NatureAmy

caring for creation while caring for family

Tag: sugar addiction

THM Pregnancy Update: Hello, Second Trimester

I am happy to say that I have officially made it into the second trimester!  The first trimester is always the toughest part of pregnancy for me (even though I am a bit spoiled that I don’t get very sick).

The first trimester is tough. Even though you don’t look very pregnant yet – and most people don’t know you are pregnant at all if you wait to announce like we do – you are exhausted, hormonal, and nauseous.  But, you pretend like everything is fine, even though all you really want to do is crawl into bed and sleep for a week! Read about my first trimester experience here.

The second trimester gets easier for a couple reasons.  The first being that most women are lucky enough to get their energy back and nausea goes away!  The second reason is that by then most people know you are pregnant.  They suddenly open doors, tell you to take a nap, not carry things, or sit down and rest.  The ironic thing is, you probably feel better than you did the first 14 weeks! (Of course I am generalizing here. I do know a few women who were very sick throughout their entire pregnancies. I’m sooo sorry.)

So welcome second trimester!  Welcome baby bump and maternity clothes!  Welcome energy and feeling good! Welcome food cravings and goodbye aversions! Welcome finding out the sex of the baby – oh wait – my hubby REALLY wants to be surprised this time – so…never mind!


a2a9b5b592cc078f836a9bf12380411aSo, a little update on my last two weeks, starting with…

Hormones – from week 12 to 14 I had a terrible onslaught of hormones!  I had so little patience with the kids and everything set me off! This is not like me.  Normally I am pretty level headed and calm, but not so in week 12! My poor kids…

Week 13 was better than week 12, but the excessive hormones were still there.  I also was very tired on week 12, even though I had felt great from 9.5 weeks until then.  And although I know the pregnancy had something to do with the exhaustion, our first full week of homeschool also contributed to it, I’m sure.

Weight gain – the scale has bounced around a bit and is now at six pounds gained. That is in my normal fluctuation range so I am hoping it doesn’t continue to climb too quickly from here.

Cravings and food aversions – thankfully I can eat eggs again!  I can also eat meat and was craving a steak, which I got on our date last week. Yummy! I have been craving salads again, which is a nice change from the carbs and cheese sticks I survived on in my first trimester!  And fresh pesto from the garden. Enough said.

My favorite craving this week has been a quick cooked apple dish that I whipped up.  I will write up my recipe and publish it later, but basically it is just apple pie filling made from fresh apples (tis the season), cinnamon, cloves, and some THM Super Sweet Blend cooked with some water.  Oh my goodness!  It totally fulfilled my baked apple cravings and is completely healthy!  Pregnancy win!  I’ve made it three times this week…

Advanced maternal age – don’t you just love that term!  This is my first pregnancy in the “over 35” age bracket and now I get a bunch more fuss because of it!  Oh joy!  I refused all the extra testing on the baby, but I could not get out of the early test they do for gestational diabetes since I am apparently “at greater risk for it in my advanced age”. Fun!

I asked my OB if I could do an alternative test to the sickly sweet “glucola” drink for the 1-hour glucose test, but he was pretty insistent that the dreaded drink was the best test. I was reluctant to take the test, even though I’d never had trouble passing it in the past, because I had not had processed sugar in over a year.  I wasn’t sure how my body would react.

But honestly, I was actually curious, so I didn’t fight him on taking the test.  I simply informed him that if it made me sick, I was going to refuse it when I had to do it again later in pregnancy.

So I prepared for the test by having a low-carb breakfast of eggs and bacon which I read helps . I drank the glucose drink.  I was right behind a lady who chugged hers in seconds, but when I tried that, I immediately felt gross.  I drank it slowly instead (over about 4 minutes) and waited out my hour.

I waited to feel sick or to get a massive sugar headache, but surprisingly, other than feeling hungry near the end, I felt fine.  They drew my blood and found out I passed with flying colors.  Thank you, Lord!

