Two a Healthy Life

One couple on a mission to become healthy

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Day 73: Man Boobs & Supersize vs. Superskinny

He said:

One of my goals for the week is to find and go to a dietitian to work on a new diet program for leveling off my weight goals.  As I am nearing my weight loss goals, I understand that there is still work that needs to be done, but I do not have to diet the way I have been going.

There is an embarrassing aspect of my body that I haven’t really gone into in this blog that I can finally go into; man boobs.  The thing I hated about my body the most was the fact that I had man boobs, this is why I never wanted to take my shirt off at the beach and was embarrassed of the way I looked.

One of the goals that kept me going when I was loosing willpower was the thought that one day I wouldn’t be embarrassed of the fact that I had man boobs because I wouldn’t have them.  Yet, even with all the weight I have lost, I still am not satisfied with the way my chest looks.  Even though this is the case, I also do not think that dieting and loosing more weight is the answer anymore.

The plan for here on out is loosening up on my diet (still eating a healthy diet and the right portions), but using this new diet in combination with my running and weight training to help tone and sculpt the body I have now.

Alex and I have talked about the differences for men and women in association with loosing weight and how hard it is for them.  What we have come up with is that while it may be easier for men to loose weight, it is harder to get into a state of fitness that most people associate with being fit.  Women have a harder time loosing the weight from the get go, but somewhere along the way just loosing the weight gets them to where most people would say the are fit and good looking.  Just something to think about.

Keep your chin up…or you’ll run into a lamp post (true story).

She Said:

Today during my run I was feeling some fatigue in my lower back around mile 2.

I looked up some information about this online once I got home and it’s apparently not an uncommon feeling among runners. Doing dead lifts can apparently help with this so I may have to start doing them at the gym if I experience the same feeling on the next couple of runs.

I am feeling really good about my dieting and my ability to stick to the calorie plan but I have yet to mentally push myself to jog past 2.5 miles. I can do 2.5 without a problem so I feel 3 is well within my grasp… I know it is but I always laze out on the last .5 miles.

Current Obsession: I recently discovered the British television show Supersize Vs. Superskinny. The show puts one obese person and one severely underweight in a house together for a few days and they swap diets.

They essentially put together a plate they would normally make for themselves and then trade plates.

It’s interesting to watch the large people deal with having their diets chopped from 3-8,000 calories a day to under 1,000 and watching the skinny people do the opposite.

Some of the skinny people have legitimate food fears – one girl almost started crying when she heard milk being poured into cereal.

What I really like about the show is that it doesn’t just pick on overweight people and it seeks to deglamorize thinness. Severely limiting your calories and being underweight can hurt you just as much in the long run as being obese.

You can get full episodes of the show on youtube and it talks about nutrition and negative aspects of both sides of the coin so I encourage you to check it out if you’re interested.

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Day 67: Speed & over 20 lbs.

He said:

Did another early morning run today (5:00am, I know right) and the one difference that I noticed is the speed training really did help.  Halfway through the run I realized I was keeping up a good pace and wasn’t as winded as I normally am.  So I set a new PR today for both the 5k and 10k at 25:09 and 51:29 respectively, not a bad way to start the day.

Other then that, rode the bike to work today and just kept trucking.  I am really brain drained from the giant post yesterday so I will leave you all for now.


She said: 

I am unsure if the benefits of speed training can be reaped after one session but, you know… 🙂

Today I finally made it past the dreaded plateau of -20! I have now lost just over 20 lbs. and am feeling even more confidant about hitting my next few goals.

My half way goal is to lose 35 lbs. and I am hoping to reach it by the end of May.

Once I reach that goal Nathaniel and I are going to make a dinner reservation at Foreign Cinema. Foreign Cinema is a restaurant I have wanted to eat at for at least three years and it is going to be a nice way of celebrating an important milestone!

My workout today was a 10 minute brisk walk followed by switching off sprinting and walking every other minute for another 20.


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Day 64: 66% & Being Lazy

He said:

Since I did speed training yesterday, Alex and I decided it would be a good idea to rest today (outside of my biking to work) to give my muscles a chance to rest.  She suggested this would be hard for me to do because I’m a boy and it would be difficult for me to admit that I needed some rest.  So no run today, just some light exercise after work.

I listen to NPR at work almost everyday (I highly suggest it as it is something useful that you can listen to while on the job) and today they did a great piece on dieting, GO listen to this interview, it really helps put a lot of aspects of a diet and dieting into perspective, even for people who are deep into a diet.

