{Three best friends sharing health and wellness ideas to create a positive change}

Saturday, March 29, 2014

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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Chest and Back Burnout

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Today I am bringing you guys a strength training workout for your Back and Chest. I am using free weights and my ball as my only equipment. But you could use whatever you have around the house, ex: weighted water jugs or a bench or ottoman. You are going to perform each exercise for 8-12 reps. with heavy weight or 12-15 reps. with a medium weight. The goal is to push yourself as hard as you can with as heavy weight as you can handle while still having good form and being able to accomplish the repetitions. So lets get started! :)

1. Push-Up with Right and Left arm Punches 

Perform a regular push-up and then come up to your starting plank and punch forward with your right arm. Repeat the push-up again and then return to plank and punch forward with left arm. Keep repeating until you have finished your desired repetitions. (Remember to keep your body in line the whole time. With your bum in line with your back and head in line with spine at all times.) 

2. Chest Press 

Lay down on either your ball, bench, or ottoman and lift your weights out in front of you straight in front of your shoulders. Lower the weight down to where your elbows are straight out from your shoulders and your arms are making a 90* angle. Hold for one second and then press the weight back up to the starting position. Repeat until desired repetitions have been reached. (Remember if using a ball to keep your core engaged to support your back and not to let your shoulders raise up into your neck.)

3. Laying down Chest Flys

 Lay down on your ball and hold your weight straight out in font of you with hands facing in towards each other. Then fly your arms out to your sides going no lower than shoulder level. Keep a slight bend in your elbows during the movement. Bring arms back up to starting position and repeat for desired reps. (Remember if using a ball to keep your core engaged to support your back and not to let your shoulders raise up into your neck.)

4. Bent-Over Rows 

  Stand with your feet shoulder width apart with a slight bend in your knees and have your wights in your hand arms hanging down in front of your body. Slightly bend forward at your hips while keeps your back still flat. Hold this position and just row your arms up along side your body while keeps your elbows tucked in next to your sides. Return back to starting position and repeat until hit desired reps. (Remember to keep your shoulders down and to not let your back arch during the movement.)

5. Single Arm Row (right)-

Usually I do these with my opposite knee as working arm bent up on a bench but since I didn't have one right now I did them free standing. Starting position arm straight down by your side with body bent forward. Then row your arm up keeping elbow against your side and not letting it flare out.  Hold for a second at the top of the row before taking it back down to starting position. Repeat until you have completed desired repetitions. (Remember to keep your shoulders back and down and try to keep your back straight.)

6. Single Arm Row (left)-

 Repeat the same movement as you did above on the right side but now on your left. Make sure to do the same amount of repetitions on the left side as you did on the right. You don't want to have one arm more worked and stronger than the other.

7. High Plank Forward and Fly lifts (right)- 

  Start in a high plank position and have a weight in your right hand. While holding the rest of your body still lift your right arm straight out in front of you, trying to bring it to your shoulder height. Bring your right arm back down to starting position and then fly it out to the side while keeping a slight bend in your elbow. Then bring it back down to starting position and keep repeating the two arm lifts. 1 repetition is when you do both the forward lift and fly to the side. (Remember to keep your body in a straight line in the plank position and to hold everything still while doing the arm lifts.)

8. High Plank Forward and Fly lifts (left)- 

 Repeat the same exercises as above but now using your left arm to perform the lifts. Make sure to try and perform the same number of repetitions that you did on the right side.

