Blogs > Lighten Up with Margaret

55-year-old Margaret Pizzi of Mentor hopes to battle back from years of physical problems to a healthier life. She's cut out processed foods and diet soda, which is a first step.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Temporarily derailed but back on track

Well, the weigh-in didn't do me any favors.  I guess since the 1st weigh-in was over I mentally gave myself a free pass. 

My grandson Devin's birthday was Sunday and I had pizza and birthday cake.  I did play laser tag and 2 games of bowling but I doubt that made up for the extra calories.  In addition to that I've been sick with bronchitis and just wanted "comfort" foods. Fortunately I didn't go completely bonkers over-eating but my diet definitely took a major derailment.

I was feeling down then read , last years winner sent us and pointed out that he wasn't perfect all the time either. Thanks Mike!  I ate a healthy breakfast and bypassed McDs. I will eat a healthy lunch and dinner.

What counts is getting back on track when you're "derailed".  So I'm going to be the "little engine the could" but instead of saying "I think I can, I think I can" it will be "I KNOW I CAN, I KNOW I CAN".  I KNOW I can do this.  Sometimes I may be a little slower or feel like it's a uphill battle but I did it the first month losing 14.8 pounds and I can do it again.

This time next month my "caboose" will be yet a little bit smaller.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Weigh in Yesterday!

It was a rough week with a bad cold. It doesn't look like I lost weight for the week because of all the icky, sickeningly sweet prescription cough medicine and all the cough drops. Also since Tuesday I've just been coming home and going to bed after work so no exercise either. Both certainly didn't help my weight loss cause.

Yesterday I had my monthly weigh-in and was very happy with the results although I could have done better. I didn't get to meet with the rest of the group because I was late because my grandson had karate testing. Guess I'll get to touch base with everyone next time.  I did get to meet our winner for this month. She was amazing and lost 24 pounds. That kind of determination should motivate us all! I think almost all of the group lost weight.  Make sure you check the paper next week to see how well we all did!

Later I had my first experience out and about all day in a non-diet friendly atmosphere.  We took my grandson Devin to the auto show and Monster Jam for his birthday (7yo). I did bring some healthy snacks but it was so hard to find something else healthy to eat. I ended up eating an all beef hot dog without the bun. Did cheat with 2 potato chips, 1 nacho w cheese and 3 peanut butter crackers.  Overall, considering what was available it wasn't too bad of a cheat.  Now I know for next time to bring more than just a few healthy snacks with us.

Today I treated myself to a piece of french toast without syrup. Later we're going to Devin's birthday party and I think I'll treat myself to 1-2 pieces of pizza.  I think I'll be able to burn the calories off with the laser tag and bowling :-).  

Tomorrow it's MAJOR crackdown for the next month.  I plan on going to the Y and to Pulse. The boot camp at Slim & Fit is too much for me for now,  that next month's goal.  I bought an exercise Wii game and a walking Wii game for when I'm too busy for group exercise. I think the kids have Wii fit also. I'm also going to start swimming.  It seems to be the easiest exercise with my back problems but it's so hard to get myself there.

The major goal for month 2 is exercise, exercise, exercise!  I kept my diet for 95% of the time for month 1. Starting tomorrow I'll try for 100%.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Working in some exercise

Feeling a little anxious about the 1st weigh-in.  It's gotten me better motivated to try to get some more exercise though. I really need some cardio and I've been so weak. It's so hard with my neck, shoulder, low back, right leg & knee problems.  Chronic pain is, well, a major pain.   It's a legitimate excuse for some exercises but I think helping to strengthen my "core" will help quite a bit. 

I previously discussed doing Zumba on Saturday at Pulse. I had trouble with my left knee and low back afterwards but by Sunday night it was all better than baseline.  Last night instead of working late as usual (I use work as an excuse A LOT) , I went to the Yoga class at Pulse Fitness Studio.  I couldn't do or had to modify movements almost 3/4 of the 1hr class.  It was really grueling for me but the instructor was great, encouraged me to just do what I could & corrected some of my movements but didn't make me feel self-conscious at all because I was so pathetic compared to the rest of the group.  At the end I was embarrassed and said that I had to work on some stuff before I came back but she encouraged me to continue with group anyway.  I think I will do that.

I have the upper and low back problems but usually have a "charlie horse" in my mid back most of the time.  At first the movements made things hurt more but I was surprised how much the movements ultimately helped by the end of class.  There was even a short time this morning that I was pain-free except for some minor neck aching and stiffness.  Don't get that much relief much!

