Tag: registered dietitian

 

My second week of Trim Healthy Mama has passed and I have to say – it went much better for me than last week! I found my groove, took a break from baked goods, and added in S Helpers to prevent low blood sugar. These changes made quite a difference in my quality of life.

 

The Good

I picked up a few useful products this past week – Laughing Cow light cheese, low carb wraps, and sprouted whole grain bread – that made my life a bit easier. The cheese helped me create more savory E options, which I had struggled with during my first week on THM.

I’m not ready to say that I give up on baked goods (in fact I have an almond flour pumpkin chip cake in the oven – fingers crossed it’s edible!), but I kind of took a break from them this week. I really wanted to take this three weeks to play around with grain-free baking since THM requires it and doing so would bulk up my recipe stash for my gluten-free clients, but boy my first week was a crash and burn. I tried a couple of different almond flour recipes that were really flavorless, but powered through eating them so I wouldn’t waste anything. That burned me out a bit on my almond flour experimentation and I didn’t even bother with any of that this week. It made life easier. I have picked out a couple of recipes for my last week (armed with tips from THM groups online!) and I’m ready to try again.

S Helpers make me happy! I felt much better and had no trouble returning to my usual workouts and energy levels once I got just a teensy bit of carb added in to my S meals. It also made me much happier just to have the option to pick even one little portion of carb. Yay for fewer restrictions!

A very unexpected plus was that after I bought all of the expensive extra stuff the first week, my grocery budget actually dipped down a few dollars this week. Who would have thought?



 

The Bad

Honestly, with the exception of still needing a solution to grain-free baked bads (I’ve had more bads than goods so far), I don’t have too many problems to report this week. I have found ways to navigate some of the roadblocks I met with in the beginning, and my S Helpers have fixed my hanger (as in hangry) problem. Can’t complain too much!

 

The Numbers

S meals were definitely the favorite this week because S meal + S helper = happy me. I ended up eating mostly E snacks in between to keep my energy up. My average carb intake was higher (but not by a lot) and my average fat intake was lower (but not by a lot). Interestingly, I was much more satisfied with fewer calories this way, because carbohydrates addressed my blood sugar fluctuations and are also lower in calories than fat.

 

I gained half a pound this week – could be nothing at all (weight fluctuation is totally normal and need not cause frustration) – but it’s most likely increased water retention in my muscles. Last week I know my glycogen (glucose storage in my muscles) was low because my blood sugar was running low and I could feel the drag in my workouts. Glycogen and water are friends, so whenever your glycogen stores are full the glucose is often hanging out with a bit of water. Since my waist circumference decreased and body fat stayed the same this week, that is the most likely cause of that change.

 

Recommendation Week #1 Week #2 Week #3
Weight change -1 lb  +.6 lb
Body fat change -.3% 0%
Waist change -1″ -.5″
Avg. daily calorie intake 1700 1679  1557
Avg. daily carb intake 170-200 g 120 g  135 g
Avg. daily protein intake 65-80 g 97 g  90 g
Avg. daily fat intake 40-55 g  81 g  75 g
Breakdown of meal types 10 S meals, 10 E meals  13 S meals, 8 E meals (and lots of E snacks)
# of cheats 0 3 (1 intentional, 2 accidental cheats with non-whole grain sourdough bread) 1 (intentional Valentine’s date cheat at Fujiyama’s – yummy!)
 Grocery Cost  $100 (normal weekly grocery budget)  $125  $92 (yippee!)

 



What I learned

  • Protein is key for satisfaction (especially with E meals) – Do any of you ever know something, then for some reason knowing doesn’t help you actually put that knowledge into practice? No? Just me? Okay. See, I know very well that protein is satisfying, but I was really reminded of that when I ate an E meal without a sufficient amount of protein. My stomach was a-rumblin’ much sooner. This is exacerbated on Trim Healthy Mama because fat is also a satisfier, but E meals are low fat, so ya gotta have that protein.
  • For me, the “personal choice” products from the book are necessary – In the Trim Healthy Mama Plan book, the authors provide options for products that can make your life easier. They acknowledge that some food purists (those who like to make ev-er-y-thing from scratch) are not likely to want to use the products. I am not one of those people. I like to cook and I make a lot of things from scratch, but I’m in the middle of that spectrum, baby. I’ll take efficiency if you’ve got it.
  • I prefer to have my meals be S (with S helpers) and snacks be E – This combo keeps my energy (in the form of blood sugar) up throughout the day and gives me the greatest feeling of flexibility and choice.
  • Use spices, extracts, and zests to improve the flavor of baked goods – This was a tip from the THM boards I surveyed for help with my baked goods. I haven’t had the chance to test it yet but I’ll let you know after I pull that pumpkin cake out and sample it!

