Ms. Marvel Project

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

Long term vs. Short term

One of the greatest battles we face with ourselves when it comes to getting healthier and in shape is the never-ending inner debate over which we want more: short term happiness or long term happiness. Logically, when we’re looking at it from a distance, long term happiness seems to be the obvious choice. It will last longer, for one thing, and more than likely it will be more fulfilling. This is why we create goals like losing 10 pounds or exercising more often – because we believe that it will help us achieve this happiness in the long term. If we didn’t think these things would make our lives better, we wouldn’t be trying so hard to achieve them.

However, the trouble comes when our short term happiness becomes more important. It’s so easy to fall into this trap:

I’m having a bad day, and if eat this chocolate, it’ll make me feel better


I would much rather watch this TV show while lounging on the couch than going to work out today because it will make the evening a little more enjoyable

In situations like these, we’re sacrificing our long term goal for a little bit of short term happiness.

This is a constant issue for me. I always start the day with good intentions, but then as life unfolds during that day, I start looking for ways to make myself happy right now, and often that means doing something that isn’t in tune with my health goals.

This past weekend was a great example of this inner conflict. I went into the weekend having already worked out 4 times during the week, but with the intention of working out at least one more time on Saturday or Sunday. Instead, we got takeout for dinner two nights in a row, didn’t go to the gym, and yesterday in particular, I ate pretty much non-stop all day long.

I need to learn to tell myself that working on my long term goals WILL contribute to my happiness, and can even add to the short term happiness from time to time. There are many times when I feel much happier and more energized after a workout. It’s the food issue where the battle really takes place for me.

What do you think about long term vs. short term happiness?

February 20, 2012 Posted by | Project | , , , | 1 Comment

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

10 Pound Challenge check-in and a Fit Experiment

This week marks the 1 month point of Newlyweds on a Budget’s 10 Pound Challenge, and it’s time for a check-in.

How am I doing so far?

Well, I’m still struggling with my eats a little bit and splurging more than I should. However, my workouts are improving every week, and I know I’m getting stronger. Because of the food though, I havent’ seen too much change on the scale.

Starting weight: 146.8
Today’s weight: 145.6

Difference: 1.2 pounds
Pounds to go: 8.8

Still a ways to go, but I still have 2 months AND this week, I’ve taken another step in the direction of eating better: I joined My Fitness Pal. I had tried it out in the past, but I had never used the social features and I think this time around, that’s what’s going to keep me motivated. Are any of you using it? If so, add me! My username is msmarvelproject. Or leave your username in the comments and I’ll find you. Let’s help each other get in shape!

I’ve been tracking for 2 days and because I’m forced to track everything I put in my mouth, I’m less likely to have lots of random small snacks throughout the day. Also, one of my favorite features is that at the end of every day when you complete your entry, the program tells you that if every day was like that day, how much you would weigh in 5 weeks. It keeps you motivated!

This will be an experiment for me, and I’m excited to see if it will make a positive change in the way I eat.

February 15, 2012 Posted by | Project | , , , | 7 Comments

Challenging myself

After doing one of the toughest workouts I’ve done all year on Tuesday, I was pretty much out of commission for the next 2 days. My muscles were SORE like you wouldn’t believe – to the point where sitting down and standing back up again was almost impossible. Naturally, I took Wednesday off from working out to try to recover.

Thursday, I still wasn’t back to a good enough state to try to do anything involving weights to any degree, so instead, I went to the gym during lunch and did 50 minutes on the elliptical. It was kind of nice to just have a whole workout session focused on cardio for a day. I got to listen to music and just kind of zone out.

When I woke up this morning I was able to successfully sit/stand again without my thighs feeling like they were staging a rebellion, so I thought it would be a good day to try Tuesday’s workout again.

Well, once I got started, my legs decided to let me in on the fact that they were NOT READY to get back into the lunging and squatting required, so I stopped after the first 4 steps this time and decided to throw on Zumba instead. I did 45 minutes, and was totally dead by the end. I just finished right before sitting down to write this post, so I’m doing some stretching right now as I type.

