I’ve had psoriasis since 2013, which is very uncomfortable and embarrassing. When it’s hot or when I’m stressed, my condition gets worse. I get chills and a tingling sensation that shoots down my body — and it really hurts. My skin gets red, dry, and patchy and I hate the way I look. It also led to arthritis. And I had no energy. It’s been hard at work because I’m always having to explain my situation to managers; and I felt like it was holding me back. I’m 46, and my wife Yessica has two teenage sons, my stepsons, Jose and Angel. 

It didn’t help that I was eating cookies and junk food. 

And I wasn’t exercising. Kathryn Carpitcher, a Thrive Grand Champ, encouraged me to start the Thrive Challenge. She explained how it had changed her life and I thought it could help me feel better.

I started by cutting out energy drinks and just drinking water instead.

I cut out sugar and processed food. I’ll have oatmeal and fruit for breakfast.  Yessica learned how to cook from her grandma and she makes great homemade Mexican food for dinner, like enchiladas, tacos, and beef stew. We’re eating lots of vegetables and salad. And I love her pico de gallo. I’ll bring leftovers to work which saves money too. Eating well is helping my psoriasis and I feel less sluggish. My skin is less red and itchy. 

Meditating helps me relax.

When I wake up and before I go to sleep, I take deep breaths in and out, and I watch a bunch of Thrive Resets. I love the one with sunsets. I used to meditate when I was younger and getting back to it is helping me relax and feel less stressed. 

I’m stretching, and I can move my joints more freely.

In high school I did weight training, but I set it aside when the boys came along. Now I’m slowly getting back into it again with Microsteps — I’m working out at home with light weights.

I used to be a really good swimmer and I’ve started again. 

I’m swimming without feeling embarrassed. We’ve been swimming at Sportsman Lake, and it was really nice. The water’s cold but it feels good on my skin. I used to be a really good swimmer, and getting back in the water feels pretty good. 

My skin is getting better and better; It’s less red and scaly.

And I’m optimistic that the psoriasis might just go away one day, like it came.

I’m more flexible, and at work I can move easier to do my job. 

I unload trucks and stock groceries and heavy containers of water. I used to have shoulder pain and that’s gone now. I’m more confident and positive, and I’m thinking of applying to become a team lead.

I’m trying to be the dad that I didn’t have. 

My dad was an alcoholic and wasn’t around. My mom raised me and my three siblings. But now, I don’t dwell on the negative. I’m focusing on being there for Jose and Angel. I’m making breakfast for them, and we’ll all eat together. We’re listening to a lot of music. They’re into rock music like Nirvana and AC/DC. I bought them amps, keyboards and guitars, and we’re learning to play the guitar together. Seeing them play is awesome. We’re all artistic and we’re doing art projects like painting together. 

I’m putting my artistic abilities into fixing up our house, which needs a lot of work.

I’m working on the kitchen, putting in new cabinets. I put in a new sink and did a lot of repairs. I even learned how to tile and put in a tiled backsplash white gray silver tiles I used antique to create a centerpiece for the doorway. Everyone’s pretty impressed.

We’re doing more together as a family, because I feel better about myself.

We go out to eat and we go for walks. We went to our niece’s graduation party and to a birthday party.

I’m 46 but I don’t feel my age.

And at work people think I’m in my 20s. I feel happier, more energetic and more optimistic about life.

— Brian Sedlock, Walmart Supercenter #103, Shawnee, OK; $5K Winner