I had brain surgery in 2015 and have been overweight ever since. I wanted to lose the weight, but I couldn’t figure out how to do it. I had tried so many programs that didn’t work. My feet were aching, I couldn’t stand for long periods of time, and I was tired of having high blood sugar. So, I started the Challenge and saw a new diabetes doctor who told me what I should eat more of and what I should avoid. 

I cut back on pasta, bread, and soda and started to drink more water. 

Changing what I eat keeps me from getting bored, so I switch up my routine and eat different wraps, yogurt, and snacks like Skinny Pop. I used to have a heavy meal at lunchtime — and then I’d feel sluggish. Now, I have an orange and some juice in the morning and have small meals throughout the day. I eat chicken wings without the sauce, fruits like strawberries and grapes, and Lean Cuisines. What’s also helped is keeping cookies, chips, and candy out of the house. If I don’t buy it, I won’t eat it. 

I started walking more, on top of the steps I get at work.

I go to a park in town and get moving. I joined Planet Fitness and hope to start using the ellipticals and different machines soon. I’ve lost a lot of weight so far and was able to walk around without pain when my husband and I went on vacation in Tennessee. In the past, I’d have to sit things out because my feet and back hurt so much. Now, I was able to walk with no problem — my husband asked if I was OK and all I wanted was to keep going! The changes I’ve made have changed our marriage for the better. I have the mindset of, “Hey I want to do this. I want to be able to do things.” I want to go to the theme park and fit on the rides. I couldn’t do that before — but now I can.

Before, I’d constantly be out of breath. 

I’d occasionally use a scooter to get around. Now, I walk all around Walmart, and as a Customer Host, I’ll stand at the front of the store for eight, nine hours without feeling worn out. I’ve come down almost 10 pants sizes and have lowered my A1C from 14 to 6. It was so difficult — but I want a long life and I’m putting the work in.

My attitude has done a 360. 

I’ve realized I have willpower — I don’t need that ice cream, even when my body is craving it. I used to feel depressed — my body was weighing me down physically and mentally. Now I’m just so grateful for my husband, my kids, my family, and for all their support through the ups and downs.

Shereda Batiste, Supercenter #3288; Baton Rouge, LA; $5K Winner

Through the Thrive Challenge, our community is making Better Choices, seeing big results, and winning big.