Two a Healthy Life

One couple on a mission to become healthy


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Office Temptation

ImageToday I instagrammed my lunch.

I’ve purposefully tried to stay away from instagramming food because the light is rarely good enough to bother doing it with a phone and because I’d like to keep myself out of the cute kitties and food rut some people get sucked into.

However – today I made an exception because I was really really hungry and very thankful I had stocked up on steamfresh veggies this morning. I discovered these a few weeks ago and have been routinely eating a bag of veggies with a tofurkey patty and an egg for dinner. The meal comes out to around 300 calories and it is LOVELY to be able to make a hot and healthy meal in under 10 minutes although I think I am going to stop eating the tofurkey (too processed).

I decided I wanted the soup Nathaniel and I made this week for dinner instead of lunch so I went to Target before work and bought some steamfresh bags to hide in the freezer at my work. Interestingly enough the fridge at my work looks like a science experiment inside but the freezer is nearly bare.

I just wanted to share this lunch cheat with our TwoAHealthyLife readers. Even the more calorically dense steamfresh bags are under 250 calories which is pretty fantastic. I don’t buy the ones that come with sauces inside because I want to avoid that much sodium in one meal.

Eating healthy at work is really hard- there seems to be temptation everywhere. The snack machine in the hall is full of things high in fat, sugar and salt. This trinity is responsible for us craving all the things we should eat less of.
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Our primal EAT alarm goes off when things are balanced with these flavors – something Nathaniel and I can talk more about at a later time. But- there is a reason foods we would normally consider “savory” get sugar added to them. Hamburger buns for example have quite a bit of sugar in them… a lot of bread does. Sugar makes you crave that burger more.

My biggest challenge at work arrived shortly after Christmas. One of the editors was given an automated M&M dispenser by his mother and he brought it to work… It is now constantly filled with M&M’s and I have to walk pass it nearly every time I leave the office. It’s on my way BACK from the bathroom.

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I told Nathaniel this morning I would consider it a personal victory if I didn’t eat any M&M’s today (5 calories each) and so far I haven’t…

T-minus 45 minutes.


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A Race at Lands End

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He Said:

Today we did another DSE run (they host them every week, so if your in the Bay Area you should come check one out, $5 for a race isn’t bad) the first one we did was the Embarcadero 10k and today’s race was the Golden Gate Vista 10k.

One of our friends had told us about it so Alex and I agreed to do the run without really reading anything about it or doing any research on the course.  The run was at lands end in SF and for those who don’t know, this is one of the hilly parts of the city (I know, where is it not hilly).  The run starts on a trail and then goes along the coast, where it peeks on a hill (or small mountain) over looking the Golden Gate bridge.

Without having looked at the map or realizing where the run was going to be held, it was a little bit of a shock when we got there and our friend told us it was going to be hilly.  The first half of the run went fine, knowing that there were going to be hills, until we got to the mini-mountain and struggling to get to the top of this thing.  There were a couple of guys in front of me, and just seeing them keep going helped to motivate me to keep going.  Getting to the top without stopping was my accomplishment for the day and it did make me feel good about the race.

Over all I ran the race in 54 min, which with all the hills was better then I thought I was going to do.  My comment to Alex in general about the race was how strange it still is sometimes to think that we just wake up and run six miles now.  Both of us agreed to the run without really thinking about it and not worrying about not being able to complete the run or dying along the road on the way.

Cheers to 10ks.

Onward

Left to right: Me, Nathaniel, Billy and Alli.

Left to right: Me, Nathaniel, Billy and Alli.

She Said:

A few weeks ago my best friend’s girlfriend asked Nathaniel and I if we would like to do a 10k with her and my best friend.

Without really worrying about it I told her we would do it – not even knowing the name of the race where it was or anything other than the fact it was in San Francisco and only cost $5 to participate in.