One of the issues that was brought up in the interview and the callers bring up is not necessarily loosing weight, but maintaining your weight loss in the long run.  What wasn’t really addressed, and something Alex and I have talked about extensively lately, is the balance of diet and exercise in your life.

What a lot of people don’t realize about dieting is that it is made easier (and faster) by adding daily exercise to your routine.  In a class I took in college (an economics class strangely enough) the idea was presented that just a little change today can have a significant effect on a lifetime.  People know that if they quit smoking they will be more healthy and live longer, but you really want that cigarette today and you could always stop tomorrow.

With a little effort right now, the effect it will have on the rest of your life will be dramatic.  If your remain lazy now you will be one of the 66%.  By this I mean the fact that 66% of Americans are either overweight or obese (this I got from the interview, so that’s my source).  Just take a walk today and worry about doing the running tomorrow.

There is one more aspect of this topic that Alex told me about a while ago.  There was an article she read where there was a guy who loved ice cream and wanted to be able to eat it everyday.  So as part of a healthy diet, he found out how much exercise he needed to do everyday to be able to eat a bowl of ice cream.  Now while this may be an extreme case, it brings to light the best view of how you can live a healthy life.

Face it, we all love eating decadent food (some more then others) and what makes most foods delicious is fat, which is calorie laden (think French food, it’s good because they found early on that fat tastes great and put it in everything) so the way we can combat not gaining weight is to exercise a little and watch what we eat at most meals.  Most French are not overweight and that is due to the fact that while the food they eat is high calories and fat they eat small portions and get daily exercise.

This is hard to focus on while dieting (sometimes we can’t see the forest through the trees) and yes a diet is being in the middle of the suck, but use this as a motivator.  As you get healthier and closer to your ideal weight, you’re going to be more active and for how much more active you are you can indulge yourself with a treat that isn’t setting you back.

I hope this all made sense and didn’t seem like a lecture, but it is a pretty cool idea and brings into perspective the fact that a diet is not forever, it’s only for a short period of time that will be followed by living a healthier and happier life (indulgences included).

*On a side note, some may have noticed that I have stopped listing what I eat everyday.  This isn’t because I have fallen off the wagon and began eating my old diet again, but is merely due to me being lazy and not wanting to do it everyday.  I know every calorie that goes into my body and I think I have graduated to the next step of the diet, which is using what I have learned at every meal to make better decisions about what I consume.

She Said:

Nathaniel took way too long to write his monstrous blog post and it is now 10:40 at night. I am in a great mood but I don’t feel like writing very much because I’m feeling sleepy.

I understand to get past this plateau I am going to have to really kick my efforts in the butt this week so in addition to eating roughly 800 calories today I did a “long run” day putting in 4.5 miles in at the gym in an hour.

As always I am including my warm-up and cool-down walks in this time and distance.

Tuesday I will do speed work for 30 minutes and hopefully on Wednesday I will run 3 miles without stopping. I only recently discovered I can do 2 miles at a time but I am confidant in my ability to do 3. For me doing 3 miles is going to be more of a mental contest than a physical one.

I am a lazy person when it comes to working out. This is slowly changing… but trust me when I say that most days I don’t want to go to the gym. GOING to the gym is actually harder for me than jogging two miles. I don’t like being sweaty – I constantly use my gym towel to wipe in between my fingers to get rid of the sweat.

I have a couple rants on my mind relating to health but I will save them for later in the week when I am blanking on what to write about.


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Day 63: Running & Plateaus

He said:

Yesterday (now that I have my GPS watch) I went on the second ten-mile run of my life, and it was pretty good.  It didn’t feel as great as the first one that I did, but that one I hadn’t biked five miles the day before.  Regardless, I was happy I was able to complete the run and that freed up the rest of the day eating wise as I burned somewhere in the range of 1,000 calories.

Today, we got up after a good nights sleep and I decided that I would try some speed training to help try and boost my 10k pace.  We went to the local high school and found the track and ran a mile warm-up and then did ¼ of a lap at a little less then a full out sprint and then ¼ of lap jog repeat.  Did that for a couple miles and then finished with a two mile jog, five altogether.

My running watch (ok I will just say it I have Nike+ Sportwatch GPS) and part of this watch is software that tracks your runs, measures your progress in multiple ways, and offers challenges.  So far I have been super happy with the interface and the watch in general.  One of the runs that was suggested in the mapping section has a 7-mile run through Golden Gate park and I can’t wait to do this run.  It is on the horizon.