If you did not find this workout difficult then try increasing your weight and performing more repetitions. Another key factor is to try and not take a very long rest between the different exercises. Try and only take a 10 second break and then get set up to do the next exercise. Good luck with this Burnout and let me know how you liked it. :)

- Shauna

Monday, March 24, 2014

20 Minute Sprint Workout

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Are you ready for a quick paced, intense workout? Well here ya go! This workout is awesome if you don't have a ton of time, or you want to get a good sweat sesh in before or after you lift weights. I do this workout once or twice a week before I do one of my weight lifting circuits, and I am nasty sweaty by the time I am done! Two great things about this workout are:
1. You can make it as hard or as easy as you want- the faster your sprint is the harder the workout is. Remember: You do not have to be a "runner" to do this workout! I know it is called a sprint workout, but if you cannot run or you feel more comfortable walking, follow the directions and just walk. For example, when it says to perform your fastest sprint, just perform your fastest speed walk:)
2. You really can do it anywhere. I usually do this one at the gym so I am on the treadmill, but you can do it on the track, on the road, or really anywhere that is convenient for you.

Comfort: A speed where you feel comfortable: you can stay at this speed for a long time. This is going to be your recovery speed. You will recover after each sprint. 
Sprint #1: Think of this as your "warm up sprint". You are not sprinting your hardest, but your heart is beating pretty good! If you are on the treadmill, bump up your speed at least one full mph from comfort. For example, if your comfort is 6.0 mph, bump the speed up to at least 7.0 mph. 
Sprint #2: A fast run. Faster than your first sprint. Bump your speed up at least one mph. For example, if my #1 Sprint was at 7.5 mph, I would bump it up to at least 8.5.
Sprint #3: This is a hard run. Almost your fastest sprint, but you are not quite pushing it your hardest. Bump your mph up at least one whole time again.
Sprint #4: Your hardest Sprint. Run as fast as you can (without getting hurt and with good form!) Bump up your speed at least 1 mph from the last sprint. 

20 Minute Sprint Workout:

Comfort:     3 minutes
Sprint #1:    1 minute
Comfort:     1 minute
Sprint #2:    1 minute
Comfort:     1 minute
Sprint #3:    1 minute
Comfort:     1 minute
Sprint #4:    30 seconds-1 minute
Comfort:     1 minute
Sprint #4:    30 seconds-1 minute
Comfort:     1 minute
Sprint #3:    1 minute
Comfort:     1 minute
Sprint #2:    1 minute
Comfort:     1 minute
Sprint #1:    1 minute
Comfort:     2 minutes

Let me know how it goes!! Good luck and have fun!


Sunday, March 23, 2014

Tips to Boost your Energy

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Do you ever feel like you have absolutely no energy or that you are running on low for some (or most) of the day?  I’m pretty sure that we all have felt like that at one point or another. Everyone has different ways of dealing with their lack of energy. Some reach for the nearest Diet Coke, some just push through to make it through the day, and some go to extremes like taping their eyes open or something crazy…just kidding I hope nobody does the third option;). I am here to tell you that there are natural ways to fill your tank when you are running on empty. Here are a few ways that I have found help boost my energy.

1. Stick to an exercise schedule:
Some people think, “Ah I’m too tired to exercise!” Well guess what? Research has shown that exercise has actually been found to boost energy. People who exercise feel more energized throughout the day if they have had a workout. I have definitely seen this in my life. I notice a HUGE difference on the days that I do not exercise than on the days that I do. I feel a little sluggish when I don’t stick to my workout schedule.

2. Eat a balanced diet:
“You are what you eat”, your mom always said….Moms are so smart! This really is true. Try to eat a nutritious diet. Stick with whole grains, lean protein, fruits and vegetables, healthy fats, and low fat dairy. Eating a nutritious diet will keep your blood sugar at a steady level throughout the day, give you the energy you need to perform your daily tasks, and provide your body with the essential vitamins, minerals and nutrients it needs to stay energized.

3. Stay hydrated: drink more water:
According to Boston College, two-thirds of Americans do not get enough water. I mean I am no math expert, but that sounds like a whole a lot of thirsty Americans! Haha Water is super important for our bodies and we need lots for our bodies to function properly. The daily recommendation is eight 8 oz glasses (or 64 ounces) of water per day. If you are exercising, you need even more. Do not wait until you are thirsty to drink water. You are already slightly dehydrated when you get thirsty. My biggest tip for drinking more water is to always carry a water bottle with you and drink it throughout the day. Your body will thank you.

