Before the Challenge, I was overweight, a Type 2 diabetic, and had no drive. I felt tired all the time. My decisions were affecting everything — my family, my bank account, my life. Then my wife, Dana, who also works for Walmart, brought home a Thrive booklet one day. She showed me some other people who were doing the Challenge on Facebook, and I thought, “If they can do it, I can do it, too.” 

“I’ve learned to channel my willpower.”

I’ve been on my Thrive journey for four years and have lost a lot of weight. I started by focusing on diet and exercise. I did what I called a “whiteout” — I stopped eating white carbs like bread, pasta, and rice. I also limited my sugar intake. Before I knew it, I noticed my blood sugar and weight dropping. Changing my eating habits was the hardest part, especially when it came to social events, or when co-workers brought sweets to the office. I’ve learned to channel my willpower and find ways to fight the cravings. When I want something sweet, I’ll pop a sugar-free candy in my mouth and it will curb my appetite for something sugary. I’ve also found great swaps, like kelp noodles instead of pasta, which absorb so much flavor. I’ve stopped drinking soda, and instead drink around 120 ounces of water each day, and snack on things like hard-boiled eggs, almonds, and cheese. When 6 p.m. rolls around, I’m done eating for the day. 

“I actually look forward to working out.”

I start each day with stretching, and I focus on my goal of getting at least 10,000 steps. I go for walks during my breaks and when I get home. My son-in-law, who is a fitness trainer, put together a workout program for me that I do twice a week. Now, I actually look forward to working out. Years ago, if I walked a mile I’d be buckled over, holding my knees. Now I can jog three miles and not be out of breath — and what’s more, I feel enthusiastic about it! 

Now that I’m more active and energetic, I’m spending more time with my family, too. I go to my grandchildren’s soccer games and can play with them without getting overtired or losing my breath. I want to make sure I spend as much time with them as possible. We even go hiking and camping. I had never done those things before, and now I love them. 

“I’m a happier, more patient person who wants to share my journey with others.”

The Challenge has set off a positive domino effect in my life. I’ll never look back. I’ve seen other people who have Type 2 diabetes and how it affects their lives. I realized I didn’t want to be like that, and I didn’t want to put my family through that, either. My attitude has changed tremendously; I’m a happier, more patient person who wants to share my journey with others. I hope others can see my changes and think the same thing I did when I first started: “If he can do it, I can do it, too.” 

––Patrick Fuller, Walmart Print Solutions; Bentonville, AR; $5K Winner