THM MY WAY: Christine Bingler
Christine w/Serene & Pearl at the THM Distribution Center Oct 2017
Can you share a bit about your background and how you found THM?
I’ve been a Type 1 diabetic since December of 2000 when I was 21. In the world of T1 diabetics, the overwhelming advice is to figure out an insulin to carb ratio (how much insulin you need to take for how many carbs), then count the carbs you eat and take insulin for them. It doesn’t matter the type of carbs. It could be pizza and ice cream, as long as you take insulin to cover it. Well, that philosophy helped me to gain weight with each of my 3 pregnancies and not be able to lose it. I was also taking more and more insulin (increasing insulin resistance), and my blood sugar numbers were nowhere near where they needed to be. My A1C was consistently over 8 (around 5 is a normal, non-diabetic person). I just figured that it was the way I was, and I should just get used to my larger body and figure out some way to find some more energy. I was getting older, after all!
In 2013-2014, a small group Bible study we were going to had ladies bringing more and more snacks that were “THM friendly.” They tasted good, and finally we went on a weekend ladies retreat where all the food was THM friendly, complete with skinny chocolate! One of my friends, a nurse, told me that I really should read the book (the original book), because it talks a lot about insulin and how the body metabolizes carbs. I borrowed a book from a friend, sat down and started reading, and it all made sense to me!
Had you tried other “diet plans” in the past?
I was never a dieter. In fact, I saw many people who did yo-yo diets and would be successful for a bit, then totally fall off the wagon and gain all their weight back. I watched a friend do the HCG diet and eat almost nothing but cucumbers! That didn’t appeal to me at all. Besides, I like food way too much to have to give up things that I like!
When you began your THM journey, did you jump in with both feet or did you take baby steps?
I’m an all or nothing kind of person. When I saw that I could make much healthier meals for myself and my family (including my son who was also diagnosed with T1 diabetes in 2012 when he was 7), I jumped in and changed everything. I eliminated things that were unhealthy, and I changed our meals so that they were all THM friendly. This was in the earlier days of THM, so there weren’t any actual THM products yet. I didn’t have money to go out and buy lots of specialty products, so I’d find one new recipe that needed a special ingredient (like almond flour) and buy one new product each week.
What were some of the first things that started happening to your mind and body once you had been on-plan for a few weeks?
The changes weren’t long in coming! First of all, I did start to lose a few pounds. But best of all was my blood sugar- my numbers started coming down drastically! Typically, a doctor will order an A1C test every three months for a diabetic. My A1C at the end of January was 8.2. Not absolutely horrible, but not good either. I started THM the middle of March (about 6 weeks after my last A1C). From the middle of March through the end of April, I consistently followed THM with very few cheats. My A1C already showed improvement – I was at 7.3!
Christine and her family.
What are some of your “go-to” foods you find yourself going back to time and again from the original Trim Healthy Mama book? What is your favorite recipe from the Trim Healthy Mama Plan Cookbook?
I still love my Skinny Chocolate, and from the new cookbook, the Skinny Peanut Butter cups! My family loves most of the casseroles and skillet meals in the cookbook, so it’s fairly easy to stay on plan for dinnertime.
What are some of your favorite non-scale victories (NSVs)?
By far, my biggest NSV is lowering my A1C from 8.2 down to 6.4. My insulin decreased by 30-40% as well! I still take insulin, and I always will since I don’t have a working pancreas anymore, but I just need a lot less! My doctor says that I have absolutely no insulin resistance anymore!
What would you tell others who are also dealing with diabetes? Tips? Strategies?
For those who have insulin resistance or are T2 diabetics, many struggle with eating a full 45 carbs with an E meal without a significant spike in their blood sugar. 2 things are helpful. 1) Try a “pulled back” E meal with 20-30 carbs rather than a full 45. 2) Keep trying different carb sources to see what works best for you. Oats may be a big spiker, but brown rice may be nicer to you. Beans are a pretty low glycemic carb source that a lot of diabetics (not all!) can tolerate relatively well. Try to get in at LEAST 4-5 E meals or snacks per week. It keeps your metabolism burning by switching between S and E meals
For those who have T1 like me, or have T1 kids, you’ll probably find yourself needing less insulin overall. S meals can be tricky for a T1 (even though they are low carb!). Some T1’s don’t need any insulin for an S meal. For me, I should have only needed to take 1 unit, if I went based on the carbs I was eating in an S meal, but it wasn’t enough. So I upped it to 2. Still not enough! I found myself needing 3 units for an S meal (in contrast, I only need 6 for a full 45 carb E meal!). It’s all about trial and error! Also, T1’s will need to figure out how different food items affect them. The THM Baking Blend doesn’t affect my blood sugar, and I can give insulin based on the net carbs in it, while other T1’s need to take insulin for the total carbs, minus half of the fiber. Each T1 is a completely different individual, and there are no hard and fast rules to best manage blood sugars!
For all diabetics, the biggest help is a journal, especially at the beginning. Write down times, blood sugars, insulin doses, foods you ate and the amounts, carbs, exercise. Absolutely everything! Yes, it’s time consuming, but it’s worth it to see how certain things affect you.
How has THM changed your life and the lives of your family?
First of all, it took a total of 8-9 months, but I was able to lose about 30 pounds. The scale says I weigh about 140, but I wear a S-M or a size 6, so I’m completely happy with my size! Ultimately, my blood sugars have gone down and stayed down. My A1C’s have stayed in the mid 6’s for the most part (with the exception of after Thanksgiving/Christmas when we end up traveling a lot and staying with family!).
My husband also has been able to lose a considerable amount of weight. He likes the food I cook, and he usually is able to take leftovers to work rather than stopping at a drive-through for lunch. He loves taking a bottle of the Shrinker in his lunchbox, too!
My T1 son is trickier, though! At 12, we have typical issues with kid T1’s, such as forgetting to check blood sugars or taking his insulin (although with a pump, it’s easy for him to just push a few buttons rather than taking a shot!). He also is hungry ALL THE TIME! I try to keep low carb snacks on hand for him, including dill pickles, hard boiled eggs, and cheese. A favorite is when I make cheese chips. His favorite self-created snack are “pepperachos.” He takes a couple layers of paper towels and spreads pepperonis close together, sprinkles with a layer of cheese, then microwaves them for 45 seconds, and they get nice and crispy. He usually has to make several batches of these, because everyone keeps sneaking them!