Ms. Marvel Project

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?

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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

Soy sausage and peppers over penne vodka

After a quick run to Trader Joe’s yesterday afternoon, I got struck with some inspiration for dinner: soy sausage and peppers over penne vodka! I love the soy sausages they sell at TJs and I loved the look of the orange and yellow peppers they had available that day, so I picked up a few. The recipe below includes proportions for one person since I was making it just for me during my kitchen adventures yesterday:

Ingredients:
1 soy sausage
1 orange bell pepper (or whatever your favorite bell pepper color is)
2-3 cloves of garlic
1/2 onion
Penne pasta
Your favorite vodka sauce (I used Trader Joe’s organic variety)

Trader Joe's organic vodka sauce

Trader Joe's tofurkey sausages

Directions:

1. Begin cooking the penne pasta as normal. This is likely going to be the part that takes the longest, so start boiling the water before you move on to the next few steps.
2. Chop up the onion and pepper and saute in a pan with a little bit of olive oil. Cook for about 6-8 minutes until the peppers start to soften.

Peppers and onions

3. Around this time, the water in your other pan should be boiling. Throw the pasta in.
4. Mince garlic and add to onion and pepper mixture

Soy sausage and garlic

5. Chop the soy sausage into bite-sized pieces and add as well. Let cook for 2-3 minutes
6. Add vodka sauce to the pan. I don’t measure how much sauce I use – I just eyeball how much I think it will take to cover the amount of pasta I’m cooking.
7. Let simmer for another 10 minutes.
8. Around this time, your pasta should be done cooking. Drain and set aside until your sauce is done.
9. Combine pasta with sauce mixture and you’re ready to eat!

soy sausage and peppers over penne vodka

This recipe was simple and delicious. The peppers added great flavor to the sauce and the soy sausage really bumped up the protein content on the meal, as well as making it filling and satisfying. I’ll be making this again!

March 18, 2012 Posted by | Project, Recipes | , | 1 Comment

Working on upper body strength

TGIF, right?? It’s been another long and hectic week over here. Last Saturday, D, my brother and I went to this show at the Boston Symphony Orchestra. It was great, especially for us video game nerds. It was fun to get out for the night and do something cultural, even though D was pretty sick that day (he caught my cold).

I was pretty much done with that cold, however and got back into my usual workout routine this week:

Monday, Wednesday and today I made sure to do my pushups and this morning I got up to 34 pushups – my most ever! I’m very happy to be seeing and feeling some muscle in my arms now since I was sorely lacking in that area before.

Monday, I also did a ton of cardio:
– A quick 20 minute Zumba wii session during lunch
– 60 minutes on the stationery bike after work

Tuesday, I did some more Zumba (what can I say, I’m hooked!) for 45 minutes during lunch.

Wednesday and Thursday were off days and today I will either do Zumba or bike during my lunch break yet again.

Over the weekend, my goals include getting to the gym with D both days to do elliptical/treadmill work and some weights. The great thing about participating in the pushup challenge is that I’m getting in some strength work three times per week, even if I don’t actually make it to the gym to do weights. Tomorrow when I go, the big question will be: have I improved any on the chest press machine?? My performance 2 weeks ago was pretty dismal so I’m hoping for improvement!

What’s your favorite way to work on upper body strength?


young and restless

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

Getting to Know You

March 16, 2012 Posted by | Blogging, Project | , , | 3 Comments

Tempeh Stuffed Peppers

The other night I had a craving for stuffed peppers, something I’ve rarely had and never made. But knowing that peppers are one of my favorite vegetables, I decided to get a little creative in the kitchen and the results were delicious!

Ingredients

Ingredients:

  • 4 medium/large green peppers
  • 1 package of tempeh
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic
  • half of a large onion
  • 1/4 cup of breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 of a 15oz can of crushed tomatoes
  • 2-3 tablespoons of parmesan cheese

Optional Spices:

  • Dried basil
  • Paprika

Directions:

1. Cut the tops off of each of the green peppers and scoop out all seeds. Trim off a little bit of the bottom of the peppers so they’ll stand up without falling over.

