Could THM Diet Open the Door to Sin?
Trim Healthy Mama has been extremely popular among Christian women’s circles for a few years. Trim Healthy Mama claims to “provide a comprehensive, Biblically-sound, effective and delicious way to eat for health and weight loss.” Following the Trim Healthy Mama diet could be a very positive experience for many women and their families. Serene and Pearl seem to love the Lord, and they seem to want to help women be trim and healthy. Although they have good intentions, I became concerned about one thing that is prevalent across the Trim, Healthy Mama phenomenon: unhealthy short cuts.
Food substitutes are of my highest concern among these short cuts found in the book. Several food substitutes are recommended on a continual basis in the recipes such as erythritol, xylitol, and Not-Naughty-Noodles just to name a few. Those types of food substitutes are exactly the items that I ate when I had an eating disorder. Those items allow women to eat as much as possible while consuming very few calories. The problem is that these food substitutes have some negative side effects. By eating them, they also allow women to escape from spiritual problems that could be recognized without them.
When reading about Serene and Pearl’s past eating struggles, I was concerned to hear that Serene previously had an eating disorder. Her eating disorder was severe enough that during her pregnancy she did not consume enough nutrients and her baby’s teeth were black. Serene and Pearl say they have changed their ways since then. I am going to point out a couple ways that still scream out “eating disorder” to me. I’ll let you be the judge.
So you might be wondering how I know about the “ways” of an eating disorder: I used to be anorexic. When I was in high school and the beginning of college I struggled with my weight. My sophomore year of college I was unhappy being overweight. I was 5’1 and weighed 175 pounds. The extra weight made it difficult to enjoy sports and live an active life.
I made the decision to eat healthy and exercise during my sophomore year at college.
My weight loss journey began in a healthy way. After one year of healthy eating and moderate exercise, I lost 50 pounds. I looked great and felt better than ever before, but I didn’t stop there. I wanted to be smaller. Weighing 125 pounds – for some reason – still seemed heavy to me.
It became more difficult to lose weight at 125 pounds: my body knew it was unhealthy to lose more weight. That was when I turned away from healthy eating and moderate exercise and replaced it with disordered eating and intense exercise. I limited my food intake, and if I ate anything I would vomit it up. I started training for marathons, and I ran 40-50 miles per week. Since I was consuming very few calories and burning endless calories during running, my body desperately wanted fuel.
I had a hunger inside me that I refused to satisfy. That is when I turned to eating food without any nutritional value. I would eat several sugar-free Jell-o cups topped with fat-free whipped topping. I searched grocery stores for food alternatives such as peanut butter spread with only 5 calories. I consumed large amounts of diet sodas and used artificial sweeteners. I would allow myself to eat these food substitutes because they had very few calories in them. The peanut butter spread and foods similar to that also helped me disguise my eating disorder when I had to eat around other people. I quickly dropped weight off. Before I knew it, I weighed 115, then 105, then 100 pounds.
Double digits became my goal. I limited my food intake more. I even limited my liquid intake. I would do anything to have a double digit weight. Within weeks I got what I wanted, but I had no idea what I had bargained for. I weighed 99, then 93, then 87 pounds. Once I hit 87, it was like I couldn’t stop the pounds from coming off. Every morning I weighed myself. Everyday I was lighter- 86, 85, 84, then 83 pounds.
At 83 pounds I knew I needed help. Although I kept running, everyday tasks were difficult. I couldn’t carry a gallon of milk or a case of my diet soda. I couldn’t sleep on my side without my top knee leaving a bruise on my bottom knee. The simple things in life became painful.
Finally, there was a turning point in my life. I realized that I had to start eating more in order to keep running. I stopped restricting my diet, returning to natural, nutritious foods. I became more relaxed about exercising. However, I still carried the negative body thoughts and some of the eating disorder habits with me until I met Jesus Christ. Jesus quickly began to renew my mind . . . and in time my eating habits!
Within the first week of asking Jesus into my life, the Holy Spirit convicted me of the remnants of the eating disorder. I understood that in order to serve Jesus I would have to properly fuel my body. I made the decision to stop vomiting up my food and to stop eating low calorie food replacements. I continued to struggle with negative thoughts about my body until a few years later. Then, I learned – in a daily, applicable way – about nutrition and exercise.
Today I am a member of Crossfit, a vigorous exercise plan at a local gym that I attend 3-4 days a week. I never try to lose or maintain my weight – I do not need to worry about it. The desire to be skinny is gone and the desire to be strong and healthy has taken its place. Exercising is a very fun and fulfilling activity! Eating healthy, nutritious foods is also very tasty and desirable! The food is better than ever!
Although Trim, Healthy Mama overall has some good nutrition advice, it could be easy for a reader to follow the short cuts. But, let’s be honest as I leave one final thought for you to analyze. Once again, I’ll let you be the judge about this final thought. Short cuts are usually just one thing: sin.