I went through a difficult divorce, and in 2020, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. They caught it early, I had radiation, and I’m in remission. But I was eating comfort food all day long — like pizza and candy. I weighed 230 pounds and I had sciatica. I’d just sit on the couch and I wasn’t active with my kids — Diamond, who’s 17, 15-year-old Chasity, and 12-year-old Isiah. It was hard. I didn’t know what the future held for me. 

My kids noticed I’d changed. 

They’d say, “Mom doesn’t want to do anything.” It was heartbreaking. My boyfriend, Dwight, is supportive, but I felt terrible. At one point I was so depressed I didn’t want to be here anymore. I knew I needed to change my life. My sciatica was so bad I couldn’t walk. I’m 37, and I decided I was too young to be in so much pain. I wanted to live and feel free. My doctor said I needed to lose weight. I went through counseling which helped. At the start of this year, I downloaded the Thrive app.

I got out my treadmill which was gathering dust.

I started walking for 10 minutes a day. It was painful at first, but I kept going. It got easier, I went up to 20 minutes, and now I’m jogging. Music pumps me up while I’m exercising. I love Beyoncé’s “Halo” and “Crazy In Love”. And I love to dance. Dancing makes me feel like I did when I was a teenager, having fun with my friends. 

Physical therapy is helping me strengthen my muscles. 

I had been losing strength in my back and my legs and now I feel so much better. What really helps is the All Core 360 machine they use. I have to sit up in it and keep my abs tight and it strengthens the core.

It’s so nice to be able to clean my house again.

I couldn’t even do normal chores before. Now I can sweep and mop my floors. I can do laundry and fold it, and feel comfortable, which is huge for me. I’ve never felt more joyful; I’m proud of myself.

My diet has changed.

Every morning I take a shot of fresh lemon juice with cayenne, turmeric, and olive oil. It’s supposed to reduce inflammation in my body. For breakfast, I have oatmeal. Lunch is usually a turkey sandwich and apple. For dinner, I might have spaghetti or a hamburger. I make taco salad with turkey instead of beef. And I’m eating smaller portions. I’m also eating more vegetables. I love green beans.

I’ve lost 10 pounds — oh my goodness, I feel amazing.

I’m losing weight slowly which is what my doctor advised me to do, and it’s working. In the past I’d taken diet pills and then gained the weight back.

We’re doing more together as a family.

I go to the park with my kids, we’ll go for walks with the dogs, Ruby and Reaper. I’m able to handle them now, which I couldn’t do before. We’ve gone on trips to water parks. We go to see my mom and my sister in Duckwater which is three hours away. I couldn’t even sit in the car for that long before I started the Thrive Challenge because my back would be killing me. We help my mom because she has bad sciatica and she can’t walk. I can help with her chores now. 

While we’re with my mom, we go to the hot springs and we play softball.

Where she lives is very outdoorsy and we do simple things, like going for walks in the sunset. Last time we were there, we all went to a Mexican dance with a live band and we danced all night long. I could move, I was alive again, I was joyful. 

Giving back is important. 

I helped sell Indian tacos for a cheerleading team. And I volunteer for a non profit called F.I.S.H. (Friends In Service Helping) because they helped me when I got kicked out of my house by my husband and had nothing but the clothes on my back. I love to help out whenever I can.

Affirmations help me stay positive.

I tell myself I’m beautiful, I’m loving, I’m alive, I’m in remission, and blessed. At night, I read the Bible and pray. And I’m grateful that I’m not living in pain.

— Sheena Thompson, Walmart Supercenter #2402, Elko, NV; $5K Winner