I was an athlete in high school and college, but as I got older, I was working out less, so I started gaining weight. I was 290 pounds before I started the Thrive Challenge. It got to a point where I would be running up the stairs and notice I was totally out of breath. I have a big family and we would get together at my mom’s house for holiday gatherings and hangouts, and I found myself not wanting to go. The last straw was when my doctor told me that my habits could lead me to a point where my life could be cut short if I didn’t do something different. That was the moment I knew I needed to make a change.

I started by going to the gym and reading tips on the Thrive app to stay motivated.

I always knew how to work out, but I wasn’t doing it correctly. I had to learn more than just lifting weights. I’ve started to take classes like Zumba, spinning, and Crossfit. I exercise five or six days a week, and I’m staying motivated by remembering what I want for myself. What’s keeping me motivated is the vision of me walking my daughter down the aisle for her wedding, and to one day play with my grandkids. 

I started to plan out my meals and made sure I was watching my portions. 

I take my lunch to work now and only eat what I’ve cooked for the week. I also got rid of many of the snacks in my house. I used to turn to french fries and rice, but now my diet is filled with more vegetables. My go-to dinner is asparagus, ground turkey, and pico de gallo over some cauliflower rice. 

My changes have made me closer with my family.

I welcome family gatherings now and even host them, where in the past I would make up excuses not to go. My kids saw that I was eating differently, and they stopped eating all of the fried foods and started exploring vegetables and different combinations. As a matter of fact, my daughter wants to be a chef now! I’m grateful for how my family has decided to join me on the journey.

Now that I cook all my meals, I’m able to buy in bulk, which greatly reduces our food cost.

We don’t go to the grocery store as often as we did in the past, and we don’t waste money on junk food. We have been able to grow our savings account, due to what we would have spent on food in the past. 

I’ve met my weight-loss goals. 

I know that now I can do things I never thought I could, and I’m looking forward to what life has planned for me. I’m grateful for my new outlook, and I can honestly say that the Thrive Challenge has changed my life. Every morning, I love seeing what’s new in the Thrive app. And I also love the emails saying, “Hey, we want you to be a part of this.” It’s like a fit family. A family away from family.

—DeRocke Croom, Walmart Customer; Hampton, VA, $5K Winner

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