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.

Friday, July 27, 2012


Well weigh-in is tomorrow and I have mixed feelings which I'm too busy to express right now. Work has been really busy since we have someone leaving and I'm picking up half her job.

Hopefully I will have more time to blog later!

Monday, July 23, 2012

not adding up

Well I've decided my body just doesn't "do" math.

Supposedly for every 3500 calories deficit you lose a pound. "Nope", my body says, "Not gonna do it".  I've been tracking every little calorie in and every calorie expenditure.

My body just HAS to be uncooperative and not do what it's supposed to!!!  Why do things always have to be so hard?  Not that things have been ever easy these 6 months, but gosh this has been especially difficult. I have been working my butt off, literally, the past couple weeks and the scale won't budge.  

I've been especially diligent with fats and carbs. Only the "good" stuff except for just 2 times I've caved and eaten bacon.  I'm glad the "you are what you eat" quote isn't true because I'd most certainly be sprouting feathers with all the eggs, chicken and turkey I've eaten.

Although my activity has been limited because of my flare-up with my neck/back I've been walking a lot and doing hills,stairs and inclines and really pushing my limits. Yesterday I went bike riding and was so tired afterwards I could barely lift my bike in the car. It took several attempts (must admit my cruiser bike IS heavy" though). 

The scale didn't move again this morning and after BOUNCING on the thing a few times I went to a chain restaurant for breakfast.  I didn't binge or even order the way I would have in the past and it wasn't even one of the big breakfasts, but looking everything up afterwards it totaled 879 calories for ONE meal.  It took 879 calories (AND A STOMACH ACHE) for me to remember WHY I don't eat that way anymore. Don't get me wrong, that doesn't mean I'll never eat there anymore, it just means that I have to take better care to choose WHAT I eat.  I also forgot my new philosophy when eating out "1/2 now, 1/2 later".

So now my stomach hurts and of course it didn't change what the scale read. I've decided the next couple days I'm going to switch things up like Kate says she was going to, cutting meat and dairy and I'm going to eat just fruits and veggies.  I've also decided that for it's own safety I'm going to have someone place the scale into hiding!!!!

Well, I need to go now. Maybe I can pacify my tummy with those pretty bing cherries.

Friday, July 20, 2012

acknowledgement and progress

Too miserable to blog yesterday but I finally got to see my pain management doc yesterday afternoon. He was really impressed by how well I've been doing and how much better I'm looking.  I'm glad my doctors are noticing my progress too.  It helps keep you going when others take the time to acknowledge your hard work.

In the middle of the exam he asked "HOW are you exercising?". I said "Well, I finally decided if I just sit around on the couch I'll be hurting and just keep getting fatter and more miserable so I decided if I'm going to hurt anyway I may as well get out there and try to have some fun and try to get healthier and maybe some of the pain will get better along the way."  He did warn me to be careful and I'm not stupid. I know this arthritic spine isn't going to get better.  Surgery is a "wait til there's no option, major big deal, one time, no guarantee" kinda thing so I'm holding out for technology.  They make advances so quickly these days and I've been managing to hold out using pain management and my own pigheadedness. 

Anyway after about 8 injections he says "I can't believe how much younger you look"! Yeah!!! ANOTHER person who thinks I look younger and here I was so worried about looking older because I wouldn't have all that fat filling up lines and creases anymore!  

Hopefully I will look good for my final picture next Saturday. Next Friday I undergo 3 sets of blocks in outpatient surgery.  I usually feel like I've been kicked by steel toed boots for 1-3 days afterwards if I wait until the pain gets this bad because the nerves are so terribly irritated. It takes a few days for the cortisone to start kicking in. Maybe I'll live a little and take the sedation during the procedure for a change. I usually don't so I can go to work afterwards.

Even though I was miserable I forced myself to go get some walking in on the treadmill at the Y.  That's major progress because in the past I'd make excuses.  I started out by promising myself to go at least 30minutes. I could only manage 2.5 mph. I went to fill my water bottle and give myself a pep talk and decided I'd try at least another 15 because there were lots of machines open. I ended up finally getting myself into a rhythm and ended with another 61 minutes between the treadmill, elliptical and the recumbent. Promised myself 30 and ended with 91 minutes although at the end I was exercising close to the red zone according the the HRM.  At home after I synced my FitBit I noticed I was only at 8 floors for the day so I walked up and down the stairs for a total of 11 for the day so I could keep on my new goal for the week. Total miles 7.17 and 17,242 steps. Not bad for a bad day.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Met some goals and it feels good!

Well I managed to keep my goal of over 10,000 steps a day, which I ended up increasing to 5miles a day for the last 7 days! Well, that's if I average, LOL. Yesterday was the only day I didn't make it because I felt under the weather. Only managed 2.74 miles but I did climb 11 flights.  

