After Years of Struggle, Dena Found Her Way to a Positive Mindset

“I refused to turn 40 feeling bad about myself.”

My sister passed away three years ago, and I turned to food for comfort while grieving. It was easy to cover up and hide in my clothes, but I wasn’t feeling my best. We never did activities as a family, and when we did, I was always out of breath and in a bad mood. I always assumed that walking all day for my job was enough to keep me healthy. Plus, my husband works nights, so I would go home and eat once the kids went to bed and he went to work. It was my comfort. 

My manager mentioned the Challenge to our team.

She introduced it as a way to learn tips to relax, breathe, and read other inspiring stories. I decided to start eating right and working out. I started with a 20-minute workout, and after I was finished, I didn’t do it again for three days! Once I reminded myself that this step was the key to my success, I pushed through to day two. I also started counting calories, watching what I put into my body, and limiting my carbs. 

My whole family has noticed a change in my energy levels.

I wake up early every day to work out before work. This way, if I’ve had an exhausting day, I can come home and spend time with my family, either playing board games or sitting by a backyard fire. On days that aren’t challenging, we hike or take the dogs for walks — all things that never would have happened before! It’s been amazing to have a new outlook on life and have way more energy. Because of COVID, my husband is not working right now, so it’s been wonderful to have him home for more family time, and to help with the cooking and trying new recipes. Plus, my daughters are dancers, so eating better definitely helps them have more energy in their daily classes.  

What’s keeping me motivated is seeing that I’m losing weight and my clothes fit better.

I’ve lost 60 pounds. I’m working out seven days a week: six active workouts and one day for a family hike or walk. I’ve just recently had a milestone birthday and hit my goal weight-wise. Now it’s onto toning! It’s exciting to set a new goal. The loss of my sister and finally doing something for myself has motivated me to make her proud of me. 

I’ve proven to myself that I can stick to something once I’ve set my mind to it. 

My mindset now is all positive! I’m grateful that one day I’d had enough and decided to do something about it. I refused to turn 40 feeling bad about myself. The Challenge has pushed me to be someone I didn’t know I could ever be. Now, I set an alarm every day to open the app and reflect on the day. I ask myself, “What positive choices did I make?” and more importantly, “What will I do better tomorrow?” 

—Dena Zaluski, Walmart Supercenter #3110; Welland, ON, Canada; $2K Winner

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