Ashley Gonzales: “By not eating out, I was able to build a $1,000 emergency fund.”

It’s about continuing to keep moving, keep making Better Choices, and keep thriving, no matter what.

Two years ago I was sluggish and felt like a couch potato. My boyfriend Chris and I were both overweight and didn’t have the energy to play with our son, Brenden. I would get easily worn out and out of breath. It was depressing! 

“I needed to get healthy for me and for my son.”

Diabetes runs in my family, and I knew that’s how I could end up if I didn’t change my lifestyle. I was teaching my son, who’s now 11, bad habits. We would get a lot of fast food: hamburgers and pizza, and hardly ever bought fruit and vegetables. We snacked on chips and salsa and ice cream. 

“The final straw came when Chris found out he had high cholesterol and high blood pressure.” 

His doctor gave him an ultimatum: If he didn’t lose weight, he would be on pills for the rest of his life. It was a shock and I knew I was in the same boat. I was 32 and weighed 240 pounds. That’s what motivated me to start the Challenge.

We quit fast food and began cooking at home. It was exciting, coming up with healthy recipes, like a taco salad. We make our own seasoning and add avocado, a bit of cheese and lettuce. We all love it. Also, I started putting away the money we saved from not eating out — $5 here, $10 dollars there, and now we have a $1,000 emergency fund. 

“I used to use the treadmill my mother-in-law gave me as a storage closet!”

Now I use it to exercise. I also do sit-ups and push-ups and I bought resistance bands. I started to enjoy working out so much I joined a gym. I used to only get four to six hours of sleep a night, but since I started using an automatic blue light filter on my phone at night, I get eight hours, so I feel well rested. I’m excited to find out what else I can accomplish, and I also love inspiring people. When my co-workers noticed that I was losing weight, and asked me how I did it, I encouraged them to get started themselves.

“I’ve lost 70 pounds and I’m so proud of myself.” 

I could never have imagined that I would lose so much weight. I was a size 18 or 20, and now I’m about a size 10. But when I’m shopping, I’ll still pick out jeans that are way too big. I’m always surprised to find that I’m not extra large anymore. I dress more stylishly and I feel confident going to family celebrations.

“Chris and I are on this journey together.”

It’s made us better parents. We do things together as a family, like bike rides, playing tennis, and going for walks on a trail close to our home. We feel happier and more positive. It’s about continuing to keep moving, keep making Better Choices, and keep thriving, no matter what.

– Ashley Gonzales, Distribution Center #7055, Gas City IN; $5K Winner

Through the Thrive ZP Challenge, our community is making Better Choices, seeing big results, and winning big.

Stories from past winners, such as Ashley Gonzales, prove that every individual has the power to transform their life every day through a combination of small, sustainable changes and peer-to-peer inspiration.

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