Life at 228 pounds was painful. I’m 29 and have had continuous back pain. I was sedentary and had no energy, which was upsetting because I used to be extremely active. I was a cross country runner in high school and served as a police officer in the Navy. I was depressed and it was affecting my two kids. I was also overeating. The pizza delivery guy knew my name and my order: meat lover’s pizza with extra cheese. My husband, Daniel, is a stay-at-home dad right now; I’m the sole provider and need to be healthy! The final straw that led to me to start the Challenge was when my doctor told me, “You need to prepare yourself for a wheelchair, if something doesn’t drastically change.” 

My first step was to stop drinking soda.

It was challenging, but I started to lose weight, which was encouraging. We began cooking high protein, low carb recipes. My favorite is steak cooked in the air fryer with broccoli and cauliflower and a small serving of mashed potatoes. My husband makes an amazing pan-seared chicken with green beans. For dessert, I turn to nature’s candy, fruit — I love pineapple. I’m more mindful about eating, asking myself whether I’m hungry or eating because I’m bored.

I started walking every day and gradually began running again.

I love it and it helps me de-stress. Now I can run a mile-and-a-half without getting winded. Six months ago, if you would’ve told me I’d be running I would have laughed. But here I am: I’ve been doing it for 120 days consecutively, and I’m not stopping. 

I’m getting therapy, which has been really helpful and supportive.

I’ve discovered that my overeating was the result of a trickle-down from the trauma I experienced when I was in the Navy, serving in Bahrain. I did not want people to get close to me. Now I’ll look in the mirror and give myself pep talks. If I’ve overeaten, I’ll say: “Today is a new day; what can I do to make myself a little more successful than yesterday?” 

My husband and I are enjoying our hobby: car racing. We’re also restoring a motorcycle, the same model as the 1965 Honda Dream that Elvis Presley owned! We’re going to paint it orange, my favorite color, and call it The Dreamsicle. My goal: to finish my motorcycle training and get my license. 

I’ve lost a lot of weight and am on track to lose even more.

Motherhood is awesome now — I can chase my 2-year-old daughter, Dayton, around the backyard and we’re playing soccer together. And at work I have a more positive attitude. I encourage everyone to take the Challenge, and I’m leading by example.

I feel strong and confident and the future looks bright. 

I’m pain-free and definitely won’t be needing a wheelchair! I’m participating in a 5K Fun Run with my sister in September. I am becoming a kinder, better version of myself.  

—Christie Phillip, Supercenter #2432; Lincoln, NE; $5K Winner

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