Ever since the birth of my son, who is now 2, I struggled to lose the baby weight I’d gained. I weighed 190 pounds and have high blood pressure. Whenever I got stressed, I’d snack. My weakness: I love cereal! My favorite is Honey Bunches of Oats with almonds. I’d have two bowls after dinner even though I wasn’t hungry. I have 7- and 9-year-old girls and after work and checking their homework, I felt too tired to work out. My coworker told me about the Thrive Challenge, and I decided to give it a try. 

I started buying cereal every other week instead of every week.

I went from three bowls to one bowl a night, but it became easier to cut it out completely. Now, at the grocery store, I stay away from the cereal aisle. For treats, I eat almonds mixed with raisins or cranberries, which gives me the crunch I like in the cereal and satisfies my sweet tooth. I also love sweet tea but I dilute it with water so it’s less sugary. We’re eating more veggies. Instead of cooking spaghetti — everyone’s favorite — I bought a spiralizer and make zucchini noodles. We switched from beef to turkey for the sauce. And I make a delicious lasagna with zucchini. My husband, Tekulve, and I take turns cooking, which is a life-saver. 

My kids motivate me. They hold me accountable and we exercise together.

They say, “Mom, we’ve got to work out today.” We jump rope and do jumping jacks and dance to merengue, which gets your hips moving. I’m from Jamaica, and love reggae, like Sean Paul and Beenie Man. We have family races. I’ll say, “Who wants to race Mommy?” They love it! When my daughters ride their bikes, I’ll run with them and try to keep up — now that’s hard! Also, I have a step machine that was collecting dust so I started using it. I gradually went from five- to 30-minute sessions.  

I have more energy for the family.

I used to get home from work and lie down. Now I don’t need to nap. I’m there for the kids, and we do activities like board games and puzzles and they’re learning to play chess. I like games that stimulate their minds — and by the way, they’re stimulating my mind too! 

I’m appreciating the little things, like how we cherish each other as a family, no matter what.

I’m grateful for my job as a nurse, helping and caring for veterans. It’s about being compassionate. And when patients are struggling to lose weight, I can relate to them. 

I’ve lost 10 pounds, I’m much more toned, and I’m very happy.

I’m proud of myself because I’ve worked so hard. Of course I would love to say, “Oh, I lost 20 pounds,” but it’s a process. I’m committed to the Thrive Challenge and in six months hopefully I’ll be able to say: “Yay! I did it.”

Alecia Thomas, Walmart Customer; Fredericksburg, VA; $5K Winner

For more inspiring stories, follow us on Facebook and Instagram.