Two a Healthy Life

One couple on a mission to become healthy

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Women’s Wednesday: Sports Bras

For most of my life I really cared what my sports bras looked like. Halter bras are cute… purple, aqua or sporty black I wouldn’t buy a bra unless it was cute and had a nike swoosh on it.

Several months ago when I still confined my runs to the treadmill I started having some serious pain around mile two. After mile three I went to the bathroom to make sure I wasn’t bleeding… and that was the last day I ever tried running in an ill-fitting sports bra.

In the past I could get away with fashion over function undergarments because I wasn’t participating in such high impact activities for such great lengths of time – and my boobs were smaller because I was a healthier weight.

A good sports bra is KEY for a woman’s health. Any type of cardio activity can cause your breasts to bounce in a figure 8 pattern and without the right bra your ligaments will stretch, eventually causing sagging and possibly rashes.

I’d also argue that if you are suffering such unnecessary discomfort while you are working out you probably won’t work out as hard or as long – an example of how a poorly fitted bra can indirectly affect your health.

When I went on my mission impossible to find the perfect sports bra I tested four brands in several sizes and models. I did ‘the bounce test’ in at least a dozen different bras and the sexily advertised Nike, Adidas and Under Armour all failed miserably.

They didn’t hold my breasts very stable or they cut painfully into my armpits… their seemed to be something wrong with each of them.

The champion of my marathon of bra shopping was (pun attended) Powersleek Champion Sports Bra. We are all built differently so I can’t promise this one will work for you but luckily it comes in sizes up to 44DDD!

What I’d like you to all take away from today’s blog is that putting time into finding the sports bra that works best for you will make you a happier, healthier woman.

I haven’t had chest pain at all since I switched to Champion and I my boobs are so well supported when I run I don’t even notice their movement.

But Champion – could you maybe give a girl some color options?


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Day 189: The workout squeeze

He said:

I was talking with a friend over the weekend and he was lamenting the fact that a full day at work leaves little time for anything else, including exercise.  While I agreed with his gripe, I also commented that exercise couldn’t be looked at as a hobby, but instead had to be classified under bona fide necessity.

Trying to fit the gym, running, or any form of exercise routine into an already packed lifestyle can at first seem daunting.  Once your get off of work, most people only have five to six hours to get home, eat dinner, play with the dog, or do chores, before they have to get into bed and do it all over again.

The real mission is multitasking your exercise in with other activities you like to do.  I have audible (audio books) on my phone that I listen too while I bike, which lets me get my reading in for the day while on my way to work.  Of course the old standby of listening to music while exercising is good as well, but you could also pull that stationary bike out and ride for half an hour while you watch Mad Men.

What Alex and I do most weeks is make sure we have everything we need to make dinners in the house on the weekend, so that way dinner eat night is a snap.  I make a big stir-fry on Monday night, and it lasts me the rest of the week, and I mix and match that with a salad the next night and maybe a omelet or two when I get bored.  Pre-planning meals will save you time and it will also help you stick to your diet so you don’t end up eating a cheeseburger because there was nothing in the fridge at home.

When it comes to squeezing in exercise, just look at your normal routine and see where there are places you could cut a couple of minutes.  Only watch one TV show a night and DVR the other for the weekend.  Or just spend twenty minutes mindless checking your friends statuses on Facebook, and put the other ten towards a jog.

In the end, I told my friend that if you put two good days of an hour workout in during the week, you could supplement the other days with a quick twenty minute bike ride or jog and then one more workout on the weekend should do it.  Make it work for you, but just make sure you get it in.  After a couple of weeks, you will be surprised how you mange to fit exercise into your packed schedule and might even find you have more energy too!

Good Luck!!

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Day 184: Getting Back on Track

She Said: 

Yesterday I was hungry… like really really hungry to the point that I told Nathaniel it was awesome that we didn’t have any peanut butter in the house or I would eat the entire jar.

We don’t have any junk food in our apartment and yesterday I would have been in serious danger of a junk food binge if we had chips, cookies or chocolate laying around…

The only “snack” food we really have is popcorn and it’s the good old fashioned pop it yourself in a pan on the stove kind…

Which trust me – I attacked.

I’m really concerned about the junk food cravings I was getting because my weight loss has definitely slowed. I’ve averaged loosing 8 lbs. a month since we started TwoAHealthy but in the past month I’ve only lost 5 lbs…

I think the problem might be (in addition to it being biologically harder for smaller people to loose weight) is that I have started to take my weight loss for granted. I know eventually I am going to hit my goal size so why not have a piece of toast with jam as a snack?

I also haven’t worked out as hard over the last two weeks, which I desperately need to remedy. Wharf-to-Wharf gave me a very clear reason (fear) for why I had to run everyday… but now, I can’t even tell you when my next race is although I am verbally committed to two and physically signed up for a third before the end of the year.

I have lost just under 45 lbs. and I have a lot of food temptation coming up this weekend… I light of my laps in discipline I am challenging myself to loose 6 lbs. in the next two weeks which I know I am fully capable of.