4. Get enough sleep:
We learned from the last post on sleep, how important it is for our body to get enough sleep. If you can, try to get 7-8 hours of shut-eye per night. When we are well rested, we can think more clearly and have the energy to make it through the day.

5. Don’t skip meals and have a power snack if you need to:
When we skip meals, our blood sugar can plummet. When our blood sugar drops, our energy drops. Our bodies need food…weird right?! ;) If we keep fuel in our tanks, our body will be able to go for longer. If you get hungry in between meals, eat a snack! Keep your blood sugar steady. Eat a snack that combines whole grains and fiber to give you a pick-me-up, and protein and a little fat to help your energy last. Try to avoid eating too many sugary snacks. Sugar can cause your blood sugar to spike and then drop quickly, leaving you feeling "wiped out".
Examples of healthy snacks:
-1 serving of whole wheat crackers and 1 TBSP of peanut butter
-Apple slices or banana slices with 1 TBSP of peanut butter or almond butter
-Greek yogurt with fruit or granola
-Whole wheat toast with nut spread
-Veggies dipped in hummus
-Trail mix of nuts and dried fruit

6. Laugh:
Laughter is the best medicine! Watch that funny youtube video that your friend sent you! Laughing not only helps improve your mood, but it also raises your blood pressure and heart rate, giving you that extra boost of energy. And who doesn’t like to get a little laugh in during the day?!

7. Get moving!
Aside from your regular exercise schedule, make sure you are moving throughout the day. If you are feeling sluggish, go for a 10 minute walk or do some stretches. Getting out the door when you are exhausted really can be a difficult task, but I promise you won’t regret it. It’s amazing how much better you feel after you move around, no matter how tired you were before you did.

Do you have any energy boosting tips that have worked for you? If so, please share!

Have a wonderful Sunday!


Saturday, March 22, 2014

The Importance of Sleep—Quanity and Quality

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Since I am away this weekend, running a NYC 1/2 marathon, I decided to turn my post over to my husband. I hope you all have a great and safe weekend! Enjoy.


Why is sleep important?

Most of us know sleep is important. All you have to do is get one bad night of sleep to know firsthand how important it is; you feel fatigued, foggy, and just plain crapy. On the other hand, the feeling of waking up after a great night sleep is pretty awesome; feeling rejuvenated, energetic, sharp minded, and ready to take on the day! So what is going on during our sleep that makes it so important? Unfortunately much of sleep remains a mystery, and there have been many theories over the years as to why sleep is so essential. Most recent research shows that sleep is the most important for our mental capacity. It is extremely important in processing new memories, integrating learned tasks, and other such things like judgment and attention. To illustrate just how important sleep is, here are just a few of the side effects of sleep deprivation:

  • Decreased attention and reaction time
  • Deficits in memory
  • Poor decision making
  • Altered mental status (i.e. depression, anxiety, poor mood, irritability)
  • Low energy
  • Decreased libido
  • Increased rate of accidents (workplace, driving, etc…)
  • Associated with increased risk of mortality
  • Associated with increased co-morbidities:
  • High blood pressure, coronary artery disease, stroke, heart attack, obesity, type II diabetes
  • Decreased immune function

How much sleep do I need?

It is generally recommended to get around 8 hours of sleep, although this can vary significantly from individual to individual. The best way to find out how much sleep one needs is to pay attention to one’s own internal cues and to monitor for signs of sleep deprivation. However, making sure you aren’t sleep deprived doesn’t simply boil down to a magical number of hours that you need to hit. Another factor that is just as important to consider is the quality of sleep one is getting. It may be that you are getting 8, 9, or even 10 hours of sleep, but if it isn’t good quality sleep it won’t count for much.

How do I improve my sleep?