It’s so amazing to me that a year ago I couldn’t even jog a ¼ mile without dying and now I’ve completed a half marathon and can run a 10k any given Sunday without really worrying about it.

The only thing I do differently leading up to it is eat a different breakfast than I would normally eat. Usually I like to have a banana and orange juice before a 10k but today I had toast with peanut butter and orange juice.

Anyways – the date kind of snuck up on us and just after 8am this morning Nathaniel and I were pulling into a parking lot near Sutro Baths in San Francisco with our friends in the car behind us.

It was a brisk morning and we were quite cold as we checked in, paid our fees and just stood around waiting for the 9 o’clock start to roll around. A tall guy (about 6’5’’) sidled up behind Billy and was eyeing him really obviously.

It annoys Billy when people comment on his height or react strangely to him because he is tall so I told the guy “Yeah – he’s taller than you.” Which really embarrassed him and he wandered away…

Soon it was time for the race to start and Billy (the only one of us who has done a marathon) told us the course was going to be hard. I seriously hadn’t even known where the race was until we got into the car and were heading north towards the city … but Billy telling us it was going to be hard worried me a little bit.

We took off at 9 am and the big group of us went looping through the parking lot and then off road to a nice trail with views of the Golden Gate Bridge. The view was fantastic for most of the run and around mile 1 we hit a staircase and I had to climb it – not running.photo-5

To be fair- the stairs were spaced really strangely for running. Only really tall people would be able to run them normally but for the rest of us you have to either bound up them or take a strange step and a half for every stair.

Those stairs were the only thing that really killed me on the run. I was dying by the time I got to the top of them (partially because my muscles were still cold).

I noticed a long time ago it takes me about two miles to start enjoying a run – after that I can cruise a long for a while and just be really happy to be out moving.

During the Las Vegas half Marathon I felt like shit from mile 0-2 and 9-13. Everything in between was fantastic.

I caught Billy and Alli on a long sloping hill near the three-mile mark and passed them near the top of it. Alli (sorry if this annoys you) is a lot thinner than me but doesn’t run as much and she has asthma. If she ran as much as I did she would totally kill me because I outweigh her by 20-30 lbs.

After I passed them on the downhill portion of that hill it was probably another half mile till we started climbing again. And then it was maybe another mile of long sloping hill.

I didn’t actually need to stop at any point on the race except for the stairs although I did walk with Billy and Alli for a few minutes.

The last big hill it came down to just making myself do it. I was slowly trotting up it and near the top stopped and took about two walking steps before I told myself I was being lazy and that I could finish it – and then I started running again.

Although the course was hilly and hard I set a new PR today by about 2 minutes.

I was really happy with how I did and it has me motivated me to start running on a more regular basis.

Onward!

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Salad Day at Work!

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Yesterday the kitchen staff at my office sent out a e-mail at 12:30 (when they usually do) saying that lunch was ready. Usually – I sadly read the delicious things they’ve made before getting up to heat up the soup Nathaniel and I made for the workweek.

Today the e-mail declared it was salad day and listed all the fun stuff that would be offered to top our lettuce – I was super excited.

I gave myself a huge pile of lettuce and then tried to use restraint with the toppings but I still ended up having to journal the meal at 500 calories. But, it kept me feeling full the rest of the day and I didn’t feel any guilt from the smoked trout or bacon bits I put on it in measured amounts.

Apparently the kitchen used to do salad days all the time but the carnivores were not appreciative so they cut back on it. Hoping to combat this I sent the kitchen staff an e-mail saying how much I appreciated it.

Last week my weight finally started dropping again but this week its going to be hard to get back into the swing of things – we have so many delicious leftovers from Super Bowl Sunday that I can only hope that Nathaniel will binge and eat them all before I get home tonight.

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The Truth About Diets

The above video is a serious blog by the comedic youtube personality Jenna Marbles. Besides being occasionally hilarious she is in really great shape and after continuously being asked how she stays fit she answered her fans very seriously in this video.

