How to lose weight fast was a question I was asked frequently when I was an admin on the Trim Healthy Mama Facebook groups. Even though this post addresses the question from the THM perspective, I think it applies to many other ways of eating as well. If you’re not familiar with the Trim Healthy Mama plan, I review the book here. ~Gwen
Q. Any specific advice for us on how to lose so quickly? I’d love to hear some of your own ‘tricks.’
A. I’ll answer from my own experience here, and what I’ve seen from moderating this now nearly
6,000 80,000 and growing member Facebook group:
How To Lose Weight Fast
Mostly, those who lose quickly are just those blessed with a fast metabolism that recovers quickly when sugars are removed. They don’t ‘cheat’ or eat off plan frequently and avoid real sugars, but they do bounce a good bit in their calorie intake.
While THM is not really designed for quick weight loss, it does happen for some. What makes it different from ‘quick weight loss’ plans and gimmicks is that it doesn’t attempt to ‘force’ weight loss at the expense of overall health…so for those whose bodies *can* lose quickly, they do. For those who need a slower, gentler approach, they experience loss and healing at the rate that their own body dictates.
<Updated 1/2015> I found that even though my body was *able* to lose quickly, I now wish that I had slowed down my losses. Though I did sustain quick and lasting results in weight loss, I ended up needing specialized help for the past six months to recover from complications from overwhelming my liver. I have a somewhat common liver processing issue called MTHFR that makes my body work harder at detoxing, and weight loss can and does strain that process. If you have a family history of heart disease, stroke, miscarriage, autoimmune disease, autism, or miscarriage, or if you react strangely to “healthy” foods, I strongly suggest that you consider being gentle to your body during any weight loss program, and that you ask about MTHFR genetic testing. <end of update>
Those who lose more slowly either have underlying health or hormone challenges that their bodies are dealing with in addition to weight loss, so that slows them down. But the basic lifestyle and diet of Trim Healthy Mama are only going to support their rate of healing and move ‘diet concerns’ out of the way when dealing with a health problem that needs to be addressed.
Some ladies find that adding in additional liver support really helps their body process the fats into and out of their body in a much more efficient way. The liver processes all lipids or fats, including the ones we eat, the ones in our bloodstream that we are giving off as we lose weight, and also our hormones, which are lipids. So the liver really has to work extra hard during weight loss or during periods of hormone readjustment (like pregnancy, nursing, or menopause.)
Silymarin is one of my favorite herbal liver support herbs, and one I take daily to support my body in healthy weight loss. This is a great liver support blend that contains silymarin if you want to support healthy liver function: (affiliate link)
Some signs that you may need liver support are: pimples or acne, indigestion after meals (especially fatty meals) that ranges from bloating/gassy feelings to pain, and a history of gall stones.
Plateaus or Stalls in Your Losses
Plateaus and stalls can be a normal part of healthy weight loss. Early on with THM, I would be seeing my friends losing 1-2 pounds a week at a steady rate, but I would stall for 2 weeks and then lose 2-3 pounds. It’s just how my body worked at that point, and it does fall within the normal range of weight loss experiences. I’ve also had phases where I was losing around a pound a week with no real changes to what I was doing. So that can change as your body adjusts and heals.
Certain times in your monthly cycle can also stall weight loss, but just because you’re retaining water.
The Scale Speaks-When to Ignore It
It’s REALLY important to not get too number bound with your scale. It’s a good indicator of overall weight, but that involves SO much more than just body fat. Hormone fluctuations, water retention, and more will dramatically affect the scale anywhere from 1-4 pounds per day.
This is one of my favorite quotes from the Facebook group, from a lady who had seen the scale move up from one day to the next:
“My husband always reminds me: “A pound [of fat] is equal to 3500 calories…did you REALLY eat 3500 too many calories yesterday? Really?”
Pitfalls For DIY Stalls
Here are some of the most common THM obstacles to weight loss that I see frequently on the wall over on the Facebook group:
- You go longer than 4 hours between meals and snacks during the day. The feeling of not wanting food or not being hungry is a great indicator that you’re stalling out your metabolic fires.
- By counting calories and being overly restrictive, AND/OR by over-exercising or stressing your body while restricting fuels, you can also accomplish the same thing: an overall stalling or slowing of the metabolism. This will really make a person feel like CRUD. And I think it happens pretty frequently, because of the ‘eat less to and work out harder to get skinny’ lie that most of us have believed our whole lives. And even worse, not eating enough also brings you into my next pitfall:
- Not eating enough slows or stalls the detox systems of the body. (this will open in a new window). Now, the site I just linked to is not a diet theory site…it’s an explanation of the two detox phases of the liver. I know I’m a geek for reading stuff like this, but I learn the COOLEST stuff! Like this,
“Inadequate protein intake specifically reduces Phase I clearance, and insufficient calories decreases overall detoxification function. The detoxification process requires large amounts of caloric energy, which comes mainly from the food we eat. If we do not eat enough protein, the body breaks down vital tissue protein to produce the energy it needs. This decreases the available amounts of Phase I and Phase II enzymes, amino acids, and peptides, because the body breaks down protein to amino acids and peptides. The greater the toxic burden of the body, the higher the need for protein, carbohydrate, fat, and micronutrient intake.” (emphasis mine.)
In plain English, that means: Eat enough food or you’ll feel like crud.
