Two years ago, with COVID in full swing, I wasn’t feeling good. 

I was 45, I weighed 295 pounds, I had high blood pressure and anxiety. I love baking and was always making pies and brownies. Both my parents were overweight and died from heart conditions. I decided to change my life — first and foremost, for my daughter Emerald, who’s now 13, to make sure I’m here for her as she grows up. I began by walking to the end of my street and back. I couldn’t even make it up the hill at first, but gradually improved my stamina. Instead of eating bread and potatoes, I cooked meat and vegetables. I lost a lot of weight but hit a plateau and I wasn’t motivated to keep going. My best friend passed away from COVID. My husband and I hadn’t been getting along and we got divorced — I was very unhappy.

My co-worker, Jack Jackson, inspired me to start the Thrive Challenge.

He sends encouraging texts like: “Have you worked out today?” He’s extremely fit and helped me set up a fitness plan, so now I exercise at home with weights. 

I’ve started running and feel so proud of myself. 

I was one of those people who would never consider running. Now, I love it. I turn my music on — my favorite song right is Eminem’s,“’Till I Collapse” — I go inwards and feel calm and free. I’ve done two 5Ks and just signed up for an 8K.  

I cook veggie stir fries and make delicious egg white omelets with tomato and cheese. 

I still bake, but give the cakes away to friends and neighbors. Sometimes, my daughter and I go for frozen yogurt and I’ll say: “You know what? Spending time with Emerald is important and having a little treat is okay.”

At night I close my eyes and listen to guided meditations on YouTube.

They take you on a “journey” down a path to the river with the sounds of nature in the background. It helps me relax and clear my mind. 

My daughter and I are involved in Girl Scouts which is bonding for both of us.

I’m the troop leader and product manager for five cities and volunteer over 50 hours a month — more in Girl Scout Cookie season! It’s so fulfilling knowing I am making a small, positive contribution to the girls’ lives, including Emerald’s, so they learn to be strong and know they can achieve anything.

I tell everyone on my team about the Thrive Challenge.

I tell them unlike other programs, it’s a mindset change. We focus on Microsteps, small things you can do to improve your life, like moving and connecting with people and saving money.  

I’ve lost weight since starting the Thrive Challenge.

But my journey is about much more than the weight loss: it’s the confidence that comes with it. I’m doing good for myself and others and living my best life.

— Ginger Green, Walmart Home Office; Bentonville, AR; $5K Winner