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.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

GOOD news!

Went to the doctor today and the SCALE moved down! I sure hope its accurate. 

They did my blood sugar (106) and the Hgb1Ac by finger stick was a tad over 5, NORMAL!!!!  That's off meds so NO MORE DIABETES MEDICATION!  I DID it! 

HaPpY DaNcE!!!

Can't wait to see how much better my cholesterol is!  My triglycerides were off the charts. I anticipate much better results.

Had a great time with some of the group at Pulse last night for Zumba. They are checking into starting a Wed Zumba. That would be awesome!

Looking forward to weigh in on Saturday.  I didn't do as well as last time but I've still made progress.

Monday, March 26, 2012

I Believe I Can Fly

"If I can see it, then I can do it,
If I just believe it, there's nothing to it
I believe I can fly, I believe I can touch the sky" by R Kelly

I've decided to try picture something every day to help my motivation.   Try challenging yourself to do the same.

It could be your young child's/grandchild's face that is your motivation. Imagining still being around for their children and grandchildren.

It could be a picture of a beach and you imagine yourself having the energy to spend the day running in and out of the waves with your dog.

It could be a vacation. Picturing yourself strong and healthy enough to make it to the top of the pyramid at Chichen Itza (we did years ago, thought I was going to DIE-not sure if they still allow it).

I can imagine myself feeling sexy for a change on romantic evening with hubby (I'm wearing a RED dress since I won't have to wear black to make me look thinner anymore).

I imagine the look in my husband's eyes when he's thinking' "Oh she's lookin' hot" LOL.

It could be running a mile or running the bases with the kids without feeling short of breath.

It could be that brand new retro look cruiser bike I've promised myself when I get under 200 pounds! (I can see myself hoping my grandkids can keep up with me riding that bike!)

I can imagine myself fit and happy instead of fat, tired and miserable.

Now to the song.  I know it's not talking about my transition to a healthy lifestyle but I can still get inspiration from it. No matter how hard it may be, I believe I can do it. I can fly above all that's holding me back.

"If I can see it, then I can do it, if I just believe it, there's nothing to it".

Well, I've gotta go spread my wings.....and fly

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Making exercise progress with FitBit Ultra

Didn't really get much exercise all week so I had a major exercise "high" after my Sat 11:15am Zumba class!  You've really gotta try it. It's so much fun even if you have two left feet like me. It made me really motivated for the rest of the day. 

In addition to the Zumba class I did walking, practiced some Zumba moves and worked out for well over an hour practicing movements with a beginner belly dance DVD. I know what some may be thinking so I won't keep you guessing...of course I bought a coin hip scarf to go with it! The jingling makes it all the more fun!  Boy did I get in a major arm and core workout !  I'm really sore today but plan to work on it again tonight.

I bought a wireless activity & sleep monitor called FitBit Ultra.  It's really helped keep me motivated too. I was so proud to make or exceed my goals yesterday.  I managed to get in 13856 steps and 14 floors climbed.  It gave me badges for floors climbed and steps.  One of the goals it has is to keep a digital flower alive by walking and being active. I grew my flower to all 8 leaves!  All together I traveled 6.49 miles and burned 2703 calories (includes BMR, the base calories burned based on your ht, wt and activity level)!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Wrinkles and bat wings

I'm 55yo and have been blessed to look a bit younger than a lot of my peers I've been told. Unfortunately this is mostly due to my chubby face filling in the wrinkles I think!  I've resigned myself to looking a little older as my face thins in order to be overall healthier.

This morning however, although I've only lost an additional 5 pounds so far from last month (I think, but the scale and I aren't seeing each other anymore), it looked to me when I was putting on a sleeveless shirt that I'm getting the start of BAT WINGS.  You know what I'm talking about, that lose skin that some people can get under their arms.

I put a posting on a diet chat room and was told it was inevitable. NOT SO FAST.  I'm at higher risk because I'm older and I've gained a lot of weight and stretched out my skin but I did some research and there are some actions that may help.

This is a summary of what I found that most everyone can agree on.

1.       Diet at a healthy pace.  Crash dieting that causes rapid weight loss is a main cause of loose skin. Avoid crash diets and focus on losing no more than 2 pounds per week.