I managed to total 43.59 miles for the 7 days which isn't too bad. My best day was Saturday. I logged 9.59 miles. I was up cleaning late and really made the 10 but the clock rolled over to midnight and the rest of my miles reset for the next day :-(

The goal for the next week is to make it a full 7 days instead of 6 with the walking and add a minimum of stair, hill or ramp climbing. I have the FitBit Ultra and it counts all elevations. I'm managed 94 floors the last week, even doing 23 flights in one day but missed making my 10 flights a day goal twice.

I know zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz...... really snoozy blog but goals are important when you are trying to get healthy even if it's just walking DOWN the stairs rather than taking the elevator. You don't have to start with anything big but you can't complete a goal if you never start one!

Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal.  ~Henry Ford

Goals are dreams with deadlines.  ~Diana Scharf Hunt

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

today's thoughts

Yes, I'm blogging again today.  I don't know if anyone reads these especially since the blogging has tapered off so much the last few months but I'm making sure this is at the top of my priority list for the 11 days then the contest will be over.

I had a wonderful lunch. When you finally adjust to making better dietary choices you can find some healthier but completely awesome meals.  I'm finding that I really prefer the changes and they don't make me feel so weighed down or tired after eating.  You should feel better after eating NOT worse.  It you feel worse then you really need to reassess your diet.

I adore a certain chicken piccata dish, it's boneless chicken breasts lightly floured, browned and then there's this yummy sauce made with olive oil, lemon juice and capers and artichoke hearts and sun dried tomatoes are added.  Normally we eat it over pasta. Last night I had mine without it but with a side of cauliflower.  It was really good but something was missing

I brought leftovers for lunch and poured it over a cooked kale. It was one of the most amazing things I have ever eaten. Puts the pasta to shame! I don't think I'll ever eat it with pasta again, even when I go back to eating pasta occasionally, whole wheat of course!

Monday, July 16, 2012


correction the walk had 281 finishers

Shout out to the participants of the Johnnycake Jog

Looked up my results today. Gets me a just little teary .

I ended up with a placement of 170 out of 275.  My official time was 50:03.8 that's 3.66mph for a 5k.  

So congrats to everyone who did the Johnnycake. It doesn't matter if we had a good walk or run time or a not so good time (there's no "bad" time in my opinion), it's absolutely wonderful that we did it. Like one of the signs said yesterday, some people were "still in BED" or didn't walk because it was hot outside or were afraid it might rain! We put ourselves out there and we decided to challenge ourselves and we should be proud!!! Especially the walkers that were over 70 years old! There were a surprising number and a lot had better times than I did. Heck there was an 80yr old guy that finished 101st!

Before this all started I needed to push a grocery cart just to walk around the store. Honestly. Even if we were just browsing or I was picking up just a couple small things I needed to push the cart because I was so tired and would get so short of breath. Actually I would push a cart around the stores sometimes just to get some exercise because I needed something to hold onto when doing it.  I can still remember the surprise on my husbands face when we went to Target one day after I started losing weight and getting more active and he pushed the cart towards me and I said "thanks, but I don't need it". Boy, did I smile. 

Every time you make the choice to be more active you are making the choice to be healthier. 

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Johnnycake Jog

I had a great time at the Johnnycake Jog walk. It was really nice to see Desirea there. I hear Mike was there too for the race but I didn't hear of or see any of our other Lighten Up gang.

My daughter-in-law Lisa came to walk with me. It was fun to see all the runners take off to start their run. It's hard to describe the excitement to be there. Desirea, Lisa and I made it to the front of the line for the walkers. It was exhilarating when everyone took off although we, the walkers, really weren't competing against anyone but ourselves. 

The morning was overcast so we didn't have the sun beating down on us and we did get some nice breezes. We tried to walk fast so I worked up a sweat so next year I think I'll wear shorts and go sleeveless. There were people along the way that watched and some gave water and some people had even put up signs of encouragement.  One sign said something like "you're doing great (or something like that), most people are still in bed" , LOL. That was my favorite!!!!

We ended up with a time of about 51 minutes. Someone blocked my view but that's what Lisa said. I'll see what our time is for sure when published. I don't think that's too bad considering my short legs AND because in a bonehead move yesterday "I just had to get in 10 miles", I can add a blister on my right toe and hip bursitis from doing too much.

I did lots of running around including taking the kids to the Luau themed open house at the Y and a baseball picnic so I ended up with 6 miles again so I'm still keeping up with my 10,000 steps a day minimum. As a reward because I've been doing so well I took a cheat day and ate close to maintenance and allowed myself fun stuff like a couple pieces of pizza, 2 small no bake cookies and a hard lemonade.

