As a girl who has always loved food, I’ve struggled with my weight since childhood. I vividly remember the day I was anxiously sitting on the side of a pool in my 10-year-old body in an unforgiving bathing suit and another kid called me “fat.” I wanted to crawl out of my skin. The shame that I felt was horrible. My mother has always been an active, curvy lady and she did a great job of always encouraging me with my body image. Thank you mom for that!
In my teenage years, I decided to try to get healthier by becoming vegetarian and swapping pretzels and water for potato chips and soda. My body naturally slimmed down some but I felt exhausted all the time. I remember my mother constantly wondering why I was so lethargic. Incidentally, I worked at an ice cream shop so that probably didn’t help!
The Freshman Fifteen and more…
During college I met my husband, who is an amazing cook. After we married my weight started to increase steadily and once I became pregnant, I made excuses to eat ANYTHING (and I mean ANYTHING!) I felt like eating. I gained over 50 pounds with my first baby, and never did lose all the weight. After having baby number 3, my husband’s own weight loss inspired me to do whatever I could to get my weight back under control. I had no idea how to do it except exercise and counting calories. So I began using an elliptical machine like crazy and religiously logging every bite in a calorie app. At first I was excited, but after a few months of this, I felt so burdened by the constant logging. It felt like slavery and even though I was losing weight, I hated the process.
I lost about 25 pounds and suddenly God surprised us with baby girl number 4! My first thought was “Thank you Lord for another blessing!” but my second was “Oh no, now I’ll have to lose weight ALL OVER AGAIN!”
Fourth Baby, Highest Weight
As much as I had learned about calories and trying to eat healthier, once the nausea began, all the healthy eating flew out the window. I craved carbs constantly and lived off bread, crackers, soft pretzels and SUGAR those first few months. I felt awful, bloated and had a hard time remembering things. I was snappy with my family and wanted to sleep all the time. When my midwife told me I was now high-risk because I was obese, I wanted to hibernate for the rest of the pregnancy.
During this fourth pregnancy, I would try to exercise as much as I could but I was swollen and everything was super uncomfortable. By the time I gave birth to our fourth daughter, I weighed 237 pounds. She was (and is!) such a joy in all our lives, but my joy was dampened because I was so dreading going back to the slavery of calorie counting and constant cravings.
Initially I lost a little weight, but when the newest addition was around 4 months old, my weight started going back up and I knew my old ways of trying to lose it were not working. As a nursing mom, I knew I should not be really limiting my calories and exercising for hours. My priority was feeding my baby, but the constant fatigue, constant bloating, constant “fuzzy” mind was really not working for me or my family. There had to be a better way.
Hungry for change!
Then I saw a friend’s post about Trim Healthy Mama on Facebook. I remembered I had looked into it briefly a couple years ago, but when I had seen the huge original book and the fact that I’d have to cut out sugar, I chickened out. But this time I was READY. My heart was ready to say YES and so, even before I had the books, I decided to quit sugar cold turkey that very day. I reserved both the (newer, thinner) Trim Healthy Mama Plan book and the Trim Healthy Mama Cookbook from the local library and while I waited for them, I read as much as I could on blogs and on the Facebook group. It already started to click within a few days because I was so HUNGRY for change! I began implementing this way of eating and it was such joy to my soul to stop counting and start enjoying all the foods that God created for our health and pleasure!
For me, beginning THM was not difficult as it seemed so easy and fun compared to the slavery and work I felt with my old ways of calorie counting. The day I began I weighed 211 pounds and I remember my first “on plan” meal was a shake recipe I had found on Pinterest. I could not believe I could eat something so delicious and still lose weight. As far as exercise, I even cut back a little. I found out that I had probably been overdoing it, and raising my cortisol levels which ends up being counterproductive for weight loss.
In that first month, I lost a whopping 14 pounds. I know not everyone loses as quickly but my body seemed to really respond to this way of eating! I even felt like I had been eating MORE than when I was counting calories and exercising like my life depended on it. Within 5 months, I had lost 36 pounds and was back down to my pre-pregnancy weight. It felt unreal that I could enjoy such amazing foods as chocolate cake, tacos and lasagna and still be losing weight!
Around this time one of my friends asked me if I was going to quit. I quickly responded, “No way! This is a lifestyle, a very delicious lifestyle!” And although I wasn’t really trying to lose weight anymore, I ended up losing another 20 pounds, something I never even thought possible! I weigh less now than I did in college, with a total weight loss of 56 pounds. I am so very thankful for the authors of Trim Healthy Mama sharing their insight and recipes with us. One of the sisters frequents the THM Facebook group and gives us encouraging tips and virtual high-fives as we share our victories and challenges.
As you think about your own health goals for 2018, please look into Trim Healthy Mama. It has really seemed unreal how easily (and deliciously!) it worked for me!