I’m a single mom. I had my daughter, Isabella, when I was very young, and it’s been hard. There’s a lot of responsibility. I’m 31 now and Isabella’s 13. I didn’t have a balance between spending time with my daughter and taking care of myself. I was stress eating, I wasn’t sleeping well, I weighed 320 pounds, and I was on high blood pressure medicine. I also care for my grandma who has early dementia. The turning point came when I was getting out of breath walking to the front door of the building at work. I said, “I can’t take this anymore.”

A co-worker, Gabino Suarez, recommended that I start the Thrive Challenge.

I downloaded the app and began going to the gym. I started lifting light weights and gradually increased the weight. I found I was getting stronger and stronger. It’s exciting to see how far I can push myself. 

My co-workers and I have weekly challenges to see who can get in the most steps. 

Also, my mom, Charlotte, is doing the Challenge with me — she’s a Walmart manager. We text each other to see how we’re doing and hold each other accountable. 

I’ve started to meditate.

Sometimes my daughter will join me. We’ll relax and do a Thrive Reset — I really like the short breathing exercises. They help me stay calm so I don’t overthink things. 

Isabella plays softball and I practice with her in the backyard.

I used to play softball myself in school and I’m enjoying getting back into it. I’m coaching Isabella and it’s a great bonding experience. We ride our bikes and we swim at my sister’s house — she has a pool. We also go for relaxing walks around the neighborhood. Isabella and I talk about what’s going on in her life. There’s lots of middle school friendship drama and I do my best to give her good advice! 

Every week I write a grocery list and plan what we’ll eat each day. 

I’ll make baked chicken with broccoli or lettuce wraps with turkey and cheese. And I’m a big fan of Caesar salad. We have taco nights; I’ll use ground beef and low carb tortillas. Meal prepping means I make healthy choices every day because I know what I’m going to eat. Also, I’m spending less at work because I’m not buying food from the taco truck. 

Finances have always been stressful, but now I save $120 a week.

I cut down on eating out and extra spending, and the money goes straight into a savings account. I’m building a rainy day fund for things like plumbing emergencies — I had one recently!

Isabella and I love painting together. 

We sit down with our acrylics and canvases. Isabella likes to paint flowers and abstracts, and I like painting trees. Sometimes we don’t even talk to each other, we’re just focusing and enjoying ourselves.

I’m making myself a priority and giving myself more time.

I like fixing myself up and looking nice, and I’m doing daily affirmations. I tell myself I’m beautiful, I’m smart, and I can handle anything that comes my way. I’m also in a new relationship. CJ and I are going on dates. Sometimes we’ll just go to the park or for a drive or we’ll go out for dinner and try something new. I’m not very adventurous, but he took me for Vietnamese food which was great. 

My mom and I went on a cruise to the Bahamas. 

My younger sister looked after Isabella. I had so much fun relaxing and getting away from it all. It was great having the freedom to do whatever I wanted for a few days. 

I’m sleeping much better.

In the evening, I have a routine. I watch some T.V. — I really like anime. Then at 8:30, Isabella and I both put away our electronics. She’ll read until it’s time for bed. I have a relaxing shower and wind down. Then I put my phone on “do not disturb.” As soon as my head hits the pillow, I’m asleep. 

Thrive has helped me lower my stress, which was the number one thing I wanted to do.
And I’ve lost 35 pounds. My doctor is really happy and told me to keep up the good work. I feel energized, calmer, and a whole lot happier.

— Elisa Contreras, Return Center #9153, Waco, TX; $5K Winner