I was making big lifestyle changes before starting the Thrive Challenge, but I was focused on my physical appearance more than anything else. My husband and I joined Walmart after realizing we wanted more rewarding and active jobs. Once I started at Walmart, my manager, Mark, told me about the Challenge. He mentioned there were two winners at our facility and how the Challenge helped them meet their goals. I quickly learned that the Challenge was about more than improving your outward appearance — it helps balance body, mind, and spirit. 

I’ve been doing the Challenge ever since and trying to find a happy balance. 

My husband, daughter, and I started having “family days”: Once a week, we do something together that’s active, like going on a hike or biking on a trail. We’ll do five or six miles and it’s awesome because those days benefit us on so many levels. Before, I would stay on the sidelines. We’d go to the park and I’d watch my daughter play. We’d go hiking, but I was more focused on the scenery than on keeping up. But now, I’m out there playing, hiking, mini golfing, swimming — I’m involved, I’m not just watching. And because of that, the memories we’re making are so much different, in a good way.

The hardest part was realizing that our eating habits affected our daughter.

When she was hungry, she’d reach for a bag of chips and a pop. I realized we taught her that. It was a huge reality check. With the Challenge, we’re making better food choices as a family and making nutritious foods more accessible. We have vegetables in the fridge and make recipes like stir-frys and our favorite: sweet peppers with cream cheese and chives. 

On a daily basis, I write in a journal to keep track of my goals. 

And as a family, we talk about our highs and lows and things we can work on together. Every night at dinner, we go around and identify a negative and positive. It’s really great because when you talk about both, the positives remind us that the negatives aren’t so bad.

The journey is so much better when you have passengers along for the ride.

Overall, our family is becoming more of a team and I don’t think there is anything more beautiful than that. Bringing them into this journey has made all of us more accountable and effective. Before, I’d tell my family I’m going for a walk or a run and say I’d be home later. Now, it’s like: “OK, everyone get ready! We’re doing this together.” 

In the beginning, it was difficult realizing I had to focus on all aspects of this journey.

I was so focused on losing weight that I neglected my mind, body, and spirit. I was only looking at one piece of the puzzle. Now, things are falling into place and I’ve completely changed my views. It’s a whole lifestyle change. I’m happier, more positive, and grateful for the shift in mindset I’ve had.

—Jessica Judy, Distribution Center #7055; Gas City, IN; $5K Winner