eat, move, think, feel

What I Can, When I Can April 3, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — Susan @ 11:30 pm
Tags: , , , , , , ,

One of the things that I appreciate about continuing to serve as a Weight Watchers leader, is the ongoing conversation that happens with my members each week. Each week, we revisit one aspect of healthy living and get the opportunity to focus on that one small thing. And as I prepare for my meeting, and then reflect on it afterward, I get to ask myself if I’m doing what I can in that little area.

This week, the theme of the week was about making time to move. Specifically, the importance of PLANNING to move, and to know when, how, where and with whom we were going to do it next. On the flip chart, there was a range of options from “I always plan my workouts,” to “Activity? What’s that?” and in between there were some in-between responses. I realized that I have been pretty in-between. I always have these good intentions, but I don’t have a regular schedule for working out these days. Sometimes a friend will spontaneously call me up and we’ll go for a little run. Or I’ll show up at my old gym for a group training. But these things are not hardwired onto my calendar. They’re not my routine, so often they just don’t happen.

This happened once last month, and it was great. But ... once.

This happened once last month, and it was great. But … once.

After this week’s meeting, I looked at the blank spots in my Weekly (our little mini magazine handout) and answered those questions. I did the homework that I’d passed out. I knew that I was going to have to do something easy and accessible. I also remembered that that night, Nashville was returning after a hiatus. I told myself, OK, tomorrow, you have a date on the elliptical with the latest episode! It was that easy. I made a plan.

Next morning, I hopped on the machine all ready. I had a great 50-minute workout because there was no way I was going to stop or step down before those closing credits rolled. It was a great one.

Thanks @nashvilleabc for keeping me glued to the elliptical today! #wycwyc

A photo posted by Susan Ito (@thesusanito) on

It didn’t take much. But it did take making a plan. These little things, they make all the difference.

Which reminded me of my friends’ Carla & Roni’s new book that’s coming out SOON: #wycwyc, or What You Can, When You Can. It’s such a beautiful, simple, supportive concept. Can’t go to the gym? Can’t train for a triathlon right now? Well, you CAN hop on that machine in your garage and get some sweat happening while you soak in some tele-drama. YES.

Here’s the trailer for their book. I love the idea of passing the #wycwyc baton, one to another. Check it out on Twitter and Instagram. Let us all know the next time you make a healthy choice, what you can and when you can. Wick-wick!!


Big Blue Test: IT WORKS. October 25, 2012


I’ll never forget the first time I did the Big Blue Test. It involves taking one’s blood glucose, then exercising for 14+ minutes, then taking it again. Simple. I first did it the first year I was diagnosed with diabetes. I had never done this particular before-and-after test before, and I remember my blood glucose going down a LOT after exercising. It was such an eye opener and it was THE thing that helped me make the direct connection between activity and health. MY health.

Last year I was fortunate enough to participate in the Big Blue Test video promoting exercise for people with diabetes. It was so much fun, such and honor, and to this day I do not fail to get goosebumps when I hear that song.  This year’s video is pretty darn cool, too!

The deal is that every day between now and November 14 (World Diabetes Day) – you can take the test at the Big Blue Test site. You don’t have to have diabetes in order to help people with diabetes! Each test done will mean a donation toward much needed supplies for people with diabetes.

This morning I put on my BBT T-shirt. I tested, then got on the elliptical in my garage for 22 minutes, then tested again. The drop isn’t as huge as it was the first year, BUT that’s because I ate an apple with peanut butter less than an hour beforehand and I can tell you that without the exercise, it would have been a lot, LOT higher.   So YEAH exercise, and YEAH Big Blue Test.

Please join me!!

on the elliptical





Resistance September 8, 2011

Resist by Stefano Pizzetti
Resist, a photo by Stefano Pizzetti on Flickr.

