Monday, April 7, 2014

Trim Healthy Mama success story - my sister-in-law Louise

Louise, before and after with Trim Healthy Mama

My sister-in-law Louise, who blogs at Making Ends Meet NZ, is my biggest Trim Healthy Mama inspiration. I have watched her steadily lose weight over the past nine months, all the while eating gorgeously satisfying and nourishing food.

Her success is what motivates me to keep going, for the sake of my own health, so I asked Louise every question I could think of to help me on my journey, and am sharing her answers with you today. 

Get ready to be inspired!

1. When did you start THM?
I started THM at the end of July 2013.

2. Where did you hear about it?
I have been a subscriber of the Above Rubies Magazine for many years and have read articles written by Pearl and Serene (authors of THM) which reflected where they were in terms of their journey with food. For example Pearl would share vegetarian recipes and sing the praises of TVP (textured vegetable protein) and Serene would share recipes and sing the praises of eating 100% raw food.  I even bought Serene's raw food cookbook but only had success with one recipe! We bought a juicer after reading about how fresh vegetable juice was so healthy for you but on the whole I carried on cooking and eating the same food I had always done.

It took the authors five years to write THM and I read various updates saying the book was nearly ready, then the book was released. I was interested to see what new food fad the girls were touting now but didn't want to spend the money on something that was too 'out there'.

3. What convinced you to buy the book and give it a go?
I discovered on Facebook a THM group where people were posting before and after photos with their stories about how much weight they had lost and how quickly and easily the weight had dropped off. 

People shared photos of the yummy cakes they were eating. I followed this group and a few blogs and reviews and read recipes on Pinterest for two months before I decided I would order the book and give it a go. It sounded too good to be true.

4. What were you hoping to achieve by doing it?
I was hoping to lose lots of weight as I was 105kg! I was worried about getting diabetes as I carried a lot of weight around my middle. I also have Coeliacs disease and there is a higher risk factor of getting diabetes if you have Coeliacs and I was very aware of this fact.

5. How much weight have you lost to date? How much, if any, more do you want to lose?
I've lost 32kg so far. Currently I weigh 73kg and would like to lose at least 8kg more but will re-assess once I get to 70kg. My pre-6 pregnancies' weight was 60kg and I would quite like to see if I can get to that weight and how I would feel there, but I've only ever got down to 65kg before (after babies #1 and #2) so I will just see how I feel. I am 168cm tall (or 5ft 6inches). For the North American ladies (I am from New Zealand) I have lost 32kg which is 70.5lb and gone from a size 18-20 which is USA size 14-16 to a size 12-14 which is 8-10 US sizing.
Louise, before Trim Healthy Mama.

6. What has your weight loss journey looked like on THM? (ie. constant loss, or big drops and plateaus?)
I lost 25kg very quickly with THM (in 5 months) and it was fairly constant, around 1kg each week. I don't have digital scales and my scales are not too accurate so it is hard to give exact numbers, but each time I stood on the scales, I saw the scale either stayed the same or went down. In the first 3 months I measured myself weekly with a measuring tape and now I measure myself monthly. It is nice seeing centimetres disappear.

7.  How easy or hard has it been to follow THM? How do you make it work with the family?
I have found it easy to follow. I pretty much adapted all our recipes to fit in with the THM plan rather than changing to a lot of recipes that are in the book, particularly dinner meals. 

For example, when I make a beef or chicken stir-fry I no longer thicken the sauce with cornflour, the family serve their stir-fry with basmati rice but I serve mine with Konjac noodles or loads of veges and I no longer douse it with sweet chilli sauce, instead I sprinkle over Cayenne.

8. What's been the worst thing about THM?
I think the worst thing has just been being unsure about foods.  It took me a good 3 weeks to figure out the plan and even now after 8 months I am still learning new things about food all the time, things like figuring out whether food is low GI rather than just looking at the Carbohydrate level.

9. What's been the best thing about THM?
Eating lots of fats.  I LOVE eating THM S meals (low carb, high fat) so I can enjoy a yummy slice of cheesecake with berries and a huge dollop of cream after a dinner of Thai curry made with coconut cream.  Yum!

My husband, Kris, couldn't believe I was eating 'diet food' whenever I made myself a Muffin in a Mug and served it with a huge blob of whipped cream and berries. He called it my 'cake diet'.
Kris and Louise, after discovering Trim Healthy Mama.

10. How do you feel health-wise these days compared to before?
I feel great. I feel really good. I am not nearly as tired. I used to wake up in the morning and feel like I'd been hit by a bus (as in all my muscles ached and I would be all bent over like a decrepit old lady when I first got out of bed until I kind of stretched out and could straighten up) but I no longer have aches or pains at all in the morning!! I thought it was due to aging but turns out it was because I was dragging around so much weight.

11. How have you explained this way of eating to the rest of your family?
This diet is basically low-carb, low-GI and you separate your Carbs and Fats.  All meals are centered around protein and then you either choose if you want to include fats or carbs at that time.  By eating this way your body burns one type of fuel (eg. fats or carbs) and once it runs out of fuel it begins to burn fat.  By changing the type of meals you eat each day your body never knows what fuel type to expect and this revs up your metabolism.  It is also no sugar!!  This idea can put people off a bit as people are quite wary of limiting yummy treats and of alternative sweeteners.

12. Would you recommend THM to others?
I have recommended THM to so many people and my book is constantly lent out to people!  I love getting it back so I can re-read it and get new ideas.

