10 Reasons to Avoid Trim Healthy Mama


If you’ve seen my post about how I ventured into Trim Healthy Mama, you may be wondering what exactly my questions were. Maybe you’re holding off from investing in the book because you have doubts or have heard some bad feedback or criticism of it.

I get it. Really, I do.

reasons to avoid trim healthy mama

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Top 10 reasons given by critics/skeptics NOT to follow THM

So here’s my stab at answering the critics and their reasons why you shouldn’t try Trim Healthy Mama.

**Please understand I am not a medical professional and my opinion does not take into account your individual health circumstances. If you have underlying health concerns, please consult with your primary care physician before making any changes to your current care.**

10. It’s just like Atkins or other low-carb diets.

The low-carb portion of the Trim Healthy Mama lifestyle is only one portion of the big picture. Carbohydrates are not the enemy, THM seeks to educate you on making smart carb choices to compliment your health instead of raising your blood sugar. While eating healthy fats is encouraged, eating half a pound of bacon or drinking a cup of heavy cream in one sitting is not.

9. Oh, it’s a Paleo diet.

No. While there are many Paleo-style recipes that can be easily adapted to the THM lifestlye, they are not the same. Grains, legumes, and dairy are welcome items for THM followers (unless you have an allergy), when used in the appropriate setting. Also, Paleo diets make some evolutionary assumptions that I just can’t get behind.

THM food collage3

8. You have to eat ‘frankenfoods’.

The beauty of having two sisters from different schools of ‘food-thought’ write a book on nutrition is that all walks of life are considered, those who like to keep their foods closest to original source (Farm Fresh Tess) or those that prefer the ease of convenient open and go items (Drive-thru Sue), or someone in-between, like me! You can adapt the principles of THM to your family in the way that make the most sense for your household. You don’t ever have to buy any ‘frankenfoods’, if that’s your preference. I’ve never tried Dreamfields pasta or Splenda-sweetened goodies, and I limit my use of Laughing Cow cheeses and low-carb breads. I am not trying to replace all of my ‘comfort’ foods with their low-carb or low-fat equivalent, I’ve allowed THM to help me redefine the way I looked at food, not give me a ‘healthy’ way of doing the same things I always have.

 7. Real food, like honey and bananas, are off limits.

Honey has a high glycemic index (only slightly lower than table sugar). If you are struggling to lose weight, honey is not your friend. THM does NOT say that it is a forbidden food, but it is put in it’s proper place. Raw honey is undeniably useful as a natural health remedy, but that doesn’t mean liberal indulgence, it means using it medicinally in small doses. Honey is a very appropriate sweetener for children and others who do not suffer from insulin resistance symptoms. Bananas, like many tropical fruits, also have a higher glycemic impact. They are not forbidden, either. They can be used in an ‘E’ (energizing) setting, in conservative amounts. While I was trying to lose weight I chose to avoid bananas because I used them too much in my Weight Watchers days. Now I’ll add half a banana to a smoothie on occasion, but not daily and sometimes not even weekly. I make a mean pineapple, coconut milk, and banana smoothie that reminds of a Dole Whip. It’s a great ‘sometimes’ treat.

THM food collage1

6. They tell you to use artificial sweeteners.

This is often a personal point of contention. I did not want to use stevia. “It tastes artificial,” was my big gripe. Stevia extract is a natural sweetener, it is made from the stevia plant. However, it is processed. So is all of our ‘real’ sugar. This was a hitch I had to get over. I found that there was a trick to finding just the right sweetness using stevia and avoiding the bitterness that get when you use a little (or a lot) too much. All stevia products are NOT equal. Many stevia products on the market contain fillers that aren’t beneficial and taste awful! I use Trader Joe’s Pure Stevia Extract and Liquid Stevia and Sweet Leaf flavored stevia extracts. Some people with ragweed allergies will also have sensitivity to stevia, since they are in the same family. If that’s the case, you’ll have to get a little more creative finding your ‘sweet’. Artificial sweeteners, such as sucralose (Splenda), aspartame, and saccharine are NOT endorsed by THM, neither is agave nectar. There are two sugar alcohols that are sometimes used in THM dessert recipes, erythritol (Truvia is a blend of erythritol and stevia) and xylitol. I use both with no issue, but I do not use them daily. I would recommend researching the pros and cons of each to decide if they are okay for you. My favorite on-plan sweetener is the THM Sweet Blend. It’s an erythritol/stevia blend that has the best flavor I’ve found!

