At Thrive, we believe one of the most important ways to fight burnout is to find purpose and meaning in the work you do every day. For me, that’s not hard, because our partnership with Walmart enables me to see the power of Thrive’s behavior change platform in action every day. Through small better choices that build momentum over time, Walmart associates (and their friends and family) are able to make changes that drastically improve their lives and the lives of those around them.
Each month, we award 18 winners with a cash prize for their accomplishments in the Thrive Challenge, and it’s the best part of my job. Reading through their stories and learning how each of them overcame everyday struggles gives me so much inspiration and passion for the work that we do.
Below, read the stories of our 18 winners for the month of July. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did!
“I got out of the army a few years ago and a long relationship ended. My parents haven’t been well and they moved in with me. I’m their caregiver and I’ve been neglecting myself. It’s been hard. A co-worker, Alex Hunt, told me about the Thrive Challenge, so I downloaded the app. I started to work out and swim. And I’ve just about cut out fast food. My mom and I cook dinner together. We’re big on baked lemon pepper chicken. I love steak, but I only have a small portion now. I’ve lost 23 pounds and I feel so much better. My big passion is riding motorcycles. I get on my motorcycle and cruise around with the wind in my face — it’s very freeing. I’m connecting with old friends. We’ll go to a bar and catch up. I’ve learned how to be vulnerable. I feel more optimistic and motivated. One day I’d love to get married and have a family.”
“In 2020, I took care of my father who had heart failure, and my mom who had COVID-related issues. They both passed and it was overwhelming. I was so sad, and my coping mechanism was eating. I was a late night snacker. My left knee was hurting a lot, I was borderline diabetic, and I weighed 280 pounds. My co-worker, Elizabeth Jowers, inspired me to start the Thrive Challenge. I cut down on sugary snacks and drinks, and I stopped eating fried food. We might have baked salmon with asparagus and I’ll jazz up a salad by adding turkey or tofu. Every morning, I walk our Chihuahua, Ice Cream. My kids encourage me. They say ‘Come on Mom, we’re almost there.’ I’ve learned to meditate and it helps to alleviate my stress. I’ve lost 40 pounds and my knee feels much better. Also, my doctor’s very happy because I’m no longer pre-diabetic and he’s reduced my blood pressure medication. I miss my parents, but The Thrive Challenge is helping me reset and heal.”
“I’ve had psoriasis since 2013, which is very uncomfortable and embarrassing. It also led to arthritis. And I felt like it was holding me back. I’m 46, and my wife Yessica has two teenage sons. It didn’t help that I was eating cookies and junk food. And I wasn’t exercising. Kathryn Carpitcher, encouraged me to start the Thrive Challenge. Yessica makes great homemade Mexican food for dinner, like enchiladas, tacos, and beef stew. We’re eating lots of vegetables and salad. Eating well is helping my psoriasis and I feel less sluggish. I’m stretching, and I can move my joints more freely. I used to be a really good swimmer and I’ve started again. Getting back in the water feels pretty good. We’re doing more together as a family, because I feel better about myself. I’m 46 but I don’t feel my age. I feel happier, more energetic and more optimistic about life.”
“A year ago, I graduated high school and I felt bad about myself. I was very underweight; I weighed 110 pounds. I was drinking soda and eating a lot of junk food. I’m 19 and I wouldn’t go out because people picked on me. I was depressed. My store manager encouraged me to download the Thrive app. I started by drinking high-calorie protein shakes. I eat bagels and cream cheese for breakfast, and I’m eating a lot more meat and vegetables. I make my own burgers with ground beef and grill them. They’re really good. I’m lifting weights at the gym. Working out is great for relieving stress, and everyone at the gym is so supportive. I’m a lot more confident and energetic. I’m playing golf with my buddies from high school. It’s great to get outside and get active. And the more I play, the better I get. So far, I’ve gained 30 pounds and I feel amazing. The Thrive Challenge is life-changing — I feel like a new man.”
“I went through a difficult divorce, and in 2020, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. They caught it early and I’m in remission. But I was eating comfort food all day long. And I had sciatica. I knew I needed to change. I downloaded the Thrive app. I got out my treadmill which was gathering dust. And I started walking. It was painful at first, but it got easier, I went up to 20 minutes, and now I’m jogging. Music pumps me up. I love Beyoncé’s “Halo.” And I love to dance. Dancing makes me feel like I did when I was a teenager. My diet has changed. For breakfast, I have oatmeal. Lunch is usually a turkey sandwich and apple. I make taco salad with turkey instead of beef. And I’m eating smaller portions. I’ve lost 10 pounds — oh my goodness, I feel amazing. We’re doing more together as a family. I go to the park with my kids and the dogs. I tell myself I’m beautiful, loving, alive, in remission, and blessed.”