 



Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post and I have no affiliation with the producers or manufacturers of this product; however, as an Amazon Associate, I receive compensation for any purchases of products through the links on this post.

Diets Trim Healthy Mama

 

There are several foundational concepts behind the Trim Healthy Mama plan that are designed to improve health and help with weight management. As I mentioned in my intro post, for the most part these concepts line up with research and make practical sense. There are some aspects of the plan that don’t, and I’ll explain some of them below. Here’s your chance to get the overview of what research has to say about the basics of the Trim Healthy Mama Plan.

 

Moderation

 

Age-old and still good, the advice to eat in moderation is always relevant. By including protein at each meal and limiting carbohydrate portions, the Trim Healthy Mama Plan does a great job of preventing carbohydrate overeating. Overeating carbohydrates leads to storage of extra blood sugar as fat and can also increase inflammation, so regulating blood sugar by moderating carbohydrate intake can be key to weight loss or maintenance.

The weakness I see in this area is with fat moderation. The authors do repeatedly mention the importance of not abusing fat intake, but there is no official limit on fat intake for S meals. This might make it tricky for some to keep fat intake in check (my fat intake was quite high during my first week). Since fat is very calorie dense, it’s possible this could interfere with weight loss or weight maintenance goals. Fortunately fat is filling, so that does help promote natural moderation of fat intake, but keep in mind that the desires of our tastebuds can easily override that moderation if we aren’t careful. Fat is awfully tasty!

 



 

Glycemic Index

 

Besides limiting portions of carbohydrates, the Trim Healthy Mama Plan is designed to manage blood sugar (and thus weight and inflammation) by limiting carbohydrate options to those that raise blood sugar more slowly and gradually. This is quantified using a tool called the glycemic index. Foods with a low glycemic index raise blood sugar slowly, while foods with a high glycemic index raise blood sugar rapidly. For example, barley (allowed on the THM plan) has a glycemic index of 25, while white rice (not allowed on the THM plan) has a glycemic index of 72.1 This is generally a good way to choose healthful carbohydrates and as a bonus, it typically increases fiber intake since high-fiber carbohydrates tend to have lower glycemic indices.

Researchers have since taken this concept a step further to include not only how rapidly a food raises blood sugar, but also the actual amount of carbohydrates in a standard portion of the food.2 This helps differentiate between foods that contain only a few carbohydrates (like watermelon, which has a high glycemic index but contains so few carbohydrates that it barely affects blood sugar), and those that have more carbohydrates and send them in quickly (like sweet potatoes). This new measure is called glycemic load, and it is a more complete representation of how a food actually affects blood sugar.1 A glycemic load of less than 10 is considered low and a glycemic load of greater than 20 is considered high.

Taking glycemic load into account places some not-on-plan foods like whole wheat bread (which has a glycemic load of 9) and whole wheat tortillas (glycemic load = 8) into a much more favorable position as blood sugar regulators. They fall well below some on-plan foods like sweet potatoes (glycemic load = 22). Utilizing glycemic load rather than glycemic index would allow quite a few more foods and make the THM plan less restrictive while better honoring the spirit of managing and regulating blood sugar. My personal philosophy is always to help clients find the plan that is the least restrictive way to achieve their goals – it makes food more fun!



 

Fuel Isolation

 

The authors of THM also encourage that for weight loss or maintenance, you should focus on only one fuel (fat or carbohydrate) per meal. The reason for this is that our bodies prioritize the use of carbohydrate fuels over fat fuels, and will burn blood sugar before using fat. The authors state that by restricting fuels to one at a time, you can ensure that all fuels (including fats) are fully burned before eating the next meal.