I'm back on my strict diet tomorrow and I hope to keep up my >10,000 steps a day!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

LOL. Crazy with the 00000s

Sorry, I got CrAzY with the extra zero earlier. 
I'm up to 21,628 steps for the day, less than half a mile shy of 10 miles and 15 flights of stairs so you know I have to walk a bit to exceed 10 miles. Too close to resist.

Tomorrow I may take it a bit easier, just doing the 5K and the Y with no extra walking because I'm thinking maybe I should take more care so not to burn myself out before the next 2 wks is over.


I'm going to be blogging more to help keep me on target. I'm VERY determined

I've been in third place for  5 months and I decided I'll be darned if I'll lose it now so I'm bringing it ON!!!  Today was the best day yet.  Since my neck and shoulders are acting up I can't do a whole lot but I certainly can use the lower half and boy have I stepped it up! 

By 4pm today I'd already gotten in SEVEN miles and over 153,000 steps. I managed the bulk of it by going at it 1 1/2 hours straight on the cardio machines at the Y. My legs are STILL hot!  I even managed to do some high intensity interval training. I was dripping wet by the end but felt great. Even the pain is better today. Afterwards I took the kids to the free day at Lawnfield.

My dream is to be at least 30-40 pounds lighter by the end of the year. I know it won't be easy because the longer you diet the harder it gets but I'm determined.

A dream doesn't become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work~Colin Powell

Friday, July 13, 2012


Only TWO more weeks and I'm really setting my goals high. I'm still having major pain issues but I'm VERY stubborn and have decided I'm no longer going to let the pain hold me back. Despite being in a ton of pain yesterday I made a goal of trying to get in at least 10,000 steps at least 3-5 times a week. 

I REALLY had to force myself to get started yesterday especially since it was so hot and I had pain but I started out by going for a walk at lunch. My walk included going up the Mayfield Rd hill in Little Italy. That's one steep hill!  The vibrations of the trucks and even the sounds of motorcycles made my pain worse but I kept going.  By the end of the day between walking at lunch, after work, the treadmill at the Y, the ramps in the garage and steps I managed to go 15417 steps, 23 floors, and 6.54 miles!

Today I got up I went to the Y for the early 45 minute water fitness class.  I went back later to try and get closer to my 10,000 step goal and ended exceeding it. So far I'm over 13,000 steps and close to 6 miles. Maybe I can exceed yesterday's numbers by the end of the day.

My diet is going well also!  Absolutely no slipups since my epiphany earlier in the week. 

Happy Friday the 13th!!!!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Lessons from the ----- ----

Well despite the pain I've forced myself to get my act together.  It was so tempting to binge after I went to the the doctor but I soon had a little epiphany from an unpleasant experience.

I hate taking meds but I gave in and went to my regular doctor and got prescriptions for the nerve pain, arthritis and muscle relaxants til my pain doc gets back. I found I'd gained 3 1/2 pounds and wasn't surprised but was very unhappy.  Afterwards to get my mind off "Miss Piggy" who was sitting on my shoulder trying to get me to binge, I took my grandson to a ----- ---- .

My grandmother raised me that you raise children by setting an example. Now I know from personal experience that it always doesn't work but I still follow the same philosophy for my grandchildren.   

So my lesson.....
I am deliberately leaving this vague so the persons would not be identified. I have no idea why he was singled out for cruelty but there was a child there, old enough to know better, who was harassing my grandchild calling him names, taunting him, trying to get the other kids to not play with him. The parents were there and completely ignored the situation. He did what he was taught and told when he was being bullied.  The parents ignored the situation. When it got to the point where the child was hitting him with a bucket repeatedly trying to hurt him I told it  "you do not hit him again".  Although he is a brown belt and could have retaliated he didn't (I'm glad) although I wish he would have used his blocking moves. Anyway, of course this did not go over well. There was a confrontation where mom tried to justify, "they are just being kids" and I explained ignoring repeated verbal and physical abuse is no excuse, and when that didn't work outright lied "she was only defending herself", then mom resorted to name calling when I called her on the lie.  I'm sure you know the type I was dealing with so we made the wise choice to leave.

What does this have to do with anything? I was just so livid, just so upset, it was so totally difficult to not respond by eating inappropriately. I was already having a major battle before this happened trying so hard not to resort back to bad habits. In the past I would have seen the weight gain and thought "well I gained, I'll just start back dieting tomorrow".  

