December was awful. Diet wise, I mean.
With tins of sugar-laden treats coming in and out of the house, I felt my resolve and discipline dissipate. Chicago popcorn, sugar cookies, fudge, toffee bars, chocolate – by Christmas, I was completely undone. The wonderful thing about Trim Healthy Mama is that even if you completely blow it, you can be back on plan in 3 hours. I had multiple opportunities to start over, but I didn’t. I’ve been doing Trim Healthy Mama for the better part of 4 years – I had absolutely no excuse for this!
I told myself I would shape up in the New Year, and since 2017 is just a few days away, I’ve come up with a plan to keep myself on plan.
Several things happened when I fell off the wagon. I think it’s important for me to write them down so I can remember if cheating for an extended period of time is really worth it when temptation arises.
- I was more tired
- My skin broke out
- I felt and looked bloated
- I felt weaker
- I drank less, which led to dehydration and extremely low blood pressure, especially in the mornings.
- I often binged on sugar when I was actually just thirsty.
- I drank a lot more coffee because I needed the extra boost.
- I wanted to EAT ALL THE CARBS.
Getting back on plan is less overwhelming when you break Trim Healthy Mama down into 6 main principles:
- No sugar or other blood sugar-spiking sweeteners like syrups, nectars, and honey (use xylitol, Gentle Sweet, Super Sweet, Erythritol or SweetLeaf Stevia instead).
- No refined carbohydrates (Choose healthy carbs, keep them under 45 grams and limit to E meals).
- Choose good fats (S’s) or good carbs (E’s). Do not eat both together (unless you’re in maintenance mode and can afford the odd Crossover).
- Always have a source of protein in your meal that fits your fuel type (Fat-based S meals can have a fat-based protein source like beef, cream, nuts, and cheese. Carb-based E meals need a lean protein source like chicken breasts, beans, collagen, broccoli, 0% fat Greek yogurt, egg whites, and 0% fat cottage cheese).
- Wait 3 hours between each meal (unless you’re pregnant or nursing). This gives your body enough time to burn through its last fuel source.
- Alternate fuel sources. I eat mainly fat-based meals (S’s), but it’s important to throw a carb-based meal (E’s) in there every once in a while to keep my metabolism guessing. Plus, God made fruit. Praise Him.
If I stick to simple, basic dishes instead of trying to pull out all the stops with time-consuming recipes that require special ingredients, I’m much more likely to succeed at staying on plan. Also, I don’t usually have the time to make two separate meals (one for me and one for the rest of the family) each time we sit down to eat, so it helps to serve dishes that require no extra effort to adapt.
Take lunch, for example. The family usually enjoys sandwiches on sprouted bread (Canadians, Loblaw stores sell a wonderful bread made by Stonemill that has been fermented for 48 hours. It’s delicious!) made with butter, mayo, mustard, ham, cheese, and lettuce. This is a great Crossover for my husband and the kids. If I want a fat-based lunch (S), I could skip the bread and layer the toppings inside a Romaine lettuce boat. If I wanted a carb-based lunch (E), I could replace the ham with leaner chicken breast, skip the butter, and limit my mayo to a teaspoon. No special ingredients or extra preparation is required for me to eat on plan; I just need to make the choice between fats or carbs.
(By the way, all of the recipes on this blog are special-ingredient free.)
I’ve also noticed that it’s much easier to avoid temptation if you have an on-plan version of your favorite treat available. I have a weakness for cheesecake, brownies, coconut cream pie, boterkoek, pudding, and chocolate just as much as the next girl, but I can be fully satisfied, feel well, and not a wee bit deprived when my sweet tooth aches and one of the above is in the house.
Having a large pot of soup or chili that can stay in the fridge for a week makes a quick lunch or dinner, if you don’t mind eating the same thing for several days in a row. Butternut Squash Soup and Chicken Soup are wonderful E soups that can be accompanied by a slice of sprouted bread; Tomato Spice Soup is a Fuel Pull that can be turned into an E or an S by serving it with either bread (E) or cheese and nuts (S). Cream of Broccoli Soup (recipe coming soon!) is my favorite S, and Pizza Chili is a complete S meal on its own.
Doubling up a recipe and throwing half in the freezer for emergency purposes also helps to stay on plan when life gets hectic. I love storing meals and baked goods in these glass containers. They’re clear (so I can see what’s in them), the lids seal tightly (no freezer burn), reusable (cost effective and environmentally friendly), non-toxic, and freezer, oven, and dishwasher proof.
One of the most significant things I noticed when I slid off plan was how dehydrated I became. When I eat sugar, I crave sugar. This often leads to a carb-binge when I’m actually just thirsty. My goal is to drink at least one GGMS a day. My husband loves the Raspberry Zinger and the Caramel Apple, and he’s happily agreed to keep me accountable.
It’s important for me to have breakfast on plan. It sets the tone for the whole day. If I let breakfast slide, the temptation to let the rest of the day follow suit is much stronger. I’m not very hungry first thing in the morning, but I know my body needs to be fueled after a night of rest, so a small S or Fuel Pull breakfast works well for me. Like most families, I don’t have a lot of extra time in the morning to prepare a big meal. Make-ahead single serves (like Strawberry Mousse), 0% Greek yogurt with berries, or a Muffin-in-a-Mug from the Trim Healthy Mama Cookbook with a cup of collagen-infused coffee are a great way to start the day. (I’ve also been known to eat cheesecake, Trimtastic Zucchini Cake, and Pavlova for breakfast. What”s not to love about THM?!).
If it’s not in the house, you can’t eat it. Do you know why I went off plan so badly? It’s because I allowed contraband foods in the house. If I don’t buy it, I can’t it. If your spirit is willing, but your flesh is weak, don’t put yourself in temptation’s way.
To recap, here are the 8 steps I plan to take in order to stay on plan this year:
- Don’t get caught up in the details; just remember the 6 main principles.
- Stick to simple, no-special-ingredient dishes.
- Keep an on-plan version of a favorite treat on hand.
- Have a large pot of soup in the fridge for easy lunches.
- Double up recipes and throw half in the freezer.
- Drink at least one GGMS a day.
- Eat breakfast on plan to set the tone for the day
- Don’t allow tempting off-plan foods into the house.
How about you? Do you have a plan to stay on plan this year? I’d love to hear your best tips and tricks for THM success!