When I first saw this video (probably over a year ago) I remember thinking that her diet was absurd, impossible and that if eating her diet 6 days a week was what it took to look like her then it wasn’t worth it. I still believe the last part but the first two have flown out the window.

I actually don’t like the smoothies every morning idea because it’s whole lot of sugar (although admittedly the good kind) but salads for lunch and large amounts of vegetable soup are what Nathaniel and I do on top of a lot of cardio. This diet seems completely reasonable now if you are trying to lose weight but there is not a chance I’d go vegan to look like her – looking like that is not a goal of mine and I love animal products.

I also don’t think you NEED to eat like her to stay fit once you have gotten your weight under control. Once you’ve accomplished your goals “maintaining” should be a lot easier emotionally. Because, the truth about diets is that they are exhausting both emotionally and physically and the more weight you are trying to lose the more exhausting they are.

People ask Nathaniel and I what we’ve done to lose weight and we often get the feeling they don’t like our answers.

Yes – I still eat chocolate but I am aware of the calories in every ounce I eat.

Yes – I eat bacon at least once a week but I also run.

Yes – sometimes I will have a burger for dinner on a saturday but I probably didn’t eat more than 500 calories all day before I decided I could.

People don’t want to hear that the answer to their question really is: diet and exercise.

When I seriously answer people’s questions I usually get a response like: I hate running, I don’t like feeling hungry, I could never count calories.

If you hate running do something else. If you never feel hungry you’re probably never going to lose weight and if you aren’t at least seriously aware of what you are putting into your body you’re also probably never going to lose weight.

The only way you lose weight is to burn more calories than you eat.

Counting calories, seriously comparing all of your food options, being hungry and exercising on top of a caloric deficit is not fun. It sucks. Actually – it really sucks.

You just have to decide for yourself if it’s worth it.


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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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Simple Breakfast?

breakfast

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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Minestrone Soup

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Nathaniel saw this recipe in Runner’s World magazine and it quickly became one of our healthy life staples. As I was eating a bowl of it today I thought I would share the recipe with all of you. This soup is so delicious I might serve it at a dinner party in the future!

Ingredients:

2 quarts good-quality vegetable broth
1 14.5-ounce can petite-diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, cut into small dice
1 celery stalk, cut into small dice
1 peeled carrot, cut into small dice
2 teaspoons Italian seasonings
1/4 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes, or to taste
2 cans (15 to 16 ounces each) small white beans, not drained
8 ounces frozen green peas
8 ounces coarsely chopped escarole
1 cup ditalini (or any bite-size pasta)
Sprinkle of salt and ground black pepper

Directions:

Microwave broth and tomatoes together on high until steaming (5 minutes).

Heat oil over medium-high heat in a large pot. Add onions, celery, and carrots; saute till tender (5 minutes). Add Italian seasonings and red pepper; saute until fragrant (one minute).

Add broth mixture and remaining ingredients; cover and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low; continue to simmer, partially covered and stirring occasionally, until vegetables are soft and pasta is tender (15 minutes). Serves eight.

CALORIES PER SERVING: 220
CARBS: 41 G
FIBER: 10 G
PROTEIN: 10 G
FAT: 4 G


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Day 156: Cravings

He said:

Doughnuts on the kitchen table, a coworker’s candy bowl, cookies at a local meeting, we have all been in situations where food is present and for no apparent reason we become transfixed on that food until we have some.  I won’t even necessarily be hungry, but if someone brings in doughnuts for the office, my mouth will begin to salivate like one of Pavlov’s dogs in anticipation of the sweet, doughy goodness.  This is only part of the toxic and ever present food environment that we live in now.

Three instances from the past week will help to illustrate this phenomenon in a more concrete way.