This triathlon training is teaching me so much about myself. Recently I’ve been learning about resistance. Yesterday was supposed to be a swim day. I was sort of planning to sandwich the swim in between work and this dinner party I really wanted to go to. But I got out of work late. I was tired (what else is new?). It was Juniorette’s first day back at crew practice and I knew she would really appreciate a good hearty dinner when she came home. So after work I went grocery shopping, went home and made chili and cornbread (one of her favorites). By that time it was after 7pm. Lily had just texted me saying she was sick and couldn’t make the workout.

Part of me was so, so, so tempted to just say “Oh, nevermind!” and just skip the workout and go straight to the party. Wouldn’t that have been nice? No. I would have felt maybe like I’d gotten away with something. But I would have also felt bad about myself.

I decided to go to the pool and do my workout. Again, I thought that 1) since Lily wasn’t there to push me, and 2) nobody was looking and 3) I wanted to get that party, I would do the shorter Sprint/Developing workout instead of the longer more challenging Fitness level workout. I studied them both pretty hard. The S/D was 1200 yards total, and the Fitness was 2300.

I was in a cranky mood already because I’d of the aforementioned long day, the lack of swim partner, missing the party and LOSING the 4th set of goggles I’ve had since the season began. Jeebus. What is wrong with me? I lose goggles like I lose hairs out of my head. I went to the gym’s front desk and bought the best pair of goggles they have, which are sufficient for keeping out water but also keep me blind as a bat. I need the goggles with the lens correction in them, or I’m hopeless.

I did find a pair of silicon earplugs in my purse, and decided to try them for the first time. This turned out to be a good thing. I liked that kind of insulated feeling, AND of course they did the trick of keeping water out of my ears. Recently I’ve been getting a lot of water in my ears and it HURTS. And is irritating.

Anyway, I got going and after the 12 lengths of warmup I pretty much decided I was going to go for the Fitness workout. I talked to myself underwater. I mean, who was I cheating if I skipped a workout or did the easy short one? ME. And what is my goal here exactly? My goal is to enjoy this triathlon if possible (of whatever length), to not drown or suffer too much during the swim portion of it. (or any portion) So in order to meet that goal it behooves me to do the best I can. As I say to my PT clients every day, “Give it your Safe Maximal Effort.” (ie do the best you possibly can without hurting yourself)

I did the Fitness workout. It took a little over an hour. I took the 10 second rests where dictated. But toward the end there was a 500 yard set, ie 20 lengths without stopping. I didn’t churn it out, but I kept it steady. I wasn’t going at a snail pace. I remember doing a 400 a few weeks ago that almost made me pass out. I do think I am getting stronger. Later I discovered that a mile is 1750 yards. So I did MORE than a mile, albeit with some rests. It felt just fine.

I went home, made some nice Pillsbury chocolate chip cookies (throw in pan, dry hair while they bake, then GO) and went to the party. It was more of a meeting than a party, of very fine Solo Performance minds, and people were taking notes and talking a mile a minute about the recent NY Fringe Festival. It was very stimulating and I was glad I’d gone.

Fast forward to today. Another long day at work. Went out to do hill repeats after 8:45. I was in a terrible, horrible mood! Feeling resistant again! Realizing how very hard it is to do these workouts when I already feel spent from working all day. Especially the days that end at 8:00pm. But I went out there, and I pushed myself up the hill 7x (Developing level tonight!) and done.

All I can say is, if I did not have this training to be accountable to, there is NO WAY IN THE UNIVERSE I would be doing these workouts. No way. So I am so thankful to this training for getting me out there, even when I realllllllllllllly don’t feel like it.


Who Wants a DirectLife monitor? November 26, 2010

These people do! The entries for the DirectLife activity monitor giveaway have begun to roll in, and I will be posting/linking to them here. So excited!

I would love to have a DirectLife monitor because it sounds like a tool that truly would help me get healthy. This year I had a wake up call. I was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. Number one thing I need to do is manage the diabetes by diet and exercise. I have lost 35 pounds since June. But I still have a long ways to go. You may ask what makes me think I will be successful this time. Well in August my son, who is 11, was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. Along with this he also has epilepsy, tourette syndrome, and learning disabilties. So my wake up call is I need to be on this earth as long as I can so that I can assist him into adulthood. I am 52 years old, and I have to make a change. My son needs me. So, please consider me for a DirectLife monitor —Cindy

  • Emily sent me an email entry, and I’m posting it here.

