Two a Healthy Life

One couple on a mission to become healthy


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Losing the Lbs. in San Francisco

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On New Year’s Day my friend Lauren and I went hiking while her husband Michael and Nathaniel went surfing.

Yesterday my blog post kind of sucked but today I actually have something to write about.

Today on Sfgate.com I read an article about the 10 best and worst cities to attempt to lose weight in.  Good news for us – San Francisco is apparently THE BEST place in the United States to attempt to lose weight!

The Worst? Las Vegas Nevada.

I can see more than a few reasons for this.

San Francisco has a really mild climate – it’s “cold” and foggy a lot but really our day time temperatures don’t fluctuate by more than 20-30 degrees year round. We also have a crazy number of gyms, outdoor activities and healthy restaurants to choose from.

Las Vegas gets snow in the winter AND routinely faces temperatures in the triple digits. Nevada also allows smoking indoors and we all know how fantastic that is for you.

What is really interesting about these lists is the median price per square foot of living space is 3-4 times higher in the healthy cities than in the unhealthy cities.

San Francisco’s median price per square foot is $459 – the highest on the list. Las Vegas comes in at a shocking $70 per square foot and it is the lowest on the list.

According to Men’s Health Magazine 30.6% of San Franciscans eat veggies 5+ times a day.  Today I’ve eaten four servings of fruit/ veggies and I haven’t had dinner yet so that number doesn’t seem unreasonably high.

It makes me sad when numbers come out like this highlighting the class discrepancy between the healthy and the overweight.  Yes, there are plenty of well educated, well paid overweight people and plenty of thin people living in impoverished neighborhoods BUT percentages don’t lie.

You are far more likely to be overweight if you have a lower income for a variety of reasons that we can go into in future blogs. In the meantime – if you live in the Bay Area take advantage and get outside!


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The “Shortcut”

Today I’d like to share with you all something funny that happened to me this morning as I ran before work.

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I started my run leaving work and heading to AT&T Park, from there I started up the Embarcadero running underneath the Bay Bridge, past The Ferry Building and Pier 39.

It’s a really nice run but it has started to get a little tedious. Near the 3 mile mark I started thinking I might be running out of time to run back along the water so I decided to take a “shortcut” through North Beach and Chinatown.

The improvised route only cut about 1/4 of a mile off of my entire run and added some hills to it so it didn’t turn out to be much of a shortcut although I laughed when I saw my final distance on my phone.

The hill on powell wasn’t super steep by San Francisco standards but after three miles it had me cursing a little under my breath – the best part of the run was how good I felt doing it.

If I hadn’t needed to go to work by 9:30 I might have added another two miles to the thing because it was just one of those days you feel really REALLY good out there moving.

It’s so awesome to look back on how far we’ve come in (almost) one year! I am really proud of both of us.


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A habit breakthrough

Yesterday I had a breakthrough at work.

I was sitting at my desk after eating my lunch (I know you’re not supposed to eat lunch at your desk, and I often don’t as I try to walk at lunch) and I realized I was still hungry and wanted to go up the hill for something sweet from the grocery store.  The thing was, I knew that I wasn’t actually hungry anymore, I was bored.

I was bored because I was at work, and the internet is locked, and I was listening to an audio book that I had listened to before (Born to run, highly suggested) so I already knew what was going to happen.  I acknowledged to myself that I was bored and that I need something to do.

So I downloaded a new audio book and started to listen to it.  Instantly I was engrossed in the book, and as a little time went by I was not hungry anymore as I started to digest my lunch and my body knew it didn’t need anything more.  The breakthrough was controlling the urge to eat more and forming a new habit to actively analyzing why I thought I was still hungry.

I might not be able to do this all the time, but as we try to watch what we eat or stick to those resolution diets, we need to be vigilant for those queues that are telling us we are hungry, because most of the time you’re not hungry, you’re bored, or thirsty, or simply in a habit of eating.  Looking at these eating habits will aid you in your efforts to continue to be healthy.

Onward!


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Simple Breakfast?

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Have you ever read one of those statistical findings that say we make something like 500 choices a day in regards to what we eat? Well, we don’t always make the BEST decisions but by making better ones we can lose weight, get healthy and still feel like a sane human being.

(Right now I’d like you to guess how many calories are in the above meal – I did not add sugar to my cappuccino and the english muffin only has jam on it.)

The above photo is what I would consider  a “splurge” breakfast for the middle of the week but I want to walk you through my decisions and how I arrived to order a small cappuccino and a toasted english muffin with a tablespoon of strawberry jam.

First of all many of you might consider this an absurdly small breakfast and it would be if I wasn’t planning on eating again until lunch. My ‘meals’ are really more like a series of snacks throughout the day.