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Day 182: A run by another other name, might just be a walk

He said:

There was a great program on NPR today interviewing Dr. Joan Dorn (Chief of the Physical Activity and Health Branch at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention) about walking and commenting on a “new study by the CDC showing that walkers are much more likely to get the recommended amount of daily exercise” than non-walkers.  One of the main points of the interview was that even though walking is not likely to help you shed pounds or loose weight fast “the really important point is, even in the absence of weight loss, health benefits of physical activity are vast”.

What this interview stressed is something we have talked about extensively in this blog, finding physical activities you like to do. Two of the reasons Alex and I have seen success is by changing what we eat, but even more importantly, we found physical activities that we enjoyed doing.  With “more than 50 percent of Americans [not getting] enough physical activity to meet guidelines (2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity (i.e., brisk walking) every week andmuscle-strengthening activities on 2 or more days a week that work all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest,  shoulders, and arms)) people clearing arent finding exercise they like to do.

So with the recommendation being that all adults should get about four hours of excerise(I am assuming weight lifting session should be about 45 min.) of exercise a week, it is important to find something you love doing, because let’s face it, life is too short to be doing exercise you hate.

Walk, jump rope, row, skateboard, bike ride, walk the dog, swim, hike, run, basketball, football, jumping jacks, push-ups, the list is infinite.  One other suggestion, if you like group activities, go to, there are listing for flag football and basketball groups, yoga, running clubs that all meet on a regular basis.

Get out and get going and be healthy.


(All quotes were taken from the transcript of the interview)

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Day 169: We are young & Mid Week Splurge

He said:

The sun is high in the sky, there is an empty bowl of soup on the table next to me as I try to squeeze the last minutes out of my lunch break before heading back down the hill to sit under some florescent lights for the rest of the day.  My fingers are scrolling over the screen to my smart phone as I thumb through breaking news events, Olympic stats, and health articles when three high pitched voices, along with corresponding persons, sit down at the table next to me and start to open bags of goodies recently purchased at the grocery store, which I can only presume is their lunch.

I continue to stare at my phone, enjoying the warmth of the sun heating my skin, in part because the air conditioner at work is set on high for summer even though we live in the bay area where it doesn’t get above 75, when one of the girls pops off with “I wonder how many calories this has in it?”.

What struck me about this question was that all three of these girls must have been in middle school, somewhere between 10 and 12 years old, so why was she wondering how many calories were in her food?  My second thought was, why are these children here unsupervised?  I thought it was great that someone so young was conscious of the idea of looking at how many calories food has in it, or I was impressed, until I saw that their lunch consisted of a bag of Ghirardelli chocolates, gummy worms, and three bottles of soda (though it must be mentioned that none of these girls was overweight).

In the afternoon this article appeared on my yahoo news feeds “Sodas banned from many schools — but not sports drinks” talking about how schools are doing a better job of not selling sodas, but are still providing other sugary drinks that make up for it.  After reading the article, it made me think of those girls and how one of them apparently had a vague idea that she should be concerned about calories, but still was eating a lunch that had no nutritional value and was being purchased outside of the school cafeteria.

What this brings up is that as much as parents, schools, and the government try to limit and control what people (especially children) eat, at the end of the day we have free choice over what we put in our bodies.  The only thing we as a society can do is make sure that young people have enough education about nutrition, diet, and exercise so that they are informed enough to make the right choices, or at least better decisions some of the time.

One choice at a time.


She Said: 

Today  for work I took my client to downtown San Francisco via BART because she had never been to the ferry building and because she needs to become more comfortable with public transit.

She is also trying to lose weight and wanted to estimate calories in foods she might possibly eat before we left (something I do occasionally) but I told her she should think of our special day trip as a free day and not be so concerned with what she ate at the Ferry Building.

I am going to describe to you my food grazing and my lunch ordering decision process because I realized how my menu scanning has evolved since February.

While my client perused a gourmet grocery shop I bought a caramel candy for 65 cents and popped it in my mouth. It was delicious and probably had 50-80 calories, which I was okay with.

Next – I grabbed a New Orleans iced coffee at Blue Bottle while my client snacked on two scoops of ice cream. My coffee was REALLY good. A drink that tasty could be 200 calories (it wasn’t) and I would feel the calories were still worth it. I’ll estimate it at 100 calories because of the milk they poured into it.

About an hour later I introduced my client to Raw oysters at the San Francisco Fish Company. She had two raw oysters and I had two raw oysters and a raw clam. This snack for me was approximately 30 calories and I absolutely love raw oysters.

We walked around for a bit more and my client decided we should have lunch at the same shop we had our oysters at. Scanning the menu I saw fish and chips, grilled ahi tuna burger, po’ boys and clam chowder… All of these things sound delicious in theory but even before I was counting calories I found myself often disappointed in fish and chips and po’ boys.

I think those food items CAN be really good but more often than not are really mediocre and I realized for how much I would probably enjoy it, the oil wasn’t worth it.