On a side note, we went to Gap today (mostly because my jeans are getting loose again) so that I could try on some jeans.  And I was able to fit comfortably into a size 29.  That means from the beginning of our health trek till now I have gone down five jean sizes.

Keep the work up, make it happen!

She said:

Usually after a Saturday my weight goes up a bit because Saturday is usually our free day.

However today I weighed in at my lowest weight. My weight keeps fluctuating within the same 3 lb. weight bracket and I am really hoping that this week I will be able to move past it since I maintained my weight through the weekend.

As of right now I’ve lost 20 lbs. and am down one pants size. It is a nice accomplishment but I am getting tired of not making progress past it. I am really hoping to drop 3 lbs. this week now that I am running up to 2 miles at a time and doing 4.5-5 miles on my long run days.

I was really pleased with the dinner Nathaniel and I had tonight because it was tasty and really healthy. We had seared tilapia on top of a roughly chopped cabbage salad with mango and papaya salsa along with a bowl of zucchini and corn soup.

I am pretty excited for this week to see what I can accomplish.

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Day 60: Early bird

He said:

I knew today was going to be hectic, so instead of missing two days of running I decided the best plan was for me the get up and get it done before work.  4:50 in the morning and I hit the snooze for another fifteen minutes, but at 5:10 I pulled it together and got the gear on.

Running in the morning is pretty awesome, there is hardly any traffic so all the lights turn pretty fast and because I just got done being lazy and sleeping I was pretty well rested.  Got my seven miles done in 59 min.  Got back, took a shower, and then biked five miles to work.  I wanted to put a facebook status reading “ran 7 miles, took a shower, and biked five miles before 7am”, but then I realized that I didn’t want to be that guy who posts stuff like that on his wall and makes you feel bad, because I have read stuff like that on FB and thought the same thing.

The best part of today was sticking to the plan and getting the run done.  I think back to the old Nathaniel and he would have skipped the run, and most likely found a way not to ride to work.

Just trying to stick to the plan, one day at a time.

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Day 58: A bad run & Mud

He said:

Today was day two of riding my bike to work (I have had a flat for the last couple weeks), which is throwing off my running.  While the bike was down, I figured it would afford me a better chance to work on my running, and in the past couple weeks I have made great strides in my running.  So, on my second day back riding my bike to work, the run was less then desirable.

Got about two miles into the run, and it just fell apart.  It was windy, the cord to my ear-buds was rubbing my chest raw, legs were sore, yada, yada, yada.  Today was a bad run, and its ok.  I have to accept the fact that there are going to be good runs and bad runs (read an article about this in Runners World).

After the run I had to console myself with an after workout indulgence (peanut butter + coca powder + milk + oats) this sounds like a weird recipe but it is delicious, though normally something I try to only eat on free-days.  So combine the bad run with the comfort food binge and today kinda sucked.  On the bright side, the ride to work, plus the half run/walk I still most likely burned 500-600 calories (trying to be conservative) which should help curb the dessert.  On a different note, after my run (though I doubt to weigh this tomorrow morning) I finally hit 165.  I can taste it, it’s so close, but every step forward is a half step back.

Looking in the rearview, I have now lost 60 pounds in six months and I feel better then I have in years.  Sometimes we can’t see the forest through the trees.  Everyday I try to let go of a little bit of the person I used to be, and open my mind to the person I want to become.  Today I did not succeed, tomorrow I will try to be better. One step at a time.

She said:

Today when I went to the gym I felt like I had lead weights attached to my feet or like I was running through mud… It was terrible and I really had to struggle through my hour on the treadmill. I ended up doing 70 minutes and an extra half mile just because I felt so terrible about myself.

That paired with some other life events has put me in a really fantastic mood.

I really don’t have any motivation to write at the moment.


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Day 57: Running Swag & Popsicles

He said:

So I went on a running equipment buying spree yesterday where I got new shoes, new socks, and a running GPS monitor.  Now before people think that I am abandoning my commitment to do exercise in a cheap and affordable manner, I have now been running for six months and in that six months I have not bought anything (outside another running shirt) for my running.  I have been using the same old Nikes I have had for a couple years, and the same Addias pants (with a hole in the knee), work socks.

I did my first run today with the new GPS monitor and it was awesome.  I know that there is going to be some more tinkering that I have to do it, but I think that it can help in my training.  The one aspect of the monitor that I have already noticed might be an issue is my checking it to often and trying to adjust my speed to meet how fast I think I think I should be going.