This is true as long as the total amount of fuel eaten still matches one’s energy needs in that window. For (an overly simplified) example, if someone ate a meal that contained 450 calories for lunch, and they used 500 calories before they ate again at dinner time, they will have burned all of the 450 calories they ate at lunch (first the energy from carbohydrates, then from fat) and tap into their fat stores to make up the last 50. On the other hand, if they ate a 700-calorie lunch and then only needed 500 calories, they would burn through those 500 (first from carbohydrates, then fat if carbohydrates ran low) then end up storing the extra 200 as body fat. Like I said, this is overly simplified for explanation’s sake and there’s a lot of physiology missing here, but it gives you a rough idea.

To bring this back to the THM concept, restricting fuels to either carbohydrate or fat is one practical way to moderate intakes overall, though it certainly is not the only way and it also doesn’t guarantee that the total amount of energy eaten would match energy needs. The key is whether or not the structure of THM makes it easier for you personally to moderate. For some personalities, the structure of S and E meals makes moderation much more clear and easy to follow. If you prefer or it makes more sense to you, you can balance fuels at each meal with moderated portions of carbohydrates, proteins, and fat as long as the total amount of energy you eat matches the total amount of energy you need (or a little less if you’re trying to lose weight).

 

The Verdict

 

Overall, Trim Healthy Mama provides a structure for moderation that is mostly based on valid concepts and is likely to generate weight loss (if desired). It will also direct your eating to healthier pastures, as it eliminates quite a bit of junk food, empty calories, and inflammatory foods. Basically, if this plan works for your personality and lifestyle, go for it! It is more restrictive than is necessary for health and weight management, but keep in mind that your lifestyle is your own – so you can choose parts of the plan that work for you and parts that don’t! In fact, many of the blog articles I have read about THM say that their writers follow “a version of ” THM. Good for them! They made it their own, and finding a plan that works for your life is just as important as finding one that works for your body.

 

  1. https://www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/glycemic-index-and-glycemic-load-for-100-foods
  2. https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/76/1/5/4689459

 



Diets Trim Healthy Mama

 

One week of trying out Trim Healthy Mama is in the books! If you’re not familiar with the plan, check out my intro post here to get to know the basics. Here’s how it went:

 

What I Did

For the first week, I aimed to eat a mixture of primarily S and E meals and snacks, since most of my clients considering THM would use the plan to lose weight. I suspected that I might personally need a crossover here and there and perhaps S Helpers (small amounts of carb eaten with S meals) because of my tendency for hypoglycemia, but to honor the authors’ spirits of trial and error, I tried it for a week. I still have a few pounds of what I affectionately refer to as “holiday fluff,” so I’m not concerned about following a plan designed for weight loss for three weeks. If I lose a couple of pounds, I still won’t be under my normal body weight.

I also sought to test the authors’ claim that you can follow THM without specialty ingredients. For this reason (and to limit costs), I decided to purchase only a few things that I thought might be most useful (almond milk, almond flour, and pressed peanut flour). I already had THM-approved Stevia at home, so I didn’t need to buy that. Pinterest was a big help for finding THM-approved recipes, as the condensed version of the Trim Healthy Mama Plan book does not include any.

 



 

Read on for the good, the bad, the numbers, and what I learned this week.

 

The Good

 

Finding something to eat at restaurants was not hard at all. Besides fast food my first day, I also found an option at a Korean restaurant with some gal pals last weekend. They had a vegetable and chicken dish made with sweet potato noodles, so I ordered that and made an E meal out of it. I’m sure it wasn’t cooked in a plan-approved oil and I have no way of knowing exactly how much oil they use to cook it, but I figured it was pretty close.

 

 

The other really great thing this past week was that several of the S meals were really tasty. One of my favorites was this curry soup. It was creamy, delicious, and loaded with vegetables.

 

 

Other hall-of-famers from this week include the lettuce-wrapped burger,

 

this roast chicken thigh and cottage/bleu cheese salad,

 

 

and a pizza topping and Caesar salad low-carb wrap.

