I used to be tired all the time, and I had a lot of joint pain. I didn’t pay any attention to what I ate and I ate too much. I weighed 366 pounds. I’m 35, and my wife, Ashleigh and I have a nine-year-old son, Ryeder. I wanted to have more energy for him. I started losing weight, but I wanted more structure and support. Then Paul Slaver, a manager who used to work at my store, suggested that I start the Thrive Challenge, so I downloaded the app.

I started cooking and cut down on fast food.

We have seasoned, grilled chicken and lots of veggies, like broccoli and asparagus. For snacks I have cottage cheese. I’ve also found that plain Greek yogurt is an excellent substitute for sour cream. Since I’ve been eating better, I’ve been feeling better. 

I’m going to the gym five days a week, and I’ll lift weights and work out on the treadmill.

I started doing Thrive movement Microsteps, like walking 1000 steps a day. Now, my daily goal is 10,000 steps. On our days off together, Ashleigh and I go for walks. And we’ll take Ryeder to the skate park. He’ll be on his scooter or bike. He loves to go down all the different ramps. And he likes to run around, while I chase him.

Just walking used to be difficult. I definitely have a lot more energy now. 

I’ve lost weight and I’m feeling great. I’m a better role model for my son and a better dad.

We’re more active as a family. 

We took a trip to Philadelphia which was great. We went to the aquarium and to the zoo — Ryeder loved the meerkats and hippos. We also went on a camping trip to the New River in Virginia for the 4th ofJuly weekend. We went kayaking and enjoyed floating in the river — it was a lot of fun.

Deep breathing helps me to stay calm. 

I take a moment and think before I react to things at work that are difficult, like when we’re understaffed. I take a few deep breaths instead of panicking and that’s helping lower my anxiety. I realize now that some things are just out of my control. I’m also communicating better with my team and really listening. 

Losing weight has helped me to feel more confident. 

I’m not worried that other people are judging me. I never used to like going out in public, but I’m comfortable being sociable now. I went to buy new clothes. It felt so good shopping for smaller clothes in a store, instead of buying everything online — honestly, just buying jeans was the best feeling. Ashleigh’s been losing weight too — we’re on this journey together and we’re both feeling better about ourselves.

There’s less financial anxiety because we’re making a budget each month. 

We write down all our bills and when they need to be paid. We also make a list of what we’re going to buy each week and how much we’re going to spend on gas and groceries. Cutting down on eating out has made a huge difference. We bought a house and we’re fixing it up, so saving is a big help. Eventually, we’re going to try for another baby. 

I’m taking the time to really appreciate my family.

I’m less stressed, my joints don’t hurt, and I’m much more positive about the future for our family. 

— Chad Dildine, Walmart Supercenter #1976, Horseheads, NY; $5K Winner