2.       Eat a nutrient rich diet.  A diet rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, proteins, and omega-3 fatty acids will improve your skin's elasticity and overall health.  Avoid foods processed with chemicals to give them a long shelf life. Stick to a diet rich in whole foods.  

3.       Make sure you get enough high quality protein in your diet. This help prevents the loss of lean muscle mass and is needed for the muscle you are building.

4.       Take a multivitamin. Making sure your body has all the nutrients it needs to repair and nourish itself is an important part of skin health.

5.       Hydrate your skin by drinking plenty of water. Hydrated, healthy skin can bounce back into shape easier. Water is also important for a body's functions, including skin repair. Try to drink at least 1 liter of water a day. Avoid carbonated drinks that strip your body of calcium and other vitamins and minerals.

6.       Exercise!!!. Exercise builds muscle and muscle acts as a support system for skin.

Building muscle is an important part of loose skin prevention. You want the muscle to take the place of the fat that is being lost to prevent too much sagging skin.

This one wasn't on all the sites but I personally will try this one too.

7.       Exfoliate your skin daily and use an intensive moisturizer twice a day. This will encourage elasticity and circulation to help tighten your skin.

Obviously despite me struggling to lose weight this month, this IS a contest so I won't lose sleep over it if I do lose more than 2 pounds a week in the future.  I DON"T hydrate enough and my diet really has been missing some vitamins & nutrients.  I'm working on getting that protein increased too.  I really need to get my act together to avoid looking like a Shar-Pei by the end of the contest

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Hanging in there..barely

I have been struggling all month to lose and it has been a very stressful week at work and at home. I've fallen off the healthy foods wagon but managed not to exceed maintenance calories.  Despite this I managed to put on a few pounds, I still have a net loss, but it's slowed my progress for the month and it's very doubtful I can reach my personal goal now.  I can only hope that some of the gain is water weight..please, please, please...since most of the poor choices I made consisted of salty carbs.

I've gotten little exercise since Saturday but I did a do lot of walking yesterday.  I think going to the outlet mall with my daughter and grandson yesterday after his doctor's appointment yesterday helped.  All those really cute spring clothes!   After my window shopping I didn't cheat at all (already blew it at lunch).  I even left Malley's without even sampling any of the sweets they got. Today I'm really back on track, and motivated! No slip ups or even starchy cravings!

I've got a little over a week til the next weigh-in and I'm going to make the best of it!

Monday, March 19, 2012


Not a good weekend.  I got in two exercise classes, the water fitness at the Y and Zumba class at Pulse (wish I could go every day!).  Didn't get much else in because I got hooked reading the Hunger Games Trilogy. Just couldn't put it down!  I should try to find a comfortable way to read and do a treadmill or something at the same time. Easy for me to do with a paper book but with the Kindle, I just haven't figured it out.

Diet took a major tumble. Some really upsetting drama yesterday and me being an emotional eater, I crashed and gave in.  No exercise either yesterday.

When I took my son the ER and stopped at McDs.  I ate a bacon & cheese Angus burger without the bun and condiments but it's quite a few "not good" calories.  For dinner I ate a Superburger but I did scrape off some of the sauce and didn't eat the middle piece of bread, had about 10 french fires and probably about 6 Do-Si-Do peanut butter cookies later. 

At least this is all I ate all day so I guess I can take some solace in that. I really have to come up with a way to handle the emotional eating.  I'm much better now unless it's something that's "major" then I'm wallowing in calories.

Today again will be difficult but better than yesterday.  I have to find a way to get through it without adding further damage to my diet. I really want to get fit and be at a normal weight by fall.  My goal of 50-60 pounds over the contest period should get me far.

Just another bump in the road but I'm picking myself up and dusting myself off.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Sunshine again!

Obviously I blog a lot. I find keeping it as a type of diary reminds me of my goal and when I'm bothered by something it helps keep me focused rather than resort to comfort food.

Having a better day.  I managed to get through yesterday with just a tiny piece of comfort food, less than half a slice of pizza that one of my grandchildren didn't finish.  AND I finally lost a pound!  I know I'm losing inches. Today I looked in the mirror and it looks like I saw the beginning of a waist! Yep, there was this little curve in. I'm an "apple" body type and it sure felt good to see it.

