Two a Healthy Life

One couple on a mission to become healthy


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Wharf to Wharf

He said:

Today was the wharf-to-wharf, it finally happened.  It has been a long time coming, a light at the end of the tunnel for the running that both Alex and I have been doing.  Here is just the general recap.

Since this was the first race that Alex and I have ever done, there were bound to be some learning experiences along the way.

  1. Do not wait till 10pm the night before to try to buy safety-pins to pin your race numbers on with (especially in a town where there is going to be a race, because everyone else has the same idea).  We had to visit several stores before we found one that had safety-pins, and Alex and I were pinning the numbers on at 11 at night, lessoned learned.
  2. No matter what people tell you, you can’t really understand the chaos at the beginning of a race until you have been in one yourself.  There were pace signs that people were holding up, and the announcer said it numerous times to get with the correct pace sign, but it is basically people running from Godzilla for the first half mile of the race.  I had to bob and weave as if flesh eating zombies were chasing us down.  Needless to say, it is hard to get into a good rhyme when you dodging people and trying not to run over kids.  After the first mile marker, it was easier to get into my pace.
  3. There really is race adrenaline because I remember the beginning of the race and then once I separated myself from the pack a little, it was just me and the road and then it was over, the whole thing went super quick and I don’t remember it any part being too hard, I was just in the zone.
  4. It is great having people cheer you on at the finish.  Huge shout out goes to my mom and dad for coming down and supporting Alex and I (props to Alex’s mom too).  Thank you guys for being there for us on our first race, it meant a lot.

We still do not have the official times yet, I crossed the finish line at 42:20, but I didn’t start right when the gun went off, so I still have my fingers crossed that I was able to do it in under 40min, we will just have to see.  The race was great and I can’t wait for the next one!

She Said:

As Nathaniel and I were walking to the gathering place for the start of wharf to wharf we had an idea that I should start a blog called ‘the lazy runner’ because my concerns about the race were nearly the opposite of Nathaniel’s.

Nathaniel really wanted to break 40 minutes and he had a strategy where he would try and pull ahead of other people but my strategy was basically: put on shoes / trot for 6 miles.

However, I do plan to start fartlek work this week to improve my speed. I don’t have my official time yet but it took me roughly 70 minutes to do 6 miles although I wasn’t breathing hard at any point. I am very happy with my time and stamina considering 6 months a go jogging a ¼ of a mile would have murdered me.

I ran 8 miles last Monday just because I felt good and I’ve lost 40 lbs. since we started this blog. I am feeling very motivated right now.

The gun went off for wharf to wharf at 8:30am but back where I was near the 10-minute milers I couldn’t hear it. As people slowly began to walk forward I realized the race was starting but it took almost 10 minutes for me to reach the starting line. It’s a very odd sensation to be walking so slowly with thousands of other people and then collectively it turns into a jog at the same moment.

The bands playing along the route were fun to listen to – everything from bagpipes and taiko drumming to rap, rock and Hawaiian music.  And just being surrounded by so many people doing the same thing was very motivating.

It was really great to have my Mom, Nathaniel and Nathaniel’s parents waiting for me at the finish line. Our parents have all been really supportive over the past several months and it always feels good to make your parents proud of you.

This was an amazing weekend and I feel really thankful for all the things that I have.


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Day 146: Weekly Shopping & Evil Commercialism

He said:

In a shopping trip that Alex and I did today, we inadvertently followed one of the tips from Michael Pollan’s book Food Rules, I know that we have mentioned this book before as it does have many useful tips on how to look at food.  The rule that we followed today without really thinking about it was to only shop the periphery of the grocery store.

When you think about this rule, what it is saying is to stick to buying mostly whole foods as all of the vegetables, fruits, meats, dairy, and some bread are kept of the periphery isles of the store, and all of the junk food is kept primarily in the inner isles (with some exceptions).

We did shopping for the week and bought mostly fruits and vegetables for dinners, yogurt for breakfast, and some meat for our dinner tonight.  This reflects in a more general way another occurrence I have noticed in my eating habits, variety.

There are a multitude of tastes and experiences (especially now in the summer months) waiting at the grocery store.  At the beginning of this adventure, I would eat a banana everyday for my mid-morning snack and an apple for the mid-afternoon snack.  Now I eat cherries, nectarines, grapes, peaches, plums, strawberries, blueberries, black berries, cantaloupe, melons (not all on the same day of course).  It led me to realize that the days where I was feeling less satisfied was when I was bored with what I was eating.  Adding different kinds of fruits and vegetables to my diet has helped to alliviate this.

