Weight Loss Before & After Photos: 6 Months of THM Update

6-month-progress-report-

I remembered to take these weight loss before and after photos on July 3rd…this marks 6 full months since starting the Trim Healthy Mama way of eating.  Let’s talk about some of the biggest changes for me on THM: my size, getting started, my health, and losing the cravings!  And I have a few goals that I’d still like to meet.

6-month-b&e-front

Sizing Down…

In my before photo, I’m busting out of my size 16 jeans.  It was one of those ‘Something has to change because I am NOT buying a bigger size,’ type diet decisions.  One of the New Year Resolution diets that are not supposed to last through the first week in February.  I’m SO glad I found the Trim Healthy Mama book!  

The after photo, I’m now down to a size 8.  Single digits.  I told someone with great confidence last year (before starting Trim Healthy Mama) that ‘even if I were at my smallest weight, my hip bones would not fit into single digit sizes.’  I’m very, very happy to eat those words.

To be honest, if I had tried any other diet out there, I know where I’d be right now.  I’d be in my size 16 jeans. Again.  I’d have lost 15 to 20 pounds, squeezed into a size 12, and called it ‘good enough’.  I would have returned to my former ways of eating, and gained it all back.  And I’d be squeezing myself into the same swimsuits that I wore last year, and blaming my age, my lack of self control, and Krispy Kremes for my flabby body.

Sound familiar?  It’s the hopeless yo-yo.  I hated failing SO MUCH that it wasn’t even worth it for me to try again.  But that was BEFORE Trim Healthy Mama!

As of today, I’m down 39 pounds from where I was in January.

Getting Started…

I’m going to be honest…the first month was hard.  I didn’t feel good for a while after starting it, and it was a VASTLY different approach to thinking about food.  So I thought about food FAR more than I’d like, and it was frustrating at times.  I was confused and made mistakes at times.  But I KEPT GOINGAnd it paid off!  It’s the EASIEST thing ever once you get the hang of it.  Keep on pushing through the learning curve…there is an ‘A-HA!’ moment where it all gets easier.

One of the big encouragements to me was that the scale was moving, and I was pulling out of my personal energy crisis.  Seeing my body begin to move in an healthier direction was enough impetus to keep me going.

6-month-b&e-side

Restoring Health

In my before photo, I felt like junk.  You can read here about the health issues I was facing.  I was living each day in an exhausted fog, and ‘powering’ my body on soda and simple carbs.  Looking back, I didn’t see any way out.  I NEEDED that Dr. Pepper.  I was addicted.  I was *DREADING* the sugar withdrawals and cravings that came with past dieting.

My doctor asked me, “Do you feel exhausted, and *need* carbs to function during the day?”

“YES!!!” [I wait on baited breath to hear her solution. HOW can I get out of this downward spiral of eat for barely enough energy to function->gain->feel worse?]

“Well, you really need to lose some weight and things should improve.”

My soul deflates.  Again. Well DUH!!!  How exactly can I DO that though? 

Trim-&-Healthy-Header

I am forever, forever grateful to Trim Healthy Mama for answering that question for me.  So thoroughly…so practically, and with so many DELICIOUS recipes.  THM was the first step on my journey to freedom.

How is my health AFTER 6 months on Trim Healthy Mama?

I’m still waiting on lab tests, and I will post those as soon as I have them.  Symptom wise, I feel alive again.  I can’t say that I’m totally ‘cured’ of anything, but I can tell you that I’m in SO much of a better place than I was this time last year.  I have tools to work with now: I have energy, and I have mental clarity.  I still have to take care of myself to feel my best. And eating THM style is a huge part of that.

My first 3-4 months, I was experiencing weight loss ‘stalls’ of 2-4 weeks between losses.  I would lose in ‘chunks’ instead of a steady pace, and also feel VERY tired and lethargic for a day or so just before my body would drop more weight.  I wrote a post about stalling and how to lose weight quickly here.

I suspected that liver health had a lot to do with this for me, since the liver metabolizes fats out of our bloodstream.   So I supported my liver with silymarin (Milk Thistle Extract) daily.  For the past 2 months, I’ve gone to where I can steadily drop weight (or not, depending on whether I’m using crossover meals), and I’m not experiencing any tiredness when I do lose.  I see this as a major stride forward in my health!

