Wellness Success Stories

happy group of business people jumping - isolated over a white background

Share your story – it just might change someone’s life!

With your approval, we would like to share your story through our website to encourage and motivate others.

 Success stories may include, but are not limited to:

  • Significant lifestyle improvements (participation in sports events, meeting nutritional goals, managing stress better…).
  • Personal health improvements (weight loss successes, lowered blood pressure, quit smoking, ….).
  • Positive experience from participation in Wellness Initiative events and programs

Share your story here! If you would like to add a photo to go with your success story, email it to wellness@syr.edu.

Success Stories SU faculty and staff have shared:

I began my journey with being more active during the Smart Fuel Challenge with the Syracuse University Wellness Initiative Program. That was the kick start of my journey. I made better lifestyle changes and I walked everyday at least a mile (at work or at home- weekends). I would take the stairs instead of the elevator and I would drink more water than coffee. Drinking more water made me less hungry which would help me not eat the junk food at my desk. I am happy to say with a huge smile that I have lost more than 13 pounds and I am continuing to make better food and exercise choices.

-Alyssa Eighmey

I am so grateful for incentives like the 10-Minute Challenge, they truly helped encourage me to eat healthier this past few weeks. I feel so great after walking on my lunch hour every day. Just knowing that a healthier lifestyle is supported by my employer makes eating right and exercising less stressful.

With so many distractions filling already busy lives with elections, holidays, changing seasons, etc., the needle for changing my less than healthy habits into better ones moves into the extreme zone this time of year. I know it should be done. I know it could be done, but the how? Enter the 10 Minute challenge, right smack dab in the middle of it all.

This little exercise of filling in a log for 2 weeks, taking a few minutes to read some new tips and ideas, and the charge of the expectation of receiving the prize at the finish, worked for me. I was a fun way to focus on my goal of better choices. Maybe I can’t rearrange my schedule to get to the gym right now, but I can take small incremental steps towards healthier habits 10 minutes at a time!

Thank you for the invitation to participate. I will take this reminder with me now that the challenge is officially over, to continue to make healthy choices even if only for a few minutes at a time.


I’ve been going to Weight Watchers (WW) for five years. Although I have several good daily habits, I enjoy challenges like the 10-Minute Challenge because it helps me refocus and think about wellness from a different perspective. Lots of small healthy habits can add up to one healthy lifestyle.

During the Challenge, I was committed to tracking my food on the WW app. I also wear an Up24 fitness band, and was committed to tracking my workouts. The fitness app syncs with the WW app – even a 10-minute walk earns me two WW activity points. My weekly goal is 40 – during Week One, I earned 75 fitness points and during Week Two, I earned 73. Since March, I’ve tried several new exercise classes, and continue to participate weekly: private-instruction Pilates, Aqua Spin, Aqua Yoga, Aqua Fusion, Aqua Barre, Aqua Pilates, Aqua Circuit, and the SkyFit class at the SkyZone trampoline park (that one was extremely challenging!). I drink 64 ounces of water daily.

As a staff, we coordinated two health & wellness events for alumni – a kids cooking class at Wegmans in Alexandria, VA and an adult alumni workout, a TRX Super Circuit. We have two fitness-focused events on our event schedule for spring 2017.

I commute from Baltimore to DC, 40 miles each way, and am in my car at least three hours daily. The commute is challenging physically and mentally which is why fitness and nutrition is an important part of my life.


I consider myself as being an active person on a regular basis. In fact, a week before the 10-minute challenge began I completed my first full marathon. As I was letting my body recover from the many miles I ran I also let myself indulge in some not-so-healthy foods. I thought why not treat myself for burning all those calories! Well, I started to abuse my privilege in indulgence and would eat donuts for breakfast, candy for snacks and greasy-savory foods for dinner. Once or twice won’t hurt but when it became a habit I knew something needed to change. I know myself and my eating habits so I went to the grocery store and strategized meals for the rest of the week that I could prepare and bring to work with me. This helps me stay away from buying fast food and spending unnecessary money.

At the office, my co-workers and I challenged each other to a hydration competition. We make it a point to fill our water bottles up at least three times per day. In addition to hydrating we took some of our informal staff meetings outside while walking around the block. We tend to stay at our computers all day but a change of scenery and fresh air was a total game changer! I believe taking time out of our busy work schedules to find something that eases our minds from the daily grind is essential to total wellness. Whatever it may be, identify that activity and practice it daily!


This Wellness Challenge (10-Minute Challenge) came at just the right time for me. Having had pretty serious knee surgery in August, I’ve been relatively inactive for the past couple of months, and I’m just now getting back to the point where I can even walk semi-normally. I had been a pretty active person, going to the gym most days after work and participating in outdoor activities with friends, so the lack of activity had really been getting me down. Most days at work, I sit at my desk hooked up to my cold therapy machine, and I’m especially sore and unwilling to get up and move around on days after physical therapy. The first day of the Wellness Challenge I took a 10 minute walk with my coworkers since we were all doing the Challenge and it was good for us all to take a break during a busy day. For some, a 10 minute walk across the bridge near our office would be no big deal; most people would make that walk every day just to go get coffee. But for me, walking the full 10 minutes was such an accomplishment. While I was sore and admittedly limping a bit, it felt good to know I could do it. Little bits of movement every day have helped me feel that much better during my recovery, and I’m amazed at my progress. Looking forward to continuing these healthy habits after the Challenge is over.


What are your fellow SU faculty and staff saying about the Wellness Programs on campus?

Retirement Planning sessions with TIAA Financial Consultant Molly Amos

Of the 52 participants surveyed, 88% rated the presentation as excellent or very good. 90% reported they would attend another presentation with Molly Amos.

