My life before the Challenge: I often felt like I didn’t have enough energy to function. I was so out of shape that I could hardly walk by the end of my shifts. I’d take the easy way out — sleeping instead of helping around the house, and swinging through the drive-thru for a burger, fries, and pop instead of cooking dinner. I did a lot of things out of convenience — but convenience was gone when COVID hit. I was convinced I needed to make some changes when I couldn’t fit on a roller coaster at a local amusement park. 

I took a hard look at myself and thought about the changes I could make.

I remembered seeing Challenge posters in the break room and articles about Winners in Walmart World magazine. I also had some friends and family who were eating low-carb and making progress, so I thought I could give it all a try. I started small. I looked at the meals I was making and found ways to make them just a little healthier, like using almond or coconut flour instead of regular flour or swapping in sugar-free sauces. I’ve started ordering keto snacks from small businesses — I recently ordered beef jerky made by an 11-year-old, and it was really delicious! 

I used to overindulge in sodas — I’d have three or four every shift

Now sugary soda just doesn’t taste right to me. I’m drinking water with electrolytes instead. Cutting back on sugar has helped bring down the inflammation and varicose veins in my legs. I’ve also noticed I feel fuller after eating healthy meals, rather than going to the drive-thru, so I’ve been making an effort to cook at home. It’s been worth spending extra money on healthier options because I look at it as an investment in myself. I’ve gained so much confidence. It’s something I never knew I was missing from my life until now!

Putting the scale away has made a huge difference.

So many people get tied down weighing themselves every day instead of focusing on the other gains they’ve made. I take pictures of my progress so I can compare monthly, and avoid bogging down my mental health by weighing myself constantly. I aim to get 20 miles in steps every day, and I’ve been enjoying playing video games like Nintendo Ring Fit Adventure, Fitness Boxing 2, and Beat Saber to get my heart rate up at home. I’ve lost over 40 pounds and I’ve gone from a 3XL vest at work to an XL.

My wife, Christine, and I are a dynamic duo.We help each other prep low-carb meals. Christine doesn’t particularly enjoy cooking, so her willingness to help means a lot. We root each other on and have fun picking out dinner with eMeals, a meal planning service through Walmart. With eMeals and the support of Christine, I’m no longer being lazy or spending money on eating out. I’ve been enjoying buying new clothes, and now that I’m slimming down, I can even fit into my wife’s clothing! I never knew I could feel this good, and I never knew just how much small changes could change my life. I’m confident I’ll be able to get on that roller coaster and all the rides next time I go to my local amusement park.

—Rachel Johnson, Supercenter #1722; Marshall, MN; $5K Winner

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