Suzy and her husband were poised for a year of traveling Europe and Africa in 2020. They had donated all their things, sold their cars and gave up their apartment before heading to Morocco to begin their year-long journey to Northern Africa and Europe. Only 6 weeks into their trip, COVID-19 started to take hold and they realized things would need to change, but they didn’t imagine how quickly or how drastically.
The couple was almost trapped in Spain since flights to the US had already stopped (except for US citizens – translation, flights were being cancelled as soon as they were booked) when they got to Madrid. They had to think fast. They managed to get a flight to the UK just in time to catch one of the last flights back to the US before almost all air traffic stopped in March.
“It was crazy coming back to the Houston area not having a place to live in the middle of the pandemic. And we couldn’t stay with family or friends because we didn’t know if we were carriers. Thankfully former neighbors offered us their home since they were gone for a while. We were able to quarantine there until we could get our own. It was a bit like living Survivor and The Amazing Race all in one. We were just one step ahead of this “avalanche!”
When Suzy isn’t traveling or in a GetSetUp class, she volunteers at a local community center teaching computer skills. It's kind of funny that she teaches on PCs but uses a Mac at home. She also is helping a young family who just lost everything in a home fire and with the help of many friends and associates, they have managed to completely furnish their new home, provide money, clothing and food and all this in less than a week since the fire.
“It’s good to have good friends who are willing to help!”
Suzy and her husband have always been avid travelers. Suzy retired from working in the corporate world, where she traveled almost weekly.
“I think I’ve flown more than some flight attendants. When you eat out on business every week your weight balloons. No matter how good you are trying to be, you are going to gain weight because restaurants use a lot of salt, sugar, and fat. No matter what I did I couldn’t lose weight. I probably put on more weight than I should have but I never had a weight problem until I hit a certain age. And every time we go on a vacation of course we eat and drink. Then I feel guilty I put on weight. In the pandemic I thought maybe this is a time we focus on our health, eating right, and exercise.”
So Suzy and her husband started to add more veggies to their diet, and really focus on staying healthy. Something is working as she has lost 25 pounds since the pandemic started. Considering her success, she wanted to share that with others. That’s why she is leading the Ambassador Led Discussion Interest Group: Stay Fit & Trim and Lose Weight.
“I discovered GetSetUp through our church when the pandemic hit. I didn’t know about Zoom before that. Our church had a Zoom class and it was Wade who taught it. He talked about GetSetUp, so a few weeks after I checked it out. GetSetUp has a lot of good stuff on a variety of topics. Anyone can go on and find something that appeals to them!”
Suzy started by taking lots of tech classes with Wade and some of Scott’s photography classes. She then branched out and really enjoyed Donna’s classes on travel and museum tours and Deb’s cooking classes.
“I like being a life learner. I’m always curious and learning something new is always a good thing. Plus the instructors are marvelous. Even the people attending the classes you learn from them too! People are sharing ideas and stories. It’s a good way to share and learn.”
Suzy first sparked her interest in health after watching Code Blue and Forks Over Knives. Much to Suzy’s surprise, her doctor had recommended cholesterol meds prior to their trip. She took the meds and a 3-month follow-up showed that this low dose decreased her cholesterol but still, Suzy wasn’t thrilled to be on meds. So when the pandemic hit, this was Suzy’s opportunity to focus on her health journey specifically targeting food intake and exercise. Not only did her cholesterol drop substantially (239 to 124 and off the meds), but she also had to buy all new clothing to fit her smaller size. Knowing that many people share the same concerns, Suzy wanted to share her insights with the GetSetUp community.
“It’s amazing what my health journey has done. My energy levels are back to where they had always been in the past. So I wanted to give back through the GetSetUp Ambassador program. It’s right up my alley to talk about my journey.”
At Suzy's first Ambassador Led Interest group: Stay Fit & Trim and Lose Weight 28 people signed up. The group talked about the components of weight loss in the first session. In the next session, they plan to focus a bit more on SMART goals and motivation.
“Motivation was part of my problem for a long time. I just didn’t have the mindset to do it. I didn’t want to give up wine, either.”
Suzy started to read a lot and used Cronometer to track her calories, vitamins, and minerals. She also booked appointments with a nutritionist and really got into the nitty-gritty of her diet and food sensitivities.
“One of the things she told me was that if you have food sensitivities and you eat those foods without realizing you have a sensitivity to it, it creates inflammation which can prevent you from losing weight and mess up your gut. The gut is also where she says most disease starts. Turns out I have several food sensitivities including grapes.”
Suzy and her husband haven’t gone completely vegetarian. Instead, they are focusing on including more vegetables in their diet and eating healthier. In some cases that is plant-based and in others that’s changing from ground beef to ground turkey or a combo with chopped mushrooms.
Suzy is striving to make the Stay Fit & Trim and Lose Weight a proactive group, not a reactive one. Each week participants have a challenge to keep up for the next session. Challenges may include drinking the recommended amount of water a day (as it is from the first session) or working toward a SMART goal.
The idea is to have each class offer a challenge and a reflective focus. It takes lots of tiny steps to achieve our overall goals so each week we should strive to make at least one positive change towards our goals. And, hopefully everyone will enjoy their personal health journey as they move towards their goal.
“I tried other classes and I like GetSetUp best because they have many classes and a large variety of topics. GetSetUp instructors are superb which makes these classes a great experience. For instance, Wade teaches technology classes where everyone can understand it and, at the same time, keep the interest of those who are at a higher level.”
Suzy especially enjoys Deb’s cooking classes, her recipes and her recipe swap. In one of these sessions, she even learned that both she and Deb actually have a former colleague in common! Sharing about GetSetUp and sharing with the community is part of the fun!
“When I talk to people about GetSetUp I ask, ‘Do you like to continue to learn things?’ Most people say yes. So I explain that GetSetUp is a great way to learn things and meet new people. Lots of people are single, some have lost spouses, and are maybe lonely. This is a great way to meet people. You see some of the same people in classes and the same instructors, so you naturally develop a relationship over Zoom.”
Do you want to meet other engaged learners? Join in a great interest group like Suzy’s that sparks passion!
We’ve been confined to our homes and the average person is putting on the "COVID 19" (or more) pounds. We could lose weight during the remainder of this pandemic. Join us for a community-led discussion group to share ideas about losing weight. (Led by Suzy R.)
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