 

 

I was pleasantly surprised how satisfying the S meals were, though I noticed for me there is a delay of  about 15-20 minutes after eating an S meal before I feel satisfied. After that, the S meals held me over for several hours and I rarely needed a snack before my next meal.

 

The Bad

Baking. Baking has been so bad.  I tried making these almond flour strawberry S muffins (I added vanilla too) and they smelled and looked SOOOOOO good.

 

 

Unfortunately, they tasted awful. My family was as eager to try them as I was but theirs went in the garbage after a bite or two. I slogged through the rest of them so as not to waste the ingredients but they were a huge flavorless disappointment. At least the plan allowed me to put butter on them.

 



 

Along the same lines (though not actually baked), I tried an S snack recipe I found for peanut butter cookie dough bites. Sounded delish! It was a very simple recipe – basically almond flour, fresh ground natural peanut butter, and a few chocolate chips. So good looking, yet so bland. I added some Stevia and that helped, but I still had to chew quickly and wash them down with almond milk.

 

 

In the past, I’ve had quite a few baked goods made with almond flour (but with real sugar) that were quite tasty. I’ve also had a lot of sugar-free or low-sugar baked goods (but with grain-based flours) for carb control that were delicious. This combo of grain-free flour and sugar-free sweeteners is proving much more difficult to swallow than I anticipated.

Any of my experienced THM readers (or gluten-free, paleo, etc) have any suggestions for edible almond flour baked goods sweetened with Stevia? I need help!

 

The Numbers

Goals Week #1 Week #2 Week #3
Weight change -1 lb
Waist change -1″
Avg. daily calorie intake 1700 1679
Avg. daily carb intake 170-200 g 120 g
Avg. daily protein intake 65-80 g 97 g
Avg. daily fat intake 40-55 g  81 g
Breakdown of meal types 10 S meals, 10 E meals
# of cheats 0 3 (1 intentional, 2 accidental cheats with non-whole grain sourdough bread)
 Grocery Cost  $100 (normal weekly grocery budget)  $125

 

What I Learned

There’s a lot in this category (reference the learning curve I mentioned above), so I thought a list might be easiest.

  • In the text of the chapter on grains, the Trim Healthy Mama Plan says “[our] approach to grain-based breads is not to put a big X over it…We simply make sure that grain-based bread flours are sprouted or a sourdough variety.” I wrote in my notes that sprouted-grain or sourdough breads were okay, so last week I bought a loaf of sourdough. What I failed to do was read more closely in the list at the end of the chapter where they more specifically noted that E-approved grains include only whole grain sourdough. Whoops. So in the spirit of full disclosure, I ate several slices of sourdough that’s not allowed on the plan before a more experienced Trim Healthy Mama follower corrected my mistake.
  • I’m not really willing to eat egg whites on their own – I just don’t like them – so savory E breakfasts were a challenge. I ended up finding that for me, S breakfasts work well if I want something savory and E breakfasts (I loved this banana split oatmeal!) for something sweet.
  • Stevia (or some other plan-approved sweetener like erythritol, xylitol, chicory root, or monkfruit extract) was an absolute must for me to make E meals like yogurt or oatmeal tasty. I would not recommend following this plan without one of these options on hand!
  • As you can see, I’m way overshooting my fat recommendations and low on my carbohydrate needs. Even on days when I ate two E meals and an E snack, the carbs only added up to about 75% of my daily needs. This wasn’t really a problem at first and I felt fine for the first few days, but by day 5 I started getting tired and my normal workouts felt harder than normal. On day 7 I had my first blood sugar low which (full disclosure) I had to fix with a slice of not-plan-approved non-sprouted whole grain bread for lack of other nearby options. So clearly, as suspected, I discovered that I am someone who needs S Helpers. 

I started that this morning by adding half of a spiced peach with my egg and the final two almond flour muffins this morning.

 



Overall, this plan was a little frustrating this first week, since I didn’t have more of the specialty ingredients that would make it easier. It did feel like I frequently ran into the issue of coming up with meal ideas that I then realized I wasn’t “allowed” to have. I plan on purchasing a few more specialty ingredients, as well an approved kind of bread, this week and continuing my search for edible baked goods. I do think this is a plan that will get much easier as I  get more into the groove.

