i want to be a trim healthy mama

It’s no secret that I’ve had issues with food for a long time, and that I’ve been on the search for a way of eating that is sustainable and healthy for me.

I joke that I’ve tried every diet from veganism to paleo, and that’s sadly not too much of an exaggeration.

If it’s too low carb, I’m constantly light-headed and feel deprived after about a month. If its whole grain, my gut rebels. Without animal protein, I have absolutely no energy. And my naturally obsessive personality doesn’t do well with tracking anything.

I was at a place a few weeks ago where I was deciding it was okay to not be my best and to learn to be happy with this body that I’m currently in. There’s something healthy in that, I’ve been told.

But, there’s an issue with that:

I didn’t feel good, physically or emotionally.

I’ve been looking for something reasonable, something sensible, something that doesn’t exclude entire groups of foods for so long.

Something that helps me feel good, but most of all is sustainable as a homeschooling pastor’s wife that teaches Holy Yoga with a husband taking a mor than-full load in seminary, a daughter still recovering from spinal surgery, a schedule that has one free weekend between now and Christmas and lots of events coming up where food choices won’t be the best.

And doesn’t make me crazy…or a perfectionist…or obsess in really unhealthy ways.

I think I’ve found it in the Trim Healthy Mama way of eating.

It’s different from anything else I’ve tried. Sure, things like sugar and refined grains are cut out but there’s so much freedom and variety…and honestly, no one should really be eating white sugar or flour or processed food like items that are full of ingredients no one can pronounce.

But the freedom…that’s the big thing. I’m not counting calories or carbs or looking longingly at every food in my kitchen. There’s no guilt involved and in my 20 years of looking for the best way for me to eat, that is incredible for whom the guilt at many times has led to very unhealthy habits of binges and purging. I’m not thinking about food all the time. I’m not tempted by the Halloween candy that is everywhere. I’m not mindlessly snacking.

Today is day 10. The scale is down. Every time I put on my jeans, I can feel a difference (I tend to live in yoga pants, so that’s every four or five). I have more energy, and my brain actually works (and the fact that I don’t have to be on a super strict diet for that to happen seems miraculous!). My hips are cracking and popping all the time. My emotions are far more level. It’s also been easy to adapt with the Once A Month meals I made a few weeks ago, and I’m planning on doing a fully THM OAMM cooking day this Saturday (I’ll share what I’ve done next Monday).  And I have almost no cravings…and if I do, there are so many options that hit my need for chocolate and stay within the Trim Healthy Mama way of eating.

I’ve gone off plan twice – once for a big Oktoberfest dinner we had at our house and then a pumpkin carving party with friends. Both times, I’ve made decent, but not the best choices and both times, I’ve enjoyed a small dessert. Both times, it’s been no problem to get right back at it with my next meal.  And both times, I haven’t been haunted by the guilt of a bit of indulgence or of putting something in my body that maybe isn’t optimal.

I will confess, the book is a lot of reading. And maybe not the most clear. It’s a low glycemic plan with higher fat/low carb meals and low fat/higher carb meals at its base. There’s a learning curve. But it’s not that bad and the freedom is so totally worth the work. I’ll share some of my favorite resources tomorrow and a very basic breakdown.

Have you tried a THM lifestyle? Have you thought about it?

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I’ve been settling into a new routine (hence the absence) – homeschooling, the kid’s workshops, church and a whole lot more re-evaluating and scheduling my exercise and diet.

We joined the gym, just a few minutes away, and I had a good talk with one of the trainers about my need to lift some weights and how those weird pain issues can make that difficult. She started me off slowly with large muscles lifting only, introduced me to the Arc Trainer and said no more than three days a week in the gym, with walking at home on the other three days and a recovery day on Sunday…plus my Holy Yoga practice with my class once a week (soon to be twice) and short practices by myself.

It’s working.

I’m making progress in all areas without severe, lasting pain. In a week or two, I’ll meet with the trainer again to add some smaller muscle work.

It’s good.

I’m also continuing to evaluate eating, and The Pastor and I are taking part in a 60 Day Body, Mind, Spirit challenge hosted by April Kennedy of Funky Vintage Kitchen. It’s solid clean eating, with a little wiggle room for treats and encompasses not just food and exercise, but spiritual practice as well (something I fully believe is necessary)…though I have to confess I don’t agree with the low-fat, non-fat portion of things (I’m kind of totally ignoring that part to be entirely honest). I think it’s been proven pretty well that what they replace that fat with in dairy and other foods is far worse for you than the fat.

I’m finding some grains are totally okay for me, which means I’m happily reintroducing Ezekiel bread with nut butter into my diet (one of my favorite treats) and had brown rice for the first time in two years. It was awesome and caused me absolutely no issues. I’m still trying to limit grains, but I’m not stressing about them.

I’m feeling less guilt about food.

And less compulsion.

And that’s so incredibly freeing.

I can go to a church breakfast and enjoy the hospitality and gifts of those who lovingly prepared it. I can eat at a potluck or a friend’s home without feeling awkward.  My focus is to eat clean as much as possibly, but to not sweat it when those circumstances when the choices aren’t perfect.

So much of this is being reinforced through the study on the Book of Daniel I’ve been doing, the messages I listen to while walking each morning and my Holy Yoga instructor’s devotionals each week.

After a lot of searching and struggle, I feel like I’m in a wholly positive, sustainable place.

And that is the biggest progress of all.