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Losing the Cravings…

I’ve been totally amazed at how easily my metabolism has shifted away from ‘needing’ unhealthy carbs and sugar. I would never have thought it was possible to live without sugar or sugar cravings prior to THM.  I would never have guessed at how amazing and delicious food can be without using white flour and sugar.  I’ve come to the conclusion that cravings are very much like addictions, and that eating on plan is a BREEZE without them!  This is what freedom feels like!

If you have lived with lots of simple carbs and sugar, expect at least a week of detox when starting THM.  The first week I was foggy, hazy and rough, but by the 3rd week, I was pulling out of it almost completely, and feeling SO much more energetic and focused.

That 3rd week, I was driven through the Krispy Kreme drive through with the HOT FRESH NOW light on…this would normally have been a deal breaker on any diet for me.  And on THM, I could have opted to ‘hop off plan’ and ‘hop right back on the next meal.’  But I didn’t!

I was shocked..SHOCKED that I was not only not tempted, but I wasn’t even angry at the other people in the vehicle who were biting into the fresh, warm glazed pastry perfection.  I am a free woman!  I’d SO much rather have a fresh peach than a donut.  To the point that if only donuts are offered, I’d just rather pass and wait to get a peach at home, or some other delicious ‘real’ food item that won’t compromise my health.

If you struggle with cravings, I’d encourage you to read the post about stalling and losing quickly above.  There are certain nutritional imbalances that really pre-dispose you to the cravings, and there is a book that helps you formulate a protocol specific to your needs.  Friends of mine have had AMAZING success with these books and supplements!

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It’s raining.

My Goals…

For the unforseeable future, I plan to continue eating with maintenance mode on Trim Healthy Mama.  Mainly, because I love it.  It’s simple, super flexible, and pretty mindless once you’ve done it for a while.  Good food that makes me feel good?  I’ll take it!

I plan to continue helping to develop recipes, and support and encourage ladies who are also on this journey with Trim Healthy Mama.

I also plan to continue to post recipes, remedies and fun stuff here on Gwen’s Nest.  For sure.  Like the weekly Trim Healthy Tuesday posts.

Because my adrenal output and energy levels were so low when I started, I’ve done all of this with very little exercise.  And by ‘very little’, I mean less than an hour of exercise broken up over the past 6 months.  My weight loss has truly been ALL diet.  Now, I DO believe that exercise is wonderful for overall health, so my goals include beginning to work on toning my muscles and core.  I’d like to be a healthy old woman. :)

So that’s where I am today…6 months of eating on the Trim Healthy Mama food plan, and I’m LOVING where it’s taken me.  Thanks for following along, and if you’re interested in knowing more about it, check out my Trim Healthy Mama book review and get the free quick start guide linked at the end of it!

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  • Stacy

    CONGRATULATIONS!!!! You look beautiful!!!!!

    • Its_Gwen

      Thank you, Stacy!

  • Becky

    You look just fabulous. And, I might add, I love the red sandals in the July 3rd. shot.
    I will have to agree with you that no longer having the cravings is one of the very best parts of THM, but it’s the one that the hardest to convince people of. I try to tell them that the sugar/easy carb cycle can be broken, but it’s just too hard to believe. And I understand that, because I once wouldn’t have thought it possible either. But, I will keep trying to let them know that I didn’t suddenly become Superwoman, with willpower galore. :) I will add though, that the Secret Agent Brownie cake is converting people.

    • Its_Gwen

      Yes! The crazy cravings are the WORST part of ‘dieting’ and I really don’t miss them one bit! :)

    • Kristie

      I’m so glad to hear this. I struggle so bad with sugar cravings having PCOS and this is constantly the issue on every diet. I fall off the wagon and right back into those sugar cravings. Really hoping for a miracle here.

  • Beth

    I love how the *same* red shirt looks completely different on you in the after photo!

    • hi_itsgwen

      Ha! It was stretched out in a sort of grotesque way in the first shot. I really don’t think that’s what the designer had in mind.