Overall I'm feeling much healthier and stronger than when I started LightenUp.  I'm no longer short of breath by the end of the 0.38 miles walk to work from the parking garage.  I've actually just started to pick up the pace to get a bit of a workout on my way in!  A MAJOR improvement has been instead of my husband having to try to get an exhausted me out of bed to go to work I actually wake up before the alarm even goes off!

So even though I probably won't be in the top 3 this month, in my opinion I'm still a winner.

Monday, February 20, 2012

☆ .•*¨`*•HaPpY DaNcE!•*¨`*•. ☆

I just had to run down to the office of someone whom I haven't seen in weeks.  She said, "Wow, you look good, you've lost weight".

It's sooo nice to have hard work noticed!

SUPER motivated!

"Monday, Monday can't trust that day.."

Hoping that Monday evening my "make up" diet will still be here with me..

Since Hubby was working the evening of our Valentine's anniversary we went out to dinner Sunday night.  We'd had a gift certificate to a fondue restaurant prior to me deciding on this weight loss adventure and we chose to use it.

The four course dinner was heavenly, especially the fondues of course. We chose the Brie & Jarlsberg for our cheese fondue and had the chocolate for dessert. Unfortunately although I was careful in my choices of things to dip for the most part (did eat some bread though) I figure the whole meal was probably a couple days worth of diet calories for me when I did a look up on calorie counts (fondue calories are so high).

"....but whenever Monday comes, you can find me cryin' all of the time..."

But seriously I'm really OK with it.  It was a special occasion and it was only ONE day. Everyone needs food for fuel but sometimes it's also used in celebration and I'm not going to deprive myself of that.  I'm certainly not going to make a habit of it either.  I admit this was a poor choice while on a diet but I didn't want to waste the gift certificate.

So... since I'm on this weight loss challenge that means I really need to make up for those extra calories used  :-( and so my new "make up" diet for the week.  Hopefully by Monday evening I'll still be with my temporary additional calorie restriction.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

GOOD day!

I know it's not quite the end of the day yet but so far it's pretty darn good.  Woke up this morning and weighed myself and it looks like I did lose my 2 pounds for the week.  My scale is not digital and fluctuates a few pounds depending on how you stand on it but I think it's real. Better be!

This morning I went to class at Pulse Group Fitness. Went there for the Couch potato class but I was the only one who came so I ended up in the Zumba class.  IT WAS A BLAST! Forty-five minutes later I was literally dripping but was feeling exhilarated. Definitely have to do that again.

The diet's going pretty well except for some minor bumps in the road.  I am struggling to get enough to drink though. Water's just not my "thing" and I'm trying to avoid artificial sweeteners.  I do like green tea and some sources say it can help weight loss too so  I guess I'll go that route. 

Thursday, February 16, 2012

a watched scale never budges?

I HATE my scale.  Wish you had a FB account so that I could "de-friend" you!

I am going to stop weighing myself every day because it's driving me NUTS.  Although I had chocolate on my Valentines Day anniversary I compensated with other food and ended up below the amount of calories to maintain my weight.  A GOOD thing.  Yesterday I ate less than my 1200-1400 calories to make up for it and today the scale says I GAINED a pound!   What the heck! A BAAAD thing!

I do know that weight can fluctuate (or maybe my scale) and I assume (pray) it's just temporary. Some may say "it's only a pound" BUT when you are striving to lose at least 1-2 pounds a week it's alarming!!  It's Thursday and I don't even have my pound yet!

So I'm using the same philosophy as "a watched pot never boils" and hope it's just "a watched scale never budges" kinda thing and ignoring the darn thing til Saturday.

I'm also going to work harder at drinking more water.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

HaPPy Valentine's DaY

Happy Valentine's Day everyone!

Today was a good day and a bad day.  A GOOD day because it's my ♥ wedding anniversary ♥!   A BAD day because I blew my diet. 

No that's too kind, more like a diet Armageddon.  If you're an alcoholic and imbibe some say they've fallen "off the wagon".  If it's a diet do you say "I jumped on the chuck wagon?" Stupid I know but I was just wondering.  Anyway my "wagon" was made of chocolate. MALLEY's chocolate to be more precise. 

Sigh. I feel like such a pig that I'm surprised I'm not oinking.  At least Valentine's Day only falls once a year.

Went dippy over the dark chocolate covered raspberries, goofy over the milk chocolate covered grapes, flaky over the chocolate bacon bark. At least I kept it to 2 grapes and a nibble of bacon bark. Not so fortunate on the dark chocolate raspberries. I think I ate about six little cups throughout the day!