Feeling better about the cataract surgery after speaking with several people who have had the surgery and have gotten their experience on lens and vision correction. Thank goodness for advances in technology!  It will be nice to be able to see better.  Dreading the cost but I was going to save up for vision correction anyway. It sure was a shock though to go from no cataract 2 1/2 months ago to a full posterior cataract now.  They say with this kind it can happen that quickly.

TGIF, it's such a pretty day I can't wait to get outside and walk!

Thursday, March 15, 2012


If only I had...? How many people have ever said that?

Got a lesson in that today that could have been much worse. If only I had started taking better care of myself earlier.  Apparently, ironically, after I started to take getting healthy seriously I have a preventable health crisis.

Despite my efforts to avoid taking rounds of oral steroids (haven't taken them for about 6 months) but needing to use a steroid inhaler I have suddenly grown a cataract on the inside of the lens  that has made me pretty much blind in that eye. It's a particular kind caused by steroid use even though I haven't taken them chronically, long term. In a little over a week I will have my last test, on a special machine and then they will call me to set up my appointment for an artificial lens transplant in my right eye.

I keep thinking if I would have lost the weight, if I would have eaten better and taken care of my body, I wouldn't have to worry about having a weak immune system and diabetes and obesity and maybe my GERD wouldn't have been so bad. It wouldn't have triggered chronic coughing, sinus, reactive airway problems and then bouts of bronchitis and pneumonia.  I wouldn't have had the need for steroids.  I could have used my money to celebrate my journey to a healthy weight and lifestyle by going on a vacation or got a new computer instead of paying thousands on medical.

So it's a lesson for some of you out there. Overall I guess I got lucky. It could be something much, much worse.  Some of you are saying you'll get around to getting healthy next week or next month. Well tomorrow you could have a heart attack or a stroke or one many of health problems that you could possibly have decreased your risk for by diet and lifestyle changes.

So I'm working on getting healthy and I challenge anyone who reads these blogs to do the same. My crisis is relatively minor, now that I'm over the shock of it. I'll just need an artificial lens inserted to be able to see out of my eye again. There's some people out there that may not even have a tomorrow unless they make changes today.

Thank God for LightenUp 2012

I'm an emotional eater and if it wasn't for the accountability by being in LightenUp2012 I'd be in big trouble. The major problem has been eating when stressed or upset which happens a lot in my soap opera life. 

I have an urgent doctors appt later (losing vision in my right eye) and after speaking to the insurance company.... lets just say with the health insurance changes many employers are providing now, paying 15% not counting high deductibles, co-pays, facility fees etc... just be very grateful if you have good health care coverage.  That coupled with the DARN SCALE not moving (obviously the conversation with my Mind and Body did no good) and the "daily drama"...really has me on edge.

I practically RAN to the work cafeteria after I got off the phone. Luckily for me it was the change-over between breakfast and lunch and there was little available but prepackaged stuff.  It gave me some time to come to my senses. 

I'm so frustrated that I have met a plateau already. I've lost little since the last weigh-in. That's all it can be really because if you run the numbers I should be losing at least a couple pounds a week.  Some days the scale moves UP! Out of desperation I took the day off yesterday and did a marathon workout hoping it would shock my system or something and move those numbers down at least a smidgen.

I started with Gentle Yoga at 6am then joined an arthritis water fitness group, burned off 171 calories on the treadmill, did a regular water fitness class, took the dogs for a 2 mile walk with my husband and did another water fitness class.  It came to a calorie expenditure of over 1200 calories and the scale still didn't budge this morning.

So here I am today just wanting to cheat or quit all together with all that's going on lately. Thanks to Lighten Up 2012 I won't no matter how tempting it is.  

I don't want everyone to think of me as a quitter I WANT TO BE A LOSER!!!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Flying high and shot down

Disclaimer: This is an atypical blog from a "unique" individual. Not responsible for direct, indirect, incidental or consequential damages from reading this blog. Do not read while operating a motor vehicle or heavy equipment.

So my thinking bizarre at times but I have no problem with that....