  1. A coworker brought in doughnuts (seeing the theme here) for the department and decided to leave the box on my desk for people to snack on.  I had already had my morning meal and was about to have my mid-morning snack (almonds), so I wasn’t really hungry, but as soon as the doughnuts showed up I was thinking about having one.  I was able to put them out of my mind, have my snack, and focused on my work, but every now and then I would think about the doughnuts.  After I got my morning coffee an hour later I moved them into the break room and ten minutes later they were gone.
  2. Went into the break room to have my afternoon snack (low-fat cottage cheese) and someone had left a package of cookies on one of the tables for people to eat.  I looked at the package, thought about what I had eaten that day and started to justify how I could have one and it be all right, I opened the packed ready to grab one, and then knew if I had one then, I would eat it, my cottage cheese, and then have another one after.  In that instant I knew it was easier for me to just not have a cookie then try to only have one, I was able to close the package and have my cottage cheese and then flee the break room.
  3. On Monday we had a department lunch (I feel like I work with the foodiest people ever) of pizza.  We do this every couple of months and I have told everyone I am on a diet so I don’t partake of the pizza, plus what I have found out about myself is that I do not like pizza that much and in true fashion I was able to sit in the luncheon and not partake and not think about the pizza at all.  I had no craving for it and didn’t even think twice about not having any.

In my cravings, what I have learned about myself is that I have a sweet tooth and if I am going to indulge or think about food it almost always is going to be sweet things. For Alex, she loves savory food, and doesn’t really give in to sweets too often (though she does have chocolate every day, in moderation).   What has become easier as this whole lifestyle has progressed is controlling cravings and understanding that I don’t need to indulge all the time, plus having a free day where I can eat the way I want helps tremendously.  On the day with the cookies, I told myself that if I really wanted a cookie I would wait till Saturday and then go to this really good cookie store in SF.  That was the other thing about those cookies, they were safeway store bought cookies, and even though I really wanted to eat it in that instance, in the back of my head I knew it was not going to be as good as I had built it up in my head.

The point on that one being that if you are going to splurge make sure you get the good stuff, because there is no sense in wasting the calories on something that isn’t exactly what you want.  Most of these ideas are being formed from a book I am currently reading called The End of Overeating.  I am only about halfway through, but it has already been enlightening, and I think I will do another blog post just on that book and its main message.  But it has opened my eyes to how I crave things and some ways of getting around those involuntary hunger pangs.  At the end of the day we should all try to become more aware of what are bodies (and brains) are telling us and just remember, half the time your brain is telling you you’re hungry, but your body isn’t.

She Said:

It is really interesting to see how you prioritize food when you are on such a strict diet. As Nathaniel said – I eat chocolate nearly every day.

I buy dark chocolate chips like you would use to bake cookies with and keep them in the fridge. I never eat more than 100 calories worth in a day and the bag lasts weeks.

While I do love chocolate the main reason I have chosen chocolate chips is because they are really easy to portion out. If I am getting close to my calorie limit for the day and choose to put cheese on my omelet then I can count out half as many chips and still have a treat.

Nathaniel however is really the one with the sweet tooth. I am more into savory foods – I’d much rather have wonton soup or bacon than a doughnut. Pizza would distract me in a meeting to no end and I’d probably spend an hour arguing with myself about eating or not eating a slice. (I’ve done this.)

Another reason Nathaniel doesn’t “daily cheat” the way I do is because once he gets started he knows it’s going to be hard to stop at just one cookie or one doughnut.

The other day I ate the crème filling out of a cookie and tossed the cookie part. I don’t want the cookie part and eating it just doesn’t make sense if I don’t like it. Nathaniel thought I was insane…

My most common cravings are wonton soup and meat… and I’ll explain.

Wonton soup is much healthier for you than Ramen and I can actually eat it during the week without breaking my calorie allotment if I’ve run more than 3 miles.

I actually crave wonton soup more than any other singular food item because I know I can eat it and feel full after the indulgence.

Meat is another story – Nathaniel and I are mostly vegetarians during the week but I grew up in a more meat heavy household than he did (his mother is a vegetarian).