With this said, I might just put it in my pocket on some days so that I don’t loose focus of the run and why I am out there in the first place.

But, one great aspect of the monitor is that is tracks every run, and you start at a level that is equal to the amount of miles you have logged.  I can already see this as being a helpful motivator on days where I don’t feel like running, but really want to get my miles in to get to the next goal.

I am close to reaching the 65 pound mark, with this Alex and I have been talking about the fact that I need to start eating more calories, so I think I will be upping my intake to 1,500 calories a day.  More on this to follow as I feel I am rambling, peace for now.

Stuck to the diet today, too lazy to count my calories, but I know it was way in my limit with the 4.3 miles I ran.

She Said:

Today I made popsicles from scratch using strawberries and fat free yogurt. They are less than 50 calories each and really tasty! Next time I make a batch I will do them with pineapple because it is one of Nathaniel’s favorite fruits.

My calorie count today is fairly inaccurate because I ate lunch out but after running 4.6 miles today (at a much slower pace than Nathaniel ran his) I know I am well under my calorie limit.

We know we are being brief in today’s blog but we are going to make an effort to be better about writing in the future.

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Day 49: the ten mile run & Out running Jay-Z

He said:

Well I made it through my business trip and was able to not gain any weight!  This is a big accomplishment for me, but also puts into perspective that when I get to the weight I want to be at I will be able to maintain it while being looser with my diet as long as I continue to exercise.

With this in mind, I was able to work out every night but one when I was down in LA, and I found out something interesting about myself, I no longer enjoy using treadmills.  When I used to go to the gym I would only use the treadmill, or the elliptical, but never really tried running on the streets because I would become winded too easily and gave up.  Now is the exact opposite, having a machine dictate to me how fast I was going to run just didn’t seem like any fun.  I am sure I should work on one in the future to help me better understand pacing, but for now, give me a run on the streets any day.

Switching gears I did a long run today and broke the ten mile mark (10.5 miles to be exact) though those last couple of miles I was clearly not running at my top speed, though I was able to do the whole run in about an hour and twenty minuets, but that is not a super accurate number as the goal was the mileage not how long it took me and I didn’t bring a watch.  All the experts say that you shouldn’t be adding that much mileage that quickly, so I plan on working on pacing and speed for the next couple of weeks before I try this run again.  I want to gt my 5 mile to thirty minutes, so I need to start picking up my pace.

The other goal I have for this week is to go to a running group that happens every week at the local shoe store.  I have seen it several times on and have never wanted to go because I was embarrassed about my running abilities. Now that I am a little more versed in how it works, I think running with some experienced runners could be great as they can hopefully point out flaws in my running that will help me improve and give me someone to help push me.

That’s all for now, just trying to keep the motivation up!

She Said:

Nathaniel should try running with my friend Billy! Billy did a half marathon recently and they could have some healthy boy competition!

Anyways – I have been feeling kind of down the past week because I wasn’t capable of running the amount of minutes that I should be able to according to the couch-to-5k program.

This and a combination of Texas BBQ and tamales (okay- and maybe a churro) hasn’t helped my self esteem since I have been in Texas visiting family. So, today I told myself I was going to do at least 3 miles on the treadmill and then walk until I finished an hour.

Around the three mile mark of jogging and walking I found it hard to keep a steady pace. As I was walking I kept wanting to jog on the treadmill but I knew I couldn’t keep the “usual” jog pace for more than a few minutes if I tried to jog again. In my mind I was failing again because I couldn’t properly fulfill my jog time quota.

It was a “dur” type of lightbulb moment for me to decided that jogging at a significantly slower pace and doing it for longer would be much better than the jack rabbit yo-yo thing I was doing. That last mile was the easiest of the 4+ miles I did today.

Keep in mind I didn’t have an iPod in high school and in my past attempts at couch-to-5k I gave up before getting to the half way point but… today for the first time in my life while jogging with an iPod I ran through an entire song and kept running. (For the record – it was Jay-Z’s “can I get a”)

I know that sounds like total weak sauce compared to Nathaniel’s 10 mile day but I feel really good about this. I think tomorrow I am going to be able to do some really really good mileage now that I have accepted I just need to run slower (for now).

I ran more than 4 miles but I like to underestimate how many calories I burn and overestimate how many calories I take in. Plugging in 4 miles in 1 hour into my myplate program tell me I burned 983 calories.

