I had bad asthma and was coughing all the time. I got to a point where I struggled to swallow water. I’d often excuse myself from family dinners to deal with the food caught in my throat. One night, I went to a church dinner and the soup I was eating got caught in my throat. Up until that point, no one outside of my family knew I was struggling. That moment finally pushed me to take control of my health.

“I changed my mindset.”

I really dedicated myself to the Challenge about two years ago after reading about it in brochures at work. I finally went to the doctor and learned that I had been experiencing allergic reactions. I tried an elimination diet to figure out what I was allergic to. At first, it was tough to cut out so many foods. But I’ve been able to reintroduce some fish and nuts, and more importantly, I changed my mindset. I realized I could explore foods that I hadn’t tried before, and I got excited. I started drinking more water, adding vegetables to every meal, and making pots of quinoa to have on hand. I’ve been experimenting with vegan pizzas and making small choices to make meals healthier, like eating hamburgers without the buns. 

I started doing Lucy Wyndham-Read’s YouTube workout videos and noticed my energy levels going up. Before the wildfires here in California, I was walking outside and going for hikes on local trails at least two times a week. Now I’m primarily working out indoors and I’ve made so much progress; I started with Lucy’s four-minute workouts, and now I’m doing 10- or 15-minute options every day when I get home from work. Over the course of my Challenge, I’ve lost around 30 pounds.

“I’ve realized how strong and independent I truly am.”

My husband and I are making a greater effort to spend more time together. He was honest with me and told me it bothers him when we’re together and I’m on my phone. Now, we’ll leave our phones in another room and we focus on one another. We’re also working together to get out of credit card debt. We use a dry-erase board to keep track of all of our bills. We had five different cards we needed to pay off — now, we’re down to two.

The hardest part of my journey has been opening up to others. At first, it was scary to share my story, but I just kept doing it. Now my confidence is up. I’ve talked to co-workers about my changes and even shown them how to use the Thrive App. I’ve realized how strong and independent I truly am. A year and a half ago, I learned my position at Walmart was going away. I channeled my confidence and applied to become a People Lead. I knew it was going to be hard, but I got the job.

Hilary Newsome, Supercenter #2277; Clovis, CA; $5K Winner

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