Before the Challenge, I was overweight and had a bad hip — but I didn’t want to face the fact that my weight gain was the cause of the pain. My doctor prescribed me pain pills for my hip, and told me that I needed to lose weight. I tried every diet plan but none of them worked. I had no motivation, so I would just give up and eat whatever I wanted. Since I was in so much pain, I didn’t want to go out. I didn’t want anyone at work to know that I was in pain, so I never complained or told anyone. I would just keep to myself and hope that no one would bother me.
Then one day, I heard about the Challenge from my friend Valerie Simpson, who also works at Walmart Supercenter #1279. She told me how it helped change her life. After she showed me the booklet that had so much information in it, along with the social media page that showed so many inspiring stories of Challenge winners, I decided I wanted to join the Challenge so that maybe, one day, my story could inspire someone else to improve their life.
Since I started the Challenge, I’ve lost 30 pounds. The first week of making changes was the hardest, but it got easier. I’ve cut out eating so many carbs and junk foods. When I do crave junk food, I eat barbeque-flavored pork skins, or grab Russell Stover Sugar Free Pecan Delights. I drink more water instead of drinking sweet drinks and sodas (though when I need a kick, I’ll have a Sprite Zero). I drink between eight and nine bottles of water a day. I try to eat mostly keto. My favorite keto recipes are broccoli, cheese, and chicken, and a chicken alfredo pizza where you make your own pizza dough. It’s made of mozzarella cheese and almond flour.
I love making keto desserts with my mom on Sundays. My personal favorite are keto cinnamon rolls. Just like with the pizza, you make the dough with mozzarella cheese and almond flour — the mozzarella is really what holds the almond flour together. Then once you make your dough, you add cinnamon and any sweetener you like; I use Stevia.
I’ve also been saving money. Now that I stopped buying my lunch at work and eating out for dinner, I’m saving around $100 to $130 a week. Saving money has really changed my life. Now I know that if an unexpected expense comes up, I don’t have to worry about where I can get the money from or if I have to get a loan. Instead, I have rainy day money saved up to cover the expenses. I’m hopeful for my future because of the Challenge. Now that I can move around pain-free and not have to take so much medication, I can say “yes” to more activities with friends. I’m healthy and I can do more now.
—Erika Bush, Supercenter #1279; Houston, TX; $2K Winner