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

Roasted brussel sprouts: a new favorite

This barely qualifies as a “recipe” because it’s so super simple, but it’s something I never tried doing until about 1 month ago and now I’m totally addicted. I love brussel sprouts anyway, but when you roast them in the oven… OMG, they become the best thing ever.

Here’s how I do them:

Ingredients:
- 1 package of frozen brussel sprouts
- 1-2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper

Instructions:

1. Preheat the oven to 425
2. Either use a large ziplock bag or the bag the brussel sprouts came in for this step: Add oil, salt and pepper to the bag and massage the brussel sprouts through the bag until they’re all coated
3. Spread out evenly on a baking sheet
4. Cook at 425 for 35 minutes

After 35 minutes at this temp, using my oven, the brussel sprouts get decently charred and crispy on the outside and extremely soft on the inside. You may need to make adjustments on the cook time if you like slightly less char or due to variations in ovens.

It doesn’t get much more simple than that! Sometimes when I get home from work and I want an “appetizer” before we’re even thinking about getting dinner started, I’ll just throw some of these in the oven. Being brussel sprouts, they’re very healthy so I don’t even feel guilty about it!


Back to Friday blog hopping!

young and restless

Getting to Know You

April 6, 2012 Posted by | Blogging, Project, Recipes | , , | 3 Comments

Meal Planning

One of the best ways to make sure you don’t overindulge or order takeout everyday is to plan meals in advance. I’ve had varying degrees of success with this process in the past, but it’s something I always want to come back to. So many nights, D and I will have this ever popular conversation:

Me: What do you want for dinner tonight?
D: I don’t know, what do you want?
Me: There’s really nothing in particular you want?
D: Well, I didn’t take any of my food out of the freezer so I can’t have any of that
Me: (Sighing) Maybe we should just get takeout

Takeout always seems like the easy and “fun” solution to these nightly debates. We really only indulge maybe 1-2 times during the work week, but the lure of not having to cook and of eating something that we both really enjoy sometimes get the best of us. After all, when we’re done eating, I almost always regret it. It’s MUCH higher in calories/salt/fat than anything I would ever cook myself, not to mention the money we’re shelling out that could be put toward anything else in the world.

To make matters just a teensy bit more complicated, I’m a vegetarian and D is not; not to mention the fact that D can’t eat anything spicy (which is my bread and butter) and also just plain doesn’t like some of other things I do. We almost always make two different meals, or at least 2 variations on the same meal when we’re eating together.

All of these factors make it all the more important for us to plan our dinners ahead of time so we’re not scrambling at 6PM after a long day of work.

The first thing I want to talk about when it comes to meal planning is the logistics – HOW and WHERE to do it. Over the past few months, I’ve tried a bunch of different methods:

1.) Writing it out with a pen and paper – This was our first attempt to get organized with our meals. D and I would sit down every Sunday with a blank page and write down what we would have every day of the upcoming week. I would then put the list on the fridge and we would reference it every day.

2.)Tracking it through a spreadsheet – Excel is always a good option for this.

3.)Tracking through Google Calendar – I created a separate calendar called “Meal Planning” and whenever I feel like it, I can go in and ad in any information regarding meals that I want on any particular day.

Strangely, I kind of miss being able to just write it all out with pen and paper so I might try and go back to that sometime soon.

No matter which method I was using, I always had 3 categories for each meal:
- A main dish for me
- A main dish for D
- A side dish (if we were feeling ambitious that day)

And also, I would make a note on each day anything I would need to do as prep for the next day’s meal (for example: taking some meat out of the freezer to defrost for D).

Of course everything has to be flexible as things come up during the week. For example, if we suddenly make plans after work, we can move things around and put a quicker meal on that day. This is where the Google Calendar approach is especially useful since you can just drag and drop your items.

What do you think? Any methods you’ve used that work great for you?

April 5, 2012 Posted by | Project | , | Leave a comment

When it feels like you’re always starting over

Do you ever get the feeling that every week, every month or even every few days you reach a point in your fitness journey where you know you’ve gone off track and have to start over?

I do.