I started at 9am with this meal at a local café as I flipped through a magazine. Around 10:30 I will crack open a spicy hot V8 Juice and around 12 I might have an apple. At about 1pm I will have a hearty bowl of lentil soup (350 calories) and have a few more pieces of fruit before I leave work at 6. Throughout the day I will have tea, water and maybe a diet coke which will prevent me from feeling hungry.

By 7pm I should be at the gym – I will run 3 miles, lift weights and go home to a nice protein filled dinner although it will be low in fat… possibly an egg white omelete or scramble.

On days I get really really hungry I will also eat a small salad with my soup.

Back to breakfast – the above meal is roughly 245 calories. My calorie goal each day is 1,300 so committing to 1/5 of my daily food at 9am is why I consider it a splurge. Usually I would have an 80 calorie yogurt and a black coffee (85 calories total) and eat more fruit during the day.

I decided that if I was going to go off my pattern I would have to choose something I actually wanted (full fat cappuccino which has less calories than a latte) and not go crazy (no oatmeal).

My favorite thing to order at this cafe is an oatmeal with brown sugar and raisins.

1 cup of oatmeal has about 250-300 calories. 1 little box of raisins has 100 calories and a tablespoon of brown sugar has about 33. I always round up in my calorie estimations when I can’t prepare my own food so a simple cup of oatmeal at a café could be 433 calories BEFORE I drink anything.

Once you are counting calories long enough doing this in your head will be as easy as saying the alphabet- very fast and efficient.

I know roughly that an average serving of bread is 100 calories, jam has no fat in it and I really wanted a cappuccino to linger over.

One the subject of butter – one tablespoon has 100 calories and I can barely taste it when I put jam on my bread anyway.

Next time you go out to eat really think about what is going into the food you are ordering and it should help you achieve your goals in the long run.

I love how the Livestrong Ap breaks down my nutrients for me!

(this is the breakdown of JUST breakfast)

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ZELLA OMFG

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Some of you may remember that I recommended a champion sports bra to our female readers – I now have a pant recommendation for you as well!

I had been looking for a new pair of running pants because my Adidas weren’t fitting well and it is aggravating beyond belief to spend the first mile or so of a run yanking up your pants (muffin top – just say no!).

I tried on Nike (a past addiction), Adidas and Under Armour and just wasn’t happy with the fits I was finding. For pants I prefer black so some of the INSANE running pants Nike offers aren’t that appealing.

In frustration I decided to try the Zella brand at Nordstrom (not my first choice for an athletic gear retailer) and I was pleasantly surprised. Even the best running pants require a tug once in a while to keep them over your bum but Zellas are the least fussy pants I’ve ever owned.

When I tried on some brands at Nordstrom I could hear a slight a ”rip” sound on the delicate waistband seams when I pulled them up. That sound is a bad omen when you figure on a long run if pants don’t fit well you could be tug them a few hundred times!

As soon as I tried on the Zellas I knew I was in love. I am not quite brave enough for the “tight” ones (yet) but the Zella ‘Booty’ Reversible Pants are amazing. BONUS- they come in sizes 0-14 in both regular and long.

I wore them during the Las Vegas half marathon in December and didn’t experience any discomfort even after running in them for nearly three hours.

If you are looking for some new gym pants I strongly recommend these.


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New Year Resolutions

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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.

Onward!


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Dream Big

He said:

The gyms are busy, the streets are full, everyone is on the healthy bandwagon so it must be New Year’s resolution time.  Alex and I went to the gym last week and about halfway up the stairs we both dreaded the amount of people that would be there because of New Year resolutioners (however our fears weren’t warranted as it wasn’t anymore busy then normal).

Many of the articles I have read recently on New Year resolutions  mirror each other in trying to help people actually achieve their goals and not give up midway through February.  The best advice I have read is to set smaller goals to start out with, and keep the larger goal in mind for the future.

It can be daunting to say “This year I am going to loose 70 pounds” and for years I dreamed of loosing that much weight and always got frustrated and gave up before I reached it.  It is much easier to focus on loosing ten pounds, or five pounds, or two pounds and then once you have accomplished your first goal you can move on to the next one.

Alex and I both want to run a marathon this year.  After trying to train last year and injuring myself in the process, I figured that I had to take a new approach this year.  I start my six month training program tomorrow (I know six months really), but I realized that I was too focused on the time I wanted to run the marathon in and not on the whole experience.  This time I am going to go a week at a time and hopefully will fulfill my goal before the year is up.

Even though I know I have the marathon out there in the future (I told Alex we have to sign up for it by the end of the month) Alex and I are both going to sign up for a half marathon sometime in March or April, and some 10ks coming up soon to help give us something closer to focus on while seeing the dream of the marathon further on into the horizon.

Remember to dream big, but keep the goals reasonable.  If you can manage to do that you will wake up one day to find that your dreams have become your realty.

Onward!


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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.