I wasn’t feeling well. I had severe acid reflux and other health problems, and I had to take steroids and allergy medicine. It was hard to eat solid food for a while and I was eating a lot of ice cream. I’m 38, and my husband, John, and I have a blended family with two boys and two girls. They were doing different activities like band and boy scouts. So sometimes I’d grab fast food because it was easy. I weighed 250 pounds, and I lost confidence. 

I withdrew from people and felt depressed. 

I lost my father to cancer. My husband and I work opposite shifts — and we were struggling to connect. It felt like everything was stacking up against me.  

My friend, Rose Maxwell, inspired me to download the Thrive app.

She’s very outgoing and I’m the quiet one, and she’s always encouraging me. My first Microstep was carrying a water bottle everywhere with me, and I stopped drinking soda. 

On my days off, I’m food prepping.

We’ve cut out processed food. My youngest, Emily, who’s 14, loves to cook with me. We’ll make chicken fajitas or honey sesame chicken. And she likes to make banana bread. 

Our whole management team is on the Challenge.

Rose, Lizette, Glenda and I will make a huge salad with avocado and pepper cheese, or a rotisserie chicken. We eat, laugh and joke together, and relax. It’s great because we have accountability. Rose will say, “Have you checked into the app?” There are days when you wake up and go, “I just don’t feel like doing this today.” And your friends say, “let’s keep going!” And it works. I’ve lost 23 pounds, my acid reflux is a lot better, and I’m more energetic.

On our days off, my husband, John and I go for hikes.  

Sometimes the kids come with us. My favorite time is early in the morning. It’s so peaceful and pretty with all the flowers. There are little streams and waterfalls. And we can’t use our phones because there’s no reception! So we talk to each other. I’m not gonna lie, I sometimes get out of breath on a long hike, but I’m always happy and proud of myself.  

John and I have monthly dates. 

We’ll play mini golf, go bowling, or go to the movies. For our anniversary, we took a trip to Utah and had a lot of fun hiking. One night, we went to a steakhouse where you pick your steak and then cook it on the grill. I was laughing because I cooked my steak better — and it tasted better. 

We have family game nights.

Twister is everyone’s favorite — we’re always falling over and laughing. Emily will tickle everyone to make them fall over so she wins! Sky will trip everyone up! 

I’m bonding with Logan.

He came out as gay and has had some struggles. But he’s really opened up to me; he tells me when he has a date and how it went. We went to a Lil Nas X concert in Houston and made a weekend of it. We had a blast. I come from a religious family and some of them are not happy about Logan, but that’s their problem if they can’t accept him for who he is.

I’m homeschooling Emily.

She was having migraines and missing school, and this is a new adventure for us both. We’re learning Spanish together. It’s a lot, being a teacher and a working mom, but I’m excited.  

For quiet time, I love to drive.

I’ll get in the car and go for 30 minutes with the windows down, listening to music. I really like Lee Bryce and Shinedown. I’ll have a good time singing along and no one can hear me! 

My job is amazing.

I got promoted from team lead to coach. And I love helping customers. An older man came in the other day because his phone was faulty. He was upset because his wife was in hospice care, so it was important. And I took the time to really listen to him. I got him a new phone and he was very appreciative.   

I’m enjoying life.

I was always cheering everyone else on, and now I’m cheering myself on. I’ve realized you only live once so it’s important to make the most of it. I tell myself I don’t need to be ashamed of anything; I just need to be me.

— Crystal Sulffridge, Walmart Supercenter #76, Berryville, AR; $5K Winner