Some women who have been off sugar for long periods of time have gotten headaches, thrown up, or had terrible sugar cravings after the test.  I wondered if I would experience the same thing, but thankfully, I did not.

Drinking that sickly sweet drink made me realize how thankful I was that I was no longer addicted to sugar.  However, if they had given me a gigantic piece of cake instead, I don’t think I would have found it gross, but I’ve come too far from my days of sugar-addiction to test that theory.


On a sad note, this past week my phone died.  I can’t even blame my kids because I was the one who dropped it.  It hit just right to crack the screen and now the screen is completely black. So, as a result, I don’t have many pictures for this post… Oh, well… C’est la vie!

Hopefully that will be remedied soon and I won’t have to go too long without pictures!

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THM Pregnancy Update: My first trimester

I’m over twelve weeks pregnant with what will be our fourth child.  This is not my first time around – it’s actually my fifth since one pregnancy ended in miscarriage, so I pretty much know what to expect.  I’ve had boy pregnancies and at least one girl pregnancy and I know what is typical for my body for each trimester and for delivery.  So, that being said, I wanted to compare and contrast what I have noticed to be different now that I am a pregnant Trim Healthy Mama. (You can read my THM testimony and why I love it so much here.)


Is a THM pregnancy easier? Comparing and contrasting my first trimester on Trim Healthy Mama and 3 non-THM pregnancies. - NatureAmy.com

My baby bump at 12 weeks – definitely showing earlier this time around.

My first three pregnancies

So, first let me explain what has been normal for me in the first trimester of pregnancy before becoming a THM over two years ago.

Nausea – I am one of the lucky ones who does not have much morning sickness or nausea.  In fact, I can completely avoid being sick if I follow one simple rule – never let my blood sugar drop too low.  So, that equates to eating almost constantly (even though food isn’t too appetizing).  I would snack on things all day long, because even with over an hour between snacks, my blood sugar would drop and I would feel sick.  I even got up in the middle of the night to eat.  If I didn’t, I was guaranteed to wake up feeling sick and I would often throw up.

Weight gain – One of my earliest signs of pregnancy is a 4-5 lb weight gain, seemingly overnight.  This happens before any nausea sets in and before I have to start eating every hour.  I’m okay with this sudden increase, because it doesn’t seem to be due to anything other than extra blood, fluid, growing boobs, etc.  However, about week 7 or 8 I have to start eating constantly to avoid being sick and the real weight gain starts.  By 12 or 14 weeks I am usually up about 15 lbs from my starting weight – not too cool, but it beats being sick, in my opinion.

Headaches – Oh, how I hate headaches during pregnancy.  Something about the hormones in the first trimester would give me frequent headaches.  It seems like Tylenol doesn’t help much to dull the pain, and I really hate taking any medicine during pregnancy.  So with my non-THM pregnancies, I would suffer through headaches several days each week.

Fatigue – got to love the exhaustion that comes with growing a tiny baby.  This is my most prevalent symptom in the first trimester.  I am so tired from about week 6 through 12.  An afternoon nap helps, but the constant fatigue is frustrating, especially when there are little ones running around that must be supervised.  Thank you Netflix for filling in for me when I can’t keep my eyes open any longer!


Is a THM pregnancy easier? Comparing and contrasting my first trimester on Trim Healthy Mama and 3 non-THM pregnancies. - NatureAmy.com

6 weeks of my growing bump. I popped out really early, but have not grown much more recently.

My THM Pregnancy

So, what is different this time around now that I eat a low-glycemic and sugar-free diet? (Not low carb, please note – I still love my carbs.)

Nausea – So, I cannot say that this time around I have not had any nausea.  I still have had nausea if I do not follow the rule of keeping my blood sugar stable.  However, with THM, I have the perfect tools to keep my blood sugar level.  The Trim Healthy Mama Plan: The Easy-Does-It Approach to Vibrant Health and a Slim Waistline (which is a lifestyle, not a diet) is designed to keep blood sugar levels stable.  That is important even for those of us who are not even close to being diabetic.  Not only does stable blood sugar help to keep nausea away, but it also equates to a safer pregnancy, less risk of miscarriage, and numerous other benefits!