Sometimes I think back to those delicious grilled steaks in huge portions my Dad gave me growing up and I really miss being able to eat a half-pound of really nicely grilled beef without guilt. Fried chicken is eaten for dinner about once a week in my parents’ house. Dad cooks bacon everyday and meatloaf, carnitas, chorizo, bbq, roast beef, prime rib, salmon, shrimp and roast chicken were all on heavy rotation during my childhood.

My parents cook delicious meat and that’s probably one of the reasons this is the thing I miss most. Meat, unless we are talking about the leanest of seafood is just not calorically efficient for it’s volume which is the main reason I’ve kept pretty vegetarian M-F.

Today I put a half cup of shrimp in my egg white omelet for dinner and even with cheese my dinner was only 330 calories.

Nathaniel’s Mom baked a lot and loves sweets so that’s probably one of the reasons he does too.

Nathaniel likes to spread jam on low calorie toast for a snack… I like to spread soft light swiss cheese (laughing cow).

When you are fighting your cravings it’s really interesting to think back to how you developed those food weaknesses.

If you could pick one food that would count at zero calories when you ate it in any amount what would you choose?

Me? Bacon.


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10 Healthy Work Habits

I have been thinking about writing this article for a little while and then on Tuesday Alex sent me an e-mail with a blog about the same thing.  While this blog has some good advice, there were several ideas that we came up with so this is an addendum to similar articles that have tackled the subject.

Seeing as we working people spend, at a minimum, 40 hours at work a week it is only reasonable that we should look at our habits there to see potential health problems.  I work as an accountant and besides being the most exciting job ever, it also means I am like most Americans in being sedentary for the majority of the day.  Here are ten tips for healthier habits in the workplace.

1.      Start a water co-op

About a year ago I was sick of brining my own water to work to only run out half way through the day.  I consulted my manager if it was alright that I ask my coworkers if everyone was interested in getting a water cooler and sharing the cost.  After a couple of months of asking we got one, which is quite cheap to start and then everyone who drinks water chips in when the bill is due (plan one of the 5 gallon jugs per person per month).  The other great aspect of this is that you might guilt trip your employer into paying for the water, which is what happened in my case.  The other great thing about having a water cooler is the access to hot water, which you case use to make instant oatmeal, tea, coffee, but not instant ramen.

2.      Start drinking more water:

Along with the water cooler, drinking more water at work helps in multiple areas.  The first is proper hydration, which is always a good thing.  The other aspect to think about is that this is a healthy reason to get up and walk and stretch while you’re at work.  Getting up and walking over to the water cooler gets your muscles moving and helps to elongate your spine so it doesn’t become depressed.  It also means you have to get up and go to the bathroom more, which you can look at as another reason to get up from you desk and get moving a little to break up the hours of sitting.  You can mix up your water consumption too and have tea (try herbal or green to cut down on caffeine), coffee, emergen-C etc.

3.      Set a stretch pop-up:

If you use Outlook at work (I am sure you can do this with gmail as well) you can set a pop-up to go off every hour with the simple message to stretch.  I did this about three months ago and it is great for reminding me to at least stand up and stretch my back out a little, or I use this as a reminder to go fill up my cup with water.  If you go to the calendar section of Outlook you can set a reminder to pop-up every day starting when you get to work, and then just dismiss it for an hour every time it pops up.

4.      Walk to get coffee or at lunch:

I try to save money like everyone else, and I did this for a time by bringing my own coffee to work (which is a great way to save money), but now I try not to drink coffee until my morning break and then walk up the hill to starbucks or pete’s coffee to grab a cup with a co-worker.  This gets me roughly 15 min of walking time away from my desk and I get to enjoy the caffeine buzz when I get back.  Just make sure get coffee and not some sugary concoction masquerading as coffee, a venti drip coffee has 5 calories while a venti white chocolate mocha has 510 calories and 15 grams of fat.  Similarly, if you can, use your lunch break, other then eating lunch (that you brought from home) to go for a walk around the building.  You will be surprised how more alert you feel if you go for a twenty minute walk during lunch, that and the food will help you power through the rest of your day.

