reasons to avoid trim healthy mama

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

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

 **This post contains affiliate links. They are noted as such when you mouse over affiliate links. My full disclosure statement can be read here.**

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 collage2

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 osometimes 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.

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 collage3

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?

 

 

**I’m looking forward to seeing Pearl and Serene speak at Teach Them Diligently this spring. Have you registered yet? The early registration discount expires TOMORROW for TN and SC (DC and TX discount expires in 3 weeks). Don’t miss out!**

Teach Them Diligently Homeschool Convention 2014

42 replies
  1. Julieanne
    Julieanne says:

    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. :)

    Reply
    • CreativLEI
      CreativLEI says:

      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.

      Reply
    • JAO
      JAO says:

      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?

      Reply
  2. Jennifer W
    Jennifer W says:

    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. :)

    Reply
    • CreativLEI
      CreativLEI says:

      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.

      Reply
  3. Tami
    Tami says:

    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.

    Reply
    • CreativLEI
      CreativLEI says:

      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.

      Reply
  4. Linda
    Linda says:

    “. . . . 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.

    Reply
      • Linda
        Linda says:

        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.

        Blessings,
        Linda<

        Reply
  5. Lisa Nelson
    Lisa Nelson says:

    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

    Reply
  6. Olivia
    Olivia says:

    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

    Reply
  7. Lauren
    Lauren says:

    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

    Reply
    • CreativLEI
      CreativLEI says:

      Thanks, Tamara. I’ve found it to be a very balanced and sustainable approach to healthy eating for any body type. Lots of yummy foods that my whole household enjoys.

      Reply
  8. Joanie @ Simple Living Mama
    Joanie @ Simple Living Mama says:

    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

    Reply
    • CreativLEI
      CreativLEI says:

      I’m leaning more towards maintenance now and trying to help the rest of my household GAIN by eating healthy crossovers. I’ve loved how versatile THM-style can be.

      Reply
  9. Renee Dubarko
    Renee Dubarko says:

    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

    Reply
    • CreativLEI
      CreativLEI says:

      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.

      Reply
  10. Emily
    Emily says:

    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!

    Reply
    • Lisa
      Lisa says:

      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. :)

      Reply

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