I’ve struggled with my weight for most of my life. Growing up, I ate a lot of tortillas and beans, which were really good, but I wasn’t introduced to fruit and vegetables, and I wasn’t taught about portion control. Now I’m 27, and I was always eating fast food like Chick-fil-A and McDonalds. My wife, Andrea, and I have two daughters — four-year-old Aria, and one-year-old Jade. But I wasn’t spending time with them. Aria wanted me to play T-ball with her, but I was too tired. I’d sit on the couch and say to Andrea, “You take care of her.” I wasn’t being the dad I wanted to be. I’d just got a great promotion at work, but I was depressed.

I looked at the scale one day and knew I needed to change. 

I weighed 260 pounds. Andrea and I both downloaded the Thrive app. We’re doing the Challenge together, and we began meal prepping. We did a healthy grocery order — we bought chicken, turkey, yogurt, fruit, and vegetables. 

Our mornings begin with a high protein shake. 

For dinner we’ll have chicken with rice and broccoli. I love burgers so Andrea came up with a recipe for burgers with lean ground meat and low calorie buns. They’re delicious. Sometimes I’ll take them to work. 

I make it a point to walk throughout the day — any excuse to get moving! 

I’m walking 10 thousand steps minimum at work. I go to the gym when the kids are asleep, so I don’t miss time with them. I do an hour of cardio and weight training. My confidence has really improved — I’m the strongest I’ve ever been. And I am wearing jeans I haven’t worn since high school. 

In the morning, I make breakfast and pack Aria’s lunch for school. 

I take her to the park to practice T-ball, and at home, we’re always running around and playing hide-and-seek. It’s crazy how much time I spend with my daughters. I love to see them smile. 

We took a trip to SeaWorld.

I was finally able to fit in the seats and go on the rides with my kids. It was amazing knowing my hard work is paying off. Everyone loved seeing the whales, dolphins, and sea lions. We got splashed and had a lot of fun. Before, I’d want to go back to the hotel, but this time I could walk around all day long. 

On my days off, Andrea and I go to the gym together. 

We drop off the kids at my parents’ house and disappear for a couple of hours and escape. We love that time to ourselves. Then we go back to my parents’ house and spend quality time with the family.

Andrea and I go for massages to relax.

Afterwards we feel so good. Instead of wasting money on eating out, we’re spending it on self-care. 

Now that I have more energy, I help out more with the chores. 

It feels like a different environment at home. I’ll do the dishes and clean the grill outside. I’m doing yard work, like raking and mowing the grass. And we’re starting to grow vegetables.

At work, I’m more motivated and less stressed.

I get everything done at a faster pace. I’ve lost 34 pounds and I’m getting compliments on how I look. I feel amazing. There are 25 people on our team, and in our meetings I’m more positive when I’m giving everyone their tasks for the day and talking about what we need to get done. I bring out the joy in myself and share what I’ve learned to inspire other people. 

Andrea and I are setting new goals for ourselves.

We’re watching our expenses. By eating at home and not going for drinks with friends, we’re saving money. We’ve opened a savings account for us and one for the girls. Right now we live in a mobile home and we hope to buy a house at the end of the year. 

I feel like a brand new person, and I have more courage.

My wife and I are much closer, and I am the dad I want to be. I know I’ll be there for my family. 

— Juan Ambriz, Walmart Supercenter #1015, El Paso, TX, $5K Winner