Ms. Marvel Project

Starting the week off right

Let’s face it: Mondays are tough. It’s a universal fact (unless you have a work schedule that begins on a different day of the week). I find it very important to kick Mondays off to a good start every week. I don’t always succeed, but there are a few things that mentally help me get into the groove of the week.

The number 1 thing that I’ve been doing for the past several weeks is making sure that I wake up at 6:30am to get in a pre-work workout. I set up all my workout gear the night before and pop in the Zumba Wii game. When I wake up, I’m usually not too happy or energized, but once I get into the workout, things start looking up. The most important thing that comes out of this is that the very first thing I’m doing on Monday morning is crossing a workout off my list. No matter what else happens that day, I’ll have that victory behind me, and I won’t be scrambling to fit in a workout somewhere else into my schedule.

I’ll be honest though: I can’t do this every day of the week. Most weeks, Monday is the only day I can manage the early wakeup, though sometimes if I’m really on a roll, I can do one other day as well. I’d like to do more of these morning workouts, but my sleep schedule suffers a lot if I do it too frequently.

Also, I do enjoy using the gym at the office, and that’s not something I can easily do in the mornings.

This morning I followed the plan, got everything set up last night and did zumba for 45 minutes this morning. I burned over 400 calories, and then I made myself a protein shake.

I tend to backslide a little on the weekends, so Monday it always feels really good to get a clean slate and do things a little bit healthier.

How has your Monday started off?

I joined the Mingle Monday blog hop this week:
Mingle 240

The question of the day is for Mingle Monday is: What are your Superbowl plans?

My answer: I don’t have any! Not to be a Debbie Downer, but I’m not really a football fan and don’t tend to watch the superbowl or even really know who’s playing. I will probably be hanging out with D and playing video games instead!

January 30, 2012 Posted by | Blogging, Project | | 2 Comments

Soy chorizo tacos

It’s been a long, tough week – so much so that this was the post I wanted to publish on Friday, but I just didn’t have the time to finish writing. Even so, I did join up with some Friday blog hops this week and they’re listed at the end. Sorry it’s 2 days late!

The reason things have been so hectic and crazy can all be traced back to one thing: work. Work has been insane, and I even had to sign on yesterday and work for 5 hours on a Saturday! As a result, I’ve only gotten in 2 workouts this week, but I’m trying to psych myself up for a third right after I post this post.

Recently, I’ve discovered a new (to me) food at Trader Joe’s, and I’ve had some fun experimenting with it…

Picture courtesy of

It’s soy chorizo!

I wasn’t sure what to expect, but when I saw it in the store, I knew it was something I wanted to try. I love big flavors, and I love spice, so I picked it up and threw it in the freezer for a few weeks, trying to figure out what I could do with it. Having never even tasted “real” chorizo, I didn’t know what kind of flavors I was in for.

One night a few weeks ago, while D was out (he sometimes gets a little freaked out by some of my food experiments, so I tend to break out the new and crazy ingredients when I’m alone), I decided to go for it. I opened up the package and started heating it up in a skillet, the same way you would with a ground meat. I didn’t add any oil – just a little salt and pepper – and as it started to heat up, I thought it smelled remarkably like taco meat. After a small taste, it was confirmed: I would make tacos!

It was incredibly easy and quick to make these (just the kind of recipe I like). Once the soy chorizo was cooked, I spooned it into two taco shells, topped with some diced tomatoes, shredded cheese and ate it with a little bit of sour cream.

Sorry for the rough phone pic! I have since gotten a better camera.

The soy chorizo was very spicy and very tasty. Also, I wasn’t quite prepared for how filling it would be. I almost couldn’t finish two small tacos and the leftover chorizo that I had heated up lasted me through at least 3 or 4 additional meals.

This is one dinner that I’ve added to my regular rotation in the kitchen.

young and restless

January 29, 2012 Posted by | Blogging, Project | , , | 1 Comment

Smoothie fever

For Christmas this year, I asked my parents for a blender. I didn’t get one of the extremely fancy, $300 ones, just a simple blender from Target. I had been inspired by seeing all my favorite bloggers mixing up smoothies for themselves everyday, and I wanted to give it a try. They looked super delicious, easy and convenient, not to mention healthy, and I wanted ot add them to my diet.

This has been one of the best kitchen additions imaginable, since it’s entered my apartment. I’ve been mixing up smoothies almost every morning for breakfast, or sometimes in the afternoon for an after work snack.

