Last year I was feeling tired and depressed and eating junk food like chips and candy. I weighed 274 pounds and it was hard to do even simple things like tying my shoes. I played basketball in college — now I’m 48 and I couldn’t play basketball with my godson, Josiah, without huffing and puffing. The final straw: I decided to take golf lessons and my instructor videotaped my swing. When I saw that video I was shocked because I looked so big. I said: “That can’t be me.” 

A co-worker, James English, encouraged me to download the Thrive app.

I hadn’t seen him for a while. He’d lost a lot of weight and looked happy. I began my journey by cutting out processed food. When I went grocery shopping, instead of walking by the deli and snacks section, I’d go the other way so I wouldn’t get tempted. I live alone and cooking was a lot of work, until I bought an air fryer. I use it to grill chicken in a lemon soy sauce marinade and steam carrots or broccoli. Everything tastes amazing. When I go to my friend’s house and they have cheesecake, they know I don’t want to eat it, so they’ll make fruit salad for me. They’re very supportive.

I started going for short walks at the park, and at first, I had to stop for breaks. 

Now I walk five miles a day. I’m playing basketball again with my godson. One day, I said: “Man, let’s play ball.” I was running up and down the court and he was shocked. He said: “Oh wow! You’ve still got it!” I’m enjoying playing golf and my swing is much better because I don’t have all the excess weight — I’ve lost 25 pounds.

My friend, Nick, asked me to do yoga with him, and at first I was 100 percent against it! 

But he said: “Man, Just try it.” So I did. The teacher was telling us to breathe and stretch and at the end of the session I said: “Dude, I actually feel better.” Yoga helps me de-stress from work. And my golf has improved because I’m more relaxed.

I’m excited to go to work. 

To be honest, before there were days I just didn’t want to go in. I work on store remodels, supervising my team. Now I have more energy to be hands-on, like teaching people to put heavy counters together by showing them what to do, not just telling them.

The Thrive app is like having a great personal trainer without having to pay anyone.

No one’s yelling at me to push myself. I’m just encouraged to make Better Choices and it keeps me accountable. I’m a lot more confident and I feel better about myself; I wake up in the morning with a burst of energy, feeling positive. I sing in the shower — and in the car.  When I pull up to a stoplight, people start laughing. I’m feeling happiness and joy.

— Andre Ball, Supercenter #0943; Casselberry, FL; $5K Winner