My girlfriend, Amanda, and I are hoping to have a baby. Amanda got pregnant twice, but both times she miscarried. I’m 36, I already have a son, Isaac, who’s seven, and I love being a parent. Amanda has PCOS, a hormonal condition that can make it hard to get pregnant, and the doctor recommended a healthier lifestyle to give her the best possible chance. I wanted to support her and I needed to make changes myself. I was eating at McDonald’s and I was the heaviest I’d ever been at 289 pounds. The catalyst for me was in January last year when I found out I had high cholesterol and I was pre-diabetic. My doctor looked me in the eye and told me he wanted me to lose weight.

I wanted to be a good role model for my son, and for my future kids.

And I wanted a more positive mindset. My wife and I both work at Walmart and we heard about the Thrive Challenge from Kathryn Carpitcher, a Thrive Grand Champ. She’s so inspiring, and she and her husband are also on a fertility journey. So Amanda and I got started. 

The first thing I did was buy a water bottle.

It has encouraging words on it like, “Hi good job, you’re almost there,” and “Refill me.” Drinking lots of water really helped me cut my cravings. Fast food and soda pop are now out of the picture! 

Amanda and I are cooking together.

We’re bonding in the kitchen and enjoying each other’s company. She’s a better cook than me and she’s vegetarian, so we’re eating more plant-based meals. We love brussels sprouts with cranberries and sunflower seeds. We make roast cauliflower and a fantastic lasagna with ricotta cheese and a lot of spinach. And I’ll bake some chicken for myself. 

At work, I’m walking 15 to 20 thousand steps a day. 

And at home, we’ve converted the garage into what Amanda calls my “man space,” where I do my workouts. I have an elliptical, a bench press, and dumbbells. Music motivates me. My son and I love the band AJR. Isaac and I are connecting over music. One of their songs is called “The Good Part,” which always makes me think of my son. 

I’ve lost weight and my doctor gave me a fist bump.

He was so happy. Even the nurses were happy with my progress.

My favorite Microstep is making time for meaningful connections.

It reminds me to text Amanda throughout the day and let her know I love her. I always say “You da best, I can’t wait to be home with you.” And I add a bunch of hearts. I want her to understand that I’m always going to be with her and we’re going to get through all our challenges. 

Being a dad is the best thing in the world.

When I first heard Isaac cry in the hospital it instantly changed my life. Amanda and I are appreciating our time with Isaac on the days we have him. We love playing games together, like Trouble and Jenga — we’re all competitive. None of us like to lose! 

We all love going to the trampoline park. 

Amanda and I won’t last as long as Isaac — he can go for hours. But there’s something about jumping on a trampoline that brings out your inner kid. Even if you’re having a bad day you’ll laugh and find happiness. We co-parent vey well and she’s a fantastic mom. 

We’re spending time with Amanda’s family.

Her brother has three kids, and when Amanda’s holding the baby, Maverick, it puts a huge smile on my face because it just puts a huge smile on my face. She’s going to be an amazing mom and we’re going to figure out how to make it happen. 

We’re excited that Walmart is helping cover the cost of fertility treatments.

It means we can look at options like IVF. Another option in the future would be adoption. It’s fantastic because there are so many heartbreaking stories from couples trying to have children. And this assistance from Walmart is making it financially realistic for couples like us to have that miracle child. 

— Christopher Diaz, Walmart Supercenter #3851, Lafayette, IN; $5K Winner