BUT it's not the end of the world. Tomorrow is another day.  The only way this can truly be a disaster is if I continue the bad behavior and that's not going to happen.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Sooooo Slowwwww

The scale just didn't seem to move this last week but I stepped on the scale Sunday and I'd lost 2 pounds for the week. All that hard work for TWO lousy pounds.  I thought "this can't be right".  Rather than succumb to my emotions as usual I decided to get all analytical about it.

Since I'd been so committed to logging everything I eat at, I actually went as far as calculating it all out in a spreadsheet. Yep, you betcha, oh yes I did, I actually did. Unbelievable and not just a little bit CrAzY I know.

Well it sure the heck is easy to put on the pounds but it certainly isn't easy taking them off.  It takes a calorie deficit of 3500 calories to lose a pound a week.  It's recommended that you decrease your calories by 500 calories a day to lose the one pound a week.  I'm going a little lower than that but going under 1200 calories a day is supposed to be unhealthy and I'm trying to get healthy not unhealthier!  If you exercise you can deduct calories expended during physical activity in there.

After my calculations (in a very impressive spread sheet if I do say so myself) apparently I should have lost 1.7 pounds. YEAH, I got a bonus 0.3 pounds!  Hand me a doughnut (just kidding)!  I was also really surprised at how many days I went all crazy on carbs even though they were good ones.  It didn't seem like I had that many days I ate too much when I was plugging it all in daily but when I looked a whole week it was glaringly obvious.
My goal for the week is to get in more exercise and get control over my carbs.  I'll still work on trying to get in all my water for the day too. Haven't managed to make it yet :-(.

But now I'm ok with losing just a couple pounds. It's recommended that you don't lose more than that anyway.  It was kind of a letdown after losing more the first week but that was mostly water weight anyway.  It's so hard not to be impatient but at 1200 calories and if I get just a little more exercise its possible to meet my goal of 50 pounds by the end of the challenge. 

I WILL meet my self-imposed goal.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

My Scale is Napping

I put my scale to work moving those numbers down last week so now it's been napping since Monday.  The darn thing won't budge!! To be fair I've been working a lot and haven't spent much time at home so maybe that's why it's in a snit.   I did put on a pair of my pants that was snug last week and now they're comfortable so I know I'm not supposed to be too worried.

Really not looking forward to seeing the treadmill   I'm off tomorrow and have a three day weekend so I plan to get very up close and personal with it.  I'm sure it's going to make me really work up a sweat since I since I've been neglecting it this week.

I'm continuing to do really well on my diet although I've struggled at times I've persevered.   The only concern is that since I've been on soooo many diets in the past, I've read that this can make it harder to lose each time.  That's why this will be my LAST weight loss diet.  I'll never let it get this bad again! 

To compensate for the history of many diets, exercise will have to be the key for me. So, despite my leg/back/neck/shoulder problems I have to get more exercise during the weekday. My sciatica has quieted down a little bit so I could get some walking in but it's so hard with my long work hours. I'll have to find the time even if it's just on the treadmill before work!  I'll also have to set at least a day aside during the work week to go to the pool.  I can handle water jogging & aerobics and can manage a few laps.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Difficult day

Well yesterday sure was a challenge! 

I struggled so badly the night before and just couldn't figure out why suddenly I'm so famished.  I tried to correct the mistakes I'd made the last couple days (not enough calories, not enough water) but I was STILL hungry.  I even increased my calories!

My diligence in documenting all my food came in handy.  Looking over the nutritional value over last couple days I'd realized that I'd inadvertently started eating way too many carbs, even though they were good ones, and not enough protein or fats. I wasn't tracking fiber at all!  Protein & fat helps satiety and fiber is filling.    

I correcting my diet yesterday racked up my calorie count to near maintenance but I didn't wake up like I'm feeling starved today.  I'm anticipating lunch already not because I'm hungry but because its going to be so yummy, chicken & asparagus..hmmmm

Betty Boop surfaces again.  My last blog discussed the battle she had with Miss Piggy.  I went to Target before work today and go down those first couple aisles in the front of the store and what do I find??? Betty Boop office supplies!!  Pencils, notepads, post-its, a notebook!  Yes, of course I bought them silly...looks like Betty's going to continue to guide me back to an hourglass figure!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Round one to Betty Boop

Headline: Betty Boop won a knockout round tonight against Miss Piggy as they battled in Margaret Pizzi's mind.

Driving home late this evening I had quite a battle going on in my head.  I wanted to cheat on my diet so bad, right out of the blue!!!  The "Miss Piggy" part of me kept justifying why I should break my diet, "Moi's done so well, moi deserves a break, moi's lost weight", "come on, can just one time really hurt, Moi's hungry!", "Moi can get a burger, just skip the fries and the bread".......  

