Being overweight had always been an issue for me. I succeeded at losing weight in the past — but the changes I made didn’t last. Once I lost the weight, I stopped putting in the effort and it all came back and then some.

I felt like I put in so much work for nothing.

After self-reflecting, I realized the way I approached my weight loss wasn’t sustainable. I had to figure out what was realistic for me. I knew I wasn’t going to run on the treadmill for hours on end, but I would participate in activities I enjoy and I could take small steps that would add up over time. I restarted my weight loss journey in January 2020, and after a year of making progress, I posted about it on LinkedIn. That’s when some Walmart colleagues suggested I try the Challenge. Now, I’ve been doing it since January 2021 and it’s helping me keep up with small Better Choices that have a huge impact. 

I stopped drinking soda altogether.

I haven’t had it since December 2019! It was really hard at first — I’d get hit with a craving and couldn’t stop thinking about how much I’d love a Dr. Pepper. What helped was letting a co-worker know what I was doing. She was really helpful while I was still working in the office because she’d encourage me to stay on track. I keep a big water bottle with me and make sure I drink the whole thing by lunchtime. Then I fill it up again and aim to finish it before the end of the workday. 

I really like to cook, but I’d find my food comfort zone and stick to it.

I’ve started to enjoy branching out and finding new recipes and ways of preparing food. I had to force myself a bit, but it paid off. I never liked broccoli as a kid, but as an adult, I’ve learned it’s amazing. You can bake it, steam it, put it in all sorts of things. Now I get excited to try new things. I tell myself, “What if today’s the day I get to try my new favorite food?”

Taking control of my diet has played the biggest role in my weight loss.

Since I restarted my weight loss journey, I’ve lost over 70 pounds by counting calories, becoming more aware of what I’m putting in my body, and trying healthier substitutes, like turkey sausage. What’s also helped is doing activities I find fun. While a standard gym routine is beneficial for some, it has never brought me joy. Going for walks with my family, playing tennis with my dad — those things don’t feel like exercise for me, because I enjoy them so much. 

Being fit enough and having the endurance to play the sports I enjoy motivates me to keep working toward my goals.

For the longest time, my health prevented me from playing tennis — and kept me from beating my dad. Since I’ve lost weight, I finally beat him in a match! I’ve learned just how important it is to find what works for you and stick with it. Once you do that, every decision makes an impact and every small step adds up.

—Joe Burns, Walmart Home Office; Bentonville, AR: $5K Winner

Small daily choices can lead to life-changing results. Download the Thrive ZP App today to improve your well-being. For more inspiring stories, follow Thrive ZP on Facebook and Instagram.