  • Thank you for this presentation – Molly was great! I especially appreciated the handouts and the introduction to online resources that we can utilize on our own time to gain more information.
  • Molly was an excellent presenter. Financial planning is such an unknown area for me and she made everything simple and easy to understand. I appreciate that.
  • It’s always good to hear on your retirement plans. I have heard it before, but you never know if things change or if you will hear something new.
  • I like the addition of the workbook to reinforce and be a reference for what was talked about during the seminar.

Winter Running 101 with Fleet Feet Coach Brendan Jackson

Of the 22 participants surveyed, 100% rated the presentation as excellent or very good. 100% rated the instructor as excellent or very good.  96% of participants would recommend the presentation to others.

  • Great to have a quick and thorough presentation like this. I think everyone walked away knowing a bit more about how to work with their own preferences and desires.
  • Brendan was an engaging speaker.  I found his talk to be valuable.  Because he only had a limited amount of time, I recommend that this be give as a 3 session talk.
  • Brendan was very clever with his humor and had a very friendly personality.  He informed us about training, techniques and helpful products for winter running.
  • Never did it seem as though he was pushing us to buy products or sign up for anything at Fleet Feet, which I thought was refreshing!

Tai Chi with the Taoist Tai Chi Society

Of the 18 participants surveyed, 94% of rated the tai chi series as excellent or very good. 94% of participants rated the instructor as excellent or very good. 88% of participants would be interested in continuing with tai chi.

Photo: large group of people doing tai chi  Photo: close up of people doing tai chi  Photo: panoramic view of people doing tai chi in Skybarn  Photo: people performing tai chi movement

  • This class was the highlight of my week!  Steve & David were awesome instructors and Frank and Carol, and Cindy who helped demonstrate moves were great, as were the others.
  • I thought the class was great!  Noticeable stress management/reduction.
  • I really enjoyed the class, I found it a nice relaxing activity to de-stress a bit mid-day.
  • I enjoyed taking the Friday class during my lunch period as a way to end the work week. I’ve been wanting to start learning Tai Chai, so I was happy that it was offered this Fall.

Save More, Stress Less presentation with Derek Brainard

Of the 26 participants surveyed, 90% rated the presentation as excellent or very good.  94% would attend a future financial-related presentation with Derek Brainard.

Photo: Derek Brainard presenting to faculty and staff   Photo: Derek Brainard presenting about saving more and stressing less   Photo: Derek Brainard standing in front of his PowerPoint slide presentation    Photo: Faculty and staff sitting and listening to savings presentation

  •  The presentation helped me get a sense of where I should be headed, financially.
  • I have a better idea of how to set goals and objectives and make them obtainable.
  • I met with TIAA the next day and had a budget sheet ready and actually sounded intelligent, using the basic guidelines and handout that were provided at Derek’s presentation.
  • I loved attending the Save More, Stress Less presentation that Derek gave. It was upbeat, serious, and funny all at once.

Fit Fitness into Your Workday presentation with SU adjunct professor Maggie Thomson

Of the 20 participants surveyed, 100% rated the presentation as excellent or very good. 100% rated the instructor as excellent or very good. 100% would attend a future fitness-related presentation with Maggie Thomson.

Photo: staff member doing leg raises during fit fitness presentation       Photo: staff members working on posture while sitting during fit fitness presentation      Photo: faculty and staff performing stretches at fit fitness presentation      Photo: faculty and staff doing arm circles at fit fitness presentation

  • I have been using the tips learned at the session every day.
  • Yes! I am more aware of not just sitting still at my desk during the day and have used many of the tips Maggie suggested. I shared the information with others in my office that were not able to attend.
  • I liked the interaction, which I did not anticipate. I liked that the entire presentation was brief, yet very informative. It was the perfect amount of information and the perfect amount of time.
  • Thank you for making this interactive. It’s easier to retain the info when we actually do the exercises with you.

Yoga Foundations with Wellness Champion Laura Mikols

Of the 24 participants surveyed, 92% of rated the yoga class as excellent or very good. 92% of participants rated the instructor as excellent or very good. 95% of participants would be interested in continuing lunchtime yoga.

  • I’ve taken several yoga classes and Laura’s has been, by far, my favorite. She is the best yogi I’ve ever learned from, and what she taught us will stick with me. I’ve enjoyed the classes so very much! She really wanted to enhance our practice, and pushed us to do better. I’m so thankful that this class has been available, and hope it continues to be.
  • The yoga classes were great. Laura was enthusiastic and conscious of everyone’s level of experience. It was great to have the opportunity of joining the class, and I look forward for more classes!
  • The time slot was excellent – 12:15 – 12:45. Made it easy to get to the gym and back to the office on my lunch hour.

Good Form presentation with Fleet Feet coach Mandy Howard

Of the 31 participants surveyed, 100% rated the presentation as excellent or very good. 100% rated the instructor as excellent or very good.  94% of participants would recommend the presentation to others.

  Photo: faculty and staff doing arm stretches at Fleet Feet good form presentation   Photo: Staff Employees Fitness Running Class By Fleet Feet  Photo: Fleet Feet presenting about good form running Photo: faculty and staff stretching outside preparing for a run

  • I thought it was a great presentation and learned information that I have already implemented and seen better results with my running.
  • I’m an experienced runner and found this very valuable. Mandy was a great presenter!
  • Appreciated the initiative to bring an outside expert in and thought the practice run immediately after was a nice opportunity to test what was learned.
  • Great presentation – very informative – something I’ve always wanted to learn more about. Would love to have more of these types of sessions.