I was in my best physical shape during high school (last century), and one reason is because I was on sports teams where I had a coach who motivated me daily, whether it was through threats of extra laps in the pool, or encouraging me through charting the progress of my race times.  After going to college, I thought I could be my own coach.  But the older I get, the more realistic I am, and realize things are much harder on my own, whereas with others, even the seemingly impossible is doable (like cleaning my garage, or getting through graduate school).

I’m thankful for the community and the coaching I already receive from my WW group and leader (Susan/Foodie!), as it’s helped me commit to sticking to the road to health no matter how long and winding that road is.  What with all the detours I’ve taken already, I know one thing that will help me stay on course all the more is the DirectLife Activity Monitor.  As a graduate student, I’m on a limited (translation: non-existent) budget, and so visiting a personal trainer at a gym isn’t something I can even consider.  I’ve experienced some success with a pedometer in the past, but what really excites me is that I can wear this while swimming (!!!).  Also, a year’s worth of coaching is something I sorely need, because there’s no fudging here and there, since someone else is looking at my numbers and holding me accountable in a way I know I can’t trust myself to do!  With the Activity Monitor, I hope to work towards my goals, starting with running a mile without stopping, and working towards completing a women’s triathlon before I’m 35.

Lastly, in what may come across as an attempt at shameless flattery, but doesn’t make it less true, if Susan uses a DirectLife Activity Monitor, loves it and recommends it, then I want to try it too!  Seriously, I’ve been inspired by her commitment to health, and come away from every WW meeting and blog entry challenged and excited to continue on this road, and the activity monitor is something I wanted to try, but due to my aforementioned budget (or lack thereof!), I I know I can’t on my own.  So, when I read about the giveaway, I promptly crossed my fingers and thought, “This is my chance!”

Colleen wrote in an email:

1-I’m a fitness instructor.  It would be so cool to wear it and report on my progress to the members I teach at the YMCA here in Eugene, OR.

2-I “removed” 70lbs using WW and now have come back to the program after being gone for 1.5 yrs.  I have tried various ways to track my food and activity, but when you teach aerobics and Pilates for a living, it is really hard to calculate what is your daily “job” activity points vs. what is your actual above and beyond activity points.  By that I mean, on some days I teach and am more energetic or sub for another teacher.  On those days I think I burn more calories.  On other days, I teach but don’t sub for anyone, so is it really a workout since it’s my job?  Should I be burning more calories doing something in addition to teaching?  The body is smart and I think it knows what it’s doing.  I always have trouble tracking activity points, therefore deciding whether I should eat them.  By working out a baseline with the monitor, I would be able to set some goals to increase or change my activity.

3-Health and wellness are my passion.  I am always spending money on shoes, trainings (which run from $100-$500), clothes, books, etc.  It would be awesome to get something for free that I would use to better my personal  health, but that I could share with others (well not let them borrow it or anything!) but talk about it, let them see how it works, etc.  It is such a great price point compared to the bodybugg that I think people could and would purchase one if they knew what it could do for them.

4-If I don’t win, I’ll still luv ya on twitter! J  Thanks for keeping us updated on Twitter about the new plan.  Your enthusiasm is contagious! — Colleen


Wow. These are all so compelling! I am not sure how I am going to choose.


Runner’s HIGH! June 29, 2010

Roadwork girls

Originally uploaded by B℮n

I had the best run ever today. And I mean maybe the best run I’ve ever had in my life. I can’t remember another time when running has felt so absolutely effortless, pain-free (YES!) and joyful. I just set out intending to walk, but then Earth Wind & FIre “Fantasy” came on and that got me GOING. And instead of my usual little old-lady run, (very short strides, more like a fast shuffle) I just WENT with it, and I was like, FLYING, uphill! It felt so so so good. Then I walked a bit. Then another song came on and again I just pumped it out.