I know that some people are worried about adding in many fruits to their diets because of the sugar content, but as long as you are eating the whole fruit and not the juice, the sugar really shouldn’t be a concern.  Fruits come packed with nutrients and fiber that far outweigh the concern of the sugar content for very few calories. In fact fruits are one of the best 100 calorie snacks you can find as they will fill you up and they are delicious.  Below are ten examples of fruits that are less then 100 calories in the servicing listed (which means you could ear more if you want to hit 100 calories):

Fruit

Serving Size

Calories

Cherries 1 cup

87

Cantaloupe 1 cup

53

Watermelon 1 cup

46

Nectarine medium

62

Strawberries 1 cup

46

Blueberries 1 cup

84

Grapes 1 cup

104

Apple medium

95

Peach large

64

Plum regular size

30

So next time you think you need to eat a 100-calories snack pack of four mini cookies, grab some fruit and feel better (and fuller) about it.  The only general rule I have about fruit is always try to eat the whole fruit and always eat it fresh, that means no dried fruits.  I have found that dried fruits (many of which have had sugar added) are not as filling as the fruits they come from.  Eat 100 calories worth of grapes and the 100 calories worth of raisins and tell me which one makes you feel fuller.

Onward!!

She Said:

On Saturday I went into Lululemon and tried on running gear. In the past I’ve poked around in their store but I had never tried on their clothes.

What I found out peering at myself in the mirror is that I am a size 10 in their running pants and that I am not ready to wear them – yet.

‘Ready’ has nothing to do with my weight.

Lululemon gear isn’t necessarily better than whatever Nike, Brooks or Champion are putting out but their smallish company has come to mean something to me. Most of the women I see wearing their gear seem to be very successful and are almost always in excellent shape.

Obviously they have carefully cultivated their image and chosen the kind of person they want shopping at their store… We can rail against the evils of commercialism all we want but the pair of nike capris I’ve been wearing through the past 38 lbs. of weight loss are now getting dangerously big on me. I do have a back up pair but once I get to my ideal weight I am going to indulge in a pair of Lululemon running pants.

Why – taps into one of the motivations I have for running and it has nothing to do with looking like I’m rich (in my Lululemon) or being thin.

When I worry about making it in the field of photojournalism I tell myself that if I have the discipline to lose 75+ lbs. and log 25+ miles a week in my running shoes then I should be damned well mentally equipped to achieve anything I’ve set my heart on.

Society tells us that the physically fit (notice I’m not using the word skinny) are successful in other ways. At least that’s what we imagine for them – right?

My assumption is that a marathon runner willing to keep running through bleeding feet and blisters must have that kind of determination in other areas of their life. I assume they don’t skip laundry days and they probably make their bed more frequently than I do.

For a minor celebration I did buy a running shirt Saturday to wear during the wharf-to-wharf race next week but the pants are going to have to wait till I feel like I have become the person I want to be.

I am not yet the person I want to be – but tomorrow I will be one day closer to meeting her.


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Where are you on the global fat scale?

While wandering Facebook today I saw a friend’s posting about a really cool interactive info graphic created by the BBC. The page asks the question – Where are you on the global fat scale?

After inputting your age, height, weight, sex and nationality the web site will tell you what your Body Mass Index is and how it compares to other people in your age bracket.

When we started our health adventure in February I was considered obese with a BMI of 34. After months of hard work I’ve lost almost 40 lbs. and now have a BMI of 28.

I am hoping to be at a BMI of less than 25 before I turn 25 years old in December.

This web site it really fun to play with but it drew me once again to the sad fact that over half of the women ages 15-29 are overweight in this country.


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Day 139: the backsliders club & Frozen Yogurt Fridays

He said:

Kaiser, as part of the Thrive campaign, has a commercial out about the backsliders club.  I don’t know if you have heard it, but the gist of the ad is about how most of the time we all end up sliding back into old habits when we are trying to institute change.  The lesson of the ad being it’s ok to slide back, just make sure you can get it back into gear and keep going.

I was thinking about writing a post about this last Tuesday, and then lo and behold, the next day I started feeling stressed at work and ended up buying a sandwich and a bag of cookies for lunch (the cookies I proceeded to eat over the next two days) and couldn’t muster myself to run Thursday or Friday as part of my marathon training.  Seemed like I had fallen into the backsliders club.

I have been worried from the beginning of this endeavor that there would be a day, starting like any other, where I would simply not be able to handle it anymore and would revert back to my old lifestyle.  I voiced these concerns (and my gilt over the cookies) to Alex over dinner on Friday night and just talking about it helped a lot.  Another reason for the mid-week meltdown (at least what I tell myself) is that we hadn’t done our normal weeks shopping and our batch of soup got messed up, so I had to buy lunch for the week and didn’t bring my normal meals.  Everything seemed tilted and I lost control of the week when my routine was shaken up and as much as I wanted, I couldn’t get back on track.

When you plan out every meal and you know what is ahead it is easy to stick to a schedule, but one week of missing that and I was back to eating unhealthy and not feeling like exercising (though the long work days didn’t help).

On Saturday we went down to Santa Cruz because I wanted to run the course for the wharf-to-wharf (which is in two weeks!!) and Alex wanted to see it as well to get a feel for the hills and what not.  I ended up breaking every PR I have set for running to date: fastest mile, fastest km, fastest 5k, fastest 10k, fastest half marathon; it was a banner day for me and I felt great doing it, the mojo was back.  Even now we have a pot of soup on, I have my dinners planned for the next three days, and my breakfast is already at work.

