In January 2020, I woke up and the left side of my body was all tingly. I knew something was wrong and went with my wife, Kendra, to the ER. I found out I’d had a stroke and when our three kids came to the hospital and saw me in bed hooked up to machines, I could see they were scared. I’m 42 and I was overweight, didn’t exercise, and was eating junk food like candies and cookies. A year later, I was closing in on 300 pounds. I was pre-diabetic and my doctor said: “You have to lose weight.” I finally decided enough was enough — I want to be here for my kids as they grow up. One of my co-workers,Tammy Coday, who won the Thrive Challenge, inspired me to get started. I thought, “I can do that,” and downloaded the Thrive app.

To start with, I converted my garage into a home gym.

There’s a treadmill, a bench press, weights, and other equipment. I play music like Outkast and Eminem to get pumped up. My wife will be on the treadmill while I’m on the elliptical and my eight-year-old daughter, Aubreigh, loves to join in. I have energy now to play with the kids and as a family, we walk or bike around the neighborhood. It’s a pause from screen time and we’ve been getting to know our neighbors. 

After many years in management at Walmart, I have an awesome new position.

I’m an academy coach, training new managers. My job means I have a consistent schedule and can be there for my family. We’ll sit down at the table together every night and ask: “How was school? How was work?” I love to cook and usually make dinner. Aubreigh likes to help, doing the seasoning and stirring. I make a great beef and vegetable soup and the kids love my chicken tacos. 

I’ve lost 40 pounds so far, and I’d like to lose another 40 pounds, but I’m on track.

My knees and ankles don’t hurt now and I have more energy. My best tip is to keep junk food out of the house. If it’s not there, I don’t even crave it. My wife has also lost a lot of weight and we support each other. 

We’re bonding more as a family. 

With three kids, there’s not a lot of spare time, but we’ll play video games together and find time to do something without electronics like cards and board games. The kids love Trivial Pursuit, which gets pretty competitive in our house.  

Kendra and I tell each other “I love you” every single day. 

I leave the house early, before she wakes up, and we always send each other texts saying: 

“Hope your day’s great.” It makes us both feel good being grateful and knowing we’re thinking of each other. The Thrive Challenge is helping me reach my goals. It motivates me to be a better father and a better person.

— Ricky Biggs, Supercenter #0177; Paris, TN; $5K Winner