Partially it just felt great to do that. It was a cool, beautiful morning in the woods. Partially I was rehearsing for the Weight Watchers 5k walk I am going to be leading this Friday (SO excited about this!). I was thinking about telling the members about stride length and pace, and remembering all I’d learned from my racewalking coach with Team in Training.

But all of a sudden I thought, what if I just ran… like a gazelle? (OK, don’t laugh) Instead of like the little old lady I’d started to think of myself as being, since my ankle got injured again. And my body just took off. It took off and I was like, WOO HOOOOOOOOO look at this!

I was also trying to show my Phillips Directlife monitor a thing or two. According to it, I’m not running even when I think I’m running. So today I was like, “I’m RUNNING, dammit!” I wanted to know exactly what I need to do for the stupid thing to actually register as “you are running.” As it turns out, it takes this “running like a gazelle” thing as opposed to the little old lady shuffle. Figures.

Anyway, I feel a renewed happiness about running. I hope I can run like this again because it felt so awesome. But to just have experienced it this one time was amazing. Now I’m even more excited for the 10k Trail Run/Hike I signed up for in September. Who wants to join me? Brunch at my house afterward because it is just 3 blocks away!

(note: that is not me in the photograph, but it looks a lot like my woods and it is how I FELT)


A Hand Up May 27, 2010

So my little downward spiral continued to have its way with me until I landed with a huge THUNK this morning and ended up sobbing my brains out in my car. I guess you could call that a pretty “rock bottom” point. I really felt unbelievably hopeless, helpless and also shocked that I had gotten into this state, so quickly.

This was set off in part by my taking my blood glucose this morning and finding it HIGHER than it has been since I was even diagnosed. This stunned me. Then I went to the lab to get my blood drawn for my appointment this week. I was mortified. Here my endocrinologist came to my SHOW last week, and I’ll all woo-hoo-look-at-me!! Poster Star Diabetic Patient!! OMG how BOGUS can I be?!?!?

I sent off a flurry of desperate texts to a friend who sent me a ton of support which I could only partially receive given the pit of self-loathing sludge I was drowning in. But I did hear a little bit of it and of course the one thing I heard was, “If this was me you would not be beating me up,” or something along those lines. It was so true.

I made my way to my trainer’s gym. He asked me how I was when I walked in the door. I burst into tears. We spent the entire session stretching out my incredibly tense and misaligned body. Which was necessary. He was also extremely kind to me. Which didn’t hurt either. After I finished there, I felt like I reallllllllly needed to sweat, so I went up to the gym and killed the AMT machine (elliptical-thingie) on level TWENTY (the highest) for 30 minutes. The sweat felt good, really good.

Briefly ran into my spouse. Who had read my blog post from yesterday and offered to 1) support me in going to bed earlier so I am not so freaking EXHAUSTED and 2) take a walk with me early in the morning.  Now that’s what I call spousal support.

Went to work. Brought my new ball which is going to function as my new chair. We’ll see how this goes. Allegedly sitting on a ball is a hundred times better than a chair, and burns a lot more calories. My DirectLife was not WILDLY impressed, but I do think the little green spikes were higher than my chair-sitting hours.

Went to Weight Watchers. I sort of slunk in there, feeling like, WHO THE HECK ARE YOU to be doing this, when you are so completely messed up?!? Well. I’ll tell ya.

A member came in. She had gained (less than me). She burst into tears. Then she told me about the VERY BIG THINGS she has been dealing with lately. I said to her, “If this was one of your dearest friends in this same situation, would you be beating them up and berating them?” (Hmm, sound familiar?) I gave her some Kleenex. I almost started crying myself. It was the biggest mirror ever. In fact, it turned me right around. When she left later on, I felt like she was going to go home and be nicer to herself.

After the meeting, I met with another good friend.  She asked me how I was doing. Amazingly, I did NOT start sobbing my face off. I told her. She listened. It was so good. She told me some stuff back. We pledged to support each other. Once again, honesty (especially in the hardest times) rules.

