At the start of 2023 I decided to take the Thrive Challenge because I’d been feeling tired and drained for a long time. I was very overweight: I weighed 275 pounds. I couldn’t take long walks because my knees and hips were always aching. I have a 24-year-old daughter, Katelynn, and I’ve been with my fiancé, Kevin, for six years. I’m 45, and I knew if I didn’t start taking better care of myself I could potentially leave my family earlier than I should. Both my parents were obese, and it was my mom who inspired me to get healthy because she lost a lot of weight recently. 

I began by cutting down on sugary drinks and replacing them with water. 

It was difficult at first; I found it hard to stop drinking sweet iced tea, and I felt more sluggish, but soon I started feeling more energetic. Now, I drink sparkling water instead of soda, and if I want to liven it up a bit, I’ll add sugar-free fruit-flavored drops.

As a family we started changing the way we were eating.

For dinner we’ll have protein and lots of vegetables. One of our favorite meals is chicken stir fry with veggies and cauliflower rice, and we’re big fans of deconstructed egg rolls. I’m lucky because Kevin has been very supportive — he’s cutting down on carbs with me, and he’s always researching healthy new recipes for us.

I started taking simple Microsteps to move my body every day.

Kevin and I would walk our dog, Jackson, in the evening, and our walks became longer. We’re much more active together. When the weather’s nice we go kayaking, and I also started to play softball. It’s exciting; I played in a softball tournament recently, which I would never have had the stamina to do a year ago. This year I’m planning to do a Tough Mudder (obstacle course) with a co-worker.

At work I am so lucky to have a great support system.

It was actually my store manager, Adam Rizzo, a previous winner, who encouraged me to start the Challenge. My friends and fellow managers, Corrinne and Greg, saw how much the Challenge was helping me, and they’ve now joined. We go to the gym together at lunchtime, and we remind each other to drink enough water. We’ve bought an airfryer for the office and we’ll make lunch together, like chicken and veggies or egg wraps. We’re a team! I truly believe it takes a village, and my friends at work are my village.

Soon I found I was losing weight and my confidence improved. 

I’m not trying to hide under the baggy clothes like I’ve always done in the past. I bought a pair of skinny jeans and a fitted pink jacket that zips up. When I looked in the mirror, I just stood there and cried. I was so proud of myself. 

I realized how far I’d come when I visited my best friend Kayla in Jacksonville, Florida.

She’s also a Walmart coach. She told me how great I looked and it was so nice to hear that. We see each other as much as we can — I’m godmother to her 2-year-old son, Lukah. I had the energy to play on the beach and we treated ourselves to massages. 

Since starting the Challenge, I’ve lost over 40 pounds.

The pain in my knees has almost gone. I can run up the stairs to my apartment; before I could barely walk up them. When I saw my daughter she said, “Mom, I can wrap my arms around you again!” That made me happy. But what really matters is that I’m finally starting to live the life I’ve always wanted.

— Jenn Snow, Walmart Supercenter #1907, Hinsdale, NH; $5K Winner