One way of improving our sleep and reducing sleep deprivation would be to simply increase the amount of time we allow ourselves to sleep; however, for many of us the quantity of our sleep may be difficult, or even impossible, to adjust. For many people it is often easier to try and focus on improving the quality of sleep one is getting. There are many factors that affect the quality of sleep that we are getting and are commonly referred to as our “sleep hygiene” habits.  Here is a list of suggestions for developing good sleep hygiene:

  • Sleep just long enough to feel rested and then make sure to get out of bed
  • Go to bed and get up at the same time every day
  • Have coffee, tea, and other foods that have caffeine only in the morning
  • Avoid alcohol in the late afternoon, evening, and bedtime
  • Avoid smoking, especially in the evening
  • Keep your bedroom dark, cool, quiet, and free of reminders of work or other things that cause you stress
  • Solve problems you have before you go to bed
  • Exercise several days a week, but not right before bed
  • Relaxation therapy, in which you focus on relaxing all the muscles in your body 1 by 1
  • Working with a counselor or psychologist to deal with the problems that might be causing poor sleep

While improving the quantity and quality of one’s sleep isn’t always the easiest thing to do, it is incredibly important for both our physical and mental health. Hopefully this article will provide some insight into ways you can try and improve your sleep and overall health! If you have any questions or suggestions for ways you have found to improve your sleep, please let us know.


Friday, March 21, 2014

Ways to Help with Weight Loss Plateau

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Are you stuck in a rut with your health/weight loss journey? Are you feeling like you have seen some improvements in weight loss but now its stopped and you feel like all your hard work is not helping? You may be in a plateau, a weight loss plateau that is. They are very common and happen to many people while going along in their journey to achieve their health goals. A plateau is a discouraging time when your weight loss slows down or stops altogether because your body has adapted to the exercise and form of healthy eating you have been doing. There are many reasons this can happen and I'm going to give you a few tips on how to over come your weight loss plateau.  

Re-evaluate your Incoming Calories-

Weight loss happens by consuming fewer calories than your body is expending. Make sure you are not eating to many calories for your body at its new weight. Since you have lost some weight during your journey make sure you have re configured your needed calories and are consuming enough for your current weight and not your starting weight. On the other hand make sure you are not starving yourself and making your body retain fat. If you are not getting enough calories to sustain your bodies needs then your metabolism will drop drastically and your body will store everything you eat as a fat. Our bodies adapt to the changes we place them under and in this case if your getting to few calories then your body will store everything being afraid you wont feed it again soon.

Take Control of Forgotten Calories-

Most the time people will hit a plateau because of those forgotten calories that they ate. I'm talking about little snacks that we munch on in the car or that soda we drank at lunch or even that bigger sized portion of dinner we ate out. Calories that you forget you have eaten that are hurting your weight loss goals. The best way to help get yourself back on track with this is to keep a food journal. This way you can write down everything you ate that day and keep track of those little calories that are sneaking into our diet that we are not even being aware of.

Make a Change with your Workout Routine-

Like I said before our bodies adapt to the lifestyle we are living and the demands we place upon it. Our muscles get familiar to the workouts we perform and this is why you stop seeing results. In order to over come this you have to either increase your intensity, duration, or change the type of exercise you are performing.  If you are used to walking everyday then try increasing the pace or doing intervals to increase your heart rate. Try doing the elliptical or bike instead of walking. If you are doing strength training try increasing your weight and performing new exercises. This will help increase your muscle mass which will in turn make you burn more calories.

Remember Why you Started this Journey-

Reassess your goals and reasons why you started this healthy living lifestyle. Going through a plateau is frustrating and can be difficult but it also gives you the opportunity to reevaluate your goals and desires to live a healthy lifestyle. Re adjust your approach to weight loss and continue to work at it each day and not to give up. Write up your game plan and goals and put them on your mirror so you can see them each morning to help you stay on track and get you through this plateau.

If you are going through a plateau right now remember that they happen to everyone and you can work to get through it. Just remember these tips and try reassessing your healthy living goals. Good luck and let me know if you need any more help or tips.


