Step One Principles of Trim Healthy Mama

Anyone who knows me well has heard me talk incessantly about food as medicine, weight loss and health. They will also have heard me mention Trim Healthy Mama (THM for short). While it is a fantastic resource (both the original printing and the new versions) it is not a quick read! John has tried many times to understand THM but his eyes glaze over when he sees the sheer size of the books. I tried to condense THM for him, pulling out the main principles and putting into words he can relate to. (He doesn’t like to call them S or E meals – he prefers to use the terms ‘fat meals or carby meals – whatever, I’m not going to argue over that).

This is to help those people who find it hard to read through the whole book and get started. It is NOT a replacement for the book. Not one little bit. The book is essential. You need to understand the principles of WHY we do certain things in order to see the food freedom of the plan. Use this guide as a training resource along with the book. When you *get it*, the plan will become real to you and you will be able to tweak it to suit your lifestyle, needs, budget and circumstances. Own it!

This is NOT a low carb diet. It is not paleo. It is a flexible, low glycemic plan that includes good, healthy fats and slow burning carbs, fruits, vegetables, grains and dairy.

To lose weight AND to build health we need to:

  • Stabilise our blood sugar levels
  • Eat one fuel at a time
  • Allow our body to use the fuel we have just eaten
  • Nourish and hydrate our body

Important Tips

    • Buy the books!
    • Know you will mess up and get it wrong or even have off plan meals. Get over it and know you will reset and start again in 3 hours time.
    • Print out the S, E and FP food lists. Print out the Build a Meal list. Put them somewhere handy.
    • Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Drink a minimum of 2 litres of water (and/or sippers) each day.
    • Eat veggies every day. Have green leaves with every meal!
    • Do not go longer than 3-4 hours without eating.
    • Avoid food ruts! You must keep your metabolism guessing by alternating between S & E meals.
    • Do not count calories.
    • Do not focus on numbers. Ingredients trump numbers every time.
    • Do be aware of what goes in your mouth. Be aware of your fuels.
    • Buy some Natvia powder.
    • If you are struggling, start with one meal per day, like breakfast. get breakfast meals under your belt before progressing.
    • Have FP snacks.
    • Plan ahead for two days at a time if you find that helpful.

Let”s get into a little more detail about the fuels. There are two primary fuel sources. Fats and Glucose (blood sugar derived from carbohydrates). And our bodies need both in order to keep functioning. With the weight loss part of the THM plan we want our body to burn one fuel source at a time so that most or all of that food source is used and not stored in the body as fat. Protein forms the base of every meal and snack. We can combine our protein source with either fats or carbs but NOT both in the same meal.

Fats, called Satisfying or S are fuel.
Carbs or Energising or E foods are fuel
Proteins are not fuel. But some have enough fuel in them to act as your fuel.

Sounds confusing but think of Bacon & Eggs – they are protein foods but also contain enough fat to be used as an S fuel.

Fat meals
S meals are protein-centred meals that are always low-carb (5 grams), but liberal with fats. Fat is the primary fuel. S Meals are very satisfying and deter cravings while remaining slimming.

Carb meals
E meals are protein-centred meals that are controlled, low glycemic carbs (45 grams), but have less fat.  E meals use carbs or glucose the primary fuel. E Meals will give you energy while maintaining a healthy blood sugar level.

Fuel Pulls
Some foods are low fat and low carb so they match both S and E. These are called Fuel Pulls. These foods are your best friend! They don’t give you sufficient fat or carbs but they fill the tummy and have marvellous health benefits. We can’t just live on meat, cheese, cream, butter and nuts. We need our non starchy veggies!

Meal Frequency

Aim for breakfast, morning tea, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner every day. Working out timings will happen naturally. If you are eating 5-6 times a day with about 3 hours between each meal, you are NOT going to be hungry. If you are having a FP snack and/or are pregnant or breastfeeding, you can snack at the 2.5 hour mark.


Yay for snacks! But nay to grazing all day. No we don’t have to starve but we need to give the body time to burn off the last fuel before we give it more. That’s why I find it easiest (with my chaotic lifestyle) to have FP snacks.

Building a Meal

We will start by freestyling. There is no one right way to freestyle.
Freestyle according to your taste buds, your needs or what’s in the pantry. If you are tired or breastfeeding, try an E meal. If you want comfort food, go for S.
Single Fuel Days is a way of grouping fuels together that some people (like me) find easy. A whole day of S meals is easy for my brain to figure out and meal plan for whereas the next day might a a whole day of E meals and snacks. These single fuel days can be random according to your needs, work schedule, finances, etc. or they can be co-ordinated for maximum weight loss.

Protein source first. Then add a fuel. Then add low starchy foods.

Use the foods lists to learn what foods fit into each category. print them out and put them somewhere you can refer to easily and often. THM Food Lists.

Use the Build a meal printout to construct your meals and snacks.   Download Here


Know and consume both Fat and Carb meals 
Protein first. Where is your protein?
Fill up on Fuel Pulls 

How did you go with Week One? I hope you used this reference side by side with the book. Let me know what you found easy or hard and what worked well for you!