5.      Walk / ride / park further away:

I recently started riding my bike to work and it has been the most rewarding experience.  I don’t have to deal with rush hour commute, and feel more alert and awake when I get to the office in the morning.  However, I understand that most people do not live close enough to work to make communing by any means besides a car practical, which is why you should start to park further away from work.  Instead of taking the spot right next to the front door, park at the edge of the lot and walk all the way to the office, it’s not much exercise, but over the course of a year it can add up to hundreds of thousands of extra steps.

6.      Use the stairs:

This is a basic one that gets mentioned a lot, but I thought I would repeat the advice.  I try to use stairs in any building I go to, but I realize that many people either work on the first floor of a building or work on the 50th floor.  If you work on the first floor, I am sure that you need to go to another department sometime in the day and use this as a way to play a little hooky and get some exercise.  If you work on a floor that you cannot walk to without walking in dripping with sweat, make it a goal to walk up the first three –five floors and then take the elevator the rest of the way.  If you are someone who gets to winded walking up the stairs, try making it a point to at least walk down the stairs at the end of the day.  On a side note, I walk up the stairs in the morning, get coffee, take my lunch break, and walk down the stairs at night, all in all I go up and down 12 flights of stairs in a normal day but I am only on the third floor.

7.      Get healthy with your co-workers:

There are at least 8 hours a day your away from your spouse or anyone else that knows you’re on a diet, which leaves plenty of time to cheat if you want.  A great way to get around this is by telling your co-workers you’re trying to loose weight, as this will make you think twice about grabbing that cookie that’s in the break room when your co-workers can see you.  Also you can try to get your coworkers to become health with you, I am currently in a bet with one coworker to see who can do 100 push-ups first and planning to run a 6.6 mile race with another.  We all help each other to stay focused at work, and they kid me around when they think I want to eat something bad (such as friday’s doughnuts).

8.      Identify unhealthy habits:

Really need that chocolate fix at three?  Always have a soda after/with lunch?  Find the times during the day you are most likely to snack or consume empty calories and try to change the habit.  Take a diet soda to work instead of regular.  Have a piece of fruit in the afternoon, or bring bit-sized chocolates with you that a portioned into reasonable servings.  Don’t bring a bag of chocolate to work and think you are only going to have one, just leave the bag at home and bring one piece with you to satisfy your craving.

9.      Bring your lunch and snacks from home:

This is a tried and true fact, and is mentioned in most other lists of healthy work habits.  If you bring a lunch and snack food from home you are going to be eating significantly healthier food (without mystery contents) than most food places near your work will be offering.  You don’t have to do it all at once, aim to bring lunch two days a week to start with and then increase it from there.  If you are just not a brown bagger, that’s fine, but try to find healthier options (I know not everyone is a fan, but Subway is a healthy choice if you don’t add cheese and mayonnaise).  Try to stay away from any type of fast food for example a plain hamburger, small fries, and small Classic Coke is 20g fat and 630 calories, and when was the last time you ordered just a regular hamburger?  If you order this meal once a week for a year, you would be consuming 32,760 calories or the equivalent of 9.36 pounds…stick to the brown bag.

10.  Start a company sports team:

There are softball leagues in every city, try to get coworkers to start a company team.  I played softball on a company team, and it kept me accountable to show up and participate because I would be hounded at work the next day if I didn’t show up.  Just make sure you’re not joining a beer league or you will just drink back the calories you’ve burned. You can also try to get different departments to complete against each other to foster corporate competitiveness and hey it never hurts to play softball with the boss to try and schmooze in the off hours.

