Ms. Marvel Project

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

Apps and goals

I hope everyone had a happy holiday and did lots of fun things with friends and family! My holiday weekend was jam-packed, and I’m starting to think forward to 2012 and all the things I want to achieve once it arrives.

The cold I had over Christmas is FINALLY starting to go away. It took its sweet time and even today my throat is a little scratchy, and I don’t have much energy. However, I have been getting gradually better over the past few days, and I’m going to be ready to throw myself into my new fitness plan once Monday hits.

I downloaded a few apps onto my iPod the other day to help me track my progress and so far, I really love them. If you too are like me and want to track everything possible in your life, maybe you’ll enjoy them as well!

1. The first app I downloaded was Way of Life, and this is my favorite of the lot. You can define as many daily habits as you want to track, for example some of mine are:

– Drinking Alcohol
– Exercising
– Taking vitamins
– Flossing
– Drinking Soda

They can be positive or negative habits and you specify what each one is, and then you begin tracking everyday whether you did or didn’t do something. If you did something good, you’ll get a green dot, and if you didn’t do it, it’ll be red. This is really going to help me see how well or not well I’m doing on things that need my attention every day.

2. Another is the type of app I’ve been trying to find for a while: Pepperplate. This allows you to enter in all your recipes and plan meals for each week. One big problem I have is getting home from work after a long, tiring day and not knowing what to do for dinner, and then succumbing to takeout. Having a meal plan will certainly help, and so will having a list readily available of all the things I know how to make.

3. The third app is nothing new to the vast majority of you, but I’ve never looked into it before because I’m just not a big reader. It’s Goodreads, and since one of my new year’s resolutions is to read more books, this will help me keep track of my progress.

I just love a good app that helps me organize my life!

If I don’t post again before tomorrow, I hope you all have a great weekend and new year and that you’re dreaming big for 2010!

young and restless

December 30, 2011 Posted by | Life, Project | , | 1 Comment

Mini vacation

My nice long, holiday-filled 5 day weekend has arrived!

Unfortunately, I’m still sick so I’m stuck on the couch for the day hoping this cold lets up enough to allow me to enjoy Christmas Eve tomorrow. I really can’t believe it’s already one day to Christmas Eve. How did that happen?

Since I’m home and not able to do much, and D still has to work, I’ve been able to spend a lot of today doing blog hops and visiting other blogs. If you’re here from a hop – welcome! I’m Lisa, a 28-year-old software engineer trying to get in shape and improve my life, documenting it all in blog form. The Ms. Marvel Project will be kicking it into high gear come the new year!

Not only are the holidays coming, but so is the end of the year. Looking back, what are you most proud of from 2011, and what would you most like to have changed?

For me, I’m most proud of taking a chance and changing jobs in August. It was a risk, and I was pretty nervous to leave the job I had been at for the past 6 years (my first real job out of college), but the risk paid off and I love my new job, new commute and the better lifestyle that has come as a result.

If I could change one thing from 2011, it would be that I would have taken better care of myself physically. I let myself get a tad out of shape and didn’t eat very well more often than not. As a result, I’ve gotten sick a few times at very inopportune moments (i.e. right now and also, here). Hence the reason for this website!

Lots of Lovin' Weekend Blog Hop

young and restless

December 23, 2011 Posted by | Life, Project | , , , | 5 Comments

Thanksgiving Prep

What are you doing to prepare for Thanksgiving?

For me, I’m just trying to make it through 2 full days of work at the office followed by one work-from-home day on Wednesday. D and I might also be doing some baking so we can take desserts to our respective families, and simultaneously and unrelated to Thanksgiving, I’m trying to finish up a few, very large, personal projects:

1. A few weeks ago, I got the idea that it might be nice to have all of my old pictures scanned into my computer. When I was a kid, roughly from the age of 10 until about 13 or 14, I took pictures ALL THE TIME. I have books and books of them, and in some ways, it feels like those years are forever documented and preserved. I’ve often thought about what would happen if any sort of disaster ever befell those pictures and it’s not a pretty thought.

On top of that, I’d really like to create a photo book on Shuttefly for my parents for Christmas. It will be a mixture of these extremely old school pictures and some newer ones, already at my disposal thanks to the age of digital cameras. It’s turning into a huge project. I already have over 400 pictures scanned and at least 3 or 4 large books left to go.

2. I’m working on an epically long writeup of our Disney World vacation. I’ve been working on this since October, but took a very long break and now I’m at it again. I want to write down all the memories I have from the trip before they leave or fade. I’ve currently covered the first day we were there and the morning of the second day and I’m already over 5000 words. I guess I can’t do anything small, huh?

3. I’m also trying to learn a new coding language for work and possibly for my own projects. I have some ideas to try to start my own website or start building something for D’s future book.

All that on top of the usual holiday craziness and I have plenty to keep me busy!

November 21, 2011 Posted by | Life | , | Leave a comment

Setting goals

What is it about Sundays that make it so hard to find motivation? I’m sure I’ve written about this phenomenon before, but it really is uncanny that every single Sunday ends up with this vibe. I was somewhat productive today – I got up at a reasonable hour and did 1 hour on the bike, rounding out my 4 workouts of the week. Then I worked on a project I’m undertaking to scan in all the pictures I took when I was a child/teenager. There are so many books and this has been on my list of to-dos for a while to make sure that these pictures are preserved no matter what. However, I’m going to be working on this for a long, long time so hopefully I can just chip away at it every now and then.

As I mentioned yesterday, this week was a little heavy on the fast food and it’s showing on the scale now. For the coming week, I’ve written out a meal plan and a few goals for the week. The goals are:

1. No alcohol until Friday night
2. No snacking after dinner until Saturday night
3. No more than 1 dinner out
4. No more than 1 lunch out

I think #1 and #2 will be the most challenging because when I get home from work after a long, stressful day, I just want to relax with some food and drink, but I know that if I want to reach my goals, I have to make some sacrifices.

