There’s diabetes on both sides of my family. Growing up, we always had fried food and junk food, so that’s how I always ate. I’m 32, and my health had been declining. I had high blood pressure and I was pre-diabetic. I stepped on the scale and I weighed 399 pounds.

“I was always thinking about the next meal.”

My wife, Kathryn, and I would sometimes eat out three times a day — mostly junk food: pizza, hamburgers, and sweets. I drank soda and no water. At home, I sat on the couch, watched T.V., played video games, and ate constantly. I’m a security officer at a casino, and during breaks I would sit eating sandwiches and chips. I felt people were judging me, and I was miserable. 

“We’ve been trying to start a family for two years.”

We were trying to start a family and it wasn’t happening — and it was heartbreaking. What made us decide to get healthy was when we went to the OB-GYN and Kathryn was diagnosed with PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome), a hormonal disorder which can make it harder to get pregnant. He suggested that we both lose weight, and we began the Thrive Challenge in July. We downloaded the app, and I was excited about making changes.

“We took all the unhealthy food out of the fridge and cabinets, bagged it up, hauled it out and gave it away.” 

We bought vegetables and healthy snacks like almond butter, and we researched recipes. We never used to cook; now we take turns prepping meals like chicken and green beans and casseroles with cauliflower rice. Instead of a hamburger with a bun I’ll make it with a lettuce wrap. Everything tastes so good you don’t even realize you’re eating healthy food. I try to drink half my body weight in water. And, by not eating out we’re saving at least $900 a month. We actually have a savings account now! I never used to exercise; now I work out at the gym three to four times a week. My wife and I take walks together — we’re getting outside and spending more time together.  

“There are temptations every day at work, but I am super disciplined!”

People bring in donuts and I’ll step outside so I am not tempted. Every now and again I go out with Kathryn for a “cheat” meal to a great Italian restaurant and I order lasagna. 

“I’ve lost a lot of weight and feel awesome.”  

My blood pressure has gone down dramatically and I have a lot more energy. At work, people have noticed that I’m losing weight, and my boss is always cheering me on. I am optimistic about the future and think we have a good chance of getting pregnant. My goals: to start a family, get healthy, and stay healthy. I also want to motivate other people to get healthy. I heard a great quote before we started the Challenge, which has stuck with me: “Don’t live to eat, eat to live.” 

—Jeffery Carpitcher, Walmart Customer; Konowa, OK; $5K Winner

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