Before I took on the Challenge, I didn’t really have a life. I only had the motivation to go to work and come home. I had no energy and didn’t want to do anything or go anywhere. I heard about Thrive from my co-worker, Elizabeth Beth, as well as in pamphlets at work. I decided to take one home with me. I read through so many great stories and the results people were seeing from making Better Choices. I knew I had to take on the Challenge. I’ve lost two brothers under the age of 40 from heart disease, and I didn’t want to go down the same road. 

“I don’t feel sluggish anymore.”

I downloaded the Thrive app and started an exercise routine. I work out every morning before heading to work. I follow along with fitness instructor Leslie Sansone’s 30- and 45-minute YouTube videos. Throughout the day, I get around 20,000 steps. I don’t feel sluggish anymore, and since I’ve started working out, I’ve lost 40 pounds. 

“I have so much more energy.”

I used to feel drained because I’d eat heavy, greasy, sugary foods. Now, I’ve cut out soda, limited my meat intake to two to three days a week, and added a lot of vegetables to my diet. I bake and air fry chicken and fish, and instead of giving in to ice cream cravings, I take low-fat graham crackers and fat-free Cool Whip and make healthier “ice cream sandwiches” by putting them in the freezer. I’m also eating more salads and drinking more water. Since I’ve stopped eating fast food, I’ve been able to save $50 every two weeks. I have so much more energy since I started the Challenge.

“It feels great not to depend on sleep medication.”

Adding to that energy is the fact that I’m sleeping better. I used to take sleeping pills because I was having a hard time falling asleep at night. Now, at nighttime, I do a second round of exercises, take a bath, and get into bed. I’m getting eight to nine hours each night and no longer need the pills. I’ve set a bedtime for myself and go into my bedroom, which means no T.V. or my phone. It feels great not to depend on sleep medication. 

“I’m more motivated than ever to keep going.”

I am grateful to be here today, making changes to my lifestyle that my brothers were not able to make. These changes are allowing me to be here on this earth longer. It feels amazing that I am making great strides to be healthy and do the right thing — that way I can live a long life and be here for my family. It was hard when I first started. I was used to eating fast food and not having the energy to come home and cook. Now I’ve seen the difference, not just in my weight, but in how I feel, and I’m more motivated than ever to keep going.

Janice Smith, Sandersville, GA; $5K Winner

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