It’s January, which means you’ve probably seen no less that fifty of your friends and family make their fitness pledge for the new year… and you’re skeptical of one more post about dieting or exercise. Me, too!
This is a little different.
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Around six weeks after Annalise was born I started to notice something disturbing. After losing most of my pregnancy weight I started to notice the pounds adding back up. Suddenly things that had fit a couple of weeks prior were now tight and uncomfortable. I attended the Teach Them Diligently Convention in Nashville with my oldest son, our first trip together. It was awesome. Every time we had a photo-op together I was embarrassed by the pictures. I was hiding behind baby-wearing or billowy skirts, but I saw what others may have missed. I rationalized that it was only a couple of months postpartum. While I chatted with the fabulous couple behind Kit Naturals, they had a copy of the book, Trim Healthy Mama (THM), on their table and mentioned that it was a great resource for them. I nodded politely and didn’t prod any further.
I wasn’t ready.
I knew I was overweight. I had started her pregnancy overweight. I was still holding on to weight from Nate’s pregnancy 4 years earlier! I had gained back every pound I lost after Miranda’s pregnancy, but I gave myself grace because in the process of grieving that last thing I wanted to do was restrict my diet. I ate healthy, whole foods. Sure, I had a sweet tooth and enjoyed bread, but at least they were homemade with ‘good’ ingredients. I just needed to have a little more self-control and only enjoy in moderation.
Later in the summer I went to visit family. It isn’t often that all of my siblings are together, so we took the opportunity to have our pictures taken.
I was mortified.
Four months postpartum and I was bigger than my pregnant sister.
When I returned home I told Vince I was ready to change things up. I couldn’t carry the extra weight. I was hiding behind everything I could, but every time I saw a picture of myself it was a jolt of reality. The next step was deciding what to do. I knew these things, I indulged too often and I moved too little, I wanted to eat real food and I didn’t want my children to see me as a slave to the scale.
The first thing I did was find the fitness program a blogging friend had recommended. I ordered the online version of MuTu System. It made sense. I didn’t want to beat up the body that had helped me carry and birth my beautiful children. Instead, I wanted to heal it. Wendy Powell’s gentle voice was just what I needed to get myself moving again. I actually looked forward to my daily walk and enjoyed the quick but effective core-strengthening and diastasis recti-healing exercises each day.
I knew that my eating habits needed to change, or the exercise I was doing would be for nothing. If I used the exercise to justify a more indulgent snack, I was back at the starting point. So I went back to the only weight-loss program I was comfortable with. You know, the point counting one…
I was miserable and hungry. I did my best to track my food, but I couldn’t balance out my meals so that hunger wouldn’t overcome me. I couldn’t eat anything I was fixing for everyone else.
The worst part was, the scale wasn’t moving very fast at all. I started at 165.2lbs, but I was losing less than half a pound most weeks. I couldn’t do this very long at all, and what if I ever did manage to lose weight? Surely I’d gain it all right back. I started remembering hearing about Trim Healthy Mama. It had been recommended by my friends at Kit, some of the bloggers I knew, a couple of local friends had also heard of it, and many other homeschool blogs were starting to talk about it.
I figured it was just the next fad. I had heard rumors that honey and bananas were contraband. Coconut oil was a superfood.
Great. One more thing I wouldn’t be able to stick with. One more plan where every one else lost weight and I stayed the same.
So I started asking critical questions of the friends I knew were following. Could I really never eat a banana again? Would I have to prepare different meals for myself than my family? Could I still eat out? They were honest with me, admitting that they didn’t follow 100%, that they approached it realistically, and tweaked it to make it fit their family.
So at the end of August I invested in the e-book version of Trim Healthy Mama. The book is long. Very long. I’ll admit, that I found the style of writing to be too much at times. It is written very conversationally between the authors who are sisters, which makes it very wordy. As a blogger you’d think I’d really appreciate that. I didn’t. I wanted the meat of the plan, without digging through all the dialog. If you aren’t a reader I’d recommend focusing on Part 1 and Part 2. In Part 1 you will identify with the type of ‘eater’ you are and why it may not be working for you. I was a little mix of all of them! Part 2 develops the Trim Healthy plan of nutrition and the research and history behind it. The recipe section follows. I had a couple of weeks of dipping my toes in while I was reading. I sampled some of the drink recipes from the facebook page . I started using butter again. I also caved in and bought coconut oil. To my surprise, I lost weight. Not just a fraction of a pound, but a few pounds each week!
We went on a family vacation to the beach the first week of September and I followed the plan, but allowed myself grace to enjoy a few indulgences in true moderation. I found it relatively easy to stay on plan for the majority of my meals. I enjoyed a couple of Duck Donuts completely guilt-free knowing that enjoying one didn’t have to effect my decisions for the rest of my meals. No more back-tracking! When we returned home I was thrilled to see that I had lost weight while we were away. I certainly didn’t feel like I was deprived and dieting.
By the end of October I weighed in at 137lbs. I was ecstatic and more than a little surprised. I had resigned myself to the idea of always being overweight. Even if I had lost some weight, I assumed that after having seven children, my size would always be a double-digit. The day after Thanksgiving I found myself purging my closet and bagging up many clothes that were now far too big! When December arrived I resolved to prepare our traditional treats and foods, but to watch myself and limit my reaching into the cookie bins. I also made a number of delicious treats that were more THM-friendly. Since October I’ve bounced within a 3lb range, but my measurements continue to go down. I am now comfortably in a size 6. Another milestone that wasn’t even in my imagination!
I’ve never been happier to be so wrong.
If you’d have told me I could give up sugar, that I could adjust to using stevia, that I could enjoy creating grain-free sweets, I would never have believed you. I feel more freedom now than before ever attempting to follow THM. I know I can have a meal that is off-plan without carrying guilt or shaming myself into limiting my next meals to salads. I know that one less than healthy choice, doesn’t mean my day is shot. I get to choose again in just a few short hours.
I haven’t lost my cravings for sweets and carbs, like some women claim. It could be because I’ve not been 100% on-plan for a very long amount of time, but slowly I’m finding what the real definition of moderation is. Thankfully I am very satisfied with many treats that fall within the THM principles. No, honey and bananas aren’t contraband, but I did have to give them up for a season while I trimmed down. Coconut oil isn’t the be all – end all of health, but I do enjoy the addition of it to my cooking. Now that I’ve seen the results of following the main principles of the book I find myself ready to go back and reread chapters I skimmed through and also ready to tart taking in some of the chapters in the back of the book.
I know this post was terribly long, thanks for hanging in with me. I’ve kept you waiting so long to hear my feedback of THM because I wanted to wait until I felt confident it was sustainable for me. After riding through vacation and a holiday season while following the principles and still feeling trim and healthy, I’m ready to share it all with you.