I’ve put off writing this post for a while now, but I think it’s time. I have lots of reasons for being reluctant to share this story, but after so many comments and questions about “how I did it” I decided to just put this out there. I’m about to get pretty vulnerable, but before I do let me just say that if you struggle with body image issues and just can’t bear one more of those “If I can do it you can too!” posts don’t feel bad about clicking away and searching for some funny baby animal videos instead. Really, I’ve been there too and I completely understand.
That being said, this is the story of my personal journey toward healthier living. It’s not a recipe for success, it’s just what worked for me. I hope you will find some encouragement and hope through it.
I’ve struggled with weight and body image issues for most of my adult life. I’ve tried several different diets and exercise programs and found success, but always slid back into my old habits after I got close to my “goal weight.” With my first pregnancy I gained a lot, over 50 lbs, mostly because I craved carbs and didn’t really try to eat my veggies. Surely that pre-natal vitamin covers all the bases, right? After I had Charlotte I was able to get pretty close to pre-baby weight on the Weight Watchers diet. Sadly the vicious cycle kicked in and I gained weight again (ice cream does me in every time), so when I got pregnant with my youngest I was already at an unhealthy weight. I gained about 35 lbs with my second pregnancy, but this time I couldn’t lose it. I blamed breastfeeding, but in my heart I knew it was time for a drastic change. I just couldn’t bear another round of dieting and gaining. I needed something different. More than just weight management, I wanted to find a way to feed my family healthy meals and most of all teach my daughters healthy habits while they are young. I am determined to break the cycle of weight and body image issues that have plagued my family for at least three generations.
|This is the photo that convinced me it was time to make some changes. When I put on this outfit I thought it looked cute. Turns out a maxi skirt and flowy top isn’t always the most flattering look.
I researched clean eating, checked out Paleo, and contemplated trying a Whole 30, but I was afraid I would never be able to maintain those drastic dietary changes long term. Eating weird-sounding vegetables and giving up cheese for the rest of my life? Yeah no. One of the blogs I follow, The Laundry Moms, posted several times about a program called Trim Healthy Mama. At first I was put off by the strange sounding ingredients and confusing letters (what the heck is an “S” meal?) but after doing a little more research I decided to go ahead and buy the book. (I started THM right before they released the plan book and separate cookbook).
|It’s pretty clear that my hubby has gotten healthier too by becoming a “trim healthy man.” 🙂|
As I read Trim Healthy Mama something finally clicked. I had never understood the science behind why I was gaining weight, but Pearl and Serene’s explanation of the way our bodies respond to carbohydrates and fats just made so much sense to me. I finally understood what I was doing wrong, and why I gained weight even though I thought I was eating a healthy diet. I jumped on the plan in full-force in mid August 2015, and I haven’t looked back. Not that it was always easy. I almost had a panic attack in the middle of Walmart when I couldn’t find Joseph’s pita bread. I came close to giving up before I’d even started, but I’d already bought some specialty foods from the health store which I would have felt guilty about not using, so I decided to try. The first thing I made was a chocolate muffin made with flax meal and almond flour, topped with butter. It was delicious, and gave me the confidence to stick with it. After the first week I had lost 7 lbs! I knew I couldn’t give up muffins, cake, or chocolate for the rest of my life, and THM gave me healthy alternatives that were actually tasty! The savory dishes were mostly things I made anyway, I just had to tweak them a bit to make them on plan. Then the new cookbook came out, and I was in heaven. It was a bit overwhelming (there are over 300 recipes in the cookbook alone, not to mention all the meals you can find on-line or from Pinterest) but I started trying a few, learning as I went how to “own them” myself. I’d always been a strict recipe follower, but now I’m able to play a little, substitute, add, and alter to suit our family’s taste. I think I can actually call myself a cook now!
I introduced my mom to the plan too and while my parents were here for December we had a ball trying different treats. It was so easy to stay on-plan during the holiday season that is always so full of temptations. We even made a THM Christmas dinner! For the first time in my life, I actually lost weight during the holiday season! And it just kept coming off. It didn’t happen all at once, and there were plenty of weeks that I only lost half a pound or stayed the same, but the numbers on the scale continued to dwindle. I reached my “realistic” goal weight in February, which was what I weighed before I got pregnant the first time, and now I’m in my “dream” weight range. Not that I’m really that worried about the number on the scale. I’m at a healthy BMI, and I feel comfortable in my clothes. In fact, I got to basically buy a whole new wardrobe! (Don’t worry, I’m implementing a capsule wardrobe system, so I didn’t need to drop thousands of dollars on new clothes. Details on that to come). Not that I now have the “perfect body.” I’ve borne two beautiful babies, and it shows. I doubt I will ever feel comfortable wearing a bikini, and I much prefer a looser fit to my tops. My success isn’t worthy of the front page of a magazine, but it’s real, and I’m thankful.
So that’s my story, but it’s not over. In fact I think the most challenging chapter is still to come. I have to learn how to maintain my weight loss, something I’ve never been able to do successfully. Trim Healthy Mama has been an easy transition for me to make, and I honestly can’t see myself eating any other way, but living a healthy lifestyle isn’t easy. I still deal with cravings, snacking, and portion control issues. Discipline and self control are hard. Period. Surprisingly, making the THM lifestyle change has revealed some deep-seated spiritual issues I have surrounding food that I need to deal with. Right now I’m doing a book study on Made to Crave by Lysa TerKeurst, which is really helping me see and overcome the unhealthy spiritual attitudes I have toward food (if you struggle with this issue at all I highly recommend this book). I’ll post more on that later.
Whew. That took longer than I thought it would! 🙂 I guess I will have to make this into a two-part (maybe three-part) post. Next time I will give you a basic overview of Trim Healthy Mama and a few bits of advice (learned from my own mistakes) about starting and staying on-plan. If you made it to the end of this, thank you. I’d love to hear about your journey to healthier living if you’d like to share with me! And if you’re stuck in a vicious weight-loss cycle and are feeling discouraged and defeated, please know that I’ve been there and I would love to give you a listening ear.