Ms. Marvel Project

Catching up

I’ve been slacking a little bit with blogging in the past week or two, and it’s time for that to stop! I’ve been working way too much, but luckily my fitness plans haven’t fallen by the wayside in all the chaos.

I’ve decided to get back into the 100 Pushup Challenge. I had to quit the first time around because I developed some pretty bad shoulder pain and it wasn’t going away. But now it’s been a considerable amount of time and my shoulder hasn’t given me any trouble for a while now so I think it’s safe to give it a go. I left off in the middle of week 3 and that’s exactly where I’m starting now. Yesterday I did the week 3 day 1 workout and it went well.

I haven’t been completely pushup-free in between then and now. I just wasn’t doing them consistently and certainly wasn’t pushing myself every time to do more and more like this plan will do. I’m really excited to see some arm muscles coming back!

In addition to that, I’ve started attempting to run again. Running has never ever ever come easily to me. In fact, it sort of just feels awful whenever I try to do it and like my body can’t handle it. I want to change that!

I’ve done 3 or so Couch to 5k workouts, 2 of which were completed successfully and the last one… well, it was kind of a disaster. Maybe my legs were too tired from the long cardio workout I had done the day before, or maybe it was just a bad day to try, but I only got through 3 one minute running segments and my shins felt like they were on fire, even when I was just walking slowly. I couldn’t continue. Definitely a disappointment.

But! I’m not letting that stop me. The failed workout occurred on Monday and now today on Friday, I’m hoping to head out in a few hours to the gym to try again. I’m ready for this!

Challenging myself like with the pushups and running is something that really motivates me to keep sticking to my workouts and goals. I like having a plan – something I can put in my calendar – and then watching myself progress. This is especially true when it comes to things that historically I’ve never been able to do. Definitely the case with pushups and running!

Happy Memorial Day to everyone in the U.S. and I hope the long weekend is put to good use!


Blog Hops Everyday and A Mommy's Blog Design Friday Blog Hop

May 25, 2012 Posted by | Blogging, Life, Project | , , , , | 1 Comment

Temptations at the office

I’ve been away from the blog for about a week, and I figured now would be a good time to post since I’ve got the apartment to myself for the night and I’ve missed it quite a bit. The past 2 weeks have been a challenge at work and have left me drained. But I wanted to post today about something that all office-dwellers have surely encountered: being faced with delicious, but diet-breaking treats at the office.

My coworkers like to eat and they like to celebrate, and this often results in lots of food around the office. Sometimes I’m strong enough to avoid the temptation, but other times, not so much. On Monday, it was one woman’s last day at the office and she baked cookies as a goodbye treat. These were not just any cookies however… they were homemade, vanilla cookie on the bottom, chocolate cookie on top with frosting sandwiched in between. When I first arrived at the office that day, I noticed the plate on the long table that sits immediately behind my desk. Being that it was first thing in the morning, I didn’t feel the need to want any and didn’t feel tempted at all.

Then, several hours went by. There were still cookies left and they were starting to smell awfully good. So I had one. Then a little later, another. And another! How could I resist that kind of temptation when it was literally sitting right behind me for the entirety of a work day? It seemed nearly impossible.

I suppose sometimes it’s not really possible to deny every food temptation that comes around, but I find that I do win the battle a lot. My office also has “bagel Fridays” every few weeks, and while I used to attend when I first started, now I’ve stopped. Also, I find it much easier these days to say no to the free pizza that sometimes shows up.

When I worked at my former job, one of the job “perks” was that we had access to a 25 cent vending machine. That’s right – every candy bar, bag of chips and can of soda was only a quarter. You can imagine how often I ended up taking advantage of that. It was practically free!

My new office has no such thing and if I want to visit the vending machine I have to pay full price, which is apparently a lot higher than I ever remembered it being before.

It can be difficult to resist all of the things that are bad for me on a day to day basis, but I try to pick my battles.

Are you ever faced with food temptations where you work?

April 25, 2012 Posted by | Life, Project | , , | 2 Comments

We’re going to Vegas, baby!

D and I have been talking about going on a trip to Vegas practically since we met nearly 3 years ago. For one reason or another, we just haven’t been able to get a trip planned out and kept pushing it off… that is until now! In less than 2 months, we’ll be heading out west to gamble and take a week off from life. I’m extremely excited, as I’ve always wanted to go. For one thing, I’ve only ever been to one location in the west and that was a quick 2 day business trip to Seattle. For another thing, I enjoy casinos, playing cards, the excitement, the noise and the opportunity to eat at exotic new restaurants!

