A few years ago I went through a divorce, which was very stressful. And then I lost my grandmother to COVID. I was eating a lot of fast food and I really wanted to lose weight. I’m 39 and I have a 9-year-old daughter, Muriella, with my ex-husband, and a 1-year-old, Clara, with my current partner, Luke. But I didn’t have the energy to play with Muriella — my back was hurting and I’d get out of breath. It was time to make a change.

One day I was in a meeting talking about Thrive and what a great resource it is.  

But I hadn’t personally taken the Thrive Challenge, and as an academy coach it was important for me to do it myself. So I downloaded the app at the beginning of October last year and it was the best decision I could have made.

Multiple team members have joined me.

We’re encouraging each other to take our Microsteps, like making a choice to move our bodies every day. I get my team to join me in taking walks around the building, and I come up with fun stretches for us to do together on breaks, which make us laugh. That’s important to me, making movement fun and bringing the fun to work. 

I like the Microstep about connecting with someone in a meaningful way. 

I ask people how they’re doing and I ask them to tell me their favorite movie. It makes such a difference doing the Challenge with my peers.

Checking into the app encourages me and reminds me to make good food choices.

I focus on counting calories and avoiding preservatives. My co-workers and I go through different healthy snack trends! Currently we’re stuck on southwest salads and guacamole. I’m eating eggs and lots of fresh fruit like blueberries. And at home I like to make chicken stir fries with mixed veggies or homemade sushi with crab meat.

My daughter and I jump on our trampoline. 

She’ll be laughing at me; she’ll get my phone and send silly videos of me jumping to my dad. We both start to laugh and we have such a good time. We make dance videos together on TikTok. We do zumba moves; she loves listening to Britney Spears. We also go swimming and build forts. Before the Challenge, I wouldn’t have had the endurance to do any of that.

I struggled with the thought of going to the gym, so I decided to bring the gym home! 

I bought a yoga mat, light weights, and an exercise bike. I started with short, easy workouts  and now I exercise for an hour at a time. I alternate between weights and the bike. My hips hurt at first, but I kept pushing forward and it’s getting easier. While I’m riding my bike in the garage I treat myself to an hour of Netflix; it’s the only time I get to watch T.V. And when I lift weights I jam out to my favorite music.  

My ex and I are communicating and partnering as parents.

I’m using connection Microsteps like listening, and we’re not getting upset with each other. I’m focusing on what’s best for our daughter. So the other day I drove Muriella to his house to save him time and make his life easier. He was really grateful. All our lives are easier and less stressful.

One thing that helps me lower stress is doing breathing exercises throughout the day.

I’ve learned from Thrive how it’s good to take short “micro” breaks. So I take a minute to breathe and stretch if I feel anxious or overwhelmed, and then I can get back on track. A simple exercise I like is just focusing on how my stomach moves as I breathe. 

I’ve lost 25 pounds since October.

When I got on the scale and saw that I weighed under 200 pounds, I almost cried. And the other day I realized I could cross my legs for the first time. My back isn’t as painful, and when I go for a walk, I don’t have to stop to catch my breath. I know I’ll be around for a long time for my children and I feel proud of myself.

— Amanda Walker, Walmart Supercenter #1828, Plover, WI; $5K Winner