Before taking on the Challenge, I was trying too many things at once in an effort to be healthier. I was being pulled in so many different directions that I wasn’t consistent with anything. I was pushing myself in my workouts and had been taking CrossFit classes since June, but wasn’t holding myself accountable for what I did outside of the gym. I wasn’t eating right or sleeping well. I also wanted to be in a better place with my mental health. One day, I received an email from the Walmart Benefits Team about Thrive. I read the story about Rikki Maisonet, the $25K Grand Champion from Bentonville, Arkansas, and was instantly inspired. I realized I could start making small changes over time, which didn’t feel as daunting.

“I’m waking up every day feeling grateful.”

I have been relatively stressed over the course of the pandemic, so I decided to start writing in my “5-minute Journal” each morning when I wake up and each evening before bed. This gives me two small moments during my day where I can reflect, practice gratitude and mindfulness, and ultimately feel better. I’m waking up every day feeling grateful for what I have — even the small things — and that I have the ability to push my body to achieve my goals. 

“I’m paying more attention to nutrition labels.”

Before I started the Challenge, I was counting macros, which proved to be really stressful. With the Challenge, I slowed down and decided to try the plate method, which a friend had told me about. With this method, I’m filling my plate with 25% protein, 25% starches, and 50% vegetables. This is a simple way for me to make sure I’m eating balanced meals — and it allowed me to realize I wasn’t eating nearly enough vegetables before! I’m also cutting out added and processed sugars, avoiding snacks that have ingredients I can’t pronounce, and paying more attention to nutrition labels in general. 

“I have more energy.”

I’m drinking more water, around 100 ounces each day, and eating more foods with healthy fats like avocados, nuts, and nut butters. I’m using my Instant Pot and air fryer to make life easier and healthier in the kitchen. With these changes, I have more energy, sleep better at night, and am performing better at the gym. I’ve also lost about five pounds and one percent body fat, and am saving $60-$100 a month by cooking more meals at home and buying more fruits and vegetables instead of bags and boxes of snacks.

“The Challenge was the spark I needed.”

I’m doing CrossFit classes four days a week, which involve a lot of cardio and weightlifting. On my off days, I take walks and my girlfriend and I play with our new puppy in the yard. My girlfriend was actually so inspired by the changes I’ve made that she decided to join CrossFit, too. I am feeling more fulfilled and accomplished, healthy, and happy. The Challenge was the spark I needed to get moving in a new direction, and for that I am grateful.

—Lindsey Oliver, St. Petersburg, FL; $2K Winner

Small daily choices can lead to life-changing results. Download the Thrive App today to improve your well-being. For more inspiring stories, follow Thrive on Facebook and Instagram.