Thursday, March 20, 2014

Southwest Stuffed Avocados

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Avocados + Southwest Goodness = WOW. Need I say more?! These stuffed avocados are pretty much the bomb.com and they are pretty dang cute too;) Who can resist yummy AND cute food?! They are perfect for any get together or for a fast and easy dinner. My husband and daughter both loved them. Most importantly, they are healthy! Wahoo! They have healthy fats from the avocados, lots of protein from the beans, chicken and greek yogurt, are high in fiber, high in potassium and many other vitamins and minerals... the list goes on! I hope you enjoy them as much as we did!

2 cups cooked and shredded chicken breasts 
5.3 ounce container of plain Greek yogurt
4 TBSP chunky salsa
1/4 cup black beans
1/4 cup corn
4 oz can diced green chilies (had to add a little New Mexican twist!)
1 tsp lime juice
2 avocados cut in half

Optional toppings:
Shredded Cheese
Cilantro leaves

Mix chicken, yogurt, salsa and lime juice together. Stir in beans, corn and green chilies. Slice Avocados in half lengthwise, remove the pit and scoop out of shell. Fill pit cavity with chicken mixture and mound additional mixture on avocado surface. Garnish with optional toppings. Can sprinkle some black pepper on top also. 

Let me know how you like these! Enjoy!


Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The Pros and Cons of Calorie Counting

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As we all know, when it comes to losing weight, everyone has their own opinion of what works, what doesn't work, what diet is best, etc. At the end of it all though, the simple explanation of weight loss is calories in vs calories out. But are all calories created equal? This is where calorie counting can get confusing.

Calorie counting is tracking the calories of everything you eat throughout the day. You have a set daily calorie goal, usually calculated for you according to your current weight and your target weight, and you base what you eat according to that number. You also log your exercise and your calories are adjusted accordingly. There are a lot of free apps out there for calorie counting. One that I have experience with (I do not calorie count but have tried it in the past), is My Fitness Pal. I actually think it is a great app and I would recommend it to anyone interested in calorie counting. I have also heard that LiveStrong is another good app.

All that being said, I think it is important to look at both sides of everything, so I want to give some pros and cons about calorie counting. As always, please consult with a doctor before starting any new program. 

*Calorie counting can be great for people that are just starting to learn about nutrition and are unaware of portion sizes. If you do not know what typical serving sizes for food looks like, calorie counting helps make you aware of that since you have to measure everything to log your calories correctly. It is pretty shocking how small serving sizes are compared to what is "normal."

*It makes you aware of how many calories you take in when eating out. Pull up nutrition facts for your favorite restaurants online. Some things we eat at restaurants have the same amount of calories for one meal (not including appetizers and desserts) as we should be eating in an entire day! When I tried calorie counting, this is one thing that really stuck with me. Since then, I have really tried to only eat out once a week and share with someone when possible. Calorie counting helps make you aware of things like this.

*It can help keep you accountable. If you know you have to write down that candy bar after you eat it, you will be far less likely to indulge in it. It is a good idea to share your log with someone who is supportive of your goals so that they can help you stay accountable.

*Calorie counting can help motivate you to exercise. Since you log your exercise and it adjusts your calories accordingly, this can give you that extra push to get up and get going.

*With all the free apps readily available, calorie counting is an easy way to monitor what you are eating.

*To answer my first question, no, every calorie is not created equal. A good example of this is to compare these energy bites that we posted a few weeks ago with tortilla chips. I calculated that each energy bite is approximately 115 calories. In most tortilla chips, a serving size is 9-12 chips (depending on the brand), and that gives you around 120 calories. The energy bites are dense and give you important nutrients like carbs, protein, and fiber. All of these nutrients will help keep you full and will fuel your body. On the other hand, 9 tortilla chips is not going to do much of anything for you. With calorie counting, all that matters is the number, not the nutrients in food. There is way more to making healthy changes than just calories alone when it comes to losing weight. 

