When first starting Trim Healthy Mama, understanding when to eat S and E meals can seem a bit overwhelming. Learn the easiest way to use THM fuel rotation to keep you on plan and losing weight!
If you are just starting or about to start Trim Healthy Mama, welcome! The THM community is so happy to have you join this way of eating.
I remember starting THM years ago and having questions. Lots of questions! What do the E, S & XO acronyms mean? Do I really have to eat every three hours? When do I eat each different fuel?
All these questions can seem overwhelming but there are tons of resources that explain this plan simply and make it easy to follow.
If you have lots of questions, check out this Trim Healthy Mama A to Z post that tackles every question you might have from A to Z! But here we are going to discuss THM fuel rotation. When to eat S meals, E meals, FP & XO’s – when you finish this post you will have an idea of how to plan out your schedule of eating for success.
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THM Fuel Rotation – When to Eat S, E, FP and XO
Learning when to each fuel is a question that I see over and over in the THM beginners group. And I have good news and bad.
The good news is that there is no hard and fast rule as to when to eat each fuel. (This is only bad news if you are a stickler for a plan!) What I like about this is that you really can’t mess up.
So you can get that potential failure out of your head. There are a few guidelines & I’ll share how I usually do it to give you an example but overall you just can’t mess up!
Planning Your THM Day of Meals
There are pretty much two types of Trim Healthy Mama’s. Those that plan & those that like to live on the edge and pick their fuel every 3 hours as meal time pops up. And maybe there is a third THM that meal plans and then follows that plan loosely over the course of the week.
For example, Monday meal plan says spaghetti for dinner and Tuesday say tacos. On Monday if I’m craving tacos, we just move the meal plan around. You guessed it – this is my style of THM.
So let’s take a look at how that works.
Meal Planning Fuels
When creating a meal plan, list out all the fuel type next to each meal. This will help you to make sure that you are getting the number of S & E meals that you desire.
You can check out this meal planning on THM post if you need some help & this free printable THM Meal planner.
Free Style Fuels
The other method of fuel rotation is simply eating what you feel your body needing. So as a simple example, this morning I woke up and walked into my kitchen. I thought about eggs but it just didn’t sound good.
After searching around, the loaf of sprouted bread seemed to be calling my name. I went from thinking I would eat eggs (S) to craving the sprouted bread (E). I ended up making a spur of the moment breakfast of sprouted toast, cottage cheese, a few sliced tomatoes and everything but the bagel seasoning.
How Many E’s Should I Eat per Week?
5 to 7 E meals per week are recommended on THM. Some people do more and do great losing weight. There are other mamas that can’t do as many E meals if they want to shed the pounds.
It is important to remember that these are guidelines and to watch how YOUR body does with the E meals vs. the S meals and then plan accordingly.
I like to get my E meals in at breakfast and as snacks since I prefer an S meal typically for dinner. That is just a personal preference though!
But Aren’t XO’s Bad?
I see a lot of misinformation about XO’s on the Facebook groups from time to time. It typically comes from a well meaning mama that just hasn’t completely learned the plan. They tell a group of mamas something slightly inaccurate & it spreads from there.
Here are some things I see about XO (Crossovers):
False: Crossovers are not on plan. Crossovers are definitely on plan. A crossover is simply a plate that is an E & a S mixed together. Example: A steak (S) and a sweet potato (E) at a meal = a XO because you mixed the two fuels. (A FP food is like Switzerland and is not offensive to either an E or an S meal. So you can have a FP on your S plate or your E plate without crossing over)
False: XO’s are not good for weight loss. The sisters never say that you can’t lose weight eating an occasional XO. They just say that it is harder to lose weight if you are eating lots of them and that they may be better left to those at goal weight, nursing mamas, kids and men.
However, many of us find that an occasional XO (for me that looks like once a week but could be different for you) actually jump starts weight loss sometimes. It is also a great way to avoid going off plan. Going back to my steak example, if having a sweet potato with your steak on a date with your husband helps you avoid the bread basket – I say do it!
What About These Sad FP’s?
Fuel Pulls have very little fat or carbs. You can eat them with E or S fuels without crossing over.
Many people find them less satisfying than the E or S fuels but they have their place. They help to bulk up S or E meals with very few calories which is a great way to get full when you are trying to lose weight. We don’t count calories on THM but we try not to abuse them too!
Some find that having a meal of just Fuel Pull foods will help aid in weight loss. You can definitely add in a FP meal here or there but there is no recommendation or rule that you have to do this. You can read more about FP’s here.
A THM Fuel Rotation Example Plan
THM fuel rotation is really mostly a preference and not a hard and fast rule. But I know that when you are starting something new, sometimes an example or a guide is helpful to form a visual of what you should be doing.
If you are following the 5-7 E meals a week guideline, that means that you can think about one E meal per day in general. So here is how I would conduct a THM fuel rotation for one day.
Breakfast: THM Veggie Oatmeal Hack with blueberries (add protein powder or some lean deli meat/Greek yogurt for added protein) E meal
Lunch: Snacky Lunch (Salami, Cheese, Cashew, Mini peppers) S Meal
Snack: Light Laughing Cow Cheese on Celery with a light sprinkle of Everything But the Bagel Seasoning and lean turkey lunch meat – FP Meal
Dinner: Salsa Verde Chicken and Queso Cauli Rice – S meal
Want more inspiration for meal plans and THM fuel rotation? Try these free plans.
- THM 7 Day Drive Thru Sue No Cook Meal Plan
- No Cook THM Breakfast Ideas
- 7 Frugal THM Dinner Ideas
- 5 THM Freezer Meals
- THM Meal Plan 1
New to THM? These Guides Will Help Make Life Easier!
Thank you so much! The thought of beginning THM has been totally overwhelming! You have been very gracious in sharing your knowledge and experience concerning this new lifestyle eating plan. My husband is a heart attack survivor and is diabetic, also with hypertension and on several meds. Everything you said about your husband’s food choices/tastes fits my husband to a “t.” And… I have been on (hypo)-thyroid medication for years. Since just learning I am pre-diabetic, I am panicked about going on diabetes medications, (Yes, I am 30+ pounds overweight). For 3 days now, I have really tried to eat low carb high protein meals. A friend told me about THM. She has lost 22 lbs. Her daughter has lost 30 so, I was excited about THM. Then, I started trying to understand S, E, FP, XO terminology. I had decided it wasn’t worth the effort (I am older and tired and I guess just lazy) until I saw your posts. Thanks for the explanations and simplicity of your posted information and for the encouragement! I hope you are rewarded for your time spent sharing to help other people like me. I am not sure what I will do yet but, THM doesn’t seem as radical or difficult as it did before I started reading your pages today.
Stacy Craft says
Hi Kim! Thanks for the kind words and I hope the explanation helps. Good luck on your THM journey.