Thank goodness "Betty Boop" came to the rescue, "You want curves again don't you, rather than be a big beach ball?", "don't you want to feel just a little bit sexy again? (wink, wink)", "wouldn't it be fun to have enough energy to dance all night?"" Boop-boop-boop-ee-doop !"

The battle raged, that annoying, demanding little "Piggy" voice, throwing a temper wanting to get her way and the bubbly, curvy, sexy "Betty" part of me hiding somewhere inside. Finally, got myself home and "Miss Piggy" was kicked to the curb.  I'm sure they'll battle again in the future but I'll remember this night and how "Miss Piggy" lost and know it'll be easier next time.   Especially since I've now learned I can't be careless and will make sure I meet my calorie goals because bodies need fuel.  I've also got to make sure I drink enough water!  I've read that sometimes thirst can disguise itself as hunger.

Post's a little weird I know but I'm a "unique" individual (wink, wink)

Sunday, Feb 5th

Today the dreaded Lighten Up In 2012 newspaper article came out with my weight and picture. That was bad enough then I found out the internet had a full color picture.  Now the world can see me obese.  Some people say I'm crazy, some people say I'm brave but I can tell you, I'm desperate.

I've seen others blogs and many tell a little bit about themselves but I haven't yet.  I'm 55yo and married. We have 4 children and 8 grandchildren aged from 3 months to 11 1/2 years.  I'm employed full time as a nurse but at a desk job.

My story....My weight's been up and down most of my life. The chronic weight problems started after a car accident in 1986 resulting in 2 surgeries and some permanent damage.  It took quite a few years to get the weight back down.  In 1995 I had an accident at work that permanently damaged my back and took about a year for me to be able to walk normally.  I had a cardiac problem too that resulted in my heart racing all the time and wearing me out.  I eventually had surgery for it but have a chronic arrhythmia.  I struggled with trying to keep my weight down but it's really hard and it gets really depressing to be in pain all the time.  I did manage to lose 36 pounds. 

About 3 years ago (December) a lady rear ended me driving her kid to school and that's what really did me in.  I didn't make a big deal about it because I'm not a litigious person and sometimes accidents just happen you know.  She'd had a perfect driving record and I felt bad for her.  Besides I already had neck problems BUT this time it affected my previously unaffected right neck & shoulder and being my dominate side really made things worse.  I've been in years of physical therapy and pain management since.  I sought solace in comfort food.  I'd feel bad about gaining weight, I'd feel bad about being in pain and get depressed and eat to make myself feel better.  Then I'd get even more depressed until I ended up over 200 pounds.

By now I'd gotten so many medical issues caused by or exacerbated by obesity...,  metabolic syndrome, asthma, joint problems even my depression I'm sure. Self esteem zero.  I'd end up having to run to the doctor or urgent care and need steroids for chronic bronchitis or I'd get pneumonia which certainly didn't help.  Toward the end of last year I got pancreatitis caused by diabetes.  I was so tired somedays I just couldn't get out of bed. Soon I was well over 200 pounds and I'd had enough.  Change or die.

I'd stepped up my pain management but I still hurt but could function a bit better, some days relatively pain free. I'd cut back on processed food and my Diet Coke intake but I still couldn't make the next step.  I saw the contest and decided to go for it.  Desperation is how I got here. Along the way I hope I can help someone else.  With my medical problems and physical limitations if I can get healthy I think almost anyone can.

Now....Today was a bad day.  So much pain from trying to overdo with weights the day before.  Instead of feeling sorry for myself and reverting back to my old ways I do gentle range of motion and stretching.  It certainly does more good than sitting on the couch with a bag of Cheetos and a 2L of Diet Coke.  I also took my grandsons swimming at the YMCA.  The gentle movement of treading water and moving my arms back and forth in the water with them in the little pool really made a difference.

Another day completed maintaining my diet 100%

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Sat 2/4

Started the day with a tough Bootcamp workout at Slim and Fit in Concord.  I could only do a small part with the weights before my body objected. Silly me deciding to try to lift 5 and 10lb weights when some days I can barely lift a hairdryer if my neck and shoulder flairs up!  I finished just making the movements with my arms without weights when weights were required. BABY STEPS. The exercise ball was a challenge for me with some of the movements.  We also did some exercises with a resistance rope and some aerobics. Although it was quite a challenge for me the time flew by it was so much fun. Thanks to Slim and Fit for offering this to us. I hope to go every week but do modified exercises with lighter weights.

