Two a Healthy Life

One couple on a mission to become healthy

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New Year Resolutions


Above is what our fridge looks like right now. Our soups for the week are nicely portioned out in individual mason jars and my salad stuff is ready to go for the week.

A trap I’ve fallen into nearly every January 1st of my life is declaring that I wanted to lose X-amount of pounds in the following year or saying I wanted to wear shorts without embarrassment by summer… the list is endless. But in 2012 I didn’t make these broad sweeping resolutions.

Nathaniel and I decided to get healthy together, cut calories to lose about 2.5 pounds a week and started running. My initial running efforts were modest with the couch-to-5k running program and in December I ran a half marathon (13.1 miles).

I still have another 20 pounds to lose but I am feeling really confidant going into 2013.

If you have big goals for yourself in 2013 I encourage you to break them up in to manageable pieces and chip away at them.

My goal for this week? Run more than 15 miles and stick to my food plan.


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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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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.

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Day 200: What’s next? & Onward!

She Said:

Day 200… that’s a lot of days.

Today I weighed in at -48.5 lbs. and although I am sure Nathaniel could make a really good guess at what I weighed when we started TwoAHealthyLife I think I’ve done a good job of keeping the exact number a secret.

However, I promise to tell everyone what my initial weight was when I am “done”.

My parents know, a few chica friends know but I don’t think I’ve told any men.

When I look in the mirror I can kinda tell I’ve lost weight but what really shows me how far I’ve come is seeing my before pictures and the number on my jeans.

I understand this sounds crazy: “Alex, seriously? You’ve lost almost 50 lbs. how can you only ‘kinda’ tell?”

We are our own worst critics. When I look in the mirror after weighing in every morning I still see flab, stretch marks and cellulite. There are less of those things now but I still have them.

Also- the last time I weighed this much I was a senior in High School so mentally that’s what I am comparing myself too. (Now I am laughing to myself) I weigh less right now at 24 than I did at 18.

The biggest difference for me is that when I see those things I don’t care anymore. I feel in control of my health and what my body looks like and I know that eventually, probably within the next few months, all the flab and cellulite will be gone.

So what’s next?

Once I hit -70 lbs. on the scale I am going to hire a personal trainer to help me build muscle.

I find it easier to subsist on a middle schooler’s calorie allotment than to motivate myself to lift weights… I find it boring.

My Answer? Pay someone a lot of money to shame me into it.

Thank you so much to everyone who reads TwoAHealthyLife and gives us feedback! Knowing you all are listening helps motivate us to keep writing and running.



He said:

So I have to start this post off with the fact that I am a slacker (more like I forgot) because yesterday was day 200 and Alex wrote a great blog and I should have done the same, but spaced it out.  So today is our 201st day about the 200th day of our blog / health adventure.

Looking back over it, 200 days seems like a long time, but it has flown by.  For me the adventure started even before that, with October (I don’t remember the exact day, so we will say October 1) being the start date of my diet/exercise program.

Since October I have lost 65 pounds (the scale this morning said 160, so I will go with that), I fluctuate now on a weekly basis between 155 and 160 and I am ok with that.  I am in the best shape of my life seeing as the last time I weighed this much I was in 7th grade (yeah I know).

Some weeks are harder then others, sometimes I don’t even think about being on the diet and controlling what I eat and other weeks it is a struggle.  I still want to over eat on occasion and I would like to delve deeper into this issue and understand where the desire for this steams from so that I can address that problem.

I read Alex’s post and I can empathize with her feelings, as around 185 lbs. I was still looking in the mirror and hating what I saw.  There was still flab and muffin top and I just wondered how much more weight it was going to take for me to be happy with what I saw.

Apparently that was 25 more pounds (and if you would have told me that at 185 I would have screamed), but I just took it one week, one day, one meal at a time and eventually I hit my goal.

For the first time in my life I am happy with the way my body looks (though that doesn’t mean I don’t see areas for improvement) and am confident when I go out.  As Alex said, this whole process has shown me that I am significantly more in control of not only how my body looks, but how I feel on a daily basis.  There doesn’t seem to be a disconnect anymore between they way I want to look and feel and the way I know I can look and feel.

In the end what I have to remind myself on occasion (especially on weeks where I slip on my diet or don’t exercise as much as I want) about how far I have come in such a short amount of time.  It hasn’t even been a year and I am closer then I have ever been in my life to looking the way I want to look.

I am excited about the 200 days and can’t wait for the one year marker to see where Alex and I are.

Thank you everyone for your support, love, and kind words through this endeavor; we hope someone else can see that big changes are possible if you work at it.

With much appreciation,


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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 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 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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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.