In this pregnancy, since I now know how important protein is in stabilizing blood sugar, I make sure to have at least a little with each snack and meal.  This means I can go longer between meals without eating (not more than 2 hours, but that is twice as long for me) and I can even make it overnight without having to get up and eat!  I am eating plenty of good healthy carbohydrates which are important for growing a healthy baby, but I no longer eat processed sugar, which is very helpful in stabilizing my blood sugar.

Protein is still hard for me in the first trimester since I really have an aversion to most meat and eggs.  However, I eat a lot of cheese, yogurt, and cottage cheese and that helps.  I also have been using THM Collagen, which I love, but the smell, usually unnoticeable, is too much for my pregnant super smeller.  But, if I mix it into a THM Trimmie, it does the trick.  I forced myself to eat chicken – about the only meat I could stomach. Thankfully, at 12 weeks, I’m able to eat a larger variety of protein, which my poor family appreciates, I’m sure!

Weight gain – I still gained the initial 4-5 lbs of weight I always gain each pregnancy at about week 4 or 5, but I’m thrilled to say that I have not gained more than that this time!  My weight has fluctuated a bit, but at twelve weeks pregnant, I was just at 4 lbs over starting weight!

Is this because I eat 100% on plan?  I wish I could say I do, but I don’t! Food aversions made eating on plan all the time unrealistic for me. However, I do believe it is mainly due to the fact that I don’t eat processed sugar anymore (something I used to eat a ton of during my previous pregnancies – thank you sugar addiction!)  I eat mainly crossovers – I have not been even trying to separate my fuels (carbs and fat) since I found out I was pregnant.  I have also mainly survived off fruit and cheese sticks. Occasionally, I will eat an off-plan food like chips or whole grain crackers, or plain whole wheat bread (instead of sprouted).  I eat more raw honey and some dried fruit (we were camping a lot this summer and it was easy to get trail mix).  These are all choices that I am personally okay with on occasion and they are foods I feed my skinny family all the time.

Headaches – This has been a dramatic difference this time around.  I have had only two headaches this pregnancy so far and both were due to dehydration after hiking in over 100 degree heat.  Praise God!  The headaches that plagued me for several days each week in previous pregnancies are gone!  The only way I can explain this is my diet changes.

Fatigue – This is something that really didn’t change this time around, except to say that I got over it a little earlier!  I was still exhausted from about week 6 to 10 (but not 12 weeks this time!).  I was camping, hiking, getting ready for homeschooling, chasing toddlers, etc. during that time, so I certainly had enough energy to make it through – and even thrive – this summer.  However, that hammock at camp was really, really wonderful!


Prenatal Vitamins

Since I know I will be asked this question – let me include it here.  I am really happy with the Best Nest Ultra-Gentle Prenatal Vitamins I am taking this time. This is not sponsored – I just really happen to like this company and their products.  I’ve actually been taking them all year and I love that they are all natural, organic, whole food based, and include probiotics and herbs! Often prenatal vitamins will make me feel a bit sick after taking them, but these really are ultra-gentle.  I’ve not felt the least bit sick after taking them. The price is what convinced me, though!  Less than $40 for a 3 month supply – sign me up!  You can get them at my Amazon affiliate link here: BEST Nest Prenatal Vitamins, with Methylfolate (Folic Acid), Once Daily Multivitamin, Contains Whole Food, Organic Blend, and Methylcobalamin (B12), Easy to Swallow, 100% Natural Vitamin, 90 Count


I have really enjoyed my first trimester of pregnancy as a THM. I always enjoy pregnancy – I’m one of those annoying happy pregnant ladies, but by eating THM, everything has been easier so far!  And now that I have my energy back, I am excited to start my second trimester soon!