  • Rebecca Meade

    can you get milk thistle in the stores? and how much should you take?

    • Its_Gwen

      You can find it online or in health food type stores that sell herbs. I take the recommended dose on the bottle. :)

  • Lorri

    Hi Gwen, I’ve enjoyed following your progress here! You look great. I love the contrast of how much more of the door behind you can be seen in your current picture! I’m also enjoying the recipes that you share here! Thanks!

  • Janine

    Wow! I am really impressed with how this has worked for you. My Husband and I are looking to loose weight and I hope to get this book as soon as we can afford it (he is currently in seminary and not working:) Congratulations! I am sending some friends a link to your site because I think it would really help them. Thank you!

  • Jennifer

    You look great! Thank you so much for sharing your story. It is a great encouragement and inspiration. I have just started my THM journey and look forward to the future with hope.

  • Jessica Abel

    You look great and you look like you feel great. Congratulations.

  • Erin Boyd Odom

    You look amazing!! Congrats!!

  • Vangibabe

    How can we tell you…. ‘HOW MUCH WE L.O.V.E YOU!’ You are the rockingiest groovo!

  • CarinaT

    You look fantastic, Gwen!

    Thank you so much for all you do for us THMers! The recipes you have shared have all been a hit at my home and your support and encouragement on the FB page is such a blessing! <3

  • Gayle

    All I can say is “Wow! Congratulations!!!”

  • Marie

    You have been a real encouragement to me over the past few months as I have begun living the THM lifestyle. thank you.

  • Laura of Harvest Lane Cottage

    Hi, I just got on the scale and found that I’ve regained 20 of the 30 I lost at the beginning of the year. :(

    I’ve bought THM and haven’t had the opportunity to read very much yet. You’ve inspired me to get reading. Thank you.

    Laura

    Harvest Lane Cottage

  • Nancy Badenhop

    Thanks so much for the recipes. i noticed in your article you got frustrated. Well to day I have gained 4 lbs. I have been on THM Since Easter. I’m a turtle. I have gone off from time to time just because I was tired of planning all the time. Do you have any suggestions? I feel like since THM I don’t have a life but in the kitchen. Please advise. thank you. You have been an inspiration!

    • Its_Gwen

      Hi Nancy,
      I’m sorry you’re in a slump. I hit a few of these myself. The real key to making THM work is to get honest with yourself about how to make it fit your life. I also can’t be in the kitchen all day, so I have a select group of ‘convenience’ foods in the fridge that make pulling meals and snacks together easy for me.
      I make up batch mixes for my favorite muffins, I keep salad on hand. I make big tubs of lemon yogurt. I find ways to make it convenient for my lifestyle.
      Another great tip is to plan your week out on a menu, so you really don’t even have to THINK about what to eat next.
      I’ll do a whole blog post on this for you. :)

  • Michele

    Way to go Gwen! I love your blog and your recipes! I was blessed to join an exercise accountability group with my friends that really helped me stay on track with my exercise – http://michelejoan.com/2013/05/02/balancing-body-mind-and-soul/. I started with Jillian Michael’s 30 Day Shred and advanced to her 6 Week Six Pack, Hard Body and now am doing the Linsday Brin Pretty Fierce Lean out from Mom’s into Fitness (http://www.lindsaybrin.com/) She has lots of options for moms at different fitness levels. Videos are great with kids, just pop it in and let them play while you work out! Its important not to be just thin but strong and healthy to be the best mom you can be!

  • http://www.walkinginlightblog.com/ Debbie Lund

    You look amazing!

    • Its_Gwen

      Thank you, Debbie! :) I feel great!

  • Pingback: Walking In Light | The Blog of Debbie Lund Photography | Blueberry “Jelly Bean” Shake [S]

  • Sarah Blocher

    Stumbled upon you after joining the THM FB group…thanks for all the great tips and recipes. I’m just beginning the journey and have had a lot of the same fears as you have talked about. In my head all this sounds doable and it even makes logical sense, not its putting it all together and actually living it that will be the test for me. Yes, it’s about weight loss but more importantly its about regaining a healthy outlook on food and overall health!!