I downloaded a countdown widget for my phone and I’m letting this trip be a new goal for my Ms. Marvel Project. I want to lose at least 5 pounds by the time we leave. It would be great if I could do more than 5, but I’m being realistic here, based on how I know weight loss + Lisa ends up usually going.

Here is my new starting point:

Today’s weight – 147.6
Goal weight – 142.6

I have two months to do it and with some motivation and inspiration I know it will be possible.

Over here in Boston, it’s been pretend summer this week with temperatures getting up to almost 90 degrees yesterday. The drastic changes in weather have been taking a toll on me and I’ve come down with a bit of a cold, mixed with some lovely spring allergies. Needless to say, I’ve been sort of miserable as a result. I need this cold to go away at least a little before I jump into my new workout routine.

Anyone out there been to Vegas? Any suggestions for fun things to do while we’re there??

April 17, 2012 Posted by | Life, Project | , , , | 2 Comments

Family food traditions

I don’t know about you, but in my family, any holiday is an excuse to cook up and eat as much food as is humanly possible. This Easter was certainly no exception to that rule.

In my family, Easter is generally a smaller holiday that only includes a small subsection of our relatively large Italian family. Last Sunday, Easter was confined to just the 4 of us: my parents, my brother and myself. I was planning to make a healthy side dish for the family (my roasted brussel sprouts) and aside from that, all I knew was that my mother would be cooking up a storm.

I was not wrong.

For 4 people, here was the list of food we had on the menu:

- A large lasagna
– Meatballs and sausages
– Stuffed artichokes
– Salad
– A full ham
– My brussel sprouts
– Homemade macaroni and cheese

And for dessert:
– Ricotta pie
– Miscellaneous pastries
– Easter candy

Needless to say, it was a LOT of food and while we made a decent dent in each dish, the leftovers were abundant. I took many of them home and they provided lunches and dinners for D and I for the majority of the week.

I definitely let myself eat whatever was looking good while I was there (the lasagna, mac and cheese, artichokes, salad and dessert), but at the same time, couldn’t help thinking about how whenever a holiday like this comes up, how difficult it can be to not let it sabotage my healthy eating progress. When all of my favorite foods are sitting right in front of me, it’s note easy to say no or even eat them in small portions. I know that holidays like this only come around once in a while so I try not to dwell and make myself feel bad about it.

It makes me wonder though, when the eventual time comes that I have my own house and am hosting holiday dinners, what kind of food will I serve? Will it be the heavy Italian food that my family knows and loves or will I try to sprinkle in some healthier food and more vegetarian options? I do think it will be the latter and I can only hope that my relatives will be a little adventurous when it comes to non-meat, slightly healthier food.

In the meantime, it’s time for me to get back into eating healthier now that all the leftovers are gone.

Happy weekend!

April 14, 2012 Posted by | Life, Project | , , | 1 Comment

A Spring Tease

Last week, we had a bout of hot weather that was glorious and inspiring. It was 80 degrees for at least 3 days in a row and the surrounding days didn’t dip below 60. For New England in March, that’s not something you ever really see. I bought myself a new spring coat, one day I wore capris and sandals and I actually slowed down and enjoyed walking around outside. It was just so nice.

If only it could last. This week has been the polar opposite, culminating in this morning’s commute to work when it was 25 degrees with a wind chill of 11 and I honestly felt like my ears were going to succumb to frostbite by the time I walked in the front door of the office. What a tease last week was!

If nothing else, at least last week’s weather showed me that spring and summer are just around the corner and there will be many positive changes that will come as a result. For me, and I’d have to think this is the same for a lot of people, when the weather is nice, it seems so much easier to focus on fitness and health. When it’s freezing outside, all anyone wants to do is huddle under blankets and eat comfort food.

***

This weekend I didn’t meet all of my goals, but I still did work. I missed Saturday’s work out, but did get on the bike for 30 minutes on Sunday. As for eating, I splurged on some takeout on Saturday and again yesterday, but as long as I eat in for the rest of the week, I won’t beat myself up over it. Eating out every now and then is something I know I will always do.

I’m attending a wedding in a couple of weeks where I will be meeting D’s extended family for the first time and I’d really like to be in decent shape for the event. This week I’ll be trying to do my best with eating and hopefully I’ll be able to get D to go to the gym with me once or twice. I have a few dresses that I haven’t tried on since last year so I’m wondering how they’ll fit. Either way, I’m just hoping I don’t have to make an emergency trip out before the wedding to get a new dress!