Have you noticed any differences when you changed your diet in pregnancy?  Are you a pregnant THM, as well?  I’d love to hear from you!  Like my Facebook and Instagram if you haven’t yet, so we can connect!

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This post contains affiliate links – as always, if you buy a product from the links it does not cost you anything extra but it does help to support our family and this blog.  Thank you!

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Celebrating One Year of Freedom from Sugar Addiction

June 10th has never been a significant date in my life.  I love June – it’s my birthday and anniversary month, it’s the start of summer and swimming, but June 10th was always just another day, until 2015.  Last year, June 10th, I made a promise to myself and before God to no longer be controlled by my sugar addiction and it was life changing.  A few days later, I wrote this to my small private Bible study Facebook group while we were going through Beth Moore’s “Believing God” series.

Confession time – I’ve been meaning to post this for a few days, but also dreading doing it, because writing it down makes it real!
So while reading day 4 a couple days ago, I was very convicted by Beth’s personal story of living in a cycle of defeat. At first I thought, “thank goodness I don’t have that in my past” when God brought to mind a very real struggle of mine that I do not want to give up. So, being very honest here, my struggle is my sugar addiction. I have gone on and off cycles of being sugar free for weeks or months at a time for the last 3 years, but I always try to convince myself that I can have “just a little bit”, that I don’t have to give it up completely, etc. But if I have learned anything over these cycles of defeat, it is that I can’t just have a little bit. Whenever I cave for a little bit, it becomes a binge session that lasts for days, if not weeks. I need freedom from this, and have felt that urging to let it go completely for some time now, (pretending I can’t hear you, God) but the thought of what others will think has held me back. Having to explain why I can’t eat something (without a real reason like an allergy) at an event or party invites unwanted attention and ridicule for my choices. But like an alcoholic, I need to rid myself of all large sources of sugar in my life for good and it scares me.
Thankfully, I have been mostly sugar free for the last year on the Trim Healthy Mama lifestyle that I do and I have a lot of great stevia sweetened dessert recipes, so I know I won’t suffer. However, the idea of having to push away the special dessert at a dinner party freaks me out, but I know that it will send me in a tailspin – it always does!
So, I have asked God to help me in the journey, to give me freedom from this addiction and I’ve started re-reading Made to Crave by Lysa TerKeurst, because there are some great verses to add to my memorization list. I want to crave God more than I crave sugar, and as it says in Day 5, “I’m thrilled to know we can binge on God without guilt!” (p. 27 of Believing God Workbook) I am believing that God will help me through this journey out of this addiction and I can experience his freedom from sugar.
Thank you, my friends, for praying for me in this and for being here.
Love you all,
Amy

I was so scared to write that post because writing it down and showing it to my friends meant that I was accountable and if I failed miserably like I always had before, they would know.  Keeping it hidden was so tempting – I was scared to tell anyone that I had given up sugar, but I knew I had to.  And it was not as bad as I thought it would be.  Saying “no” to a piece of cake has not been a problem in the past year.  I have not been ridiculed for my decision.  It was much worse in my head than it actually has been in reality.

Celebrating my birthday this last week - the first time I haven't had a large sugar-filled cake to binge on in a long time! My homemade THM sugar-free cupcakes were perfect!

Celebrating my birthday this last week – the first time I haven’t had a large sugar-filled cake to binge on! My homemade THM sugar-free cupcakes were perfect!

I’ve written about finding freedom from sugar-addiction before (you can read my tips here), but honestly, it was not something I ever thought was possible.  I love sugar, but I have always believed in the mantra “All things in moderation” – in fact, I still do, but not when it comes to addiction, even food addiction.  After years of giving up sugar for periods of time, I would allow myself “just a little” for a special occasion or treat, and I would not be able to stop.  At home, dessert was not safe from me.  I would slowly nibble away at the leftover cake or pie until it was gone.  I had felt the prompting of the Holy Spirit gently encouraging me to give up sugar for good, to treat it like a true addiction and cut it out, but I did not want to hear it.  Finally, I could not ignore it any more. I was sick and tired of living in a cycle of defeat – I wanted freedom!

