I’ve always struggled with weight loss. I’ve got arthritis in my hips and I have to use a cane to walk. Earlier this year, my doctor told me that my A1C level was at a 6.4, and explained that meant I was pre-diabetic. My daughter, Abigail, and my husband, Rick, are both disabled. I knew I needed to lose weight and I needed a lifestyle change, for myself and for my family. Rick and I just celebrated our 20-year anniversary. It was time for me to start. 

I read about the Thrive Challenge in the break room at work. 

I saw the Thrive Challenge book and started reading through the stories. People were losing just 10 or 15 pounds and even that was making a difference for them. I knew I needed to lose around 100 pounds, but I needed to start somewhere, and I thought, “I can try this.”

I started tracking my calories and cutting out junk food.

I use the MyPlate app to keep track of what I eat each day, and I try to stay around 1900 calories now. We also started eating out less and cooking more at home. We make chicken tetrazzini a lot. I used to eat a lot of fast food, but I’ve been cutting down. I used to just get up from a meal and have ten Oreos with a glass of milk. Now, I still have my Oreos, but I’m having two or three. I also used to eat a lot of ice cream. Now, I’ll have a banana! 

My family is what keeps me motivated to keep going. 

My husband has been so encouraging, and I think Abigail notices a change too. She’s non-verbal, but I can tell she’s excited. We’ve also been able to save money by not eating out as much. Abigail is in a wheelchair, so we can’t eat out all the time anyway. But now, we’ve been doing more cooking at home. We’ve created a savings account for our family. I’d love to save up enough for us to take a vacation. 

One of my coworkers, Eman Bickley, won the Thrive Challenge, and we encourage each other.

It’s helpful to talk to her about it. Everybody at work has noticed that I’ve lost some weight and they’re encouraging me also. They want to know how much I’ve lost and how I did it. They’ll bring snacks and cookies to work and they’ll ask me, “Do you want any?” And I actually refuse them. And they say, “Well, I just wanted to offer, even though I knew you were going to say no.”

I have more energy now, and I’m healthier and more mobile. 

I can’t exercise because of my hip, but I’ve gotten to the point now where I can sometimes walk without my cane because I have more energy and mobility. Plus, my health has gotten better. I’ve lost 35 pounds so far. And since starting the Thrive Challenge in April, my A1C level has come down to 5.5. That’s a good number. One doctor even gave me a high five!

Marlene Morris, Distribution Center #6014, Laurens, SC; $5K Winner