*Calorie counting can make you ignore your bodies natural hunger cues. Since you are always just focusing on reaching that number, it is easy to ignore your body telling you if you are hungry or not. Listening to your body is a learned skill, but it is important to develop it and start giving your body what it needs instead of just what it wants

*It is easy to get obsessive over it. I have talked to many people that are so obsessed with counting calories that they think about what they are going to eat all day long. I think this is a form of disordered eating and do not think it is healthy.

*It can make you replace healthy, higher calorie foods with unhealthy lower calorie foods. I hear this all the time and it can even go as far as making people scared of certain healthy foods because they view them as being high in calories. An example of this is whole wheat. Whole wheat bread is often higher in calories than white bread but is much healthier. It is not just about the calories. If you are listening to your body and not overeating, healthy foods will be so much more beneficial to you, even if they are higher in calories.

To sum it all up: 
I think that calorie counting can be a good thing for some people to help cut down on portion sizes and start getting on the right track when losing weight. However, I do not think that it is the best long term solution. I think that listening to your body and learning about what foods are best and why those foods are best, is the best thing you can do for your health. Whether you calorie count or not, it is important to look at the serving size and nutrition facts in your food to make you aware of what you are putting into your body.

Have you ever counted calories? If so, what was your experience with it?


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Oatmeal Applesauce Muffins

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I made these muffins this past weekend as another alternative to eat after a workout and also as a breakfast or snack on the go for the little miss who runs my life :) They are very filling and packed full with yummy and good for you ingredients. I originally found this recipe on Pinterest off the blog Sisterhood of the Shrinking Jeans and have made it a few times now. If you can't eat them all in a few days you can always freeze the rest and pull one out and microwave to warm quickly.

Oatmeal Applesauce Muffins:

  • 1 cup old fashioned rolled oats (not instant)
  • 1 cup nonfat milk
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 egg whites 
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • raisins or nuts 
You can also add in wheat germ, flax seeds, or chia seeds. Anything that you want to add to give it that extra healthy punch.
Yield: 12-14 muffins


Preheat your oven to 400* F and either spray muffin pan with cooking spray and line it with muffin liners.

Soak the oats with the cup of milk in a large bowl for one hour.

 (Oats will soften and soak up some of the milk)

After an hour of soaking combine the applesauce and egg whites with the oatmeal mixture and mix with a spoon till just combined. 

In a separate bowl combine with a whisk the wheat flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and whatever other add ins you would like. (wheat germ, flax seeds, chia seeds)

Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix until just combined. Add in raisins or nuts and then spoon into muffin tin.
 (Don't over mix the batter because the muffins will become tough)

Once spooned into muffin tin sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar mixture on top of each muffin. 

Bake at 400*F for 20-25 minutes. Let them cool before trying to remove from linear. 

I promise you will love these. They are so yummy and filling. I hope you guys enjoy them as much as my family did. Let me know what you think:)


Monday, March 17, 2014

Weight Management Strategies to Keep You Sane

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We are so excited to have Kelly Pritchett as our guest blogger today! Kelly is an Assistant Professor in Sports Nutrition at the University of Georgia. She has a PhD, is a Registered Dietitian, and is a Board Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics. Kelly has awesome ideas for weight management and also for keeping a healthy lifestyle. Enjoy! 

As moms it can be difficult to manage our weight due to our demanding schedules. If you are like me, you are constantly on the go – from being a mom, working a full time job, dropping kids off at their activities, to changing diapers. So, how do we keep the pounds from creeping up on us?

