Book Review: Trim Healthy Mama is a super-food driven food plan that’s both successful for weight loss and intended for lifelong use. Sisters Serene Allison and Pearl Barrett have researched health and nutrition extensively (and write about their own varied and sometimes extreme forays into the diet fad world) on a quest to figure out the best way (the healthiest!) way to fuel our bodies. Trim Healthy Mama (THM) is the culmination of their experiences and findings.
The focus of THM in a nutshell, when used as a weight loss plan, is fuel separation: Don’t combine fats and carbs, and proteins should be present at every meal and snack. That’s it. You can eat fats (S for Satisfying Meals). You can carbs (E for Energizing Meals). Just don’t eat them together, and make sure you consume a portion of protein along with your fuel source. This idea (and the reasons why) are fleshed out in the book in detail, but the essential thought is that when combined, the body will burn one fuel source and store the other. There must be also be 3-4 hour gap between switching fuel sources during the day–but don’t worry, there are many Fuel Pull foods (both low in fats and carbs) to get you through the gap between that switch. Lastly, stay away from sugar (honey, agave, brown, white, cane, etc.), and use sprouted grains. THM is not about counting calories, and worrying too much about portion control (within reasonable limits). It’s meant to be food freedom.
There is some lingo to learn:
S Meals – Satisfying Meals that include Fats and less than 10 g of Carbs plus Protein. (Chapter 8)E Meals – Energizing Meals that include Complex Carbohydrates and less than 5 g of Fat plus protein. (Chapter 9)
Fuel Pull – Low in Fats and Carbs – protein based. These foods have less than 5 g of Fats and less than 10 g of Carb. If you increase one, you have a fuel source. (Chapter 10)Crossovers – Plan approved foods that include a meal that creates a ‘Crossover’ in fuels; there is a dual fuel going on. For example an S-Meal consisting of steak and veggies with butter, and you choose to add a side of brown rice. That is now a crossover. (Chapter 10)
S-Helper – Similar to a Crossover, but is specific to S Meals. It is the addition of a small amount of carb that does not overly affect blood sugars, but will slow weight loss. (Chapter 10)
When you are no longer attempting to lose weight, you will want to continue to eat the THM way, because it’s healthy, and delicious, and a way of life!) so you will begin to introduce Crossover meals and S-Helper meals into your diet.
The book offers more than just a guide on what to eat: it also tells why to eat something (or why not to). And since being healthy isn’t just about food, the book is rounded out with sections on exercise, skin care, hormones, and intimacy.
As the name implies, Trim Healthy Mama is geared toward women, especially busy moms, but it’s adaptable to anyone with any lifestyle. Although the thickness of the book may seem daunting, the casual, conversational style makes it an easy read—and an easy re-read—that will improve the way you use your food for life.
My THM Journey:
I’m 54 years old, and had accepted the fact that my metabolism wasn’t ‘young’ any more, and that I would probably be ‘chubby’ (a biscuit as my son-in-law would say) for the rest of my life. I actually believed this because I knew I wasn’t planning to go on any calorie counting, restrictive, or fad diets to work on my weight issues. I was okay with my weight the way it was. Still, when I was honest with myself, I knew I was addicted to sugar, and I knew I wasn’t a healthy weight.
Our family cooks a lot of food at home – we have never been a ‘boxed’ meal family, avoiding processed foods and shopping the edges of the store (the produce, meats, dairy, and grains). We ate mostly healthfully, but I didn’t fully understand the effects of food on blood sugars or the effects of fueling my body with dual fuel sources (fats and carbs), and like I said, I was flat out addicted to sugar.
I found Trim Healthy Mama in March of 2014, and read it through, recommended it to my healthy daughter, but didn’t get my head around implementing it until Jan 20 of 2015. I started small, with breakfasts and then snacks, and moved on to the other meals of the day as I got a hold of the concepts of separating fuels and the other ideas behind the plan. I found that in the beginning I was making some kind of ‘on-plan’ treat every night…using stevia and coconut flour or almond flour, cake in a mug, or muffin in a mug…to get me through the sugar withdrawal, and I did begin to lose weight! In fact, I could feel my metabolism revving up – I was feeling hunger every 1 ½ hour or so, and allowed to eat – and eating food that was delicious and healthful. Now, almost 6 months into the plan, I rarely make that kind of treat. I just don’t need it any more. Thankfully!
I feel such a sense of success, because I am not a lost cause at 54! I have a fantastic metabolism! I’ve lost 40 lbs so far, and fully expect to continue to lose until I reach my goal weight. I know I can do it now, because I am doing it! I don’t miss the old way of eating, or the sugar. I love the food I am eating, and feel completely satisified.
My opinion? The authors, sisters Serene and Pearl, have cracked the code, the secret of healthy weight loss and healthful eating – and abandoning the craziness of fad eating. For me personally, it’s been much easier than I could have dreamed to take off the excess weight. I won’t say there wasn’t a learning curve, there was, and is actually; I’m still learning, but I’m losing weight while learning! I’m excited to help others to find the right foods easily and in one place, and to provide encouragement and information that I hope will be helpful in their journeys!