Yesterday and today I was so proud of myself for really starting to get some exercise this month. I was so disappointed after stepping on the scale and not seeing any movement so my mind and body had a little conversation.

Mind: "Careful, don't step in that!"
Body: "What are you talking about, step in what?"
Mind: "That big spot on the sidewalk"
Body: "Ewww, that's gross, what's THAT, what HAPPENED to it?"
Mind: "That's my confidence. I was flying so high after doing so well exercising all week and was so excited to step on the scale and then you made it SPLAT".
Body: "I made it SPLAT? Don't think so"
Mind: "Yes you did. I've been working so hard. You're just mad because I've made you SWEAT.".
Body: "Well, I'm certainly not fond of getting all hot and certainly don't like being all sweaty."
Mind: "See I told you, now I've lost confidence and I'm feeling all depressed".
Body: "I'm not used to these changes and I'm feeling a little parched. You really have screwed up on remembering to give me enough protein. Last month you didn't make me work so hard so it wasn't as important but now you expect me to lose weight AND build muscle? Gimme some fuel and building material here will ya."
Mind: "Hmmm. I guess I can admit to not exactly being good about sending reminders to drink or eat protein.  Went a few days there with calories below 1200 too but what about that big smudge?"
Body:"Really sorry about your self confidence. If we work together we can get it back. It may take me some time to adjust every now and then though. I do think we need to "de-friend" the scale."
Mind: DEFINITELY de-friending the scale. Maybe we can visit it no sooner than once every week or two. It's such a troublemaker. The sun's shining today and it's nice outside. Did I ever tell you about how sunshine can help my mood?....
Body: "yeah, so does letting your silly side show every now and then."

Monday, March 12, 2012

Rainy Days and Mondays

"Talkin' to myself and feeling old, Sometimes I'd like to quit; Nothing seems to fit; Hangin' around, nothing to do but frown; Rainy Days and Mondays always get me down...." from the Carpenter Song "Rainy Days and Mondays"

Yep, that kinda day.  I have been working so hard and today I'm just feeling achy and old. A pair of pants I'd hoped to fit into still don't fit.  The scale isn't moving in a downward motion much. Last month it was so much easier to lose and this month I'm exercising and the scale is moving slower than when I wasn't!!! Yes, I'm FROWNING.

I went to the BEST water fitness class at the Y on Saturday morning.  I got there 10min  late because I was trying to justify staying in bed because it was "SATURDAY morning" darn it.  Well thank goodness my motivation won.  The class is awesome but HARD. You do have a flotation device around your waist so I couldn't drown myself though, LOL! Swimming on my side with one arm out of the water??? Sound CrAzY but did it give me a workout!  I'd have been sweating like crazy if I wasn't in the water.   It helped that the whirlpool is right there to help my aches when I'm all done. This is definitely on my "must make time for" list.

I grabbed a bite to eat then went to Pulse Fitness for the Zumba class.  Zumba is one class I think will be one I'd want to play a permanent part in my fitness routine even after I've lost all my weight.  You burn a lot of calories and really work up sweat but it's so much fun that you don't really notice as much. You've read it before but I LUV ZUMBA! 

Saturday evening I went to the movies with family and found that I CAN go to the theater and still watch a movie without stuffing buttery popcorn & Snowcaps in my mouth. Yes, it is possible, who woulda thunk?!

Sunday I did an exercise game on the Wii with my grandson for about a half hour and then took them swimming for 1.5 hrs.  I'm so proud of my efforts exercising and staying on task with my diet and anticipated stepping on the scale this morning but...

the story continues...
The scale today still has barely budged and I'm bummed. I'd like to quit but I won't. These aches and pain should ultimately be improved as I get stronger. The strengthening of my "core" should help my spine.  Tonight I'm leaving work a little early to make it to a Zumba Low class at TriPoint then I'll hurry over to do the late evening water fitness class at the YMCA.

Rainy days and Mondays may get me down ...but I'm going to get... right..back..up!!  I AM changing my goal however.  Instead of going for a 50 pound weight loss over the 6month period I'm going for 60!!!!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Diet Penance

My frustrations won yesterday and I broke my diet and ate non-healthy food. 

