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 100 pounds in a year, 23 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