I struggled with insomnia for a long time and I was always on the go, so I was constantly feeling tired and sluggish. I have two kids who are now 25 and 21, but for a while, it felt like we were always running around and I didn’t have time for myself. I would get home from work feeling really tired. It finally got to a point where I knew I had to get active, so I started walking. 

As a People Lead, I would always see the flyers for the Thrive Challenge. 

I had just started taking walks during my lunch break, so I thought, “The Thrive Challenge could help keep me accountable.” I was looking for ways to be more active and be outdoors more. I live near a lot of trails, and I enjoy walking through the forest and just seeing the flowers and scenery.

As soon as I started walking, I realized I had a lot more energy. 

The more time I spent outdoors, the more energy I had. I didn’t feel so tired at the end of my workday. My favorite place to walk is Mount Elden, which is near my home. I spend a lot of time walking the various trails and snapping pictures! I now walk anywhere from four to twelve miles per day. 

We started cooking at home more often instead of going out. 

I’ve been married to my husband, Phillip, for 27 years — and our son, Diego, lives with us. Over the past year or so, we decided to cook more at home and eat better. It’s easy to just pick something up so you don’t have to worry about cooking, but now that I’m watching what I eat, I have so much more energy. And I’ve gone from a size 12 to a size four! 

I went from sleeping two hours a night to eight hours.

Once I started walking and being more active, I found that I was no longer waking up every hour. I now sleep seven or eight hours a night. It’s been a huge change to be able to feel rested. Going for a walk before it gets dark out has helped.

I’m now friendlier, more engaged, and I’m enjoying life.

Diego plays adult soccer so we go to games and watch him. I’m also spending more quality time with my mom and I attend weekly church with her. But for me, personal growth has been the biggest change. Doing all this stuff makes you think and grow and challenge yourself. I’ll go on a hike and say, “Let’s add this trail onto it and see where it takes me.” 

Getting through my day isn’t tiresome or draining anymore. 

I don’t have that middle-of-the-day feeling where I’m feeling sluggish after lunch and feel like I need a nap. My goal now is to keep walking and trying new hikes. I’d love to try some trails in Sedona and maybe even hike the Grand Canyon. It’s so beautiful here and there are so many different options. For anyone thinking about getting started with the Thrive Challenge, I’d recommend getting out and trying it. Just because you haven’t done it, doesn’t mean you can’t do it. 

— Carmen Ramirez, Walmart Supercenter #4252, Flagstaff, AZ; $5K Winner