5. All they talk about in the Facebook group are dessert recipes.

Yes, if you scroll through the Facebook group, you’ll find a LOT of dessert and treat recipes shared. Honestly, these are not the main point of the THM lifestyle, but the fact that there are many delicious on-plan treats to satisfy your cravings makes this a sustainable lifestyle change. My theory is that THM is very easy to apply to preparing your main meals, however there are new challenges with using nontraditional flours for baked goods (coconut, oat fiber, almond flour) and finding the right ratio of non-glycemic sweeteners. The group is a great place for tips, tricks, and inspiration. I’ll try my best to share some main meals that are prepared by the THM principles, like my Chicken Cacciatore.

thm food collage2

4. You have to count carbs and track fat grams.

No, you don’t! I don’t count carbs or fat. I am mindful of appropriate portions and watching that I eat to satisfaction instead of fullness. I find that choosing foods from the ‘S’ (satisfying) or ‘E’ (energizing) categories is all I need to really know. Occasional crossovers (combining S and E) are okay, because they’re still healthier choices than my old ones.

3. You can’t eat bread.

I LOVE bread. Warm, fresh-baked, bread.  It isn’t contraband! Sprouting and/or sourdoughing ensures you’re getting the available nutrients from the whole grains you use. I even enjoy grass-fed butter on my sourdough bread, a delicious crossover. My meals, however, no longer center around a starch. Breads and grains have been relegated back to side-dish status.

whole wheat sourdough

2. You’ll be in the kitchen all day long.

No, you don’t need to be. Eating healthy takes being conscious of your meal choices, but it doesn’t mean you need to be a slave to your kitchen. In one evening I can make a bunch of snacks to last a couple of weeks. My crockpot is still helpful for days that we’re running full-tilt and want to avoid take-out. I do not set an alarm to eat every three hours, I listen to my body. If I’m hungry, I eat. I don’t like to complicate things. I do best when I shop for produce weekly and have a well-stocked freezer and pantry.

1. It’s just a fad.

It’s fairly new, it’s gaining rapid popularity, and it is different. However, the overall health information and nutrition tips given in THM are the type of changes that are sustainable. Instead of a diet mindset, where I’d make changes ‘for a time’ or ‘until I’ve reached a certain weight’, I’m finding that what I’ve learned through THM colors my thoughts for my nutritional choices. Sure, we can get donuts after church, but I’ll only have one and I’ll be having some sort of protein with it to lessen the glycemic load. Want to grab some burgers from Five Guys? I’ll have my bacon cheeseburger without the bun, and I’m only going to have a few of the deliciously greasy fries. I can satisfy the craving without binging. Enjoying kid’s night at the local steakhouse? Easy peasy. I’ll have my steak and a side salad with creamy dressing (S) and take the yummy sweet potato (E) home for tomorrow’s lunch. To avoid falling into fad-mentality, I’m not saying NEVER and ALWAYS. You won’t hear me say things like “That will never cross my lips again.”

thm steakhouse suggestions

Sustainable change doesn’t happen in the extremes, it comes in the healthy, practical application.

So there you have it. Hopefully I’ve given you my answers to some of the most common  questions and ‘complaints’ about THM. Did I miss any?

What are some of your concerns or criticisms of Trim Healthy mama?

66 thoughts on “10 Reasons to Avoid Trim Healthy Mama

  1. I love Trim Healthy Mama and have been on this eating plan for over a year now. :) My only concern for me, personally, is that I have candida overgrowth which means I shouldn’t eat hardly any carbs anymore – and that eliminates E meals. I’m still trying to figure this out for my own health. :) But we know many people who have lost tons of weight and are easily keeping it off now, using THM. :)

    • Thank you, Julieanne. As I said, underlying health issues change things and I’m not at all discounting how that effects the application of THM principles. I was just trying to answer some of the general criticism and questions I’ve heard. I’ve been following THM since August and LOVE it.

    • I have the same issues with candida overgrowth. I just started this eating style this week and so want it to work. There is much more freedom with this plan than what I have been doing for the last 2 years. I am not sure if just leaving out desserts will be enough to help me. Much makes sense and I was already doing a far bit. Hoping for the best!

      Julieanne, have you lost weight and how do you feel?

  2. I think like this way of eating, Atkins is also misunderstood for people who have never read the book. It isn’t all about bacon and heavy cream like #1 suggests at all! It’s carb restrictive and the main focus of your meals should be veggies and healthy proteins. These 2 diet plans are actually very similar and while I am an Atkins supporter I do plan on checking out this book. By the way, I am not at all trying to stir the pot, just pointing out the generalizations made about other diets as well. :)

    • That’s fair, Jennifer. You’re right, I have not personally read through the Atkins principles, I am basing my information on what I see available commercially. I do stand by my opinion that the two plans are very different.