- Mamas who are nursing can pretty easily fall into this same zone of getting too few calories, as they need additional calories to fuel their milk production on top of what they need to keep their metabolism revved. KellyMom, an awesome site for breastfeeding info says this:
“Consuming less than 1500-1800 calories per day (most women should stay at the high end of this range) may put your milk supply at risk, as may a sudden drop in caloric intake.A mother’s “baseline” need for calories (not including lactation) depends upon her activity level, weight and nutritional status. A mother who is less active, has more fat stores, and/or eats foods higher in nutritional value may need fewer calories than a mom who is more active, has fewer fat stores, and/or eats more processed foods.”
Nursing Mamas need an additional 400-500 more calories per day to support healthy milk production IN ADDITION to the number of calories that they are burning with working out or just regular life activities. So listen to Kelley, and listen to your body: eat when you feel genuinely hungry.
- By avoiding carbs or energizing “E” meals When you limit carbs too much or eat too few E meals, you’re basically doing an Atkins intro, keto, or low carb diet. You will lose weight initially, and then find yourself exactly in the same shoes as the lady who only eats celery and birdseed: feeling like crud with no energy. I’m gonna do a shout out for emphasis here:
HEALTHY CARBS FUEL YOUR METABOLISM!!!
Do not be afraid of your E fuel food friends: fruit, beans, brown rice, quinoa, sweet taters, and popcorn. Just keep them away from fats and in the measurements given in the book and FEEL what they do for your body, your emotional state, your energy levels, and your waistline!
Now, let’s shimmy down to the other end of this teeter totter. Away from the celery sticks and lettuce turkey wrap lunch…at the opposite end of the spectrum: the Lasagna Lunch with brownie dessert.
- A lady can lose her momentum from overstocking her lunchbox with too many calorie rich foods.
Peanut butter, nuts, bacon, avocado, chocolate, and cheese? All fine in moderation, but if these are your ‘go to’ foods that make daily appearances in hearty quantities, then it’s gonna be hard to get your end of the teeter totter off the ground real quick. An over-fueled metabolism is going to have more to store. You will want to lighten up your meals and snacks, and vary the quantity of fats and calories that you’re getting from meal to meal.
There is much enjoyment in just using a great olive oil and vinegar salad dressing on a salad with some grilled chicken breast…this is an example of a “light S” meal. It’s fine to indulge in a good fried chicken or cheeseburger casserole from time to time, but don’t camp out in calorie rich land too consistently. (Do be aware of all the nummy recipes out there made with almond or nut meal/flour…it’s easy to forget that you’re indulging in almonds when it looks like a muffin).
- and the final trap is the worst: not fully coming off of sugar and complex carbs, so your addictive bonds are never severed, and you suffer through your ‘diet food’ until you can get your hands on the next doughnut or bag of chips. These ladies fall off the wagon in a big way for weeks at a time, and really never feel the effects of THM or fall in love with the health giving foods. IMO, there are often emotional and sometimes even physical issues or vitamin and mineral deficiencies that drive these behaviors. Worst of all, they feel the intense guilt associated with the cycle of eating binges and weight gain/body image that THM offers freedom from.
Stuck on Sugar
Believe me…I NEVER thought I’d be free of desiring sugar. I loved sweets. I fought hard emotional battles against the idea of Weight Watchers and diets, because no Twix bars…no Dr. Pepper, and no Krispy Kreme donuts until after I had lost the weight. Life without sugar just wasn’t even on my radar. I was SHOCKED beyond words when I was taken through the drive through of a Krispy Kreme on week 3 or 4 of Trim Healthy Mama, and I didn’t even have one tiny desire to eat one…and I wasn’t even mildly annoyed by ‘missing out’. In fact, I didn’t feel like I WAS missing out…it felt so weird, and so freeing!
Some of my friends really struggle with not losing the cravings even after weeks of willpower and sticking to plan. For those ladies who are having trouble kicking nagging sugar and/or carb cravings, the books The Truth About Beauty, and the Diet Cure are great reads and resources that are helping a friend of mine overcome her health issues and return to healthy weight loss patterns. She is using Trim Healthy Mama (Amazon affiliate link) as the basis for her ‘return to health’ along with the other two books I just mentioned:
“If THM isn’t working for you, don’t give up!! Just keep looking and paying attention to yourself to figure out what it is that you are personally missing. [The Diet Cure]diet is almost exactly THM, and there are 8 sections to figure out why it is you don’t feel good or aren’t losing weight. This book has quickly moved up on my list of all time favorite books! Doing the questionnaire in the book I just read ruled out some key things I thought I might have, and left me to focus on deficiencies were obvious I did have! My top 3 categories were brain imbalance (hoping to heal with amino acids) sometimes low cal dieting (healing with THM) and blood sugar imbalance (on the road to healing that with supplements [from the Truth about Beauty] and already noticed a huge difference!)”
For hormone help and testing, see your doctor. For help with mood disorders, anxiety, and other ‘odd’ and ‘random’ issues, check out The Mood Cureor The Diet Cure by Julia Ross. (Amazon Affiliate links) For issues with unrelenting cravings (which are NOT supposed to be a part of the Trim Healthy lifestyle), check out The Truth About Beautyby Kat James. (Amazon Affiliate link)
So there you have it, my friends! Go forth and fight for your trim and healthy best!
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