I am so very very fortunate for my friends and community. The church I (occasionally) go to has a prayer that says “we are weaving a tapestry of love we call community” and that is how I feel about the people who are surrounding me and holding me up on this journey.  Thank you.


Gadget Love May 22, 2010

Y’all know I am somewhat of a gadget freak. I’ve tried to swear off buying any new ones but when Phillips DirectLife contacted me and offered to let me test-run their activity monitor, who was I to resist?

And now I am pretty much in love with this little thingie and all it comes with. Once my four month trial dries up I might just have to continue the relationship on my own.

Before, I had a Bodybugg because I got all intrigued by that after watching the Biggest Loser contestants wearing it. And I liked it pretty much. But I never ended up getting the individual support they promised because they do it by phone. The “coach” and I played phone tag like 4 times but I am very hard to reach on the phone.  So after all the phone tag I gave up. Also, you wear the BB on your arm and it always felt like a blood pressure cuff to me. (bad connotations) It got sweaty a lot. It wasn’t a big deal, but it wasn’t the most comfortable thing ever. Also, I felt like it almost gave TOO much information. So. After a while I sort of abandoned it.

Enter the DirectLife! I like it because it’s simple. It’s a little plastic white box smaller than a matchbox. It’s very light. It’s WATERPROOF! (I took it in the pool today!) You also have three choices of how to wear it: around your neck on a light cord, in your pocket, or hooked onto your bra or other piece of clothing. So it’s very versatile. I like wearing mine around my neck if I don’t have a pocket.

How does it work? It measures your micro-body movements so it calculates if you are walking, running, whatever. MOVING. Which is basically the point of activity. It probably does not have the same physiological precision of the Bodybugg, but actually, I do not care. My husband pointed out that you could “cheat” it by just holding it in your hand and bouncing it up and down, but dude, that is just cheating yourself. It’s like doing the Wii Fit from the couch. Yeah, you COULD, but do you really want to do that??

So I love the simplicity, the ease of wearing it. When you take it off, you plug into a little USB device on the computer. This turned out to be 100% easier than BB too, which was always having glitches and technical difficulties and causing me to re-install the software every five minutes (can you say ANNOYING?). So I love it. It goes right to the site and tells you your activity output by the day. You see the hills and peaks from the most active times. Then you can see the details from each hour, which is addictively fascinating to me. (WOW that’s when I took a walk at lunch! That’s when Shannon and I climbed up Lombard Street! That’s when I… ohhhhh. SAT AT MY DESK motionless for four hours.) It’s GOOD. And yeah, another great accountability tool.

But I didn’t even get to the best part yet. The best part is the fabulous, awesome, mindblowing coaching!!!!! I was assigned a coach named Jen. I was assuming that either I’d never hear from “Jen,” or that she would send me some one-sentence sound bites like, “Good moving today, Foodie!” But NO. I got an email asking about my goals and if I had questions. I sent her an email back. She looked at my activity for last Sunday. She noted that I was rather inactive between 2-5 and 6-8.

I said, “Welllllllll, I was taking a nap at 2, and then a shower (didn’t realize it was waterproof!) and then my show, I didn’t have a pocket and didn’t want the necklace on, but darn I was VERY active!” So she clued me into the waterproof and clip-on-bra thing. (um, in my case, clip-on-Spanx) She read my blog. She had such thoughtful things to say about my return to more than full time work, my fitness frustrations, my schedule, EVERYTHING.

She has emailed me EVERY DAY THIS WEEK. And they’re not just stock emails. They’re totally personalized, thorough, and all about me me me and MY situation. It has been so amazingly, astonishingly supportive and helpful. She’s also sent me some awesome PDF articles about various things we’ve discussed, New York times article about the hazards of sitting, etc. Just SO HELPFUL.

So I am over the moon about my little gadget and about the amazing support I’ve received from DirectLife’s coach Jen. They are a lot simpler than Bodybugg but in my mind that is a good thing, a very good thing.



Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 5,236 other followers