Last year I was in a very bad place. I was stiff, sore, and bloated. I have lupus, an autoimmune disease, and was getting migraines and pain in my joints. Some mornings, I could barely get out of bed. 

“I’ve always loved being active, but I had no energy.”

I did a lot of comfort eating. Breakfast would be Pop-Tarts that I could snack on in the car on my way to work (I’m a pharmacy technician). I’d heat up frozen boxed pasta, ravioli, or spaghetti, often twice a day! I’ve always loved being active, but I had no energy. I would walk in the park, get halfway around the lake, and honestly did not know if I could make it back to my car.  

“I realized I needed to take control of my life.”

It was at a doctor’s appointment when I realized I needed to take control of my life. I stepped on the scale and weighed 206 pounds, the heaviest I’ve ever been. I’ve quit diets so many times, but I was excited about starting the Thrive Challenge. I decided I was going to devote 2020 to me.  

“This summer I grew my own vegetables.” 

Now, I have a protein shake for breakfast, salad for lunch, and scrambled eggs with broccoli or salad for dinner. This summer I grew my own vegetables: tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers. I make fruit salad to last the week, with strawberries, blueberries, and melon. By cutting out frozen meals, I’m saving $200 a month. My new diet is also great for the environment, since there’s less packaging and less waste. 

Small treats are important. I take a little container of peanut M&M’s to work in case I am craving something sweet. Once a month I go out with a friend for lunch, but I’ve learned to stop eating when I’m full.

“People say I’m glowing.”

I do 30 minutes on my elliptical in the morning. I walk my dog every day and I am happy I have the energy to go on long hikes and enjoy nature again. I’ve also been riding my horse, Dakota. And with all the exercise, I’m sleeping better.

I’m more appreciative and supportive of my friends. I say thank you to co-workers, and I’m more involved in my church. We just opened up again with in-person services, and it’s nice to see everybody from six feet away! People say I’m glowing, and I tell them about the Challenge.  

“I feel like a new person and I’m not going back.”

I’ve lost a lot of weight. I don’t have migraines anymore and my inflammation has gone down. I am more confident, and I’ve never been this committed to anything before. I’m going to start running, just a short distance each day. And a year from now, my goal is to do a 5K with a friend. For the first time in my life I feel optimistic about what is to come. I feel like a new person, and I’m not going back.

– Bonnie Parr, Sam’s Club #6429; Battle Creek, MI; $5K Winner

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

Stories from past winners, such as Bonnie Parr, 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.