Well, with each pass of a fast food restaurant I gained strength.  Of course my grandson was very upset and confused because he is very sensitive to bullying and the right and wrong way to treat people. During the course of our discussion of the experience it's like a light bulb suddenly went off over my head, like in a cartoon.  I started to relate this experience to my eating disorder.

Based on mom's reaction, I believe the situation was probably because this child was taught that it was acceptable behavior. The kid acted that way, I feel, because that was what it was used to or had observed in the home. I then realized that I have several grandchildren living with me and others who frequently come to visit and I'm also setting a bad example. Every time they see me binge eating or pigging out on Cheetos or sweets or pizza or other junk food or going to get fast food when I'm upset or in pain I'm pretty much showing them that's it's OK. It's an appropriate relationship with food (NOT). I have to show them the RIGHT way by example and hope it sticks. I had to come up with alternate ways to deal with stress and emotions rather than food.

That's what totally did it for me.  I love my grandchildren very much and didn't really realize what I could potentially be teaching them. When I went home I stayed on course.  Despite my discomfort I dealt with my frustration by doing 50 minutes on the treadmill. I later struggled through 45 minutes water exercises and then relaxed in the whirlpool at the Y.   

I've made it 2 days with my carbs under 100g and my calories under 1500. Today my diet has been really squeaky clean and I signed up to do the Johnnycake Jog Walk on Sunday. I'm getting pretty uncomfortable now but I'm going to take some medication and see if the kids want to take a walk in a bit rather than eat any of those chocolate chip peanut butter bars!

 "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."~ Winston Churchill

Sunday, July 8, 2012


Finally got back on track today, baby steps but it's positive progress.  The scale has been moving the wrong way with all the inactivity and getting all depressed because of the pain and craving carbs as comfort food.  I did learn something valuable through this though. I've found that although I'm less likely to go off on a binge if I don't totally deprive myself, the more I eat starchy carbs the harder it is to resist them.

My sister Sherry called today and noticed that I hadn't blogged and gave me a much needed pep talk.  Even got a little support from our ancient dog Sammy.  He's almost 16yrs old, blind and deaf from a brain tumor. He doesn't move much but after I got off the phone with Sherry he made the effort to come over to lick me like he was saying he agreed with what she was saying!  Seeing my "fat" picture posted in the paper also helped because I really want to look good for that ending photo in just 3 weeks! 

I'm still having a lot of pain but the TENS unit has taken off the edge a little bit. I went to the park to watch my grandchildren's fishing and then we went for a 1 mile hike in the woods.  Later finally got the motivation to make it to the Y and did 40 minutes of cardio. My speed, effort and time was much less than I have been doing but that's OK.  At least I got off the couch or out of bed. I may have to make it to my regular doctor tomorrow for pain medication. I hate pills but I have to be able to function until I can get some treatments done when my pain doc comes back into the country.

I made it through the day keeping the carbs and calories down too.  Not my strict menu but no "bad" food or starchy carbs.  For me the first full day after a slide is always the hardest.

I've been stumbling but I will overcome!

"Obstacles don't have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don't turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it." Michael Jordan 

Tuesday, July 3, 2012


Well I'm off to a slow start this month and not getting any exercise for over a week now. I had a bit of a fender bender about 10 days ago and gave myself a bit of whiplash.  It has really aggravated my cervical disc problems and is also causing massive headaches.  I spent most of the last 4 days on the couch or in bed and eating reaaaally bad food and wallowing in misery. I did try a little bit of strength training on Sunday but I was struggling to lift even 5 pounds and ended up back home propped on pillows. How can I lift anything when even my head feels too heavy for my neck?  Pain shooting down my arm on the "good" side...not good. I even skipped my Monday Zumba which is the only time I have skipped unless I was out of town.  

Being inactive has then resulted in my low back problems flaring up too.  To top things off my pain management doc is on a month long vacation and with me having complex issues, I don't really feel comfortable seeing anyone else.  Really cranking it up at the gym this last 4 weeks as I had planned isn't looking all that possible right now.

So this is ending up being a big test for me.  I have to be able to put on the breaks on the binge and emotional eating when I have a crisis.  I'm trying to change my life.  If I fall back into the same vicious circles that got me fat in the past then I will be a big loser NOT in a good way.  

Blogging works for me, helps me think things through.  I started writing totally depressed and now I'm thinking this is actually good timing.   My spine issues aren't going to go away. This happening now rather than later I think is a GOOD thing.  I will be able to get through this because I have the contest hanging over my head and I'm certainly not going to make it through 40 pounds of weight loss so far to have everyone see me blow it at the end!!

I'd say wish me luck but I don't think I'm going to need it now. You can pray for the pain to get better if you want.

"Pain is temporary. Quitting lasts forever." ― Lance ArmstrongEvery Second Counts