I hope these steps insure that this week gets me back on track and that I am able to continue with my program.  It brings me to something my dad always said growing up (this is for the golfers) “Your last shot has nothing to do with your next shot.” This could be said about any sport, but really can be applied to every aspect of life.  So what if you miss a workout or eat a couple of cookies?  Just because you had a set-back today doesn’t mean it has to become a trend.  Don’t beat yourself up over the little things, think of it in the long-run.  It will all be ok as long as you can re-center and continue on.

Former, and sometimes current, member of the backsliders club.

She Said:

Nathaniel’s mid-week meltdown was very similar to something that starts to happen to me near the end of every week.

I can’t pretend that I am jovial about cutting calories to the extent that I am. To maintain peace of mind and a happy stomach I eat something every few hours even if that something is a box of raisins or a cucumber. If I miss my morning ‘snack’ or am an hour off with my yogurt my mood can go downhill REAL quick.

As friday approaches- my weekday routine of measuring food and eating soup, egg white omelets and salads can bring me to crisis levels of frustration. The idea of preparing one more meal for which every calorie, fat gram, sugar and carbohydrate is accounted for sounds like a fate worse that not eating anything for dinner.

Measuring your food and being so conscious of your calories really doesn’t take much effort when you’ve gotten used to it but on some Fridays I will be in near tears standing in the grocery store deciding what I can cook that will keep me within my calorie allotment.

This may sound really dramatic but to put it into perspective I have lost 36 lbs. since we created this blog 139 days ago. 3,500 calories represents 1 lb. of body fat which means I have created a 126,000 calorie deficit since the start of the blog. I don’t diet on saturdays or sundays but even if we count my “off days” I have have burned more than 900 calories than I have consumed for each of these 139 days. In reality this means my calorie deficit is much higher than that Monday to Friday.

So – If my friday meltdown seems ridiculous… I would like to see YOU run 6 miles after only eating 600 calories all day and be stoked to have a salad for dinner. If you do this I guarantee you will resent ever leaf of spinach and arugula on friday.

To combat the drag of the diet we have instituted frozen yogurt fridays. After dinner on fridays to signify the end of our work week sensibility we go have a cup of frozen goodness!

Monday I am going to take a break from cardio because I am feeling really tired today. Friday I did a 6 mile run, saturday I rode a bike alongside Nathaniel as he did his half marathon and today I did at least a 5 mile hike. I need a nap.

Thanks for reading!


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Product Recommendation: Briannas Home Style Salad Dressing

When people go on a diet they often begin eating more and more salads. The problem with this is people use certain rationalizations to make their salad less healthy.

These may include:

I am eating all these veggies a little dressing isn’t going to hurt! 

This dressing is low fat!

Or

Salads are healthy!

Dear friends – at their essence salads are healthy. But anyone whose watched a little league team attack the salad bar at their local pizza parlor has seen an exaggerated example of how quickly they can become evil.

Croutons, bacon bits, cheese and dressing can quickly turn your salad into a guilt free calorie bomb.

At home I eat a lot of salad but I am careful to measure exactly how much dressing I put on it.

I put my lettuce, pico de gallo salsa (2 oz / 15 calories) and corn (.25 cup / 35 calories) into a Tupperware container with my dressing and shake vigorously to maximize the 1-2 tablespoons of dressing.

I love Briannas Home Style salad dressings and they come in some really fantastic flavors. For those watching their calories it’s hard to beat Briannas  lively lemon tarragon (2 tbs. = 35 calories / 0 g fat) or Rich Santa Fe Blend  (2 tbs. = 25 calories / 0 g fat).

To compare: the ‘healthy’ option in the Hidden Valley line is the Original Ranch Light with Buttermilk (2 tbs. = 70 calories / 5g of fat).


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Vanity Sizing

Yesterday was the day.

The first day I stopped telling myself things like “I am not hydrated enough” or “I don’t have time”.

I finally kicked my long run up from 5 to 6 miles and I felt really great at the end of it. I felt like I could have done 8 miles easily…

I’ve lost over 36 lbs. since February and I am feeling really good about the process on most days… But, I still don’t see a difference when I look in the mirror although my clothes keep getting smaller.

Right now I am wearing a pair of VERY generously cut pair of size 8 Michael Kors jeans. Yay vanity sizing!

I think this means I am probably a 10 my standard cut of GAP jeans so I am going to have to head over there in a few days to try them on. I wore a 16 back in February.

Because women’s jeans vary so much in actual size from brand to brand- GAP curvy jeans are the yardstick I am using until I have reached my end goal. I just read an article from the New York Times and it is seriously crazy how varied women’s pant sizes are from brand to brand.

Even men aren’t safe! A pair of 36’’ waist pants at Old Navy actually measures 41’’ giving men an obscured idea of their waist size. This is actually dangerous because waist circumference is sometimes used as a prediction for risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Many men might be walking around in 36” Old Navy jeans and assume their waist really is 36”.

I wish clothing companies could get on the same page with their sizing… although when I am eventually a size 8 in Gap Jeans I won’t mind telling people I am a 4 or a 6 in Michael Kors. (insert cute smiley wink here)

Is there anything about women’s size, diet or fashion culture that bugs you?