It started by being in a tizzy because I'd treated myself to supposedly Low Carb meal at Cracker Barrel for breakfast.  "Supposedly" because I could find no reference anywhere that says that I can eat 2 pieces of whole wheat toast for the net carbs they stated. Their smoked sausage patties are unique and I couldn't find anything similar either. They don't list nutrition information and say to go to two web sites that have a few items.  I ended up calling the corporate office and they gave me the run around and said they are "working on it".   Even if I'm not having a good day eating I obsessively log my nutritional intake (including cough drops and a Tums).  Guess that there's so much out of my control in my life that is something that's all in my control, good or bad.

Then busy day at work and my office-mate was calibrating some machine and it was squealing all day=headache.  With the weather change the office was stifling hot and with the sinus/allergy business going on with me I couldn't breathe and was starting to lose my voice.  Decided to leave early and check out the water fitness class at the Y and all THREE parking garage elevators were off and my car was on the top floor.  There's no way I can climb 8 double flights of stairs.  Thankfully my daughter-in-law came by to move her car closer to work and gave me a ride up but I had to walk the 4 flights to her car first.

Too late to make it to the Y class by then & my knee is yelling at me :-(. Traffic sucked.  Had to get gas and these days the prices are stressful.  I was feelin g frustrated and stressed and craving fried chicken. I ended up getting a fried boneless chicken breast at KFC. So the guilt set in.  It's OK if I plan to cheat like having a piece of my grandson's birthday cake and some pizza.  It's NOT alright when I cave to emotional eating (in my mind).

So I did diet penance and it was a good one.  I did 30 minutes on the treadmill at the Y at 2.5 mph, then I burnt off 100 calories on the Nustep machine. Fifteen minutes of  laps and exercises in the deep end before I started getting leg cramps. Spent 15 minutes in the whirlpool trying to hit all the ouchy places. Sauna & steam room then I showered and practiced standing yoga poses (tree pose, mountain pose, chair pose) while I was in there!

At the end of the day I was tired but feeling much better about myself especially since I'd gotten up to do the 6am Yoga class.  Also it proved that I can handle more exercise than I thought!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

I DID it!

Pat myself on the back.

I made it to the 6am Gentle Yoga class at TriPoint.  My hubby even went out and bought me a pretty Yoga mat last night so I couldn't let it go to waste!  With my muscles and flexibility being so rigid it was a better choice for me.  I was able to do the class with some minor adjustments. I'm just wound too tight at this point.  The weakness in my muscles and "core" are so glaringly evident but I felt totally awesome by the end.  I know it will get better and better each week.  I even told my co-worker not to be surprised if she comes in and and I'm standing on one foot in my cubicle!

Micheal, another contestant pointed out that we have more days before weigh-in this month compared to last.  Good thing because I was sick and lost some ground.  I've only lost 2 pounds so far but any loss is better than a gain.  I am proud that I made it to two Zumba classes (one at Pulse and one at TriPoint) and then this Yoga class since Saturday.  That is a MAJOR step for me so I treated myself to one of the offerings on the Low-carb section of the menu at Cracker Barrel on the way to work this morning!

I'm making baby steps but still moving FORWARD.

Monday, March 5, 2012


Coming in third by weight loss percentage and losing about 10 days week being sick and not exercising or keeping the calories very low I have to step up my game plan.  My daughter pointed out my lack of much effort exercising tonight.

Crawled out of bed (literally) I went to Pulse for Zumba on Saturday.  I LOVE Zumba!!!!  It was a major struggle still feeling so weak and breathless but I was so proud of myself for getting out of bed and going.  Pulse has a great class and although I had to stop and rest a few times I made it through.  You don't have to be perfect, you do what you can.  Any exercise is better than none!

Tried the low Zumba at Points East tonight and it was a blast too.  Two Zumba classes a week for now I think.  With my back/neck pains I have to be careful.  Hopefully by the end of the month I will have built up enough strength and stamina to do some more classes at Pulse.  They have such a variety of offerings.  Gotta check out the Y too.  We can do bootcamp and Slim and Fit but I think that will be farther down the road for me.

I also ordered a couple of Wii walking and exercise games. That's the plan & I've gotta get with it!