Stay posted for more updates, research, and recipes!

 

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post and I have no affiliation with the producers or manufacturers of this product; however, as an Amazon Associate, I receive compensation for any purchases of products through the links on this post.

Diets Trim Healthy Mama

I started the Trim Healthy Mama plan yesterday and I’ve been S-mealing and E-mealing all over the place! Yesterday was actually an interesting day for me to start because it wasn’t my normal routine at all. My dad had a (minor) surgery so I picked up my grandma and we headed to the surgery center to keep my mom company and help out. This change in schedule was a bit of a test for my first day since I was out and about for much of the day. Here’s a rundown of my first crack at THM:

 

7:15 am – Breakfast (E meal)

 

 

Breakfast time! It was trickier than I expected to come up with a meal, mostly because I do my grocery shopping on Mondays and hadn’t bought food specifically for the plan yet. I started with an E meal of oatmeal with strawberries, cinnamon, and stevia. On the side, I had some plain fat free Greek yogurt with a drop of vanilla and some stevia. I was concerned that this meal wouldn’t have enough protein to make it all the way to lunch, but I was pleasantly surprised that I didn’t get hungry until 11 am. I tossed some oranges in my bag for a snack but never did eat them.



11 am

Dad went in for his surgery and our stomachs were starting to rumble. I volunteered to drop off dad’s prescriptions and grab us some lunch to bring back. Most of the portable options in the vicinity of dad’s pharmacy were fast food. I remembered reading the chapter in the Trim Healthy Mama Plan about eating out. The authors say S meals are the easiest to do while eating out because of the low-carb options at many restaurants. After some quick Googling for ideas on low-carb fast fooding, I discovered that Wendy’s has a lettuce-wrapped burger option, so I dropped off the prescriptions and headed over there.

 

12 pm – Lunch (S Meal)

When I was ordering, I was a little unsure how much food I would need to be satisfied. Generally, if I get fast food I order a kids’ meal or a cheeseburger with a small serving of french fries. French fries are a no-go on the Trim Healthy Mama plan because they are high in both fat and carbohydrates (not to mention that they are made of white potatoes, which are also discouraged). I’m a sucker for a salty carbohydrate so honestly that was a bit of a bummer. I planned to order a lettuce-wrapped cheeseburger but then wondered if that would be enough when I’m used to also having a bun and some french fries too. I decided to embrace the concept of an S meal and got a double cheeseburger. Now, as a dietitian, I would consider this meal too high in saturated fat and too high in calories (not to mention sodium), but it fits the THM concept. I thought about ordering a side salad also but their online reviews were less than enticing.

 

 

The lettuce-wrapped cheeseburger was messy but delicious. I would order one any time! I noticed that eating a low-carb meal didn’t satisfy me as quickly as a balanced meal with carbohydrates does, but after 10-15 minutes the meal’s fat kicked in and I was satisfied for hours.

 

3 pm 

Time for grocery shopping! For the most part, I was able to buy the usual foods my family eats when planning for THM this week. The exceptions included a handful of specialty foods that are recommended to make the diet easier and more interesting to follow. I bought pressed peanut flour (a low-fat alternative to peanut butter, used mostly as a protein source in E meals), almond flour (for grain-free baking), and coconut oil (recommended by the plan for cooking, along with butter). These products were more expensive than the alternatives I typically buy and upped my grocery bill for the week by about $25. The containers I bought will most likely last for the next 3 weeks and probably beyond, so I imagine the extra costs will average out.

 



 

6:30 pm – Dinner (E Meal)

 

 

After running around a bit and making sure dad was settled at home, I ended up making a recipe I had planned for last week but never got around to cooking (and just so happened to be a type of burger…déjà vu, anyone?). I was able to use up the ingredients with just a few tweaks for THM. I put my black bean veggie burger (which didn’t hold together well but tasted  good) on a bed of lettuce and a slice of sourdough. I made baked sweet potato fries and a strawberry banana smoothie as sides. It was very satisfying and lasted all the way until bedtime!