I often listen to the Dave Ramsey Show on the radio as I am making dinner – we are in Step 2 of his financial baby steps currently and it helps keep me accountable – and he said something the other day that I had to stop and write down.  “You have to have an ‘I’ve had it’ moment to break an addiction,” Dave Ramsey said.  I knew that to be true in my case.  I wanted to give up sugar for years, but not enough. I had to be sick and tired of being controlled by my sugar cravings – so much so that I was willing to make a huge sacrifice to make it happen.  I was not at that place until June 10th, 2015.

But [the Lord] said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.               2 Corinthians 12:9

This verse has been posted on my refrigerator door throughout this entire journey and it will stay there as I make it past the one year mark and continue to live in freedom from this addiction.  Because throughout the last year, I have learned to rely more heavily on my Savior.  I have learned that God has not cursed me with this weakness, but He has given me an opportunity to grow in my faith daily.  I have had to lean heavily into Him during this journey, especially during the trying times of holiday parties and grief over my miscarriage and my grandfather dying.  And I have learned that God is faithful.  He asked me to give up sugar,  He equipped me to do it, and He did not (and will not) leave my side throughout this journey.

So, what about you?  Is there something you are struggling with that you know God is asking you to give up? Have you reached your “I’ve had it” moment?

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Confessions of a Sugarholic: Finding lasting freedom from sugar addiction

I wrote last week about my Trim Healthy Mama story and why I am kinda obsessed with it.  Part of that journey led me to freedom from my sugar addiction that has been more than just a temporary thing.  Here is the rest of the story…

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My daughter’s first birthday cake – full of real sugar and oh so good!

I love sugar.  Give me any homemade goodness – cookies, cake, homemade frosting and that sugar-sweet high and all the problems of the world seem to melt away!  For years I medicated any problem with baking. It was therapeudic and there is nothing like a warm cookie (or two dozen) right out of the oven.  I baked for friends when they were down, for any special occasion, even just to celebrate a good day. When I was a teenager and in college, this baking and sugar addiction did not affect my weight, but once I started birth control when I married at 22, that all changed.

In 2011, I gave up sugar for long periods of time and just did not bake to avoid temptation. I denied I had an addiction to sweets, though.  In June 2014, I found Trim Healthy Mama and along with it learned how to bake some amazing sugar-free treats.  However, I still could not admit my addiction to sugar. The word addiction was just too much for this good Christian girl to admit – “I wasn’t an addict to anything serious – sugar is perfectly acceptable and I could totally live without it or not – it didn’t make a difference…”  I allowed myself sugar on special occasions.  I lied to myself for years that I could have “just one treat”. “All in moderation.”  I know many people who can do this, but they don’t have a sugar addiction.  I have no moderation when sugar is involved.  One bite makes me crave more… and more… and more…

After a special occasion splurge on sweets, if I was very disciplined, I could get back on my sugar-free track in a few days.  However, usually I was not so good.  Often weeks, or months, would go by before I would finally wrench myself away from sugar again.  I started to feel that gentle pull of the Holy Spirit to give sugar up for good.  I knew what He was asking me, being ever so gentle about it, but I tried to ignore it.  I continued to lie to myself and live in this cycle of defeat.  I tried to control my craving for sugar, to have power over it, but it continued to drag me down, again and again…

Last summer, in June of 2015, I was doing a Bible study and the author spoke about her addiction (not to sugar) and the cycle of defeat that she lived in for years. After reading her testimony, I thought to myself, “I am so thankful I don’t have that problem.” No sooner had the thought crossed my mind, then that still small voice whispered to my heart, “But you do, Amy.”  I knew God was again asking me to give up sugar and He was offering me the freedom to walk away from it for good.  I was so tired of lying to myself and living in a cycle of defeat – I was finally ready to make a lasting change.