March 27, 2012 Posted by | Life, Project | | 3 Comments

Where are you springtime?

Winter has made itself known here in the northeast once again. We’ve been lucky so far this winter in that it hasn’t snowed very much. But let’s be honest… it’s now March 1st and I desperately want some SPRING WEATHER!

That picture was taken just as it started to snow yesterday. It’s still snowing now, 24 hours later.

I’m dreaming of the days hopefully only a few weeks from now when I can walk outside without a gigantic winter coat, scarf and gloves; when I can open the windows in our apartment and let in some fresh air; and when I can finally get that renewed excitement about life that springtime always brings.

The motivation is already starting to kick up over here and I have been completely dedicating myself to all of my goals since we returned from New York. I’ve been eating great, though I haven’t worked out much — I brought back a minor cold with me when we returned — and I have some big projects in mind that I want to start working on in my life.

D and I spent a good portion of last night talking about the possibility of one day in the not too distant future looking at buying a house. One of my big goals this year was to pay off all of my debt (student loans and car loan) and so far so good in that department. If all goes according to plan, we will be financially ready to look into buying at the end of 2013. Coincidentally, we got a flyer in the mail yesterday for a free first time homebuyers seminar that’s being held at a local bank in our town at the end of the month, and we’re thinking of attending.

I’ve also got some big plans in mind for the Ms. Marvel Project and my fitness goals.

And on Saturday, I’m doing one of the things that always makes a girl feel fresh and renewed: I’m getting my hair cut! I really only bother getting it cut once every six months or so, so it really is kind of a big deal when it happens.

So, maybe spring fever has taken hold of me just a little bit, even if the weather hasn’t started to cooperate just yet.

What are some of your spring goals?

March 1, 2012 Posted by | Life, Project | , | 3 Comments

New York travels

I’m back in Massachusetts now after a weekend away in NYC. It was a great trip, even though it was on the quick side. D and I both took Friday off of work so we could start the drive as early as possible. We left around 9AM, stopped mid-way to eat lunch and arrived around 2. Of course, it decided to start snowing just as we were embarking on the trip, but luckily it didn’t accumulate or slow us down much.

It did, however, continue to rain for the remainder of the day in NY, which put a little bit of a damper on things because we were outside walking around all afternoon and night. Lots of great exercise and sightseeing followed and we decided we wanted to see a show to get out of the rain and to make the most of the fact that we were in the city. We ended up seeing “Spiderman: Turn Off the Dark”, which ended up exceeding all our expectations. The music was amazing and the performance was spot on.

Saturday, we did a LOT more walking (I’m sure we logged a decent amount of miles), and thankfully the weather improved a little bit. We lost the rain, but we gained a tremendous amount of wind. There were high wind warnings all day, and although the temp was in the 40s, it felt absolutely freezing because of it. But again, we persevered and made the most of our day. Saturday was also the day we had been waiting for and the reason we made the trip to NY: We were going to see Bjork!

We had a great time at the concert and both thought Bjork put on an awesome show.

Sunday we hopped back in the car and arrived back home in the late afternoon, exhausted but happy. It was a nice getaway and we got to do some new things, eat some great food and spend some quality time together.

How was your weekend?

February 27, 2012 Posted by | Life | , , , | 5 Comments

The elusive tipping point

So many bloggers out there talk about this phenomenon called a “tipping point” – the point in their lives at which losing weight/getting healthy seemed to click and start working for them. More often than not, I’ve seen other bloggers’ tipping points have been triggered by major life events – something big that happens that causes them to refocus their goals and make the necessary changes.

Something I’ve been thinking about lately: How do you find your tipping point when everything in your life is status quo?

I’ve come to the conclusion that I need some sort of tipping point to occur for me to finally start losing weight and getting in better shape. I work hard at working out, that’s for sure, but as I’ve mentioned many, many times before: my problem is food. And if you want to see results, you need to change your eating habits.

Maybe I need to take things into my own hands and do something drastic like throwing out all the bad food I have in my kitchen and restocking with nothing but healthy foods. I’m also hoping the changing seasons will kick things into gear, because nothing motivates me to want to improve my life more than the onset of springtime. It’s a season of change, and maybe it will get me out of this rut I find myself in.

D and I are going to New York this weekend and we’ve been preparing for it all week. It’s going to be a nice, although very brief, getaway and we’ll get to do some fun things while we’re there. Perhaps being in NYC again will inspire me.