Today is one of those days. I indulged quite a bit over the weekend (especially yesterday with chips and guacamole in the afternoon and pizza for dinner) and worked out pretty sparsely during the week, so today I’m once again trying to turn over a new leaf.

I blogged the other day about losing motivation and these two things are certainly connected. With low motivation comes bad decisions which then leads to feeling even less motivated, and on and on you go in a vicious circle.

It is now the beginning of a new week, a new month and a new season that should be arriving any day now (for real this time), so in a way it’s the perfect moment for me to be having this crisis of confidence. There’s so much newness and change that it’s hard to stay mired in the rut I’ve formed in my eating and exercising plan.

Also helping me get back into the right mindset: today I found an old picture of myself from probably a year and a half ago, when I was at the weight I’m trying to get back to now. I couldn’t believe how different I looked – and how much better! I want very badly to get back to that point and to feel that fit again. It’s really amazing what 10-15 pounds can do.

So, it’s back on, full force!

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

Speed bumps to motivation

In the past week or so, I’ve had trouble getting myself motivated. After doing great and being consistent with the 100 pushup challenge for 3 weeks in a row, my left shoulder started hurting. It was bad enough that I decided to put the pushups on hold to make sure I didn’t hurt myself further. Even doing my zumba on Tuesday, some of the arm movements didn’t feel great.

It’s tough when you have a setback that forces you to put something you’ve been making progress with on hold. I was really enjoying seeing some arm muscles on myself and I wanted to keep improving, so I was tempted to keep working on my pushups anyway. But then I realized I would be doing more harm than good.

I took the week off from pushups, and when I resume on Monday, I’ll redo week 3 to get myself back up to speed.

On top of that, this week has been a tough one, kicking off with a dentist appointment (which I always dread, even though it was just a cleaning), and jam packed with work related stress. All of this combined has lead to a problem getting myself motivated to do much of anything productive yesterday and today. I felt like I should go to the gym today, but the thought of it just wasn’t very appealing.

Every now and then, motivation can be really tough to find. When I face these situations, I tell myself that it’s okay to take a few days to be lazy and do some relaxing things. Usually once a few days go by where I don’t put that extra pressure on myself, I come back refreshed and ready to jump back in with both feet. I’m hopeful that by Monday, I’ll be ready to get moving again. D has already said that he wants us both to go to the gym tomorrow, so I will be doing that as well.

How do you bounce back when motivation and energy are scarce?

March 31, 2012 Posted by | 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

Getting educated

For the past several years, I’ve used blog reading to educate myself on topics of health and fitness, and the amount of knowledge I’ve gained doing so has been incredible. There are so many of these kinds of blogs that I read that I almost couldn’t even list them all here, even if I wanted to. In my blog travels, I have also seen a few books mentioned over and over again as must-reads for anyone interested in the subject. Yesterday, on somewhat of a whim, I decided to finally get off my butt and order a few.

Thanks to Amazon Prime, they arrived today! Thanks to the amazing bloggers out there I already feel like I have a good amount of knowledge on the subject, so I’m curious to see how many of my preconceived notions are going to be challenged.

These are the books I purchased:
Thrive Fitness: The Vegan-Based Training Program for Maximum Strength, Health, and Fitness
The China Study
Eat to Live

I’m sure over the next few months as I work through these books, I’ll feel compelled to update here with tidbits I’ve learned and things that surprised me. I’m looking forward to it.

For me, the whole journey of fitness isn’t just about looking good or being “skinny”, it’s about being healthy and living the best life that I can possibly live. Coming from a family with so many health issues, I want to put myself in a position where I can try and combat my genes and avoid the same problems my parents and other relatives faced later in life.

This week’s workout update: I slowed down just a little after last week’s intense 5 workout sessions and have only logged 2 up to this point in the week. I’m hoping to get in at least 2 more before the weekend is over. I’m still working on the 100 pushup challenge, and I made it up to 50 (non-consecutive) pushups yesterday! I never in a million years thought I’d be capable of doing that.

Are there any health/fitness books out there that have inspired you?


young and restless

March 23, 2012 Posted by | Blogging, Project | , , , | 2 Comments

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