Two a Healthy Life

One couple on a mission to become healthy

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The Dreaded Holiday Pound

He said:

Alex and I have been talking about Thanksgiving coming up, and how you have to watch out for the weight you gain during the holidays.  Several articles and blogs have covered how you will gain weight between Thanksgiving and Christmas (I might even throw in Halloween if you’re a real candy junkie), but “The skinny on Holiday Weight Gain” from the New York Times does a good job of cutting between the myths and realities of the whole situation.

What I have gleaned from the readings I have done (and the NYT blog agrees), you will put on weight during this time of the year (it will vary for each person, but for most it will be one pound) and almost all adults do not end up getting rid of this weight.  The average adult gains two pounds a year, which means one whole pound is coming from a month long period of time.

Three things that I have done in the last year to combat the thanksgiving effect are:

1)      I use Thanksgiving as my free day for that week.  This way I don’t feel guilty about eating what I want, but it also makes sure that I don’t splurge before or after the holiday.

2)      Last year I did a three mile run in the morning before going to my sisters for dinner in the afternoon.   This year Alex, my cousin, and I are going to run a 10k in the morning before we go home to help cook.  A little calorie burn the morning of will put you ahead of curve and make you feel a little better about indulging at dinner.

3)      I don’t take leftovers home (except for maybe the carcass of the Turkey for some killer homemade soup).  This last one may be the most important in sticking to your diet in the days following the holiday.  If that half a pecan pie or tub of mashed potatoes aren’t in your house, you can’t eat them.

The above clip is from Mad Men, where Betty Draper has gained weight and is going to weight watchers.  This scene struck me a being very sad, because no one wants to be watching their weight on Thanksgiving when everyone else is indulging. I say have what you want, maybe don’t go back for seconds, and don’t feel bad about it.  It is one day, and if you are vigilant before and after, you can skip adding that dreaded holiday pound.

Happy Holidays!!

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Tis the Season….for hot milkshakes



I walked into Starbucks today to get my normal black coffee (a major step forward for me recently is to only order a Grande instead of the normal Venti I was going for, slightly patting myself on the back) and after the barista brought me my coffee proceeded to tell me about a holiday promotion that they are having until January 2 and gave me the foldout pictured below and above. 

Several things struck me about this encounter, the first being ‘why does this barista think that someone who ordered black coffee with no room wants to buy five hot milkshakes?’.  Looking at the particulars of this offer, you have to buy five of their specialty drinks before you can get a free drink (of any kind I think).

Looking at the four drinks that are part of this offer: Eggnog Latte, Gingerbread latte, Crème Brule latte, and the peppermint mocha, all of which are part of their espresso drinks.  From the chart below (which was pulled directly from the drink with the lowest calories would be a tall Gingerbread Latte coming in at only 190 calories (not bad, but have you seen a tall, one looks like a giant drinking out of a regular sized cup) and the worst being the Venti Eggnog Latte tipping the scale at a whopping 610 calories.

Even if one were to order the smallest drink with the least calories you would still be taking in an extra 925 calories (that would be the 950 for those lattes minus 5 calories per five cups of regular coffee).  ON the other side of the scale, if you ordered the worst drink you would consume an extra 3,025 calories, plus the extra drink you are going to get free.

Some of you might say so what to an extra 925 calories, but with Thanksgiving, Diwali, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza, New Years, and Halloween right behind us, I don’t think any of us can afford any extra calories this time of year (more of this later about how the extra calories you consume on Thanksgiving can stick with you the rest of the year).

Is it too much to ask that Starbucks not temp us with special deals (really I have to buy five at least $3.00 drinks to get one free), advent calendars, cookies etc?  I just want a regular cup of coffee, no room, and nothing else, so please stop asking if there is anything else I want with my coffee.

Thank you.


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Mr. Miyagi Yourself

A lot of the weight loss process comes down to pulling a Mr. Miyagi on yourself.

For example, I used to always run up a hill before crossing to the other side of the street and conveniently enough I always found a reason to stop at the top of the hill. The excuse was usually a car coming regardless of how far off it was and then one day I realized I’d be more likely to keep going if I crossed the street at the bottom of the hill before going up it and I was totally right.

To be fair – the last part of the hill is intense for new runner but I haven’t stopped at the top since I had this revelation back in the summer.

Another strange psychological aspect to my weight loss is that I am more likely to eat fewer calories on the days I exercise. The more I exercise the easier it is for me to be really strict on my diet although biologically I need more food.

Part of the reason for this is I know how many calories I can eat a day without gaining weight (give or take a few hundred). Anything I eat under that means I am theoretically losing weight even if it is more slowly (at least this is what I am telling myself).

So – if I don’t do anything but eat less than 1,200 or 1,000 I can still avoid a guilty feeling at the end of the day. Theoretically I should be able to eat 2,500 without gaining weight although my BMR is altered as a result of my weight loss.

 On the days I run it is way easier for me to say no to cream in my coffee, chocolate, cheese, extra salad dressing and carbs because I visualize that as canceling out 10 minutes of running or a half hour of running as I tally the calories in my head.