What do you think about this “tipping point” business?

February 23, 2012 Posted by | Life, Project | , , | 3 Comments

The Vitamin D Dilemma

Around 4 years ago, I got some bloodwork done at the doctor’s office for the first time in a few years and found out that I was seriously deficient in Vitamin D. They told me my levels were so low that I had to go on a Vitamin D prescription of 50,000 IUs (that’s a TON) and that I should sit outside without sunscreen for 10 minutes a day.

All my life I’ve avoided the sun whenever I could. I just don’t like the way it makes me feel to sit outside in the sunlight, not to mention intense sunlight makes my eyes hurt and enough of it will give me a headache. I’m an indoors person, there’s no question about it. At the time, I figured that was all there was to it.

Then, a year later, my brother found out he was also vitamin D deficient. Then, my friend K. After another year, I met D, and a few months into our time dating, his doctor also told him that he needed to take supplements because of low levels. And if that wasn’t enough, around a year ago, his SISTER also got the same news.

What the heck was going on? Some of these people (especially my friend K) were sun lovers and did lots of outdoor activities.

Well, all of these people have something in common: we all grew up in Massachusetts and have lived here pretty much all of our lives. It is a well known fact that in New England, winter weather lasts at least 6 months, and there is little chance of doing anything fun outdoors most of that time.

According to this article:

Vitamin D can be produced in the skin from ultraviolet light. In the northern latitudes (such as New England), the intensity of the UV rays is only strong enough to create vitamin D for us in the summer months. For much of the year (about October through April), then, we need to get vitamin D from other sources. Even in the summer, using sunscreen, covering up with clothing, and spending time indoors can reduce the chance of us getting adequate vitamin D.

Since, that day 4 years ago, I’ve taken vitamin D gummy vitamins every day. They’re tasty and easy to just chew and go every morning. I still don’t spend much time out in the sun because there is a delicate balance here: too much time in the sun can lead to skin cancer and other issues while too little leads to a vitamin D deficiency. My skin is pale as can be, so I’m at an even greater risk of skin cancers and will burn easily in the summer.

I think the thing that alarmed me the most about these revelations over the past few years is that there is almost no one I know who’s my own age that also grew up in Mass that doesn’t have this issue. I wonder how widespread it really is!

The bottom line is: I’d highly recommend anyone living in the northeast get their vitamin D levels checked out. It’s worth it!

For more information on Vitamin D and why we need it, check out this link: Vitamin D


Friday blog hops:

Getting to Know You

young and restless

February 17, 2012 Posted by | Blogging, Life | , , , | 8 Comments

Weekend wrap-up

I didn’t start off the week like I usually do today. The weekend was a whirlwind with ups and downs and bizarre happenings all at once.

The good: As planned, D’s sister came to spend the night for her birthday. Also as planned, my parents came over on Saturday for lunch and to hang out. Both events were a lot of fun and it felt good to see family. Everyone seemed to have a great time.

The bad: My brother was also supposed to come over on Saturday, but had to back out at the last minute because he came down with Strep. Then, on Sunday morning, my mother emailed to let me know that my family’s pet cockatail had passed away overnight. We had him for 13 years, and he was like a member of the family so everyone was pretty sad. He had been going downhill for a while, so it wasn’t a total shock, but it was still kind of sudden.

The bizarre: After all of those events were over, D and I decided to watch some movies last night since neither of us was really intereseted in the Super Bowl, plus we wanted to take our minds off of things and escape for a while. About halfway through the movie, at around 9:30, what do you suppose would happen? Naturally the fire alarm started wailing throughout the apartment building. We immediately got up, grabbed our stuff and walked down to the lobby where we found… absolutely nobody except for the security guard. Then 2 fire trucks and at least a dozen firemen showed up and were saying there was a fire in one of the apartments. But apparently NOBODY in our 12-story gigantic apartment building cared enough to leave their cozy apartments for safety. What in the world?

Anyway, the firemen weren’t able to find anything actually on fire, but they did have to break open a door to an apartment on the third floor (would hate to be those people coming home to find their door in pieces), so we went back upstairs and tried to calm down after such a commotion.

Needless to say, I needed a day to recover from this weekend’s events, and that day is today. I’m not putting the pressure on myself to go to the gym, but tomorrow I see no reason not to go. I did work out 4 times last week, and I’m pretty happy about that.

Did anything bizarre happen during your weekends?

February 6, 2012 Posted by | Life | , | 2 Comments

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