It’s pretty clear that the advanced nature of these workouts is going to be something I need to take pretty slowly so my muscles can catch up to what I’m asking them to do. I’m pretty confident that if I stick to these weights-centric workouts that I’ll see some good results in the muscle department. My legs are already feeling a little bit more solid.

It’s here again: Friday blog hopping!

Getting to Know You

young and restless

February 10, 2012 Posted by | Blogging, Project | , | 2 Comments

Shaping up

For the past few weeks now, I’ve been eyeing the Fitnessista’s Winter Shape Up workouts and wanting to give them a try. However, I was a bit hesitant to jump right in because, while I’m pretty decent at cardio and I do some weights every now and then, I really don’t have much (if any) upper body/core strength to speak of. I attempted one of her shape up programs last summer and after one workout, I was SO sore, I couldn’t work out for almost a week and a half afterward. This is a sign of a really good and effective workout, but I got the feeling that I needed more of a fitness base before I should be doing such challenging moves.

So, this year when the shape up started out, I didn’t get into it right away. After all, I had just started really getting back into going to the gym 4x/week and working on my strength. Today, a month or so into my new routine, I finally felt ready and I went back to the first week of the program that she posted, printed it out at the office this morning, and then got ready to go home during lunch and bust out some moves.

I knew I was going to only do a portion of the workout to avoid the burnout from last time, so I only did steps 1 through 5 and used 5 pound weights (I knew 8 would be too much for me to start with) and then I closed with a 6 minute biking cooldown.

My reaction: The workout, even just the first 5 steps of it, was extremely challenging, but with my 5 pounders and stopping where I did, it was doable and I felt like I got in a quality workout – more of a quality workout I could ever hope to get at the gym on my own. I haven’t done a lunge in years so it was a bit hard to get into the motion again, and by the end of all the bicep curls, my arms felt like lead weights. The tabata intervals were also new to me and WOW — so much harder than I anticipated. I did them on the bike because that’s the only piece of cardio equipment I have at home. Walking down the stairs afterward, my legs felt like absolute jello.

To give you some frame of reference for where I’m starting, strength-wise: I can’t do a full push up or a full sit up without some form of modification to it. I want to be able to change this, and if I have to take some extra time and add on each exercise as I feel comfortable, that’s what I’ll do.

I will definitely do this workout again. Check it out if you’re looking for something that will challenge your whole body!

February 7, 2012 Posted by | Project | | 3 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

Ready to recharge

Hello everyone, and welcome to your Friday!

It’s been a long week, filled with working lots of hours on very mentally challenging code. I’m glad I get to give my brain a few days off to recharge itself, and we have lots of fun things planned: D’s sister is coming over tonight for her birthday and sleeping over. Then tomorrow, my family is coming over and having lunch with us. I haven’t seen them since New Year’s Eve, so it will be nice to catch up.

We spent last night doing some last minute cleaning around the apartment to prepare for all our guests, and I did our food shopping as well.

Despite all the craziness, I did manage to get in 2 workouts so far this week (Monday and Tuesday), and unless something ridiculous happens in the next hour, I’m going to go and do workout #3 during lunch today.

This week, I got very fed up with my eating habits. It seems like no matter how much I WANT to eat well and avoid temptation, I spend every day arguing with myself about it and rarely win. So on Wednesday, I decided to do an experiment. I told D that I would message him everything I ate that day, as a way to keep myself accountable, and he would do the same with me. Doing that actually did work. For instance, after lunch that day, I immediately wanted a snack, but I though to myself that if I had one, I’d have to report to D. It stopped me from eating one!

However, this was only a temporary experiment. I was looking for a way to kick start a streak of “eating right”. Did it work? Well, I did pretty good yesterday and today has only just begun, so I guess we’ll see what the weekend brings.

As for weight? I’ve seen 144.8 a few times over the last week/week and a half (starting weight: 146.8), but it still fluctuates up a lot. I’ll do an official weigh in tomorrow.

It’s blog hopping Friday!

young and restless

Getting to Know You

February 3, 2012 Posted by | Blogging, Life, Project | , , | 6 Comments

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