I had to admit I had a problem and I had to come to a point where I was sick and tired of living in a cycle of defeat.  It took me years of denial and lying to myself, but I was finally ready to admit my weakness. “Hello, my name is Amy and I am a sugarholic.”

“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”

Galatians 5:1

It is for freedom that Christ has set me free – if I am still living in captivity in any part of my life, I am not embracing the true freedom He has given me!  I was finally at a place where I wanted to give my sugar addiction over to Him – totally  and completely. I was scared – terrified that I could not do it and would be embarrassed as I once again fell into that cycle of defeat.  I knew I did not personally have the strength to do what I knew God was asking me to do – I would have to step out in faith.  So I chose to believe God – that He had convicted me and asked me to give my addiction over to Him. I chose to believe that His all surpassing power was within me and that I could do all things through Christ – even give up sugar for good. (The book Made to Crave by Lysa TerKeurst was very helpful in this journey.)

These are the steps I took to make sure that this change was a lasting change. If this is something you struggle with as well, I hope that these will help you to find lasting freedom from sugar-addiction.

1. Be completely ready for a lasting change – you must be FED UP with living in a cycle of defeat.

I tried to give up sugar so many times before.  However, I always failed because I lied to myself that “just a little bit” or “just for such-and-such occasion” was fine.  Every time I let myself eat “just a little”, I always struggled so hard to go back to my sugar-free ways.  It took me almost 4 years of living in a cycle of lying to myself about sugar, and my relationship with sugar, to finally wake up and realize that I could not keep living in defeat.  I was sick and tired of it and ready for a lasting change.  If you are not at this place yet, it is unlikely that you will be able to truly give up sugar –  at least that was the case for me…

2. Confess your addiction to sugar – out loud and to a person or group of people that you trust and that love you

For me, this was my Bible study girlfriends, my husband, and my sister. All of these people loved me and I trusted them completely with my confession.  Even so, this was not easy.  I was terrified to admit my sugar addiction out loud and afraid that I would be judged, or laughed at, or even shunned.  I knew logically that this was not the case, but my insecurity and pride, and even the enemy wanting to keep me in captivity, made me “feel” otherwise.  Thankfully, this time, I did not listen to that negative voice.

3. Commit to God, your trusted friends, and yourself that you will not eat sugar

Confessing to the problem is only the first step.  The next thing I needed to do was commit to a lasting change and ask for accountability.  Doing this before God and before man is important.  I knew there would be plenty of times I could hide my eating sugar from people, but I could never hide it from God or myself.  So I prayed for the strength to give up sugar for good.  I also asked my friends to hold me accountable and I promised myself that I would not fall back into my old patterns.

4. Know your trigger foods – the foods that will cause you to go back into the cycle of defeat.

For me, my trigger foods are what we call “treats” in our house.  For me, these were sugar laden cookies, cakes, frosting, soda, sugar filled drinks, ice cream, pastries, and candy – all of those things were no longer on the menu (at least not sugar filled versions – check out my THM Pinterest page for many great sugar-free healthy alternatives).  I still have some sugar, in small amounts, in foods that are not triggers for me.  For example, I still have ketchup occasionally, or I might have barbecue chicken that has been cooked with sugar-filled barbecue sauce.  These things are not triggers for me and do not make me crave sugar.

I don’t want my sugar issues to become everyone else’s problem – I don’t want to inconvenience a host who has made barbecue chicken, or something with some sugar, by refusing to eat the main course.  But, I find, a dessert is usually easier to pass up without offending the chef.  I believe that relationships come before my eating hangups, however. In my over 8 months of sugar freedom, I have had one occasion where I was not comfortable refusing the gift of some lovingly made homemade ice cream.  I prayed about it, had a few bites, and shared the rest with my toddler.  Thankfully, God gave me the strength to not be triggered by that treat and continue on my path of sugar freedom.