  3. Thanks for this posting Lisa! I was one who had read a lot of “bad” stuff about THM. Oh my goodness did I become scared of the carb/fat counting thing. I’m sorry but that sort of lifestyle (along with counting every.single.calorie) does not work for me or our family. First, I’m a Momma. Second, I homeschool. Third, I have an almost 11 month old. Often time is spread thin. I am SO glad I got the book and I’m glad that through your encouragement I started looking into it more. Doing those 2 things has made me at least look seriously at what goes into my mouth. THM really seems in no way “restrictive” to me. Sure. I’m not going to have the twice baked potatoe that I make for loved ones on Saturday but that is my decision because I NEED to lose weight. I will enjoy the steak with sautéed onions, mushrooms and a dallop of fresh crumbled blue cheese though (Sat….PLEASE come soon).
    My Hubby is even excited at the thought of change that we are hoping THM helps to bring on. To him it “makes sense”. Fat or carbs. Limit the type of fuel source.

    I can TOTALLY see where a person has to be cautious about S plans. Oh boy would it be easy to eat really fatty satisfying meals. :-) Cheese? Yes please! There has to be a common sense approach. We have to be aware that liberal amounts of butter, cheeses and creams in many of our meals is not what will be best for us. Ok. My last sourdough starter molded! Grrr. That has never happened. Of to start some more.

    • I feel a lot of food-freedom now that I have read THM. I’d be looking forward to Saturday, too. That sounds like a fabulous menu!! My starter has been ‘alive’ for two years now. Sometimes when it’s been a little (ahem a lot) neglected, I need to use a day or two to get it nice and active again. Separating the main fuel sources made complete sense to me, and just that principle alone has made adaptation easy, to me.

  4. “. . . . eating half a pound of bacon or drinking a cup of heavy cream in one sitting is not” <—–This is not encouraged in Atkins either. Atkins is not all about eating fat. Atkins is about eating healthy.

      • Atkins does use common sense. The book actually gives suggestion on portion size and does not recommend gorging.

        I have read the THM, Atkins, and a few paleo books. They are all a healthy way of eating. One is not better than the other just a different way of getting to the same point which is choosing good foods that are better for us. They all guide us away from the modern SAD diet.

        Atkins is not an extremely low carb diet. I can eat all the foods that are in the THM book. I love the cottage berry whip, the Fat Stripping Frappa, and one of my favorites is the Mex. Cottage Cheese Salad.

        On Atkins one can enjoy foods like chocolate and many other goodies.

        The late Dr. Atkins wrote his book during the time (late 60’s early 70’s) when low fat was in and the media and doctors where blaming eggs, red meat, and fat as the culprit for heart attacks, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. Dr. Atkins went against the norm to get the word out that processed food was the culprit.

        It would be nice if people read the the books. I love reading and learning that’s why I continue to read books on health which is why I picked up a copy of THM.


  5. Doh. I have never heard of this – so i have no opinion one way or the other. I think any program when combined with frequent consistent exercise, is probably ok – unless it’s a crazy starvation diet.

    I think the exercise and CLEAN eating are what was important. That is my beef with weight watchers. They give too much leeway. You can eat oreos all day and still stay within plan. You can drink pop all day and pretend it’s water.

    The exercise and the balance of carbs to proteins to fats. That’s where you will loose the most weight.

    If it works, great. One plan isn’t going to work for every body.

    Thanks for this post, and for linking up with us at the blog challenge.
    Lisa Nelson recently posted…Homeschool Link-Up – Week 22My Profile

  6. I hadn’t heard of this before but it sounds really interesting, like a hybrid of clean eating and paleo with permission to have some ready made foods every now and then.
    I agree with Lisa on the WW front, I love their system but you do have a lot of freedom, maybe too much. I prefer to stick with a clean eating lifestyle combined with WW to keep me on track, but I am definitely going to check THM out. Thanks for sharing and participating in BYB!
    Olivia recently posted…NEW Event for 2016 Summer Olympics: A Solo Mommy and Me Tot Swim ClassMy Profile

  7. Thank you so much for posting this- I do not follow THM plans but I get really sick of fad diets, diets that cut out whole food groups or ones where you cannot eat after a certain time etc. THM seems to be a sensible plan. I lost 55lbs all by myself without a guideline or following any specific diet, and I still eat cake, sausage and candy. But for people who want specific guidelines and support, I can see this being a more favourable plan than some of the others out there.
    Lauren recently posted…Virtual Book Club For Kids (Paul Galdone)My Profile