People ask me what I have been doing all the time now as it is obvious now that I've lost weight (I didn't get many comments until I'd lost a good 15kg).

13. What would you say to encourage others on this journey?
You don't need to buy a whole lot of specialty ingredients to have success with THM. There are a LOT of ingredients the book suggests which I don't use.

All you need to do is get a good understanding of the S and E plan and then modify your existing meals to suit either meal style (and learn how to make Muffin in a Mug and skinny chocolate)!  

Also eat plenty. This is not a diet where you need to restrict yourself to tiny portions in order to lose weight. Eat to lose the weight.

14. How have you stayed so focused?
The thing is, I don't have a huge amount of self control. What has made the biggest difference in being able to stick to this diet has been the fact that I am no longer addicted to sugar so I no longer have the sugar highs and lows. 

I used to feel so tired and would eat a whole king size block of chocolate and after that I would get a big burst of energy and would run around the house doing all the chores I needed to get done.  This was not a healthy way to get energy!

I am no longer dependent on sugar, I don't have sugar highs and lows.  I feel so much more balanced and even in terms of my hunger, no longer feel starving and get the shakes if I haven't eaten all afternoon.  

I can only describe this as feeling much more balanced.  I truly used to feel starving hungry when I was eating a lot of sugar. I could not understand how people could have self control when it comes to food. 

Some people do seem to have super-human self-control - I was and am certainly not one of those people! I love food, I love to eat lots of it, but eating this way means it is so much easier to make good choices as I am in control.
Strawberry Chocolate Muffin in a Mug.

15. Has your attitude to food changed on THM?
I love that I can plan to eat every 3 hours and if I do mess up (either by mistake or by choice) I am just 3 hours away from making a good choice. This was huge for me as I would often start a diet and by the end of the day I would be starving and eat something off-plan and then feel miserable and eat a king size block of chocolate or stuff my face with a huge portion of something else since I had already ruined my diet.

Knowing that if I eat off plan, I am only 3 hours away from being back on plan, I feel much more in control. It seems much more do-able.

I do eat foods which are off plan every now and again, or I choose to eat cross-overs which will stop or slow down my weight loss, but it is a choice I am able to make rather than feeling like I really have no control over my choices. 

I know how a particular food will help or hinder weight loss, I know when I need to include a few more E (carb) meals for energy, or when I need to pull back from so many S (fat) meals and include a few lighter meals, simply based on how my body feels.

16. Have your tastes changed?  
I definitely notice how sweet many foods are now if I ever choose to go off plan.  For example Pad Thai noodles, I have had them twice in the last few weeks, totally off plan but boy are they sweet!  I would not have noticed how sweet they are before. I ate a chocolate brownie at a party and couldn't believe how sweet it was either!

17. What are some of your favourite THM recipes or THM-style meals?
I LOVE Muffin in a Mug, chocolate, choc-strawberry or cinnamon spice, topped with butter, yoghurt or cream and with a side of berries.  I also love the Cake in a Mug recipe with cream and berries. 

These recipes that make an individual serving with just 1 minute of cooking time in the microwave have been one of the best things for me. Making an individual portion size helps me not to overeat.

I am also loving a simple E lunch of chickpeas fried in a tiny bit of coconut oil and spices and any vegetables I have on hand, plus some salmon (or tuna).

A selection of Louise's Trim Healthy Mama-type meals. 

18. Is there anything else you'd like to add?
I am just so delighted to have lost 32kg!  I feel great.

I can buy clothes SO much more easily!! Smaller-sized clothing is so easy to find in all the shops and is cheaper! I am far more likely to put on a garment in my size (14) and have it fit than I was at size 18, nothing seemed to fit right on my body. 

I had gained a shoe size with that extra weight so now I am back to my former shoe size.

Exercise is so much easier!  I can go for a walk around the block and not get puffed out, or do a one-hour Zumba class and feel exhilarated.  

I am no longer embarrassed to just BE.

I had got to the point where I was embarrassed by my body, having to haul myself out of a chair rather than bounce out, or trying on shoes at the Sports shoe shop and having to run on their treadmill and nearly dying and then trying on the shoes and suddenly realising I had to get myself into a different position as I couldn't do up my laces!  

I am not embarrassed to wear a sleeveless top or shorts or dresses (I can wear cute dresses!!) so I can actually feel cool and comfortable in the summer! This is so liberating! I used to feel so hot and sweaty. I can now cross my legs when sitting in a chair - woohoo!  

Last winter I froze and wore an old polar fleece jacket of my husband's which miraculously fit me. It was 12 years old and threadbare but I couldn't zip up ANY of the jackets at Kathmandu or Macpac - boy that was embarrassing! I cried in Macpac when I realised I couldn't fit any of their jackets (mens or womens). I went into Macpac last week and tried on a gorgeous pink puffer jacket and fitted the size 14 easily!! 

I will try the size 12 next time!!! 

My brother, Kris, and my sister-in-law, Louise.

Thank you so much Louise for sharing your experience with us! You are amazing.


  1. You have done so well Louise! Such a success!! You look amazing.. x

    1. She really has done well. I'm so glad for her :)

  2. Great job Louise! Thank you for sharing your story! :)

  3. I'm inspired to get back on plan! I've lost around fifty pounds.

  4. I've read this post at least 5 times. I just keep coming back to it because I find the story so uplifting and inspirational. Good on you Louise!

    - Jessica

    1. That's wonderful! Thanks for letting us know Jessica. I'm so glad this post has encouraged you. Louise has done so well on Trim Healthy Mama.


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