5. Be prepared. Determine before hand what you will eat and will not eat (whenever possible)

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Along with making sugar-free treats at home, it is also fun to make crafts that satisfy that holiday baking urge. Salt dough ornaments to the rescue!

Eating well at home was not the biggest challenge. For the most part, I keep the trigger foods out of the house.  The biggest issues come when I am at special events where I do not control the food choices.  However, if I come prepared, either physically with a treat to share that I can eat, or mentally prepared to not have a treat, I am fine.

At holiday events, I always bring my own sugar-free treat to share. I still love to bake and there are endless healthy sugar-free options.  (THM’s Gentle Sweet has been a game changer for me – if you have a hard time finding a natural sweetener you like, I highly recommend it.  You can buy it here.) I also find, at most events, there are usually many good non-sugary options – like a yummy fruit, veggie, or a cheese tray – I choose those instead of my trigger foods.

If I know I will be surrounded by only sugar, like the gingerbread house decorating party I went to in December, I make sure I come prepared with a drink I enjoy and I keep sipping on it the entire time.  My current favorite is “Cuddle Family Hot Chocolate” from the THM Cookbook.

7. Don’t feel sorry for yourself – nothing tastes as good as freedom.

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A selfie with my baby girl – nothing is as sweet as freedom!

What I had learned from my many failed attempts to give up sugar was that the battle was mostly in my mind.  I found that if I determined before an event that I was not going to eat sugar, I just didn’t.  I wasn’t upset about it.  I did not feel deprived.  I had determined before the event that I wouldn’t do it and I didn’t.  However, if I went to an event thinking maybe I would be good and not eat the dessert, I failed every time.  Attitude is everything on this journey.  I have determined to NOT eat sugary treats anymore. Period.  So I don’t.  Since I no longer give myself the option to eat sugar, it is no longer an option.

However, if I let doubt sink in, that would be a different story. If I went to a party with the attitude that “It’s not fair that they all get to eat that cake and I don’t.  Why do I have to struggle with sugar addiction?  Life’s not fair.” Even if I came away from the party without eating the cake, I would have failed.  This is not “a fair or not fair” issue.  This is a personal choice to live in freedom from the cycle of defeat I lived in for years.  Thank you, Lord! I am no longer in bondage to the control of sugar.

If you struggle with sugar addiction, I hope that this is a freedom that you will find as well.  The freedom that I have found tastes sweeter than any piece of cake.

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My Trim Healthy Mama Story…. or why I am crazy about THM

This post is long overdue. I’ve been wanting to post my Trim Healthy Mama (THM) story for a while, but I always felt like I had to explain the plan in detail before I did.  I finally decided that there are many wonderful other blog posts by many great THM bloggers on that subject and I am not going to recreate the wheel… Simply type “start THM” into Pinterest or Google and you will find some good ones! So instead, I am just going to tell my story and why I am a Trim Healthy Mama for life!

Out for a family hike at 35 weeks pregnant. We went camping and caving the next weekend.

Out for a family hike at 35 weeks pregnant. We went camping and caving the next weekend.

I came across THM quite by accident when I was trying to lose the baby weight from baby number three.  I always gain about 50 lbs with each pregnancy, and although I lose the first 15 lbs within a week or two of birth, the rest of the weight sits there unless I start watching what I eat.  So at one month postpartum, I was ready.  I am never upset with my body during pregnancy.  My body does pregnancy very well and I have had beautiful natural births (although all quite long – 16 hours is my shortest so far).  I am able to be very active right up until delivery – I took students camping and caving when I was nine months pregnant with my third, and that is not unusual for me!  But soon after I give birth, I want MY body back – but I am always three sizes from my goal and hate the sight of my postpartum body.  Anyone else feel this way?

zoo2weeks

At the zoo with all three kids at 10 days postpartum.

