Earlier this year I felt depressed. I had gained weight, my clothes were too tight, and I weighed 240 pounds. 

“I am a single mother of two beautiful children and I had anxiety.”

I wasn’t sleeping well and would wake up worried. My 7-year-old son Awwal and 5-year-old daughter Ameerah would say: “Mommy, everything is OK,” but things were hard. My work was hard too. I’m a CNA (certified nursing assistant) at a care home. I give 100% to my patients and they love me, but during the pandemic it’s been stressful. 

“I would take the kids out to eat a lot of fast food.”

We ate hamburgers, pizza, and ice cream. I didn’t enjoy cooking. One thing that made me decide to change was when my little girl said: “You look fat,” which made me sad.

“The final straw was when my doctor said I needed to lose weight.”

I had high cholesterol and high blood pressure and felt pain in my legs because of the weight. I knew I had to get healthy. When I started the Thrive Challenge in July, reading the stories of winners on the app really motivated me.

“Doing the Challenge is exciting.”

I started cooking at home, adding fresh food to our diet. I make noodles and shrimp, beans and plantains, and stews. My children love it! I give them healthy snacks. We are all eating oranges, bananas, avocado, and salads. We‘ve swapped soda for water with squeezed lemon. I’ve stopped buying fast food and I’m saving money. At the start, our new way of eating seemed like a sacrifice, but now I love it and I’ve already lost 30 pounds. 

I never used to exercise; now I walk everywhere. I can run around with my children in the park, without getting out of breath, and we are having fun together. At work I have more energy to walk around with my patients, which makes them happy. I walk during my lunch break, and on my days off I go to the gym.

My friends are proud of me and see a huge difference in me. My best friend, Victoria, said: “ You look great. What is your secret?” And she has started the Challenge. Most of my co-workers want to slim down, and I’ve inspired them to make Better Choices.

“When I see myself in the mirror I look half my age.”  

I’m like, ‘WOW this is me!’ I feel positive about life and I sleep eight hours every night — my mind feels free. I know that taking care of myself is paramount. I’ve improved my cholesterol levels and my blood pressure has gone down. I want to lose more weight and I will never give up. I feel blessed. What means most: when my children hug me and say: “Mommy you are beautiful, you’re the best!” 

– Bilikis Olanrewaju, Walmart Customer; Houston TX; $5K Winner

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

Stories from past winners, such as Bilikis Olanrewaju, prove that every individual has the power to transform their life every day through a combination of small, sustainable changes and peer-to-peer inspiration.