During the pandemic, I felt worried about everything and it was very stressful at work. We have 340 employees and as a People Lead, there’s a lot of responsibility. I am a stress eater and  would have lunch in my car —  it was always fast food. I’m 45 and weighed 296 pounds and didn’t feel good. In a meeting, my manager, Lisa, talked about the benefits of the Challenge, so I downloaded the app.

I joined a meal delivery program and will have their bars and shakes during the day.

In the evening, I cook low-carb meals, like spaghetti squash with tomato sauce which tastes as good as pasta. Or we’ll have chicken breasts cooked in the air fryer — they’re amazing, juicy, and crispy — served with broccoli and salad. For snacks, I’ll have cashew nuts and pistachios. When my son, Alexx, graduated high school in May, I brought our favorite zucchini cake and tried a small piece. But I didn’t feel good eating it, and now I’m not tempted at all. 

My friend at work, Renee, and I are doing the Challenge together and motivate each other.

We joined a gym, we do water aerobics and swim. And we walk together. It’s great to have that moral support. When Renee felt she’d stopped losing weight, I told her: “It’s OK, you haven’t gained any. Keep going and all of a sudden you’ll lose a few more pounds.”   

At work I’m more understanding and empathetic. 

I like encouraging younger co-workers. I’m good with money, so I’ll advise people when they come to me with financial problems. I’ll direct them to programs like the Even app that Walmart offers to help us save. And I encourage them to start the Challenge. I tell them how my family and I went to Rome and were able to pay for the trip because I had saved for five years. I also tell people, “Make sure you pay off your credit cards.” And it’s important to give back. I’m organizing a team from the store to participate in a 5K run to raise money for a local children’s charity. 

I have more energy for my family. 

Alexx bought me an electric bike for Mother’s Day, and we ride around the neighborhood. We also go fishing, which I love — being in nature and seeing wildlife like beavers and elk. My husband, Alberto, Alexx, and I went to San Francisco and took a nine-mile bike tour. We cycled across the Golden Gate Bridge and back. In the past I would have said: “I’m not coming. You guys go, I’ll wait and I’ll see you later!” 

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

My knees don’t hurt anymore and I don’t feel exhausted after work. My doctor is thrilled. I still want to lose another hundred pounds. But I’m on my way and I’m excited about the journey.

—Cynthia Tapia, Supercenter #4288; Broomfield, CO; $5K Winner

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