The first thing I did was to buy a whole bunch of different frozen fruits: mixed berries, dark cherries, mango and peaches. I mixed up one or two of these with a banana and some milk and it was awesome, but still was lacking something – I wasn’t full enough afterward. For a long time, I had seen bloggers such as Fitnessista using protein powder to bump up the nutrition and fullness potential of their smoothies, and I had never taken the plunge to buy any because it was pretty pricy. However, now that I’d begun my foray into smoothie making, I figured now was a good chance to at least give it a try – if it was too much of an expense or didn’t do enough for me, I wouldn’t buy it again. So I bought some Sun Warrior

And let me tell you, it was EXACTLY what those smoothies needed. Not only does it keep me full almost until lunch, but it helps me meet my goal to increase my protein intake.

So, breakfasts are certainly taken care of in terms of being nutritiuos and healthy. I either have one of these smoothies (with whatever combo of fruits I’m feeling that day – and you don’t even need ice since they’re frozen), or I cook up a couple of eggs.

I really worked out hard this weekend, and I’m starting to see some muscle tone as a result of my work. Saturday, D and I went off to the office gym as we usually do, but this time it was in a snowstorm. We got about 6 inches and it was still coming down for our walk over. The walk was, needless to say, unpleasant. But the workout wasn’t. Before we even headed out of the house, I did 50 minutes on my stationary bike. Then at the gym, I did arm and leg weights, plus abs, and then a 15 minute cooldown on the elliptical. I burned almost 800 calories, everything combined.

Sunday, I didn’t want to repeat the snowy excursion outdoors, so instead, we went to the “dungeon” of a gym in our apartment complex. I never get a really great workout there, but I did 15 minutes on the bike there, plus 15 on the treadmill. It was a short workout, but I was SUPER sore from the day before.

Things are coming along, and even though the scale continues its strike toward cooperating with me, I know I’m doing good things for my body.

Happy Tuesday! Here’s a blog hop for the day:

January 24, 2012 Posted by | Project | , , , , | 1 Comment

The 10 Pound Challenge is on

The 10 Pound Challenge is on

As I mentioned a few posts ago, I’m participating in the 10 pound challenge to lose 10 pounds in 12 weeks. And boy, am I ever glad I joined up with a challenge like this because this week I am lacking in energy and motivation like you wouldn’t believe. I fully believe the weather is at least partly responsible for this, because the past few days have been absolutely frigid, meaning wind chills well below 0 degrees (Farenheit) and to make matters worse, we live in a huge wind tunnel thanks to the fact that we’re in the valley of a river (or so I learned on Friday while riding the elevator with one of our elderly neighbors). I also walk to work because I’m lucky enough to live incredibly close to the office, but that does also mean much more time outside and walking through that awful wind tunnel. I bundle up the best I can, but there’s only so much of your face you can cover before you just can’t see or breathe anymore.

But it is January and this is to be expected, right? Spring will come soon enough, and not every day is so cold. Last night I was so exhausted, I wanted to go to bed at 9:30. I ended up sleeping pretty soundly, but I’m still not back up to my usual energy level.

It is incredibly motivating though, to think about the fact that I could very soon be 10 pounds lighter if I stick with the plan. To get there, I have to admit some things to myself and start making different changes:

– I’m pretty sure some of my lack of energy on days like yesterday/today have to do with lack of protein. I need to change this and find creative ways to get protein into my diet (I’m a vegetarian).

Working out after work just doesn’t work for me. I can tell myself I’ll work out when I get home til the cows come home, but once I’m there, all I want to do is relax and not move. By that time of day, I’m exhausted. Morning workouts and lunchtime workouts are the best bets.

– I need to drink less alcohol. It’s not that I’m drinking every night or excessively, but I do drink regularly on the weekends and sometimes “treat” myself to something after a hard work day. I’ve read the articles and know that alcohol impedes weight loss, so this may be one of the factors contributing to my stagnation. Plus, less money spent!

These are things I definitely CAN change that will have a positive effect on my body. One thing I can’t change: the fact that I work in an office and I sit on my butt for 8 hours every day. Perhaps when the weather gets nicer, I can schedule a few times every day that I get up and go for a stroll around the parking lot. At least it’ll get me moving more, right?

Is anyone else participating in the challenge? How will you get there?

January 17, 2012 Posted by | Project | , , | 2 Comments

Bringing back the official weigh in

After posting yesterday, I thought to myself: Why not bring back Saturday weigh ins? I think it’ll be nice to have weekly accountability on the blog, so here are this week’s results.

This week’s weight: 145.4
Goal weight: 130
Starting weight: 146.8

Difference: -1.4 pounds
Pounds to go: 15.4

Looking at the numbers actually makes me feel better about things, because there’s actual progress there!

Last night, D and I did some furniture rearranging in the apartment. We bought a new TV stand for the game room so that we could move our old flat screen in there. It involved moving the old TV stand out of there, putting the new one in with the new TV and then taking the old TV stand and putting it into our bedroom and finding room in a closet for the old dinosaur TV that was previously in the game room. The whole project was a workout in itself and now our rooms look nicer and are more functional.