  8. I have the book and have even tried to start the diet a few times. I’m not currently at a point where I need to lose weight, but I would like to be healthier. I just feel like it’s so hard to want to buy things I do not normally buy. I think that is what is holding me back. I do use a lot of their recipes that call for regular ingredients I have anyway. Yummy cheeseburger pie!
    Joanie @ Simple Living Mama recently posted…Chicken Broccoli Alfredo – Frugal FridayMy Profile

  9. I don’t have a complaint about THM because I am still reading the book and haven’t started yet. My question is, Do Serene and Pearl ever come out to the North West? I live in Oregon and would love to see them but I cannot afford to travel to see them as I am disabled and don’t have the money. Thank you, Renee Dubarko

    • Hi Renee. I don’t have that answer, but it would be a great question to pose on the FB group or page. Are you on FB? I’d be happy to ask if you aren’t and report back.

  10. I just started looking into t.h.m. I think the plan sounds amazing! The only thing I’m concerned with it doesn’t have serving sizes…this worries me. If it had that sounds like a plan you can stick with for life!

    • Emily, I can appreciate that. I found that overall, THM made me very conscious of my food choices, so even when I eat to satisfaction I’m not overdoing it to the point of feeling ‘stuffed’. I know that Pearl and Serene hesitate to include specific serving sizes or meal plans because they are aware that each of us has a different set of needs and circumstances. A pregnant or nursing mama has a different need than a post-menopausal mama, or a teen or 20-something has a much different need than a 30-something mama. I’ve enjoyed the FB groups because it’s a chance to meet and connect with women of similar backgrounds and situations, and ask lots of questions of those further in the journey. Thanks so much for stopping here and sharing. :)

  11. My first impression from their website is both women irritate me but I wasn’t going to let that stop me from a decision. After reading a lot of the reviews on amazon about the book I had decided not to purchase, mainly because all the descriptions of types of foods & food plans are not how I cook. I was thinking they should just put out a recipe book for those that don’t want to read all their extra information.

  12. I don’ t actually have the book but I have a couple friends on the plan so I decided to try what I could find out about it on the internet. I have found that is seems very doable to me. I have never been a healthy nut. I’m extremely over weight and I use to go to McDonalds a couple days a week but I think I can live with this. There is some weird meals I’ve seen but being from the south I like southern comfort foods and I found I can transform some of them into THM meals. So that makes me happy. No leaving out food groups that makes me happy too. :)

  13. So has anyone on here actually tried this way of eating and lost weight? I am so so so tired of trying new ways to get the pounds off just to fail once again but this kind of makes sense to me. So just wanted to hear of a real person that really lost weight before I go all in once again.. Thanks

  14. Hi, so glad to find this site.
    I am waiting for my THM book to come. I want to say something that happened when I was on the Atkins:
    I had high chol, high trig. I started atkins and lost a lot of weight, and had a lot of fat. When I went to the doctor I told her I was on a high fat diet. She weighted me and looked at my blood work and said;
    wow your chol is so low and your trigl are great too ( I dont remember the numbers.IT was quite a while ago) and then she said “okay, stay on that low fat diet your on. It seems to be working!” lol I couldn’t believe it. I TOLD HER HIGH FAT DIET! LOL funny, right? yep.

  15. oh what I meant about a lot of fat was I ate a lot of fat on the diet. Even steak and skin on chicken before bed. I know, I know, disgusting. Like I said a while ago. I know better now not to eat that late.

  16. I was following Eat To Live before starting THM.I really loved THM and the great foods I got to eat. However my health did not improve with this plan. My chest pains and shortness of breath came back with a vengeance and became worse. My breathing was labored and difficult. I would just cry because it was so hard to catch my breath. I reluctantly went back onto Eat to Live and my problems started to subside. I’d say I’ve had at least 85% if not more reduction in symptoms. I felt more in bondage to food during my THM time too – I thought about food a lot. Now I eat 3 times a day and thoughts are not totally consumed with food. I’m glad THM works for some people but for those of us who may have more health issues a more radical approach may be what is best. I believe this plan works for many people and I am glad they are finding success on it, however it did not help me.

    • Michele, I appreciate your honesty about food struggles. I have heard others remark that they felt consumed by the principles of THM and that all they thought about was what they would eat next when. However, that was not my experience at all. THM was the first time I felt free to eat freely when hungry and not stifled by rules. I hope that you have a trusted physician to help identify underlying issues that may have been causing the breathing issues and chest pain, as I imagine that would be very scary. Thank you again for sharing so honestly.