Hollowed Out Peppers

2. Prepare the tempeh, either by chopping it up finely or running it through a cheese grater, depending on how large you want the pieces to be. I went the chopping route for simplicity.
3. Dice the onion and throw it into a skillet along with the tempeh, along with 1-2 teaspoons each of paprika and basil, if using, and some salt and pepper.
4. Mince the garlic and add to the saute pan
5. Let the mixture cook until the tempeh just slightly starts to brown and the onions get a little soft: 6-8 minutes

Sauteing the tempeh and onions

6. Transfer the tempeh mixture into a large bowl. Add the crushed tomatoes and breadcrumbs and combine. If it’s looking a little too dry, add some more of the crushed tomatoes.
7. Scoop the tempeh mixture into each of the 4 peppers and place on a foil-lined square pan. Top with as much parmesan cheese as you like

Tempeh Stuffed Peppers

8. Cook at 375 degrees for around 50 minutes, until the peppers are tender.

After being cooked

9. Serve and enjoy! Top with additional leftover crushed tomatoes and parmesan, if desired.

My dinner

March 11, 2012 Posted by | Project, Recipes | , | 3 Comments

The Pushup Challenge

What a long and crazy week! There was so much going on: appointments, taxes, dramatic highs and lows at D’s job, after work activities… I’m so happy the weekend is here (or will be in about 3 hours) that I almost don’t know what to do with myself.

In an effort to kick things up another notch in the fitness department, this week I decided to take on the One Hundred Pushup Challenge. I am a self-proclaimed weakling when it comes to pushups or anything relating to upper body strength, and this is one of the things that has always plagued me during my quest for fitness. At the gym with D last Saturday, I got especially frustrated when I couldn’t do more than one chest press on a certain machine. After that, I determined that this needed to change immediately. Enter the challenge.

I started on Monday and the plan calls for doing pushups 3x per week, which allows for plenty of rest days for your muscles to recover. And it starts you off at whatever level you’re currently at. I’m doing pushups on my knees and I surprised myself this week with how many I was able to do: 19 on Monday and 22 on Wednesday. Today is day 3 and I made it up to 29! The program is only 6 weeks, so I find it to be completely manageable and easy to fit into my schedule. Plus I’m already starting to see the beginnings of definition in my arms.

Aside from that, I’ve been a little off with my cardio this week so I’m trying to get back into that full force now. I did Zumba yesterday during lunch, burning almost 500 calories and with the weekend here, I’ll have many more chances to work out.

Have any of you ever tried the pushup challenge?


young and restless

March 9, 2012 Posted by | Project | , | 5 Comments

Looking forward

I’ve done some thinking about goals this week, and one of those things I’m hoping to accomplish during the next several months is taking the Ms. Marvel Project to the next level. I knew when I started this blog that eventually I’d want to move to my own server and have more control over everything that goes into the design and functionality of the blog — this is the type of thing I do for a living after all! (except I don’t do it for blogs, but for software)

So, this week I’ve been researching server hosts and everything that would need to go into the process and I have a good plan of what to do next. All I have to do now is make the jump!

I’ve also put together a facebook page for the Ms. Marvel Project. There’s not a whole lot going on there yet, but if you’d like, you can join now:
http://www.facebook.com/msmarvelproject

As far as my fitness status? This week I did excellent with my eating and I’m very happy to report that because up to now, I hadn’t been doing that great. I did overindulge a little in NY last weekend with some exceptionally rich meals, but once I got back, I got very much back on track.

Now, the challenge of staying on track for the weekend! Anyone out there have any tips to share for staying on track on weekends?


This week’s Friday Blog Hops… check them out!

young and restless

That Friday Blog Hop

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

March 2, 2012 Posted by | Blogging, Project | , | Leave a comment

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