“I have type 2 diabetes and neuropathy in my feet. It was extremely painful. I was eating fast food and I weighed 220 pounds. My breaking point came when I found out that my A1C was almost 12. Elizabeth Jowers inspired me to download the Thrive app. I love to cook, and I started making chicken and fish in the airfryer. I season everything with salt, lemon, and garlic, and it tastes awesome. My wife, Donna, and I spend time together in the park and we’ll go on the swings. When we’re outdoors enjoying the breeze and the trees, I feel free. Donna and I have been married for 33 years and we’re listening to each other instead of saying, ‘Do this, do that.’ We’re also going on date nights. I’ve lost 12 pounds so far. I have less pain. My goal: I want to get off the diabetes medicine completely and reverse my diabetes. And I’m optimistic I can do it.”
“I was an hourly worker, struggling to pay the bills — I was just surviving. My dream was to be a Walmart truck driver, but I didn’t believe it was possible for me. There aren’t many female truck drivers. I heard about the Thrive Challenge and got started. I saved up enough money to go to school and get my commercial driver’s license. Last year, I became a Walmart truck driver. I was extremely proud of myself. I love my job — I sit behind the wheel and drive. The job is very well-paid and financial stability has made a big difference. I’m in the truck a lot, and on my days off, my partner, Chris, and I walk our dog. And we go fishing. We’re spending time with the kids. I tell my three girls, ‘Do something you love and go for it — don’t give up.’ Thrive has changed my life. Five years ago, what were the chances that I would have my dream job? I hope I’m inspiring people to achieve their goals too.”
“I’m a breast cancer survivor. I got my diagnosis in 2009, and at the time I said, ‘This is not going to beat me.’ I’ve been in remission since then, but my husband and I haven’t been eating well and we were both overweight. We decided to focus on taking care of ourselves. And I downloaded the Thrive app. We joined a fitness center together. And I’m swimming laps in the pool. For dinner, we’ll make grilled chicken with fresh green beans or corn on the cob. We go for bike rides and take our kayaks out. And when we visit my son and his family in Idaho, I can run around with my grandbabies. I can jump on the trampoline with them now. Oh my goodness, I feel like I’m 10-years-old again. I’ve lost 28 pounds. I feel toned and my clothes look better. Oh my word, I have a new attitude and a whole new sense of who I am.”
“Seven years ago I had a terrible accident. There was a gas explosion at our farm and I was left with third degree burns all over my body. During my recovery, I gained a lot of weight. I neglected myself. I started the Thrive Challenge, and my first Microstep was packing my lunch. I’ll often have tuna salad and fruit. My family and I committed to changing the way we eat. For dinner, we’ll have air fried chicken and corn on the cob, or a stir fry. Working on our farm is great exercise. My son, Alex, and I used to ride our side-by-side around the property, but now we walk everywhere. We rescue animals and being with them all on our farm makes me happy. They give you unconditional love. Thrive has helped me to accept myself. I have a lot of scars and last week I actually put on my shorts. Accepting my scars is a victory sign. I love who I am — this is the new Sheila.”
“My husband, Houston, and I are happy together, but I had struggles with time management. I had high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes. My 25 year-old son, Colton, is disabled and I take care of him. I also take care of my mom who has dementia. Kathryn Carpitcher inspired me to download the Thrive app, and I began by watching Resets. I’ll click on the app and watch flowers swaying in the wind, or I’ll do breathing exercises. I set aside time to meal prep. I fill my lunchbox with chicken, cabbage, cauliflower rice, and a fruit medley. My time management is better. I’ve dropped things that aren’t important so I have more quality time with Colton. Here comes summer! We’re kayaking and swimming. I also take time for myself — I’ll take a hot bath with soothing epsom salts. And I’m sleeping better. I’ve lost 27 pounds; my cardiologist has cut down my medications, and he says my blood pressure is perfect now. My life has improved almost 100 percent.”
“Last year, my fiancé, Olivia, found out she had stage 3 Hodgkin lymphoma. During chemo, she was exhausted. I was picking up our three-year-old, Oliver, from daycare, and taking care of him. We were eating fast food, and I was always tired. Olivia’s doing well now — she’s in remission. But I wasn’t taking care of myself. I learned about Thrive from my friend, Justin Duarte, and I began cooking simple meals like shrimp alfredo and creamy mushroom pasta. Instead of soda and candy, I have fruit and water. We go for family walks with our dog, Odin. Oliver rides his Radio Flyer tricycle. I’m doing yard work. I’m finding that planting lilies and listening to the birds is calming. Oliva and I are in bed by 11 p.m. and off our devices. I’ll rub her back and feet, and give her a little R&R. I proposed and we’re talking about our marriage plans. My mother and father-in-law have some property and we’re planning a country-style wedding. It’s going to be wonderful.”
“My wife, Rosa, and I have a two-year-old daughter, Ava, and another baby on the way. We both work for Walmart. I had a physically demanding job as an order filler. I was eating fast food and I weighed 315 pounds. I was in pain, and I found out I had five herniated discs. I downloaded the Thrive app and I started eating vegetables, whole grains, and chicken. We’ll make burgers from grass fed beef, add cheese and wrap them in lettuce. Rosa and I are taking the Challenge together and she’s a great support. I built a home gym in our shed. I also ride my bike every day to the library, with Ava in the baby bike seat. At the library, we read stories. She loves books with dinosaurs and ghosts. I changed my job. I’m a maintenance technician, and I love my work. I’ve lost 80 pounds. My blood pressure is much lower, my pain’s gone, and I know I’ll be able to play with my kids as they grow up.”
