For a while, I was working from home and I was stuck in a routine of waking up, rolling over, and turning on my laptop. Work was stressful because I made it that way. I tried to do everything on my own. I was also struggling with self-deprecating habits. I would say things to myself like, “If I eat this whole plate of food, I’m going to feel guilty and gross.” I had no trust in myself or in my ability to make decisions about eating. 

Anna Masse mentioned the Thrive Challenge during one of our work Family Reunion Meetings. 

I reached out to Anna to congratulate her on her success, and she told me to just download the Thrive app and give it a try. I had just had my yearly physical in July, and I found out my A1C levels were in the prediabetic range. I knew I needed to try to make a change. One Tuesday night around 3:00 a.m., I downloaded the Thrive app and decided I would give it an honest try.

I started by going to see a dietitian. 

I started making changes to my portion sizes, eating slower, and starting my day with water. I also made a point to walk outside on sunny days. I started challenging myself to switch from thinking, “I have to work out or I’ll gain weight,” to, “Working out is a celebration of what my body can do.”

As a Ghanaian living in the states, I’ve learned to portion control our calorie-rich foods and enjoy them in moderation. 

When I make my favorite food — kenkey, for example — I’ll use a fresh tomato, onion, and habanero pepper sauce instead of eating it with the traditional black pepper sauce. I also love nachos, but I use a sweet potato cornchip, and 93% lean turkey sautéed in onions, garlic, tumeric and cumin. 

My younger sister, AJ, lives with me, and she has been a major catalyst for my change.

We cook together and once a month we bring my grandma to our place and we cook traditional Ghanaian foods with her. My sister and I love experimenting with recipes. The way I view food has completely changed. 

I’m now able to send money back home to my family. 

Beforehand, I was spending $200–$400 per month on clothes and shoes I don’t even wear. Now, I’ve deleted the shopping apps and all three of my savings accounts are up 500 dollars each. When I started saving well and reducing my monthly budget, I was able to do more for my people.

I have a mirror that I write affirmations on. 

When I feel like dwelling in the self-deprecating moments, I drag myself to the mirror and say, “I am somebody, I am special” and then I say it in Spanish: “Yo Soy Alguien, Yo Soy Especial.” I’m generally a more gracious person now. Grace takes time! I used to only extend grace to those around me, but I’ve started talking to myself as if I’m a friend. The Thrive Challenge has given me a better perspective on life. 21 days is just the beginning for me. 

— Nana Buadu, Walmart Supercenter #3827, Richmond, TX; $5K Winner