One piece of Tiramisu at Il Fornaio is equal to about 45 minutes of running at Alex speed. KNOWING how hard I worked and how it will be erased by treats helps me stick to my plan throughout the day.

Other things I’ve learned about myself:

If I tell myself I will run after work it will usually not happen but I am infinitely better at running before work.

Once I have decided to not eat sweets for a specific period of time saying ‘no’ is a lot easier and treats don’t trigger the ‘to eat or to not eat anxiety’… which is something discussed in The End of Overeating. Saying you are trying to ‘cut back’ is way too vague of a goal.

Thanks for reading, onward!

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Oh Sugar Sugar…

Sugar sugar you’ve got me wanting you…

As we’ve talked about in previous blogs Nathaniel and I do not crave the same kinds of foods. He’d like to demolish a cake and what I’d really like to snack on is bacon.

Unfortunately candy and soda are all too available to us (as a civilization) all-of-the-time. They are EVERYWHERE and sadly bacon is not.

Seeing the candy for sale near the checkout counter at your local grocery store is one thing but you can buy candy and snacks nearly everywhere: bookstores, best buy, gas stations… Then you’ve got Girl Scouts hitting you up on street corners like all too brazen drug dealers, co-workers shaming you into supporting their kids’ fundraisers and office candy bowls winking at you with jewel like luster.

Eating hundreds of calories more per-day than you think you are, is really easy to do. Especially when most people underestimate how many calories they are consuming by over 25%.

I’ve just eaten a s’mores inspired sea salt sprinkled chocolate (33 calories) and I intend to make it my last “gratuitous” piece of sugar until I hit the -60 lb. mark.

This means no more random pieces of sweet throughout my day until I hit my next milestone. Thanksgiving pie I do not consider “gratuitous” because it is a traditional part of the meal and Thanksgiving is a day you should really just forget you are on a diet. (We will be blogging about that later.)

By swearing off sugars I hope to achieve my goal more quickly and be even healthier.

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Getting back on track

He said:

As Alex said in her post last week there have been several situations that have come up in the past couple of months that have made sticking to our program tough.  Close to this time is when the scales battery went out, note to anyone reading, make sure to have spare batteries for your scale when your losing weight and feeling good, because you will not feel like it when your not following a program and starting to gain some weight back.

On that note, I have gained back ten pounds since my lowest weigh in and am now back at 165, which is still in a healthy range, but my goal is to get back down to 155 and start building some muscle.

In the question of what happened, while Alex said that she was able to control what she was eating even when she was stressed out, I am not able to do that well.  And once I give in, it is easy to start having several days in a row that I don’t feel like following my routine.  This on top of the fact that I was still dealing with some lingering injuries that prevented me from running just all added up to a bad time.

I noticed that I started not feeling as good as I used to and I got sick in that time period.  But one of the questions I will have to meditate on is why the slide happened in the first place and start acknowledging to myself sooner when I am going through one of those phases.  It is ok to slip every now and again, but when you get into a cycle of doing it it can be hard to stop.

As for now, I have commenced running again (in fact Alex and I and a group of friends ran a 10k this past weekend) and we have been doing better on making our lunches on the weekend again (more on that to come).  The motivation is starting to creep back and I am feeling better and more confident then I have in several weeks.  Gotta keep my eyes on the future, but not forget what lead me to going down that path again so I am ready for the next time.


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Pinteresting Away

Over the past several months I have been pinning things on Pinterest related to weight loss…

I have my healthy foods board.

My clothes I want to be able to wear someday board.

And my obligatory inspirational quotes and photographs board.

After a while and after reading a certain number of news articles about looking shallow on Pinterest I deleted a few boards because I didn’t want to seem vapid. Luckily Pinterest has launched the “secret” setting and I can now pin things without fear or favor!

What I haven’t done yet is ‘shared’ a board with someone yet. I can see how it would be cool for friends to share secret boards if they are both trying to lose weight and collaborate on motivational pins and recipes.

So- if you are interested in visually organizing your efforts you might want to check out Pinterest for this purpose if you haven’t yet.


The Big Five-Zero

(On the left at -50 with some other photos from the past year and a half pre-weight loss)

Nathaniel and I took a break from blogging for a variety of reasons…

One of them being there was a series of tragedies in my family and I wasn’t home much as a result. Things were really chaotic and I think what I’ve learned over the past several months helped me abstain from junk food and kept me from rationalizing poor eating habits with “stress” and “sadness” although there was certainly plenty of that.

I lost only a little bit of weight during this time period but Nathaniel gained some pounds (which I am sure he will talk about with you later).

Today – I finally broke the -50 lb. barrier and I am feeling really motivated for the next 10.

I can really tell how much my health has improved when I have a physically strenuous photo assignment because I can jog along with a crowd for so much longer with all of my camera gear on. My camera bag fully loaded easily weighs 20 lbs… but probably more.

Sunday Nathaniel, several of his friends and I are going to be running a 10k in San Francisco. I am a little worried because I am still really slow and my running has really fallen off lately but it should be a lot of fun!

Expect more blog posts this week.

We are back!