I feel sometimes when we order off of a menu we think of how good it might be and not how good it is probably going to be. That being said if I know a bacon cheeseburger is going to be the best bacon cheeseburger I will inhale it with gusto and not feel guilty at all.

I ordered a half-pound of noodle shrimp salad that had a tangy sweet and sour flavor to it and 8 oz. of lobster chowder. I finished the chowder but as I had suspected it was only mediocre and I was glad I hadn’t gotten a whole bowl of it. The noodle shrimp salad was really good but I didn’t finish it.

The last thing I ate in the city was a small crème brulee from the crème brulee cart on Market Street.

When I got home from work I ran 6 miles and had two pieces of bacon and fruit for dinner.

Today I weighed in at -44 lbs. and I am feeling really good about my progress.

Some tips that I am going to pass on to people from this experience:

  1. When ordering at a restaurant think about how realistically tasty the food will be before you order.
  2. Prioritize your calories – would you rather order something fried or something healthier and have a dessert?
  3. One indulgent meal doesn’t mean you have to write off your entire day as a caloric failure. Big lunch? Have a small dinner!

My total food consumption for the day:


Light and Fit Strawberry Yogurt (80 calories)

½ cup blueberries (40 Calories)


30 grapes (100 calories)


Caramel (80 calories)

Blue Bottle Coffee Drink (100 calories)

2 oysters 1 clam (30 calories)

8 oz. Lobster Chowder  (** 240 calories)

Pasta Salad (** 400 calories)

Crème Brulee (** 400 calories)


30 grapes (100 calories)

2 pieces of bacon (100 calories)

Note: If you think this is an obscenely small amount of food after running 6 miles you are probably right but I wasn’t hungry till 9pm and I didn’t want to eat a full meal that late at night.

(** Denotes rough estimation)

Total: 1,770 calories

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Day 168: Making better choices

This morning as I waited in line at Starbucks I realized that several people in front of me were wearing Trader Joe’s t-shirts. It became very clear they were a posse of co-workers that had gone to get breakfast and some caffeine together before starting their shift (this was just after 9 a.m.).

I focused in on one guy in particular when I realized he ordered two pieces of zucchini nut bread because each piece has 460 calories. Of the group of people he was the most overweight. It was my turn up at the counter and I grabbed a grande black coffee and a banana for a morning snack.

I forgot about the Trader Joe’s employees until they passed me in front of the store while I waited for my client to arrive. In one hand he (lets call him Joe) had his 920 calorie bag of pastries and in the other he clutched a venti strawberry frappuccino with whip cream.

This brought his breakfast total to at least 1,600 calories, which is more than ½ the calories an active male his age should be eating in an entire day.

I want to make it clear that I don’t go around maliciously judging people’s food consumption. I want to help to help people like Joe because in my mind I used to be him. I am still overweight but I feel very confidant that I will shed that label in the next two months.

Maybe Joe doesn’t care if he is overweight and if he is happy with himself that’s great…

But a small frappuccino, a banana and one slice of zucchini nut bread would have given him a sugar rush, the things he craved, some nutrition and cut over 600 calories out of his breakfast.

In our blog Nathaniel and I are not trying to convert people to running or asking them to cut their calories as drastically as we have. We just want to promote better health through better choices.

You can still have the things you want – just have them in smaller amounts.

I used to order three mini vanilla scones at Starbucks when I wanted to splurge – now I order one.

Splurges and habits are two very different things. It took a long time for me to effectively implement a true difference between the two but now that I have I am a much happier person.

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Day 164: Inspiration

He said:

Alex and I, along with most of the rest of the nation, have been sporadically tuning into the summer Olympics to watch great athletes complete at the peak of their talents.  But one of the more inspiring moments that I have seen this summer (outside of the girl’s gymnastics team bringing home gold) was this Nike commercial (I know, really, a Nike commercial?).

As Alex pointed out, Nike is really great at selling motivational athletic ideals (in hopes that people will be inspired and buy all new Nike stuff to get in better shape).  However, I still applaud them for showing this commercial, because in the middle of the Olympics, when we are watching the fittest people in the world compete, it is great to see someone who is struggling with weight motivated to do something about it.

It goes into the general mindset of America, we look down upon people that are fat or overweight (even though 63% of Americans are either overweight or obese) and then sneer at their attempts to do something about it.  When I was overweight I would see someone else who was overweight jogging along the road and secretly hate them because they pointed out that I was overweight and not trying to change.  They made me feel bad about myself and so I would make some comment in my head that what they were doing wasn’t working anyway because they were still fat, all in a vain attempt to make myself feel better about not exercising.

I like this commercial because it gets to the heart of the issue, not caring what other people think and knowing that you want to make a change and doing it.  It is working out even when you feel self conscious in front of the other people at the gym or running after work even when you have had a bad day.  It is digging deep and knowing there is a well of strength you can pull from.  Next time you don’t feel like working out or are self conscious about it, just think about this kid and how much courage it took to be in this commercial.

I also like him because his name is Nathan.

From one Nathaniel to a Nathan – Keep up the work kid, and you will reach your goal.