After having six babies, I almost assumed that I’d always be, well…goodly-proportioned. “This is my mommy tummy,” I would tell my three-year old when she poked my belly and asked if there was a baby in there. “No, not yet. This is how my tummy got after having all of you!” And, of course, I would smile patiently. She’s cute, isn’t she. But, really: is the mommy tummy my inevitable fate? If it was, I wouldn’t be writing this article…and you wouldn’t be reading it.
It took me a year and a half after my sixth was born to finally decide to do something about my pillowy pooch. And after only TEN days on the Trim Healthy Mama Plan, both my husband and I noticed the difference: a definite slimming down had already begun to occur. The picture above was taken after one month — THIRTY days — on the Plan. I am amazed! I had nearly convinced myself that slimming down was impossible. But it isn’t. And it isn’t for you, either, so don’t lose hope.
Here’s how I’m doing it:
- Taking out sugar and wheat.
Sugar is a monster of a problem for our health. In my own experience, I had experienced aggravating swings in energy that left me feeling completely exhausted after I had passed the peak of the sugar high. And I’m not talking about guzzling sodas and stuffing down candy bars; I’m talking about sipping coffee with a bit of sugar, or nibbling on a donut for dessert. Nothing extreme — so why did I feel so bad?
First of all, I wasn’t centering my meals with protein, which “steadies your blood sugar” and helps you to avoid a blood-sugar spiking and hormone disrupting scenario,” according to the book Trim Healthy Mama Plan:
Protein is crucial on the THM Plan because it causes your body to release a hormone called glucagon. This hormone has a balancing effect on insulin. Insulin is a hormone that can cause your body to go into fat-storing mode, while glucagon causes your body to go into fat-burning mode. It literally helps release fat from your cells. The perfect hormonal balance is achieved when protein anchors the meal. (1)
Second of all, I wasn’t aware that wheat could spike my blood sugar levels worse than plain sugar itself. I would have toast with breakfast, maybe a sandwich for lunch, tortillas with dinner, and something bready for dessert: way too much wheat flour! I believe that eliminating (most) wheat has been a big factor in reducing my tummy size — and in helping stabilize blood sugar levels. I think it has also helped my gut to heal, which potentially will boost my health in a myriad of ways, since gut health is linked to overall health.
- Drinking more water.
A year ago, my labs showed dehydration, and since then, I’ve aimed for 32 oz right after waking up, and for three more glasses that same size during the rest of the day, for a total of one gallon daily water intake. To be honest, I haven’t always done that, but at least I am drinking more water than before!
As a nursing mama, this is obviously important. But it would be important whether I was nursing or not. Water is needed for the body to function! Drinking water helps flush out toxins, and is often all we really need when we think we’re hungry. Sipping on water has helped me overcome the “munchies”; you know, that habit of always needing to be munching on something tasty. I drink water flavored with a drop of peppermint essential oil (great for supporting a healthy digestive system), or with a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar (great for de-acidifying the body, improving digestion, helping with weight loss, and stabilizing blood sugar levels, among other benefits).
- Going for daily walks.
Since going to the gym really isn’t my thing, I’ve been taking a brisk walk every evening instead. This may not be what’s going to turn me into “wonder woman,” but hey — it’s what I feel I can do right now at where I am in this season of life, right? Actually, I don’t think I will EVER be a “go work out at the gym” sort of person; I prefer fresh air and beautiful scenery. Whatever sort of exercise that you enjoy is all you need to do to get you started on the path toward being healthier. If we make our goals into something enormous, like “Run five miles every day,” we’ll probably never get around to doing it, and in the meantime, we’re not doing anything. Better to do the small thing consistently, than to make big plans . . . and never do them.
How are my tummy exercises going that I told you I was going to commit to this year? Umm . . . they’re not. I’m ashamed to say this, but I have not been doing my abdominal exercises lately. Hmmm, how did that happen? I think it happened a while ago when we were sick, and for a week I had no schedule at all. After that, I just never got back into it. Okay. That needs to change; because, my hope is not just to lose fat, but to tone muscle, and I think that even though walking is great, I should proooobably be doing something more if I want those smooth-ish abs.
Doing those three things: 1) taking out almost all sugar and wheat (though I still do other forms of healthy carbs, including oatmeal and quinoa), 2) drinking more water (with essential oils and apple cider vinegar), and going for daily walks has helped me do what I had assumed would be impossible: finally slim down!
It was easy to do after I had my first baby . . . and I was twenty. Then, I could eat frosted flakes for breakfast and gummy bears for lunch, and it didn’t seem to matter; the weight came off automatically. Whoo-hoo, right? But I was so oblivious to how I was damaging my health. Now that I’m 33 and have had six babies, the pounds seemed like they had moved in to stay. And you know what? That is something I was willing to put up with. After all, what’s more important: keeping a slim Barbie doll waistline (who can do that anyway?) or bringing immortal souls into the world? I had resigned myself to the mommy tummy, not knowing that it didn’t have to be my fate, if I didn’t want it to be.
The Trim Healthy Mama Plan is helping me to take control of my weight. Could it do the same for you? Here’s how it works: by separating the major food fuels — fats and carbs — we can help our bodies burn fat faster:
There are two primary fuel sources that your body uses:
- Glucose (blood sugar derived from carbohydrates)
Your body needs both of these primary fuels to keep chugging along. But let’s make it even easier and call this dynamic duo CARBS and FATS. (It is crucial that protein be included in every meal but it is not a primary fuel for the body.) Something incredible happens when you focus on these two fuels individually rather than combined: Natural weight loss happens. Woo-hoo! For some it starts slowly; for others it whooshes off quickly and then zigzags in a gentler downward fashion; and for certain others it happens only at a turtle’s pace…
The premise of fueling rather than restricting works because you constantly need fuel to survive. Your body will be a continual consumer of fuel as long as it is alive. If you diet restrictively and barely give yourself enough fuel for basic function (lowering calories or pulling out food groups), your body will end up opposing your efforts with adamant defiance That results in messed-up metabolism, imprisoned fat stores, and hormones underfed into imbalance and depletion…
The idea of using fuels individually rather than combined is nothing weird or mysterious. Your body does it naturally on its own. The Trim Healthy Mama Plan just helps that natural process along a bit. Your body does not burn both fats and carbs at the same time. When you eat a meal, you must always burn the carbs in that meal first. This is so you can stay alive! Your body cannot handle a state of high blood sugar. The fat in your meal goes into storage to wait its turn to be used as fuel until blood sugar is cleared to safe zones…After a meal, insulin is released to clear the blood sugar from your bloodstream and feed it to your muscle cells. Only once it has completed that task will your body get on to burning any fat from your meal. (2)
Though I have not been very strict in keeping to the “rules,” I have nonetheless seen great results! Some of the food items they recommend are things I don’t currently have, but I have been making do with what I already have in my kitchen, and with what I can find at my local grocery store. This really is easy to do; I just had to decide to start.
(I’m looking forward to giving you a peek into how I keep our double-wide tidy — with eight people living in it — in the next article!)
(1) Trim Healthy Mama Plan, page 20. Copyright 2015 by Pearl Barrett and Serene Allison. Published by Harmony Books.
(2) Trim Healthy Mama Plan, pages 17 and 18.