Back in 2013, I was having some health issues and I found out I had a hernia. The doctor then told me I had a 15-pound cyst I didn’t even know about. We found out it was the size of a basketball, and I was devastated. I didn’t realize I could be hiding something that big. I got surgery after that and lost weight, but then I got divorced and found out that my ex-husband died a few years later. All of that was building up and I was stress eating, so I ended up gaining all the weight back. It wasn’t until last December that I started to try to lose weight again. I was just sitting in the break room, and I looked through the Thrive Challenge stories in the brochure and decided to download the app.

I started watching my calories and increasing my steps.

I began staying away from sugary, greasy foods, and eating less carbs and dairy. I am also determined to walk at least 15,000 steps at work, and I use a step counter which helps me stay on track. I’ve tried fad diets in the past, but I would always stop when I didn’t see progress. With Thrive, it’s more than a 21-day Challenge. It is a lifetime of changed habits to better yourself and those around you. Since logging all my steps, weight, and calories, I’ve lost a lot of weight, dropped four sizes, and have more energy than I have had in years. 

I am spending so much more quality time with my family. 

I love to cook and bake, and for every holiday I make a lemon dessert for my dad. For Father’s Day this year, I made a lemon cake with sugar-free Cool Whip frosting and sugar-free Jello. He’s diabetic too, so I’m helping everybody in the long run by teaching them. My sister is trying to lose weight as well. We text almost daily, whereas before, we spoke about once a month. It has made me appreciate my family more, and keep in contact with them more as well.

My main motivation to keep going is knowing that I have so much more energy. 

It amazes me some days when I have this much energy. Only six months ago, I would get tired walking up and down the steps while doing laundry. Now, I just zip up and down. Before starting the Challenge, I never realized how much I was missing out on in life. 

I am more confident that I can succeed and I am strong enough. 

When you feel good about yourself, it reflects in your daily life. I actually want to go shopping again. Before, I would just browse through things and I would pick the biggest size there was just because I knew it would fit. Without the Challenge in my life, I would have fallen off-track again like I had so many times before. The Challenge has helped me become accustomed to drinking more water, getting enough sleep, having better family communications, and having energy to exercise. It makes the circle complete. 

—Kristina Ibarra, Walmart Supercenter #1738; Hutchinson, MN; $5K Winner

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