Today we went to the gym first thing in the morning, but the workout was TOUGH. It’s been really cold and windy here lately and as a result, everyone has been blasting the heat indoors. This made for some extremely dry air inside the gym, making it hard to breathe and causing my nose to be incredibly stuffed up. I guess that’s one of the hard things about being in the depths of winter.

I hope everyone is having a great weekend so far!

January 14, 2012 Posted by | Life, Project | , | Leave a comment

Friday Focus

Happy Friday everyone!

This week got off to a rough start, but I’m finishing strong. Monday night, D had to take an online test for his work to get a certification and because of technical glitches, we were up almost ALL night trying to get things to work. I was quite sleep deprived the next day so I didn’t work out. But even with that small bump, I was able to work out 3 out of 5 workdays this week and will probably repeat last weekend and go to the gym both Saturday and Sunday mornings.

Keeping track of my habits has really been helping me stay on track with all of my goals. We haven’t gotten takeout for dinner in 2 full weeks now, and I only ate out for lunch once in the past two weeks. In addition to saving calories, I’m also saving money, which is much needed because one of my resolutions for the year is to pay off my student loan debt. I’ve been out of college for 6.5 years now and I want these loans gone for good!

I haven’t seen any significant changes on the scale yet, and I know I’m not doing myself any favors by weighing myself everyday. At the beginning of the Ms. Marvel Project, I tried to only weigh myself once per week and do an official weigh-in on Saturday mornings, but that only lasted a week or two before I just couldn’t take it anymore. I just can’t take the suspense. I want to know exactly how I’m doing everyday. Maybe I will try to change this in the next few weeks. It’s a tough habit to break.

The good news is that even though my weight does go up and down a pound to 2 pounds every day, it is start to (ever so slightly) trend downward. Also, I’m starting to see a little bit more muscle definition in my legs, which is always the first sign that I’m doing well. My arms on the other hand… well, I don’t think I’ve ever seen muscle in there. Not ever in my life. One of the things D and I are trying to focus on when we go to the gym together is getting me to do more upper body weights and seeing what actually works for me.

I’m going to head out to do some food shopping during my lunch break here in a few minutes, then there will be a few other errands tonight and then the weekend will entail working on the apartment (we have some new furniture to set up and arrange) and working on goals.

Today is blog hopping Friday so here are the hops I joined. Check them out!

young and restless

January 13, 2012 Posted by | Blogging, Project | , , | 1 Comment

Motivation through competition

While doing my daily blog reading today, I came across something awesome: a weight loss challenge! Over the weekend, I think I really realized how out of shape I’ve gotten and got pretty fed up, and what better way to motivate me to really do this than something like this, which will keep me accountable.

10 Pound Challenge

As I mentioned on Friday, my starting weight is 146.8. If I can get to 135.8 in 12 weeks, not only would I be happy because I met the challenge, but I’d also be ecstatic because I’d be in shape.

This weekend I did go to the gym twice with D and worked out hard both times. Today, I went home during lunch and did some more Zumba Wii, which was a lot of fun as always. I’m pretty happy with how hard I’ve been working, but of course it will be some time before I see anything happen on the scale.

Stay motivated and have a happy Monday!

January 9, 2012 Posted by | Blogging, Project | , , , , | 3 Comments

Getting back into things

Welcome to the 2012 chapter of the Ms. Marvel Project!

And I must say, this project is even more sorely needed now than it was when I started this blog. Apparently the combination of being sick for two weeks (thus being unable to exercise) plus all the holiday activities (too much food) has resulted in me gaining a few pounds and feeling out of shape. So things are beginning anew, and I’m planning to work hard over the next few months to meet my goals.

New starting weight: 146.8
Ultimate goal weight: 130

First mini goal: 143 by the end of January

This time last year I was 10 pounds lighter, and I guess this is a testament to the fact that my metabolism is not what it used to be in my younger days. I suppose that happens to everyone, but I’m determined to get things back into a “good” zone and make myself healthier.

So far this week, I’ve worked out twice:

– On Tuesday I woke up at 6:30 and used my new Just Dance 3 on the Wii to work out for 40 minutes. It was tons of fun, but I was NOT feeling good about waking up so early. I had very little energy and had to sit down a few times. I need more sleep to function well for sure.

– On Wednesday I made my triumphant return to the office gym during lunch. I haven’t been back there in a few months, focusing mostly on home workouts or weekend gym workouts, but it was sort of nice to break up the day by burning a few calories and listening to music. It was some much needed “me” time.

Tomorrow and Sunday I’m hoping to go to the gym with D and really get things into gear.

I’ve got myself a new workout notebook for tracking and I’m ready to do this.

Do you have any fitness goals for the new year? How are you staying motivated?

January 6, 2012 Posted by | Project | , , | 1 Comment