    • Its_Gwen

      You got it, Sarah! Those ‘mental battles’ and the mindset and ‘why’ behind THM are what really give you the edge in making it a truly sustainable lifestyle, and not just a ‘weight loss plan’ that falls by the wayside. The book is a nutrition EDUCATION for sure! :) I loved it!

  • Jaime Weis

    Congratulations!!! Only six months??? This is so inspiring!!!

  • Katherine

    Fabulous Gwen! I love that you have lost weight (and I am so encouraged to see that your thighs lost their “saddlebags” because that is something that completely plagues me and I have feared I would never be freed of) but more importantly I love hearing about your mind shift change. Your Krispy Creme story is very inspiring!

    • Its_Gwen

      I have been thrilled with my progress…not only did my thighs shrink, but my cellulite on the remaining ‘soft’ part of my legs is GONE. I am in shock.
      (I’m not a fitness fiend hard body…I still have ‘soft’ edges. :)

  • Kat Brennan

    Wow you look amazing! You must have really worked hard and it definitely shows! Congratulations for all the weight loss and for becoming healthy. You are really a knockout! Your willpower amazes me because I have the hardest time kicking my cravings. I cave every time!

    • Its_Gwen

      Hi Kat,
      Have you read the post I did about losing fast and stalling? There may be some ideas in there for you with the cravings. Some ladies lose their cravings (which was the case for me and many others) and others find that their food cravings border on addictions. There are some great supplements that you can take to support your body in recovering and being free of the cravings! :)

      • Kat Brennan

        I will definitely be checking that out, thank you! Anything to build up my willpower would be awesome! You’re a great inspiration to help me on my way, I will be reading your other blogs for sure :)

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  • Marilyn H

    Gwen, I’m just starting this THM journey and I’m nervous already about failing. I’ve done all the fad diets in the past and lost and gained over and over. I read about THM on Stacy’s site, and quickly dismissed it as way too much work, but something kept bringing me back. I finally broke down and ordered the book and now I’m beginning. As of yesterday. I see your before and after shots and am AMAZED! I’m busting out of my 16s, and I’ve always, jokingly, said my goal size is an 8 because all the best clothes at Goodwill are an 8! Right now, I still can’t believe that’s a “real” size for me, but even to lose two sizes and I would be quite happy. Thank you for sharing your story and making me feel like maybe, just maybe I can do this thing! :)

    • Its_Gwen

      You can do this, Marilyn! It was harder at the get go for me, just to wrap my head around which foods where S and which were E. But once I ‘got’ that, it’s SO easy! No counting or anything…it’s the easiest and most effective weight loss plan I’ve ever tried!

  • Crystal G

    The stand out part of your article is the hips fitting into single digit sized pants comment. I have said the same thing. I’ve worn double digit pants even at my lowest adult weight. I joke that I went from child sizes straight to a 9/10 in late elementary school. Your experience gives me the thought that maybe I can get to single digits too. :) It would be really nice not to be described as the big one in the family. Of course, I am happy and hopeful without all that happening. The health benefits and so much else offered by the plan are already plenty to help me keep up with THM. Thank you for all the work you put into helping me (and of course everyone else ;) ) work the plan.

    • Its_Gwen

      I was totally happy to be in the low single digits again. I’m sort of blown away that I ended up in single digits. And slightly annoyed to replace some favorite skirts & jeans and such that I was SURE were going to be my goal weight wardrobe. :)

  • Chel

    I am so proud of your journey! I am to begin mine in about a week and a half. I am finishing the book, meal planning, and waiting for pay day. I have accessed your quick tips and they helped me understand better. I am encouraged by your story and looking forward to my “story”. I want to be healthier and feel good.

  • Chel

    Would love to see your photos now that it has been a year.

  • Tracy

    I am so encouraged by this!! I am a size 14 now. And those are getting tight! I am ready for a change!! Thank you!
    Tracy

    • Its_Gwen

      You can do it, Tracy!

  • Kerri

    You look wonderful! Just got my book in the mail. I am a little fearful of caffeine withdrawals from pop. I drink diet and every time I have tried to quit I have such horrible headaches. So if anyone has any suggestions I will take them.