I’m a 38-year-old single mom with 1-year-old twins, Joshua and Jacob, but I was feeling miserable. I had a complicated pregnancy and a C-section and my recovery was difficult. I was eating anything — donuts, cookies, and corn chips — and I weighed 225 pounds. I had sore legs and my lower back hurt. I started the Challenge because I felt sluggish and cranky. I couldn’t sit down on the floor and get back up without help and I wasn’t the positive person I used to be.

The first better choice I made was to improve my sleep.

I put my phone away before bedtime and charge it in the kitchen. I took the T.V. out of my bedroom and keep the room dark and cool, which helps me fall asleep.

My mom helps me with the twins and I’m so grateful. I wake up at 3 a.m. to breastfeed and my mom wakes up with me. She helps us get settled and gets me a drink of water. I always thank her even though she says, “You don’t have to thank me, they’re my grandsons!” 

I got rid of all the cookies and chips in the house.

I cut up carrots, cantaloupe, and pineapple and keep them in the fridge for snacks. Instead of going through the cookie jar, I go to the carrot jar. I live with my parents on our family farm; we have chickens and we’re eating free-range eggs and growing vegetables, like asparagus. For dinner we’ll have grilled chicken and veggies. I portion my food out so I don’t overeat.  

I’ll strap one of the babies on my baby carrier backpack and go for walks.

I bought baby swings for the yard so I’ll take the twins out to play, which we all love. The twins’ nursery is upstairs so I’m always going up and down to change them or take them for a nap. When I’m on the computer at work, I don’t sit down anymore, I jog in place.

Every day, I thank my associates for being there for me and give them positive feedback.

I’m connecting with customers and having fun. Before, it was strictly business. The other day a man was walking toward me and I could see he needed help. I joked, “I see I’m walking into a question.” And we both broke out into laughter. He wanted to know where to find a puzzle for his grandmother. So, I showed him our selection and he was very grateful.

I’ve lost 26 pounds, I have more energy, and my pain has gone away.

The weight loss has already done wonders for me and I’m committed to losing more. I have more energy for my beautiful baby boys. I’m happier, and instead of feeling like I’m glued to the earth, I can actually move. It feels like freedom. The Challenge is a guiding light, keeping me on track. 

—Megan Szymkowski, Supercenter #5847; Powhatan, VA; $5K Winner

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