 

Overall, definitely not a bad day. It’s taking a bit of getting used to, thinking carefully about all of the parts of my meal to make sure to balance fuel sources per the THM plan. I have a feeling my husband and boys will particularly love the S meals I have planned for the week!

 

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post and I have no affiliation with the producers or manufacturers of this product; however, as an Amazon Associate, I receive compensation for any purchases of products through the links on this post.

 



Diets Trim Healthy Mama

Thanks for all of your suggestions, everyone! Here are the nominees:

Whole 30

Whole 30 was created by author Melissa Hartwig and is promoted as a “nutritional reset button” in which you eliminate a list of certain foods identified by Whole 30 founders as potential causes of bloating, metabolic upset, and a myriad of other conditions. The Whole 30 website claims that cutting these foods out for 30 days can improve your relationship with food, regulate digestion, and balance your immune system.

 



 

28-Day Shrink Your Stomach Challenge

Championed by Dr. Oz, this 28-day challenge focuses on weight loss, reducing bloating, and shrinking your waistline. The plan involves a mild form of intermittent fasting, elimination of dairy, sugar, and alcohol, and includes basic frameworks for each meal and snack. It also includes a daily plank challenge.

 

Trim Healthy Mama

Trim Healthy Mama is a book written by sisters Pearl Barrett and Serene Allison, promoted as the “easy does it” approach to eating well. The plan focuses on alternating fuel types by avoiding eating carbs and fats in the same meal. It also eliminates added sugar and encourages waiting 3 hours between meals.

Vote for your choice below and let me know how I can help you make informed healthy choices!

 



 

This poll is now closed.

Diets

It’s day two of my goal-setting giveaway challenge! It’s not too late to join in – visit Dietitian on a Diet’s “Giveaway Alert” post on Facebook or Instagram to play! Yesterday we were dreaming big, today is a little less fun but just as important.
Today’s challenge: Assess your current reality. Where is this area of your life at right now? Be honest, but also be fair to yourself. No need to be more critical than is true. Acknowledge the good parts as well as the parts where you’re not where you’d like to be – that’s where we find the best goals.
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Yesterday I told you about my dream to have a cookbook. The current reality is shown above…I have a folder of chicken-scratch recipes and recipe ideas. Several of them have been tested and finalized and I am really proud of them! Several others need more work or need to go from ideas to actual recipes. I have a vague idea of how I want to layout the cookbook but I need to “brain dump” some of those ideas onto paper and play with them.
Your turn: head over to Dietitian on a Diet’s Facebook or Instagram and lay out the true current reality of where your goal area is right now. Be kind to yourself, be honest, and lay it out there!

Goal Setting

It’s here! The Dietitian on a Diet/i’mPowered Nutrition & Fitness giveaway challenge begins today! To participate for the chance to win a beautiful goal-tracking planner/journal from The Simple Elephant, planner stickers, and a set of Papermate Inkjoy pens, follow Dietitian on a Diet on Instagram or like Dietitian on a Diet on Facebook, and follow the instructions on my giveaway post

Today’s challenge: DREAM BIG! Choose an area of your life (could be wellness, career, family – anything!) you’d like to work on, and dream big for your future! Take some time and be detailed! Don’t let your past fears or failures get in the way today. Imagine if you had absolutely no barriers and could achieve anything you wanted, what would this area of your life look like?  As Ellen Johnson Sirleaf once said, “If your dreams do not scare you, they are not big enough.”
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For me, I’m dreaming big about the future of my blog and business. I would love to help more people live the healthy lives they dream of! One of the specific ways I want to do that in 2018 is to fill my readers’ requests for a Dietitian on a Diet/i’mPowered Nutrition & Fitness cookbook! My dream big: I would have a fun, user-friendly cookbook with a variety of at least 100 healthful recipes that is available as a physical book or e-book. The cookbook will also help readers learn the thought processes behind eating well – that way they can build the confidence to play with healthful food in their kitchen beyond the recipes in the book itself! If I’m really dreaming big, the cookbook is a hit and (side bonus) becomes a steady source of passive income for my family.
Your turn: pick an area of your life, dream big about your future in that area, and post/comment away! Remember you can double your chances of winning by making two separate goals: one on Facebook and one on Instagram!

 

Goal Setting