This more than made up for the churro and pint of beer I had today.

Can’t wait to take on the treadmill tomorrow!

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Day: Traveling & STUPID free days

He said:

I am working down in LA this week on a business trip and one of the hardest aspects of this (aside from being away from Alex) is trying to stay on my diet and routine while on the road.

This morning before my flight I ate my usual yogurt and got a cup of coffee at the airport.  To help me with my snacks during the week, I brought some protein bars (4.5g fat, 180 cal.) as a way to make sure I have some low calorie options.

While I have let my coworkers know that I am on a diet, I also don’t want to be one of those people who makes people eat what they want because they are on a diet.  Thus I have to make smart decisions as I navigate menus this week.  The coworkers wanted Baja Fresh, which I have never been to before, and while Mexican food is not known for being calorie friendly, I knew I could find something on the menu that would work for lunch.

Navigating restaurant menus (done well in Eat this, Not that) can be tricky and they use many words to hide what they are trying to feed you.  After pursing the menu, the highest calorie item topping out at 2,060 (Carnitas nachos, I would hope you could figure out that nachos are not really a good choice) I decided to get the Baja Ensalada (310 cal, 7g fat) with no dressing, but I did put more pico de gallo on it for flavor maybe 325 calories.

For dinner we went out to sushi, and while I kept my order to almost all sashimi (no rice) and one roll with rice, my meal (from what I can calculate) came out to around 513 calories.  I don’t feel to bad about this because there was a lot of good protein in it and I was able to put in 50min on the treadmill when I got done with work, so I know I burned some calories today.

Trying to stay on track, let’s see how tomorrow goes.

She Said:

Although Nathaniel and I ate nearly the same thing on our free day my body retains those extra calories longer than his. We both expect to weigh more the day after a free day because food can take a while to digest but it’s really frustrating to not know exactly how much weight you gained… the setback it a question mark.

I wanted to be really good on my diet this week but the cheese in our fridge was too tempting – I had some and then tossed it in the trash… later in the night I wanted a sweet snack so I drizzled a little honey over a banana.

Not a terrible lapse but I am feeling really down on myself and fat today.

I still ate 300 calories less than what my body needs to maintain my current weight but it was at least 200 calories more than I should have eaten today.

Nathaniel will come back from his business trip on friday but I will already be gone to Texas. The state that considers BBQ eating and expanding waist lines competitive sports.

I do plan on eating BBQ at least once but it’s going to be fun trying to exercise in San Antonio… I don’t know if my hotel has a workout facility yet.

Tomorrow I really want to get up early and go to the gym. Nathaniel hears me say this a lot (too often) and it usually doesn’t happen.

I’ll let you know tomorrow how it goes!

I am not going to allow myself another “free day” till I hit my half way weight loss goal which should be at the end of May.

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Cranberry Pecan Carrot Couscous

 A few years ago as I was searching for Thanksgiving side-dish ideas I came across a New York Times recipe for couscous with cranberries, pecans and carrots. I love this dish because it has bright clean flavors that help balance out fatty meals.

Saturday Nathaniel and I had his co-worker and his co-workers wife over for dinner and this was one of the sides I prepared. I doubled the recipe which made WAY more than four adults could reasonably eat at dinner time.

Some of the leftovers made for a great light lunch today.

Tip- Since there is so much chopping involved I suggest you prep all the ingredients before you start making the rest of your meal. If everything is chopped and ready to go this dish only takes another 10 minutes to put together.



1 cup couscous


2 large carrots grated

1/2 cup chopped pecans

1/2 cup chopped dried cranberries

1/4 cup chopped scallions

1/4 cup olive oil (or more as needed)

Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon (or more juice as needed)

1 teaspoon coriander

Black pepper
to taste

1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley

1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage (or 1 teaspoon dried)

1. Put the couscous in a small pot and add 1 1/2 cups water and a pinch of salt. Bring the water to a boil, then cover and remove from the heat. Let steep for at least 10 minutes, or up to 20.

2. Put the slightly cooled couscous in a large salad bowl along with the carrots, pecans, cranberries, scallions, oil and lemon zest and juice, and sprinkle with the spices and salt and pepper. Use 2 big forks to combine, fluffing the couscous and tossing gently to separate the grains. (The salad can be made up to this point and refrigerated for up to a day; bring to room temperature before proceeding.)

3. Stir in the parsley and sage. Taste and adjust the seasoning, moisten with a little more oil and lemon juice as you like, and serve.

Yield: 4 servings.