I’ve been overweight all my life. I’ve tried to lose weight since I was in junior high. I used to play football and had my coach come up to me to say, “If you lose 40 pounds, you’ll be fighting for a starting position on the varsity team.” I ended up losing that weight during my junior year, only to tear my ACL in the last game of the play-offs. It was an eight-month process of healing from surgery. I fell into a depression and got up to 350 pounds. My aunt has always tried to get me to make Better Choices. She’s a manager at a Walmart nearby and told me about the Thrive Challenge. She’s one of four family members who have won Thrive Challenges. So, I started eating healthier things like baked chicken and apples. I cut out all bread, juice, milk, Gatorade, and soda. Before I lost weight, I was the most unhealthy person. I was the type of person who didn’t eat fruits or vegetables. I could eat a large pizza by myself. Now, if I ate that again, my stomach would hurt. 

  • Over the course of eight months, I’ve lost a lot of weight. 
  • Since starting my Thrive Challenge, I’m going to the gym twice a day.
  • I carry around a jug of water with me and drink a gallon each day. 
  • Each night, I aim to get eight hours of sleep so my body can rebuild itself. 

My family has battled diabetes and cancer. That’s another reason why I wanted to lose weight and help my family do it, too. I created a group chat with my grandma and mom so we can share our meals with each other. Now we are closer and talking every day. They are proud of me because I was always saying “All right, I’m going to lose the weight this year.” And I always failed. I struggled with insecurities. But now I’ve cut out negative things that were holding me back. My dad will be getting out of jail in a year, and I can’t wait to say to him, “Do you see me now?” I’m stronger than I thought I was. If you would’ve told me I could make this progress a year ago, I wouldn’t have believed it.

—Mark Bennett, Walmart Customer; Austell, GA; National Thrive Challenge $10K Grand Champion

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