Since I weighed in there last Sunday I asked to weigh myself on the same scale and I lost weight!! Late the night before I went to the store and bought a new scale thinking mine was broken but hadn't opened it yet. Good thing because my scale wasn't broken at all, I 'd lost more than I thought and I guess I'm just not used to see my weight go down instead of up!!!

Pulse Group Fitness Studio in Painesville Twp has also offered to help our group get in shape with some free classes.  They have such a variety of options it was hard deciding what to take.  As if I didn't put myself through enough in the morning, I went to the 11:15 Couch Potato Challenge.  Boy for me it was a major challenge.  When it was something that was too hard or hurt, adjustments or suggestions were made so that I could still do it.  Just what I needed.   It became glaringly obvious how weak and tight and inflexible I've become.  The  class  touched on many different exercise styles and so I got an introduction to some of the other classes available.  This is one is definately a keeper.  I think I'll try the Yoga next.

As far as the diet goes now that I'm settled in and recording every bite it's more of a challenge to get all my calories in rather than eat too much.  Since I've cut out the bad carbs or high glycemic foods and all processed foods, I'm not getting any cravings and I'm rarely hungry.  I have more energy too :-).

Friday, February 3, 2012


Didn't blog yesterday since I was so busy at work and worked late.  Anticipating the possibility of working late I packed my lunch with enough food to save for dinner. Previously if I was late at work I would be so hungry that I'd stop and get fast food on the way home or I'd get home and eat way too much, way too late.   A little bit of pre-planning and a small stash of healthy food in the work refrigerator kept me from falling back into that trap again.
By the time I got home all I needed was a small snack.

My hubby dragged out my treadmill that's been gathering dust and put it downstairs for me to use with the distraction of the TV so help keep me going.  My sciatica is really bad now,  limped around work most of the day yesterday. Think all those squats Tuesday was a bad idea. I did manage a half hour on the treadmill at a slow pace last night though.    Any exercise is better than none. I only managed 15 minutes this morning before leaving for work before the pain got too bad.  May need another trip to pain management :-(.

I have to give up the idea of a personal trainer because we unexpectedly have to help out some family members and so there's no longer room in the budget for a trainer.  All bummed out but Hubby said to look on the bright side, we're always helping someone or another, so hopefully we'll make it to Heaven, LOL. Thank goodness I have options through LightenUp for organized exercise!  Stopped by Pulse and decided to do a couch potato exercise class tomorrow. Prior to that Slim & Fit has a Saturday boot camp that I'll try to hobble through.  I also check out the Y.

Doing great on the diet without cravings now.  I'm doing a lower carb diet, not very low carb because that's too hard for me.  I did eat about 14g carbs over what I'd planned on yesterday but it was all good carbs.  Added fish oil caps because I ended up eating very low fat and that's not my goal either. I want a nice amount of healthy fats to get the health benefits. I'd forgotten about the avocado in the frig, it has lots of good fats.

So far this week I've totally maintained my diet!!! Yeah! Happy dance!  I haven't gone over my calorie limit and have even had to add foods at the end of the day to meet the limit. 

Next challenge will be the weekend.  It's going to be a hectic, stressful one so and I WILL get through it with flying colors.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012


Didn't exercise today, just did a bunch of stretching and range of motion exercises because in addition to feeling "off",  I was so sore from the trainer yesterday.  Since I'm limited in some of the exercises I can do I had to do a squat, take a step then a squat and a step and so on around the ENTIRE track. My quads hurt the worst but some heat and stretching really helped. lets hope they skip them tomorrow! 

Craving bread today!  Had a piece of almond butter toast for breakfast with 7 sprouted grains bread. The nuttiness of the bread is perfect with peanut or almond butter. YUMMY. Some Cinnamon Raisin Ezekiel bread (sprouted), satisfied my sweet tooth! These kind of breads takes some getting used to for some because it's made of sprouted grains rather than flour. Perfect for me though because I'm not a white bread kinda gal.....prefer substance over bland.

Since I'm still a little under-the-weather I don't have much appetite.  I tallied my calories and got a warning that I was under recommended diet limit of 1200 calories that could cause my body to go into starvation mode.   Also the "If every day were like today...You'd weigh xxx lbs in 5 weeks" was almost TWO pounds higher than yesterday even though I ate less calories. Must be taking the "starvation mode" into consideration or else it's a glitch.  Regardless if it being a glitch or not I added calories to meet the 1200 calories per day.  The key is to get healthy and not providing my body with enough nutrients and calories would be counter productive.

Craving some sweetness at the end of the day I had a small piece of a dark chocolate/chia seed/cinnamon bar. It was so good.  S  AND still met my calorie goals.