limit coconut sugar to twice a day (by contrast, I find sometimes the on plan sweeteners leave a sweet taste in my mouth and I crave more of them; coconut sugar is more satisfying and I don’t crave it as much). You could try it for a month, see how often you can eat it and still lose, and see what works for you. 🙂 (p.s.- the Payoff Day Candies in the first THM cookbook are absolutely amazing with coconut sugar! 🙂

        1. Hi, Kelly! Glad to hear it! In theory, using coconut sugar may slow down weight loss a bit compared to the recommended sweeteners, but I personally haven’t had a problem with it. There used to be an unofficial THM Facebook group for women who were using coconut sugar and honey as their main sweeteners, and there were a lot of success stories in there. 🙂

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