“For years I’ve had hypertension and high blood pressure. I had knee pain and I was always tired. I was eating fast food, and I had no work-life balance. I’m 42 now, and my doctor said I needed to lose weight. I started the Thrive Challenge and committed to cutting out fast food. For snacks, I have cheese sticks or a handful of nuts. And for dinner, we’ll have shrimp with cauliflower rice, or beef and cabbage in a red sauce. I shut off my computer when I get home from work. My wife, Tiffany, and I are connecting. We go for walks along the wooded trails close to our house. I also make time for my hobbies, fishing, and beekeeping. It doesn’t get better and more local than honey from your own backyard. I have more energy and I’m spending more time with our kids. We’re going on vacation to France, which is exciting. My knees are less painful, I’m less stressed, and I’ve lost 21 pounds. I’m feeling optimistic about the future.”
“I got out of an abusive relationship and life has been difficult. I have seven children; three live with me, but I didn’t have the energy to run around with them. I was feeling unmotivated, I had high blood pressure, and I wasn’t eating well. My people lead, Christina, encouraged me to start the Thrive Challenge. I began having smaller portions at dinner time, putting less food on my plate. My daughter, Karina, loves cooking. She makes fantastic baked chicken with Cajun seasoning to give it a bit of a kick. I’m walking at least 10 thousand steps a day. Now I can chase my three-year-old, Izora, around the house without getting winded. We go to the park, and I go down the slide with her; I’ll push her on the swing. Writing is my creative outlet. I just self-published a paranormal romance called The Not So Secret Vampire. I’m less stressed and I’m really, really excited because I’ve lost 52 pounds. My blood pressure’s back to normal, I can breathe, and I feel fantastic.”
“I’m a 34-year-old single mom raising seven kids. Life is definitely hectic. I wasn’t sleeping well, I was eating fast food, and I needed to lose weight. I started the Thrive Challenge, and I began by food prepping. I’ll barbecue up a whole bunch of turkey and chicken thighs. I’ll cook rice or potatoes and I always get my greens in. I bought dumbbells and I do 30-minute YouTube workouts. I listen to Beyoncé or gospel music. I also walk two to three miles on the track near my house with the older kids. We’re spending more family time together. We go to the library and to the park. I get on the slide and I play basketball with the boys. My friend, Marilyn, and I go on spontaneous trips and we’ll go for spa days. Nothing is a walk in the park, but I’ve got everyone on a schedule and I feel less stressed. The Thrive Challenge is life-changing for me, I’m not gonna lie. I’ve got my house in order — and myself!”
“I had high cholesterol and high blood pressure. I’ve also battled elevated liver enzymes and my gastroenterologist said I needed to control my weight. I lost weight, but I wanted more support, and I started the Thrive Challenge. I follow a high protein diet that’s low in sugar and carbs. I’ll have steak or fish with broccoli and salad instead of french fries. I exercise with dumbbells and resistance bands. And it’s become a habit. I have energy to play with my grandkids. Three-year-old Coleman always wants me to turn him upside down and carry him around — that’s a work out in itself! I love gardening. It gets me outside in the sun and gives me some alone time. I’m fitter than I’ve been since I was in my 20s, and my liver enzymes are lower than they’ve ever been. Everything else is in the normal range now and I’m on lower doses of my medications. I know I’m going to be here for my grandkids, and that’s what makes it all worth it.”
“One of the biggest challenges in my life was breaking the news to my parents that I’m gay. That took a lot of courage. In fact they were very accepting. I live with my partner, Fernando, and I started the Thrive Challenge because I wanted to grow as a person. I began with food. Fernando and I enjoy cooking together. We’ll make tacos with turkey, and gluten free tortillas. And I make my own salsa. We’re not eating out and we’re saving a lot of money. I’ve also stopped spending money on things I don’t need, like clothes and cable. Working out every day at the gym helps to clear my head and release stress. And I love going for walks with my dog, Bella. I love to surf. I’m not the greatest surfer but I feel free and at ease in the water. My big goal is to buy a house. I’ve realized that if I want to keep moving forward in a positive direction, I just have to keep making small changes.”
“My husband, Adam, and I have seven kids. We’re happy, but I’ve struggled with feeling unworthy. I have a speech impediment, which has always made me feel embarrassed. I can’t spell very well. My dad was illiterate. I was overeating because I felt bad about myself. Kathryn Carpitcher, a Thrive Grand Champ, encouraged me to get started. I stopped eating fried food. I’ll make taco salad or beef shish kebabs. My favorite snack is celery and peanut butter. We have family dinners and we talk about our day and laugh. I’ve lost 30 pounds, and I’m moving much more. I exercise on my stair stepper, while listening to Michael Jackson, and I go to the gym. I got promoted to coach, and I couldn’t believe it. I never imagined I would ever get to where I am today, an equal with the other managers.There’s so much I want to do. I’m like The Little Engine That Could. My doctor is happy with my progress, and my feet don’t hurt anymore. I feel alive again.”