1. Schedule time for exercise.  Put it on your calendar and you are more likely to stick to the plan. Otherwise, you will end up with every excuse in the book as to why you didn’t exercise.
2. Watch out for portion distortion. Its well known that today’s portions are much larger than they used to be. Try using smaller plates, cups, and bowls when serving yourself at home. When dining out, opt for smaller sizes.
3.  Fill up on fruits and veggies. High in fiber, and water – snack on fruits and veggies. Start with a salad before a meal to prevent over doing it with the main course.
4.  Don’t drink your calories. Beverages tend to be a source of hidden calories. While they don’t always fill us up, they may be filling us out. Watch out for added calories in your favorite caramel, vanilla Latte- opt for a cappuccino and sweeten with cinnamon. Extra calories in your favorite cocktail, wine, or beer can also add up. Try alternating with water in between. Consider adding fruit (citrus, berries) or mint to make water more appealing.
5.  Start each day with breakfast.  Do as your mother told you “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day”. It gets the metabolism going. Research suggests that breakfast eaters tend to be leaner than those who don’t partake.
6.  Don’t deprive yourself –think small “indulgences”. I’m sure you have experienced this before. You’ve been avoiding cookies like the plague, then one day you cant resist and overdo it. Better to allow yourself to have one piece of chocolate, one cookie, etc. so you don’t over do it the next time you bake cookies.
7.  Stick to 4 or 5 small meals a day. This will help keep you fuller and satisfied throughout the day. You will be less likely to overdo it later on in the day.
8.   Cook smart.  Bake, sautee, and boil your foods as opposed to frying them. Use olive oil and canola oils for healthier options. Bake with bananas to replace sugar.
9.  Food prep on Sundays. Wash and cut your veggies ahead of time. Plan and prepare healthy meals that will get you through the week. You will be less likely to opt for take out or run through a drive through.
10.  Make simple swaps. Try using plain yogurt instead of sour cream. Drizzle balsamic vinegar and a touch of honey on your salads as opposed to dressings.  Bake with bananas to replace sugar.
11.  Get moving! And I’m not referring to your daily exercise routine. Stand up as opposed to sitting down, it recruits more muscle fibers which will increase the calorie burn. Take the stairs, walk or bike to work versus driving.
-Kelly Pritchett

Thanks Kelly! Hopefully we can all take this advice and apply it to our lives to be happier and healthier! Have a great rest of the day! 

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Race Week Preparations

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I received a great request from one of our readers to post about things to do the week leading up to a race. Since my half marathon is next Saturday, it was perfect timing!

Race pic from my half marathon last September

Race week workouts:
You have completed all of your long runs and moved onto taper runs, so now what? The week leading up to a race is an important time to find that balance between keeping your endurance up and letting your body rest. This is not the time to start a new exercise plan or to push yourself too hard, but you also do not want to take the entire week off. 

Perform some easy runs throughout the week and also plan a few cross training days. It is a good idea to go for a short, easy run the day before your race to loosen up your legs. If you have kept up a good training schedule, keep your same schedule, just take some mileage off of your long runs. 

On race day, your adrenaline will be going crazy, so make sure to practice pacing yourself this week so you don't use up all your energy on the first half of the race. I made this mistake on my first half marathon. My pace for the first 5 miles was 1 minute faster per mile then my normal pace, and by mile 8, I was feeling it. I had to slow down a lot which hurt my overall time. Pacing is important!

What to eat leading up to race day:
Have you heard of carb loading? Many runners swear by it before a big race. Carb loading basically means increasing the amount of carbohydrates you are eating during the last few days leading up to a race. Carb loading can increase the amount of glycogen stores in your muscles to help keep you going strong during prolonged, high intensity exercise. This can help increase your athletic performance during a race. That being said, carb loading is normally not necessary if you will be running for less than 90 minutes. 

According to Runners World, carb loading does not mean you need to be increasing your calories, just have more of the calories coming from carbohydrates. The best time for your large, carb loading meal is at lunch the day before a race, then have a smaller carbohydrate based dinner. This will give your body time to digest and store the food so you are ready to use those nutrients during your race.  

This is not the time to start a new diet or to cut carbs out!

Get your gear ready:
Start watching the weather so you can make sure you have the right type of clothing to wear on race day. Make sure your gear is not worn down and that it is functioning properly. Do a test run in your outfit to make sure chaffing is not going to be an issue. If you are prone to chaffing, investing in some glide will save you on race day. My dad recommends Body Glide, which goes on like deodorant and is much less messy then gels and liquids. 

