I’m a pharmacy technician and since the start of COVID, we’ve been short staffed and stretched to the max. I felt tired and wasn’t taking care of myself. My mom used to tell me breakfast is the most important meal of the day. But I would just drink coffee in the morning, then snack on a candy bar in the afternoon. At night I ate fast food: burgers or fried chicken. Adding to the stress, my daughter lost her restaurant job and I needed to help her financially. 

“I knew if I didn’t get healthy I would end up with serious medical problems.”

I live with my mother — who’s diabetic, has high blood pressure, and is on a lot of medications — and my brother, who’s also diabetic. I didn’t want to end up like that. I’m 56 and weighed 184 pounds; I said: “Marguerite, you’ve got to make a change.” I want to be around for my family.  

“I started the Challenge to set a good example to my grandsons.” 

My 8-year-old grandson is a little on the heavy side. Kids at school were making fun of him. I told him: “We can’t eat junk food anymore.” He understands, and now when he comes to see me, we eat healthy snacks like apples and strawberries.

“I’ve lost 14 pounds and I feel great.” 

I plan meals a week ahead. I have a protein shake for breakfast and instead of fried food I make baked fish and casseroles. By not eating out I’m saving $100 a month. I’m walking a mile a day and exercising on my stationary bike. I make sure I park as far away from my workplace as possible to get more steps in. I have more energy, and instead of sleeping four hours a night I’m sleeping seven hours.

“I used to say, ‘I hate the way I look,’ but now I’m more confident.”

I would wear clothes that were too big to cover up my shape. But now I don’t cover myself up. And I want to support others on their journey to feeling better, too. I’ve inspired my co-workers to get healthy. We ask each other what we’re having for lunch. We are there to lift each other up, saying things like: “This is going to be a good day.” I tell people: no matter where you are right now, it’s not where you’re going to stay. Don’t look back, keep looking forward. You can do it.

“I’d like to get back out into the dating world.”

It’s been a long time since I’ve been on a date. My mom was saying: “It’d be nice if Ri (her name for me) found somebody to eat lunch with.” Now I feel better about myself, I think it would be great to have someone to do things and share things with.

Through the Thrive Challenge, our community is making Better Choices, seeing big results, and winning big.

Stories from past winners, such as Marguerite Gadison, prove that every individual has the power to transform their life every day through a combination of small, sustainable changes and peer-to-peer inspiration.