I’ve always been overweight. My parents are heavy and they both have health problems. Growing up we ate fried, fatty food, pretty much all meat and stodge, and we drank sweet tea. And I’ve always eaten that way. I’d wake up in the middle of the night and have a full meal, like a plate of spaghetti. Every doctor I’ve ever seen has told me to change my diet. I’m 44 and my wife, Soledad, worried about me because she said she’d wake up at 2 a.m. and I’d stopped breathing. I had a sleep study done and they diagnosed acute sleep apnea so I had to use a CPAP machine. And my back was bothering me. I stepped on the scale and weighed 314 pounds and thought, “Geez!” and downloaded the Thrive app. 

I stopped eating in the middle of the night.

At meal times I eat smaller portions and I don’t go back for seconds. I know myself and I can’t say I’m never going to have a cookie, but I don’t have five cookies, and I only have one glass of sweet tea a day — most of the time I drink water. We’re making stir fries with chicken or shrimp and we’re using “zoodles” made of zucchini instead of pasta. I use turkey instead of beef in recipes. I eat snacks like carrots or hummus and pretzels instead of chips.

My wife and I both work at Walmart and we’re doing the Thrive Challenge together.

My step-daughter, Krystal, who also works at Walmart, lives with us and we encourage each other. The pantry’s not full of Oreos anymore! Soledad and I walk around the neighborhood and talk about our day and we work in the yard together. I make sure she knows I appreciate her and everything she does — I never want her to feel that I take her for granted. Sometimes we’ll go out of town for a change and have dinner. At home, we watch movies together. We both enjoy action and horror movies. Neither of us likes romcoms! 

For my job I walk a lot and I’m averaging 21 thousand steps a day.

We both love our jobs. I work in the garden center and do a little bit of everything to help out because it’s a small store. My wife runs the front of the store and does it very well! Between us we have 30 combined years at Walmart.

I get to bed by 10 p.m. and I’m sleeping better.

So is my wife because it was hard for her to get through the night when I wasn’t sleeping well.

I don’t need the CPAP anymore which is great because I didn’t like it. My back doesn’t bother me because I’m not carrying all that weight anymore.

I’m enjoying my hobby, collecting fantasy, comic book action figures.

I have a collection of Marvel legends and Star Wars figures and I have a special room in our house where they’re all displayed. I have around three thousand! It’s a little piece of childhood for me because I’m an ‘80s kid and I loved Transformers and G.I. Joe. It’s good to have time to yourself in a relationship. Soledad has her own hobbies, like crafting and cake decorating. You can’t be together all the time — you need your own space. 

We’re getting together with Soledad’s kids from her first marriage and their kids.

Their dad passed away and we are all getting a lot closer. We’re having family dinners with our kids and grandkids; we’ll sit around and catch up with each other. It brings back memories of my own family dinners growing up with my two younger sisters. 

I’ve lost a lot of weight and I feel great.

The Thrive Challenge has helped me take back my life, and probably, in all honesty, it has extended my life. When I saw my doctor, he said: “You’ve lost a lot of weight, that’s great, it will help with all your health problems, even ones you don’t know you have!”

At work, I’m not drained anymore.

I feel better. Someone I used to work with and don’t often see didn’t recognize me. She said, “Is that you?” Then she said, “Whatever you’re doing, keep it up.” Those things help you keep going and stay motivated.

— David Aid, Walmart Supercenter #280, Rockdale, TX; $5K Winner

The Thrive Challenge is all about making small, better choices in your everyday life using the Thrive platform (on web or mobile) in whatever area you want to prioritize. Join the Thrive Challenge here and submit your story for a chance to win part of a $1,000,000 prize pool.