I was discharged from the military after getting injured, and I’ve been struggling mentally and physically. I gained weight — I weighed 230 pounds — and my knees hurt. I live with my parents, and when I wasn’t working I was just lying around. I’m 25 and I wasn’t where I’d hoped I’d be at this point in my life. My co-workers inspired me to take the Thrive Challenge. They kept telling me how doing little things each day slowly turn into healthy habits, and I was excited to get started. 

Losing weight was a big goal.

I started shopping for groceries and checking ingredients to make sure I was buying healthy food. And I began researching new recipes. I make really good chicken parmesan with Greek yogurt and veggies. I’m eating a lot of green beans, Brussels sprouts, and spinach, which I didn’t eat before, and fruit like watermelon and bananas. And I portion out my food so I don’t overeat.  

A simple Microstep motivated me to move: getting outside and walking 1000 steps a day. 

I found that walking gave me mental peace and the chance to reflect on my life and my goals. I started to feel more energetic and my walks got longer. Now I go to the gym at the YMCA and shoot hoops on the basketball court. I also took up swimming, but I’m not doing a whole lot of laps yet; I go back and forth about ten times. I also jog in the pool which helps my knees. Then afterwards, I relax in the hot tub and sauna. What’s nice is that I’ve made new friends; we’ll work out or just go for a run.  

I’m also getting together with old friends. 

We’re going for hikes even when it’s chilly and we’re playing soccer. One buddy, Jody, is a dog trainer and we walk seven or eight dogs together. I’ll bring along my husky, Xena, who’s my best friend. It’s really crazy, but all the dogs are well trained and we have a lot of fun. People love seeing all the dogs and come over and talk to us. 

Every Tuesday my friends and I have a game night and play Monopoly. 

It’s just the guys getting together, like a men’s group. Sometimes we travel together to a new place, too — we’ve been to Louisville, Kentucky and Panama City, Florida. We’ll find an Airbnb and explore and have fun and talk about life. I really look forward to our trips — having a bunch of good friends brings me a lot of joy.

Giving back also helps me connect and makes me happy.

I started volunteering for the Police Athletic League (PAL). It’s for kids in the community, and when I was younger, I played baseball and soccer with them. The organizer, Bill, is a family friend. I help to get ready for the games; I’ll paint the lines on the field and pick up trash after the games. Soon I’m going to start doing some soccer coaching. Last year I was proud that I donated $1000 to PAL for kids who can’t afford to play sports, and I’m going to do the same this year.  

Thrive has helped me get back my motivation.

I’m building my career at Walmart. Each day I tell myself I’m a great lift driver. I’m taking a  leadership class; my goal is to become an area manager. 

I leave my work at the door and at home I focus on my family instead of turning on the T.V. 

We go for walks around the neighborhood with our dogs. On the weekend, my younger brother comes home from college and we’ll have dinner together as a family. My dad’s my best friend and he helps me out with everything. We love going to car shows together. Both my parents are supporting me on my Thrive journey. 

I’ve lost 20 pounds and I feel more confident. 

When I saw my doctor she said I look and sound much, much better and happier than I did on my last visit. To have her say that meant a lot, because I’ve been working hard, using my Microsteps, and I’m doing everything I can to get to where I want to be.

— Chazz Scott, Distribution Center #7055, Gas City, IN; $5K Winner