You don’t have to do all of these, if you could implement only three, you will already be on the road to a healthier life.  Just remember you’re going to spend roughly ten years of your life (in total hours) working, healthy habits at work can make a significant difference.


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10 Healthy Date Ideas

Since Nathaniel and I have started this health adventure we’ve been making a conscious effort to have healthier more active dates. In the past our saturday night might have consisted of going to a bar and drinking really good beer – and maybe having chicken wings or a burger for dinner.

Nathaniel doesn’t like romantic restaurants and I am a recovering tom-boy so there you go.

I decided to come up with a list of healthy date ideas. They don’t all necessarily burn a lot of calories but they are better than going to the movies or just sitting at home.

1. Hiking

You don’t need to drive to a rural area to go hiking. You can easily go “urban hiking” and plan a route through the city you live in. The other week we started off at the Farmer’s Market on the eastern edge of San Francisco and walked all the way across the city to a restaurant we wanted to try near the ocean. We took our sweet time but after four hours of walking there’s nothing you could order at a normal restaurant that would erase all of that exercise.

 2. Bowling

We’ve only gone bowling a few times but it’s something we both enjoy doing. Stay away from the snack bar though! All those fried and buttered things are a trap!

3. Rock Climbing

I told Nathaniel the other day that once I reach my halfway weight goal I want to try taking up rock climbing. I’ve done it in the past and I have plenty of guy friends that take dates rock climbing. They always have a lot of fun.

4. Going to the gym

The benefit of running together at the gym is that you both can run at your own pace and still be next to each other. I don’t know a single couple where both people are equally matched in the speed and distance they like to run.

5. Cooking Classes

As a couple we often cook together and it’s a lot of fun. I think transforming yourself into a healthy couple has more to do with changing your relationship with food rather than your relationship to each other. In larger cities you can easily find cooking classes and making yourself more comfortable in a kitchen will help you be less likely to head to Taco Bell for a quick bite when you are short on time.

*** Budget friendly version: both people can find a new healthy recipe online, buy the ingredients and make the food together for a Saturday night activity / dinner.

6. Watch a movie at home

You know that drinking game where you take a sip of something or take a shot every time the people in the movie say a particular word? Play that game with sit-ups.

You can decided how many sit-ups to do per word but it will get you doing something other than sitting (sitting in a stationary position can burn as little as 25 calories per hour).

Suggestions: Using the word “family” while watching the Godfather, “Voldermort / He who must not be named” while watching Harry Potter, or “the force” while watching Star Wars.  I dare you to do 10 every time someone dies in The Gladiator.

7. Dancing / Concerts

I hate dancing. I will not go dancing. But – for all you crazy club kids intense dancing can burn as many calories per hour as a serious run. Going to a rock concert and jumping around/moshing burns a similar number of calories.

8. Volunteer to Walk Dogs at the Pound

This will both get you exercise and Karma points. Plus – for those of us apartment dwelling dog lovers it will give you your puppy breath fix for the week.

9. DO something at the bar

If you are going to go drinking try and go to a bar where you have the option of shooting pool, throwing darts or doing something other than sitting. Also – know how many calories come with your “usual” try switching to a less caloric drink.

Think about this: A vodka martini with olives has 250 calories while a gin martini with olives only has 175. Taking shots? The standard 1.5 ounce serving of 80-proof alcohol has 96 calories even before you add any mixers.

10.Go to a farmer’s market / fruit picking at an orchard

Both of these activities fulfill the necessity of buying food for the week and will get you more exercise than shopping at Safeway, Lucky’s, Bi-Lo (shout-out to the south) or whatever your local grocery store is.

Also by going to a farmer’s market you are buying fresher produce picked at its peak and reducing the amount of fossil fuel it took that meal to get to your table.

I like to buy things I’ve never eaten before so that I am forced to figure out what to do with it once I’ve gotten it home. Cue – butternut squash and kale entering my diet within the past 6 months. My parents never fed me these growing up so I had to discover them on my own.