Determined to get back to my happy jeans as soon as possible, at one month postpartum, I pulled out my calorie counting books and food journal and tried to figure out how many calories I needed to lose weight but also have a good milk supply. Was 1500 calories enough? 1700? 1300?  I’ve always been successful losing weight by eating whole foods, cutting out sugar, and counting calories, but I also was my daughter’s sole food supply and did not want to jeopardize that.   Nevertheless, I started food journaling and counting calories.  I also started reading Made to Crave by Lysa TerKeurst, which I had read the summer before to get my mind and spirit on track.

I always do better when I have accountability, so I searched for an online group also doing the Made to Crave study and found one just starting hosted by A Home with a Purpose. I joined the Facebook group and started reading the posts.  Little did I know, this was a popular THM blog.  Again and again I read the acronym THM, and curious, I finally Googled it.  Trim Healthy Mama popped right up. “That sounds about right,” I thought, and clicked on the webpage.  Several hours later I had ordered the Trim Healthy Mama book (an early birthday present as my birthday was 3 days away), joined the Facebook group, and printed off several helpful files from the group page.  I started the next morning and have not looked back since.

What I liked so much about THM was what it was NOT. It was NOT about counting calories.  It was NOT about buying products.  It was NOT about cutting out carbs.  It was not about artificial ingredients. I have never done a fad diet – I believe in eating whole food in all the food categories.  So I refused to try Atkins or Paleo or going vegan or the Blood Type diet, etc.  I believed God gave us food and in its true form – not overly processed or modified – that food is good whether it is a carbohydrate, a fat, or a protein.  So I am wary of any diet that says otherwise.  After I spent a couple hours researching THM, I knew it was something I could do and that it was a way of eating that was not against what I believed to be true about food.  It was good for families and compatible with my husband’s many food allergies. It was also very good for pregnant and/or nursing mothers – I was in!

Almost 6 months on plan and 40 lbs lost. I felt like myself again!

Almost 6 months on plan and 40 lbs lost. I felt like myself again!

I jumped right in before even reading the book (although I read it cover to cover as soon as it arrived) and after the first month I had lost 12 lbs.  Two months in I had lost 20.  Because I was nursing, I had crossovers most days, but the pounds still came off.  My milk supply was great and my nursling was happy and thriving.   I did not buy a single THM product for the first five months, because it was not in our budget.  (I will post about how I did THM with no special ingredients soon!) I used what I already had and bought a few items at the store as I could afford them.  I lost almost forty pounds in those first five months which brought me down to below my starting weight for my last pregnancy.  I’ve lost another ten pounds since then but I have gained so much more than the 48 lbs I have lost.

This picture was taken by my 7 year old while on a picnic and swim at the river. I was not ready for it to be taken, but I was really happy with the girl I saw in it, even though it is blurry!

This picture was taken by my 7 year old while on a picnic and swim at the river. I was not ready for it to be taken, but I was really happy with the girl I saw in it, even though it is blurry!

One of the biggest things for me is my weight no longer fluctuates up and down fifteen pounds or so.  As an adult, I have always gained weight easily and then worked hard to lose it.  It seemed that whenever I let my guard down and gave in to my sugar addiction, my weight would go up.  I would give up sugar for a while and fight to lose it again and it would go down.  This has been my pattern my entire adult life, up until now.

The biggest victory for me, though, was the ability to give up sugar and overcome my sugar addiction for good.  I wrote a post just on this subject – you can read it here.  Briefly, I had given up sugar for long periods (well, 6 or 8 weeks at a time) for several years, but I always went back to it.  Even after starting THM, I had cheats with sugar quite frequently and it would derail me from the plan for days or even weeks.  But one year into my THM journey, 8 months ago now, I gave up sugar for good and resolved before God and my trusted friends to not eat it.  This has been huge for me.  It has not caused a big weight loss in the last 8 months since I was very close to goal anyway, but it has caused tremendous freedom and confidence in my God and even in myself.

I am a Trim Healthy Mama for life, and my family along with me!  I can’t wait to see what God has in store for us as we continue this journey.  All I know is that I feel lighter, happier, freer, and healthier – and I don’t want to give any of those things up!

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