I knew I needed to make a change, but I didn’t know where to start. My bad eating habits were affecting my health and I quickly learned they were impacting my daughter too. I cooked a lot of fried food and my daughter became overweight, just like me. It was an eye-opener when my mother passed away, and I realized I was suffering from the same health problems she had leading up to her death: Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, dizzy spells. My children were scared they would lose me too. I looked at my daughter and said, “We have to do this together.” 

I was reading Challenge stories through the Wire at work.

And I saw my market visual ops lead, Tyler Sigler, was featured. It was inspiring to read his story and learn about the Better Choices he made. From that point on, I started making Better Food Choices. I cut out fried foods and most carbs and sugars. When my daughter is home from school, she’ll meal prep for us using lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. We’ve come to love cauliflower — we swap in cauliflower rice instead of regular rice and cauliflower mash instead of mashed potatoes. We make buffalo cauliflower in the air fryer, and if we do eat meat, we mostly have chicken. I’m from the South, so I was raised on pork but I know how bad it is for my blood pressure. So I’ve been staying the course and drinking more water too, usually around a gallon a day.

Exercise has become a bonding experience for me and my daughter.

At 7 p.m., we head to our kickboxing class, and it feels great to dedicate time to each other and our health. We had a weigh-in after six weeks and we both made amazing progress! My daughter lost around 10 pounds and I lost eight. Now, I’ve lost 15. Seeing our progress is another boost of inspiration to keep going.

Cutting out fast food is saving me $120 a week. 

Before, I was going out to lunch with co-workers and spending a ridiculous amount of money every day. Now, I go to my lunch box and enjoy my roasted nuts, fruits, or whatever I packed that day. Making Better Food Choices is the hardest for me because I used to eat for comfort and celebration. But I think about my kids, and how what I put into my body can help me be around for them. I stop myself from grabbing that candy bar when I remember that Better Choices will help me live longer for my loved ones.

I have so much more energy now.

I can actually get out and play with my 4-year-old. My family has been so supportive and they’re starting to make changes too. My son will come out for a walk with me, and even though he and my husband don’t have the same health problems, they’re on board with these Better Choices so we can be better as a family. I have so much more awareness of my choices. The Challenge has helped me stop and think, “Do I need this can of soda or should I drink water instead?” Now, I grab that water bottle. I feel great taking my choices into my own hands so I can be there for my kids.

—Latiffany Reese, Supercenter #5218; St. Petersburg, FL; $5K Winner

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