“There seemed to be no way out”

I was told a long time ago that whatever choices you make in life will not affect just you, they will affect everyone around you as well. Dealing with being overweight affected my attitude with my children and my family.

My weight was at its heaviest — 285 pounds. My eating habits were poor, my self-esteem was at an all-time low, my finances were out of control, and there seemed to be no way out. I was always angry about everything that needed fixing in my life, and I would take my frustration out on those who were close to me. My family was suffering because I was suffering.

“It sparked an interest in myself.”

One day I was on lunch break at work when I noticed a magazine on the table. So I began to read about how people were making Better Choices to help accomplish their goals in different areas of their lives.

Food and fitness were the first things that I focused on. I enjoy salads now, but that was a hard one in the beginning. Cucumber, tomatoes, and red onions with vinegar is my favorite. I use Google and Pinterest to find different recipes. I set aside a day every two weeks to have something that I like in moderation.

I gave up soda and now drink a gallon of water a day. It was one of the easiest ways to cut out a lot of sugar, but it took a lot of convincing myself mentally that water was the best choice. But this alone has allowed me to be able to cut my caloric intake in half from a whopping 4,000 plus to no higher than 2,200.  

“I didn’t know it would start a domino effect.”

I didn’t know that it would start a domino effect in all the other areas of my life. I have gone from not being able to walk a block to having energy that I used to only dream about. I started with daily steps. Now I work out at the gym on my lunch break. I’ve lost a lot of weight.

I take my 1-year-old granddaughter for walks with me. It gives me a chance to not only make memories with her, but also, because I’m making a Better Choice, to be able to be around in her life a lot longer. 

 “A savings is a savings and you have to start somewhere.”

Because I prep meals twice a week, we no longer eat out every day, and that money gets saved. I never had any kind of savings before the Challenge. I read one tip to start saving your change, so I even started saving pennies. A savings is a savings, and you have to start somewhere. I now have a savings account, and I’m working on saving for a down payment to buy a house.

“I’m stronger and more powerful than I could ever imagine.”

For once in my life, I believe I have a future. The biggest thing that I discovered about me doing the Thrive Challenge is that I’m stronger and more powerful than I could ever have imagined, and that I am a winner.

– Joan Thomas, Supercenter #0839; Baton Rouge, LA; $5K Winner

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

Stories from past winners, such as Joan Thomas, prove that every individual has the power to transform their life every day through a combination of small, sustainable changes and peer-to-peer inspiration.