The day before your race, make sure all your gear is laid out and ready to go. Most races have "drop bags" where you can leave a bag of items at the start line. If it is a chilly morning, take advantage of this and bring a jacket or other warm clothes that you can wear while you wait for the race to start, then take them off just before you begin.

It is recommended that you take a full rest day (a day off of exercise) 2 days before a race. This means if your race is on Saturday, you want a planned rest day on Thursday. This may be hard to do after being so strict with your training schedule, but it is important to let your body recover to prevent injuries and allow your muscles to be ready to work at their full potential on race day.

This week it will also be important to get enough sleep. Keep your body well rested and healthy! The night before a race, try to relax, stay off your feet, and get to bed early. I know it is exciting, but save your late night celebration for after the race.

Above all, remember to have fun! You have worked so hard and come so far, enjoy the experience and take it all in. Take lots of pictures!


Saturday, March 15, 2014

At Home Workout Challenge

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I found this 1000 rep workout challenge a few years ago on Body Rock TV. After I tried it the first time, I was hooked! It is such a good workout and each time you do it, you are pushing yourself harder. It is also great because it is easily done at home and no exercise equipment is required. Another one of the things I love about this exercise is that if you are short on time, you can just do it a couple times through and it gives you a quick and effective sweat session.

For this workout, you do 10 workouts, 10 reps each, 10 times all the way through. At the end you will have done 1000 reps! Try to do it as many times as possible without stopping, then each day you after that, do it one more time then you did before. Push yourself and see what you can do! Its awesome to see yourself get stronger and be able to do more each time. Once you can do the challenge all 10 times, start timing yourself and work on getting through it  faster. Do not be intimidated-if you are a beginner, start by doing it 1-2 times all the way through and work up from there. Just make sure you are always using good form on your workouts! Pictures and descriptions of each workout are below. If you would like to see a video of the workouts, go to Body Rock TV here.

1000 Rep Challenge
10 Burpees
10 Squat Jumps (with or without added weight)
10 Push ups
10 Toe Touch Sit Ups
10 Tricep Dips
10 Tuck Jumps
10 Plank Jaxs
10 Jumping Lunges
10 Leg Drops
10 Squat Thrusts

Start in a standing position. Bend down into a squat with your hands on the floor, jump into plank (pushup position), jump back into your squat (hands still on the ground), and jump back up to standing position. It should all be a continuous and smooth movement.

Squat Jumps:
Perform a squat keeping your bum back so that your knees do not go over your feet. From your squat, jump up, then smoothly land back down into your squat. 
*My pictures of this did not turn out so I borrowed some from one of our previous posts :).

If you need to, drop down onto your knees for your pushups. Make sure to keep your back and bum flat.

Toe Touch Sit Ups:
Start laying flat. Pull up your legs (keeping them straight) and your chest at the same time, then go back to starting position. If you need to modify this, you can bend your legs into your chest (third picture).

Tricep Dips:
Find something that you can put your arms up on, a chair works great. Hold yourself up on your hands. Keeping your arms close to your body, slowly bend down at your elbows then back up.

Tuck Jumps:
Start in a standing position. Jump up into a tuck and smoothly land back down to standing position.

Plank Jaxs:
Start in plank position. Jump both legs out at the same time, then back in, like a jumping jack.

Jumping Lunges:
Lunge with one leg in front (never let your knee go over your foot). At the bottom of your lunge, jump up and land in a lunge with the opposite leg in front. Land softly and try to make it a continuous motion.

Leg Drops:
Lie on your back with your legs straight up. Slowly lower your legs down until they are almost touching the ground, then raise them back to starting position. Lift your head off the ground to increase difficulty. 

Squat Thrusts:
Start in plank. Jump your legs into your chest with your hands still on the ground then back out to plank. 

Have fun challenging yourself!