Over the years, I’d lost weight, but I was feeling low because I’d gained a lot back and weighed 190 pounds. I’d reverted to old bad habits: eating comfort food like pizza and chocolate. I was smoking a pack of cigarettes a day and living paycheck-to-paycheck. I’m 45 and every day felt like Groundhog Day, doing the same thing over and over again. I was in a rut so I started the Challenge.

I stopped eating out, started eating fresh food instead of processed food, and began meal prepping for the week. 

I’ll cook a huge sweet potato casserole with ground turkey and brussels sprouts, or salmon and asparagus, and take some into work for lunch. I exchanged sweets for strawberries and mandarin oranges, which satisfy my sugar cravings. And I enjoy making ice cream from bananas and other fruit. I found that cutting out sugar helps me sleep better. But I do treat myself. For special occasions, like my birthday, I’ll have cookie dough ice cream. 

I never used to move — now I walk my dog, Butters, twice a day. 

I couldn’t even do one push-up. Now, I do group workouts at the gym, which help me stay accountable. We do a combination of cardio and weights, and we’re always cheering each other on. And anytime it’s sunny, you’ll find me out kayaking; I love spending time in nature — it helps me to de-stress. I also stretch in the morning which is my form of meditation. 

By cutting out fast food and tracking my spending, I am saving $400 a month. 

I put money right into my savings account as soon as I get paid. I’m mindful about my electricity use and other bills and I set financial goals, so I don’t need to dip into my savings. Having a little nest egg is a huge relief. Giving back is also important to me and I donate $10 a month to my local animal charity.

I quit smoking and each day I’m super grateful to wake up and be able to breathe. 

Using the nicotine patch, I cut down gradually until I stopped completely. Now, I can’t believe I used to smoke. When I smell smoke on someone I turn the other way. My kids are super proud of me for quitting and I feel like a good role model. 

I love making a positive impact, encouraging people to take the Challenge. 

Everyone jokes, “Hey, you need to stop losing so much weight!” And several of my associates have been inspired to download the app and make Better Choices too. Motivating others keeps me on track. 

I’ve lost 25 pounds and I just did a 5K race to celebrate my achievements. 

I’m not the fastest, but doing the race is a reminder that I can achieve my goals and move forward. I have a way more positive outlook on life — I’m living my dream.

—Sandi Blazon, Supercenter #2330; Rochester, N.H.; $5K Winner

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