  17. I don’t think you read and understood the book. I have barely changed my grocery list, I have not felt limited on any foods, and I have still lost 30 pounds in two months. All by just separating the way I eat carbs and fats. With any “diet”, if you really want it to work long term, you have to make some lifestyle changes to keep your positive weight changes, but that doesn’t mean you can never have sugar or bread, just that you are aware of how much you are consuming and that you’re eating then strategically so that you don’t overload your system and keep it from properly functioning… consuming and that you’re eating then strategically so that you don’t overload your system and keep it from properly functioning…

    • Liz, while I appreciate you taking the time to comment, it’s apparent that you didn’t actually read my post, you’ve just skimmed the headings. I actually combat all those misconceptions throughout my post. I greatly support the lifestyle change that THM encourages.

  18. Thanks so much! I’m waiting for my books and “stuff” to come in next week. This was a very encouraging read and I feel a lot more confident about my choice. Please keep posting about it!

    • Thank you for the encouragement, Mary. I am working on a post about how I make the best use of the ebook, and how we make THM work with our large(-ish) family, most of which needs to gain healthy weight.

  19. My biggest complaint is that when one is unable to lose weight that OBVIOUSLY needs to be lost, and finds something that does work and mentions it on a THM FB page, the post is deleted. As well as any other dissenting posts. They really don’t want criticism of their “program” and don’t want to know that it doesn’t work. I see posts that state “you aren’t following the plan properly”. That is a scary point of view, not to mention harsh, judgmental, and legalistic.

    • Leslie, I can certainly understand your perspective. I don’t disagree with you. As for the effectiveness and success rate, I can only share my own story and don’t begrudge any others of their own story. I know that there are some out there with health concerns and dietary limitations that I am not encumbered by, I wouldn’t begin to attempt to tell them the ‘right way’ to run their race! On the flip side, I can certainly understand where the THM authors need to limit the competing information and product referrals on their own community forum. They are within their right to protect their plan, and we as consumers are free to find the communities that fit us best. There needs to be a graceful balance. I started an encouragement and challenge group of my own to help explain further and encourage others. I don’t follow THM 100% by the book, but incorporating the main principles has transformed my own health. Thank you so much for sharing your heart here!

  20. I recently tried THM. I have a milk, peanut and wheat sensitivity so I have some issues to dance around. THM eliminates almost all wheat with the exception of sprouted bread and refined sugars and carbohydrates. Hello! This is what drags most people’s thyroid, bounces their blood sugar and gives them inflammatory conditions like high blood sugar and cholesterol. All the while making them hungry and tired. My family farmed in the 50s and wheat was 6feet tall. A government program for gmo wheat started in the 60s to feed the world. Now we eat wheat that is 3 feet tall and laden with high productive heads and a protein chain so complicated that no one can digest it. It makes you tired, hungry, and malnourished from inflaming your gut as its unable to absorb nutrients. This then leads to a plethora of conditions that the medical profession isolate into various conditions and prescribe drugs for. Thyroid issues, high Bp, high cholesterol, depression and on and on. I don’t eat wheat and I no longer get uti’s, migraine, my milk problem drastically decline-I can eat yogurt, my skin problem cleared, my receding gums stopped, and cavities didn’t occur. Do some food/ fad research.

  21. I followed thm for a year and had great weight loss results with it. However, every year I get a health screening and I just found out my cholesterol had sky rocketed to 225 hdl was only 48. I am 29 and have never had cholesterol issues prior to following thm. I always kept my portions in control while following the plan. I emailed the thm website and they told me while I was doing everything right that maybe I should stay away from dairy for awhile.
    I find that strange since it’s the opposite if all their advice in the diet. I just think people need to be aware of the health risks it could cause. I know many people have actually lowered their cholesterol while on thm but it makes me wonder if they were eating badly to begin with and any health changes that focused on wholesome foods were bound to show an improvement in their health. Please do not be mad at me if thm has worked for you. I just think that people should make sure to check their cholesterol and make sure everything is ok.

    • Hi Crystal, thank you so much for sharing your experience. I agree that we should only be entering into new nutritional lifestyles with the help of our trusted healthcare providers, who know our personal health history. You are right to warn people not to assume that one method is right for them. I know that cholesterol health is partly due to our diet, but also is greatly effected by our family genetics. Very smart advice to be sure to follow up with our healthcare providers.

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