Back in 2019 I had surgery, and afterward, I decided I had to make some changes in my life. I started a diet and lost around 30 pounds. I was on and off with the Challenge. Then, COVID-19 hit — and I gained 15 of those pounds back. I felt like I was stuck doing the same thing day in and day out. I had no energy. I saw Challenge pamphlets in the break room and I figured, why not try it again? It’s simple, it’s easy — and it would give me the accountability I needed each day. 

My husband and I just purchased our retirement home.

My husband is planning to retire in 2022 and we’re hoping to settle down here. With the new house has come debt we need to pay off. So, along with the Challenge, I’m doing a 52-week savings challenge. Each week, I aim to save a different amount; I’ll take $20 or $30 out of each paycheck and put it in an envelope. Once I fill each envelope, I write down the amount inside it and stash it away in a folder. By the end of December, I’m hoping I’ll save $5,000. I’m already at $1,000. My main tip for saving: Buy food in bulk and measure portions out for meals. 

I’ll measure out a variety of fruits and veggies for my lunches.

It’s like I’m making an adult version of a Lunchable! I bring water and make sure I get protein in there too. I like to drink Happy Co. shakes and sometimes I’ll make wraps with lunch meat and cheese, instead of using bread. Though I’m not on a strict diet, I watch what I eat and make sure I’m not eating too much. Now that I’m giving my body what it needs, I have more energy and don’t feel as stressed or fatigued. I’m not overly exhausted at work. Recently, I had to decorate 35 cakes in three days. I was tired afterward — but not as tired as I would have been if I hadn’t been doing the Challenge.

COVID was a reminder of how important it is to spend time with family.

My husband and I are spending time together, going fishing down at the dock, going out to dinner, and watching movies at home. My sister-in-law comes for visits and we all make sure to stay close. I’m trying to stay more focused on the positive stuff and the fact that I have more energy to spend time with my loved ones.

Being a cake decorator, sometimes I have to deal with an unhappy customer.

I don’t let it get to me, and I remind myself that you never know what someone else is going through. I walk it off, breathe through it. It’s my choice to choose happiness even in those moments. I let go of the negative and focus on the positive. 

I take things one day at a time and keep going.

When I see each envelope sealed at the end of the month, I’m reminded that I can do this! I don’t need to spend that $5 on a coffee or eat that candy bar. I’m proud that I’ve changed my diet and my attitude. I still have doubts in the back of my head sometimes, but there’s no going back. The only way to go forward is to get back up and keep walking. 

Pam Jordan, Supercenter #0556; Waycross, GA; $5K Winner

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