What are your goals for the week?

November 13, 2011 Posted by | Project | , | Leave a comment

Where’s your Halloween spirit?

Today is Halloween, and yet it seems to be just another regular old day. I’m not doing anything special tonight, I don’t have any hidden hordes of chocolatey sweets, and there’s no costume to speak of. Halloween has never been something that I’ve taken a great deal of interest in, but I at least look forward to the candy. This year, I didn’t even realize until just this afternoon that I’m actually a little bit sad that the holiday has come and will go with very little fanfare. Sure, D and I have spent almost every night during the month of October watching the scariest movies we can get our hands on, but that’s been the extent of it. I miss having occasions like this to look forward to and celebrate. I brought this up on a phone call to D during lunch and we decided that next year, this will all change.

As for tonight, I think we will pull out another scary movie (hopefully the scariest yet), maybe turn down the lights and light a few candles for a spookier mood and who knows… if we’re lucky maybe we can get a little bit of Halloween candy.

In other news, I’ve started the week off right with my workout routine. Yesterday, I jumped on the exercise bike for a full hour and today I got up at 6:30 and did Zumba Wii. I put it on expert mode for the first time today and while some of the dances were really hard to pick up on the first run through, others came much more easily to me than I expected. I think I’m really starting to like it!

D has been encouraging me to look up Zumba classes in the area and while I’d love to do something like that, I don’t think wintertime is a great time to make another after work committment. A few years back, I took a yoga class about 15-20 minutes away from my apartment and the “semester” lasted from September through mid-December. For the first month or so, everything was good, but soon we were changing the clocks, it was pitch black out at 4PM and absolutely freezing. I would get out of work, come home to change and I would have to literally drag my butt out of the house into the cold, unforgiving night, alone, and I didn’t really enjoy it much at all. I’d end up dreading the class for that reason alone. Perhaps springtime or summer of next year is a better time to take up a new activity.

A few goals for myself for the week:

1. No alcohol Tuesday through Friday. I’m allowing myself some tonight if I feel like it – it is a “special occasion” after all.

2. Commit to a few new recipes for lunches/dinners

I’ll add some additional updates to this list if I come up with any more, but I want to keep things manageable while I’m still easing into breaking some of my bad habits.

That’s all for now!


October 31, 2011 Posted by | Life, Project | , , | Leave a comment

Week 2, Day 1

Today marks the official start of week 2 of the Ms. Marvel Project, meaning it’s time to lay out a tentative plan for the week ahead. It’s already mid-day so I’ve done my workout for the day (50 minutes on the elliptical during lunch), and it went excellently. I was feeling the usual Monday morning blahs before I went and didn’t know how great I would do in that kind of mood, but once I got going, things completely turned around.

I can tell I’m getting into better shape now because my heart rate doesn’t go up so high as easily anymore and I’m able to up the resistance on the elliptical more than last week.

Yesterday was my second “off” day of the week, though I was not completely inactive: before bed, D and I did some free weights and then a yoga DVD. The DVD helped us relax a ton before going to bed, which was much needed since sleep is always so difficult on Sunday nights.

Something that always helps me stay on track is to plan my dinners in advance, so here’s the (very tentative) meal plan for the week:


Monday: Quesadillas
Tuesday: Pasta side
Wednesday: Veggie Burger (Regular burger for D)
Thursday: Dinner out w/a friend  <– This will be a challenge to find something healthy at a restaurant.
Friday: Pasta
Saturday: Stir Fry
Sunday: Baked tofu (Baked chicken for D)


In other news, I weighed myself on the scale at the gym today and got a vastly different number than I did on Saturday morning. I came in at 141.8, which is down 2.6 pounds, but I’m not sure if I can believe it yet, since it’s a different scale and it seems pretty drastic for 2 days difference. Even still, it is encouraging to see that things may be changing after all.


October 17, 2011 Posted by | Project | , | Leave a comment

Tomorrow’s the big day!

Tomorrow morning will begin day 1 of my new plan. I’m all ready to go: I’m taking my gym clothes with me to the office so I can work out during lunch, I’ve got my new heart rate monitor (the Polar FT4), which I have yet to test out, and I’m going to try to fit in a second smaller workout when I get home from work at the end of the day.

I’m super excited to try out the Polar FT4. In my entire history of going to the gym, I’ve never had an accurate view of my heart rate or calories burned. I’ve relied on what the machines I was using at the time were telling me, which I know can be notoriously deceiving.

I work as a software engineer, which means I’m chained to my desk all day, making it all the more important for me to make time for working out. I figure, I can get in a somewhat lengthy workout during lunch, as I have done in the past. I’ll aim for around 45 minutes. If I can do that and then get in a quick 30 minutes on my bike at home after work, I think that would be pretty great to start.

Tentative plan:

Monday: 40 minutes on the elliptical (lunch), 30 on the bike (after work)

Tuesday: I have a lunch meeting this day, so 30 on the bike (morning), Zumba wii (after work)

Wednesday: 40 mins. elliptical (lunch)

Thursday:  20 mins. elliptical, 20 mins upper body weights (lunch)

Friday: Zumba Wii (morning),  30 on the bike (after work)

Saturday: 40 mins. elliptical, weights (upper and lower body)

Sunday: Rest day

I will probably make some slight tweaks as the week goes on and the usual craziness of schedules starts to happen. But this sounds manageable and I need to keep my ultimate goals in mind to succeed.  I’ll be back with my first check in tomorrow!


October 9, 2011 Posted by | Project | | Leave a comment