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.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

I'm back.....

Well, I survived my "Sisters" Smoky Mountain vacation without gaining any weight!!! 

I picked up the pace last Wednesday and managed to get in quite a bit of exercise in on some days, especially this past weekend.  It's a really good thing too because although I rarely imbibe it was REALLY hard to resist the iced, fruity "hot tub punch" concoctions my sisters would make each evening before we went to the pool. They were actually quite tasty.  Other than those (and the two Frisch's Big Boy stops on the way down and back) I did keep my diet relatively healthy most days.

Zip lining was so much fun we went again with a couple other sisters on Saturday.  I was the first one in line when we came time to try zipping hanging upside down!  Guess I was a "pro" by then. It was so exhilarating flying through the air over and through the forests and fields.  With a dozen zip lines under my belts (pun intended) my 11yo grandson and I are planning to go on a zip line trip for his birthday the end of next month in southern Ohio.

Sunday was sad because the adventure was over for most of us.  Fortunately my sister Sherry was up for more thrills as we explored more of the National Park. Clingman's Dome was a real hike up a steep hill.  As I passed some younger who gave up the climb, it gave me added motivation to make it to the top of the trail and then the tower. I have a really big stubborn streak and I wasn't about to let the heat and the hill win!

Since I have found my self confidence once again I wasn't quite ready to quit when it came time for my sister to leave. There were still more waterfalls I was determined to explore. I hiked a trail near Sugarland and then to the nearby falls.  I was determined to go to Grotto Falls. Between the 2 trails it takes to get there the hike is about 3 miles and took a good 3 hours there and back.  The trail is through an "old growth" forest and the creeks, large rocks, massive tree roots and damp and slippery paths made it a real challenge.  DEFINITELY worth it though.  Driving the one way, winding road back down I even saw a baby black bear sitting on a log (lets hear an awwwww).

Without this challenge I wouldn't have been able to do the things I did on this trip.  My activity monitor with the altimeter for Sunday logged 22,205 steps, 9.12 miles and the equivalent of 103 FLIGHTS climbed.  I burned off 2723 calories!  I wouldn't have been able to do a fraction of that the end of January.  I have so much more energy than I had when I started. I am healthier and I FEEL healthier and happier.  I've found my love of adventure again (probably to my husbands dismay).  I still CRINGE when I see my photograph but that will get better as time goes on.  It took a while to put on this weight and it will take time to get it back off if I do it the healthy way. 

We're going to do this sister getaway every year now.  We're thinking about Kentucky and camping and horseback riding. I have the energy and the motivation to learn to ride now and my daughter's got the horse!  Maybe I can talk my sisters into some some spelunking too! Since my sisters check my blog I want to thank them and my "new" sisters too.  Thanks especially to Joni for coming up with the idea and the condo.

"What we have once enjoyed we can never lose. All that we love deeply becomes a part of us."~Helen Keller

Friday, May 18, 2012


Haven't been blogging because I'm on vacation in Tennessee with my sisters and having a blast!  I've tried to be pretty good on my diet but it's hard and I have eaten some things I shouldn't but I haven't been totally out of control. 

I was very bad not exercising the weekend and the beginning of the week except for a little bit of swimming but then we decided to work on that. On Wednesday we walked up to Laurel Falls in the Smoky Mountains. It was quite a hike but so beautiful. I did get to see some black bears in the distance.

Getting in better shape has also given me motivation to further push myself.  I am very afraid of heights. I've forced myself to go on a ferris wheel with the kids in the past but I find it very scary and it makes my heart flutter. Yesterday I was determined to go Zip Lining! Yeah ZIP LINING for someone afraid of heights.  I was really scared the first jump. By line number four I tried zipping hanging upside down and did it a short period of time. By line six which was 1100 feet I was zipping down the mountain hanging upside down with my arms out like a bird at least half the way! I think they said that one could reach speeds up to 45mph. I told my sisters I started out with screams of fear and ended with screams of joy!

Today we are waiting for another sister so we are staying in doing Wii Zumba and belly dancing.  Later we may go gocart racing and karaoke (which I always wanted to do but have also been too self conscious to try). I'm definitely going to try to get in some water fitness too. Tomorrow its more hiking to another waterfall and I may also do some hiking on Sunday. I really have to step up my exercise routine!

Well I've gotta get back to my sisters!!!

My sister Dee heard a quote that seems appropriate for our "adventure" that goes something like,  "If you don't take chances you won't have stories to tell" 

Monday, May 7, 2012

need to get back on track

Well the last 5-6 weeks has been a challenge for me and I need to get back on track with my diet.  I have been increasing my exercise but watching my carbs has been an issue. I've also fallen back to my Diet Coke addiction. For my body it matters where my calories come from.  I don't lose much if my diet includes sugary or starchy carbs, processed foods and even artificial sweeteners even if I keep my calories are low.  I need to get back to "clean", healthy food.

On the exercise front I've been doing a lot more.  I bought a FitBit Ultra a couple months ago and it has definitely been worth the investment.  It's now attached to me most of the time!   I took a walk at my lunch break last week and walked up the steep Mayfield road hill in Little Italy so I could get more credit on the monitor because it has an altimeter. It also syncs with MyFitnessPal.  Lately several times I've gone over 10,000 steps. I've even done a couple short jogs (gasp). Between climbing steps, hills and walking up the parking garage ramps at work I've even gone over the 50 flights in one day!

Last weekend we stayed at a waterpark after my 7yo grandson's karate tournament (he placed 3rd in sparing and 4th in forms, go Devin!). I was physically able to climb up the 6-7 flights of stairs to go down the water slides with the kids. It was tiring but I could do it!  It was so nice to take an active part in their playing, not being restricted because I was so grossly out of shape. I did really struggle trying to climb up that cargo net though!

I bought a bike last week as a reward for getting under 200 pounds.  It's one of those old fashioned cruisers with the fenders and a color coordinated rack on the back.  I even bought a basket and "disco" colored LED spoke lights, LOL. It was so scary getting on a bike for the first time in probably 25years!  It seemed so high up!  We took an almost 6 mile hike/bike yesterday and that was a challenge.  The kids also wanted to take the bikes down the path to Chair Factory Falls off the bike path too. At the beginning of this contest I would have barely been able to get myself back up the footpath back up from the falls let alone pushing a bike back up.  I was shocked that I was able to do so with no extreme effort, the biggest challenge being the footwear that I was wearing rather than physical effort.

I'm still doing Zumba and have to find the time to get back to the water fitness classes since I'm now allowed to swim (couldn't because of eye surgery).  I also need to add some weight training.  It's a struggle to find time to get exercise in but it's worth the effort.

For anyone out there that thinks there's no way that you can get in shape, if I can do it so can you.  I do have a long way to go but I'm soooo much better.  I have back & neck problems and had/have metabolic syndrome, chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia.  I have still pain on a daily basis because my back is so bad. Some days it hurts to do much at all but I've found that if I go more than a couple days without exercise overall it becomes much worse. My right leg used to be so weak sometimes I couldn't even lift it on it's own to put on a pair of pants. It used to be an effort just to get out of bed in the morning and I don't even need an alarm clock now.  It really feels good to be more functional and I feel so much better about myself. It's GREAT to be able to have fun with the kids.  I like being a participant in their activities rather than always being a spectator.

You just have to START MOVING. Baby steps are still going forward. Take it slow and each time it will get easier.