Heidy Cruz: “Running gives me life. It’s like therapy to me.”

“If someone had told me in 2015 that I’d be running, I’d be a new mom after 14 years, I’d say, ‘You’re lying.’”

In 2015, I was going through a divorce. It was really hard. I needed something good to come out of what I was going through. I felt like a wall was falling down, and I had no control. An associate at a neighboring Walmart — Carol Newborn — won a Thrive ZP Challenge, which got my attention. I said to myself, “Let me look into this a little deeper.” I looked not just at the fact that Carol had won, but what the Challenge had done for her. I wondered, “What could it do for me?” 

“I somehow always felt that I didn’t have enough time in the day” 

I thought through some of the things I would like to adjust about my life at the time, and decided the Challenge would hold me accountable to the changes I wanted to make. I wanted to focus on my health and fitness. I somehow always felt that I didn’t have enough time in the day — how do people make the time for working out when they’re trying to run a house, when they have little children? I was looking at my fitness and overwhelming myself. 

“Those small changes added up to big ones”

The Thrive ZP Challenge helped me break it down into little changes. And those small changes added up to big ones. I took Better Fitness Choices by storm. I started by just going for walks with my dogs, and those walks turned into runs. I quickly realized one of my dogs was faster than the other, so I would take him for sprints with me. Once I started making these small changes and seeing the results, I wondered, “What else is out there for me?” I started joining running groups, doing Savage Runs and Spartan Races. I really wanted to challenge myself. 

“I realized I was going to face my biggest challenge yet”

I had a baby in 2018. When she was born, I realized I was going to face my biggest challenge yet. I was 40 years old, had put on some baby weight, and put my fitness on hold. I wanted to get back on track, even though I was working a full-time job and running my household for my newborn daughter and 16-year-old son. I started taking my daughter to the gym with me. She’d sleep for most of the time in her stroller as I walked on the treadmill. It felt like starting all over again. I would tell my fiancé, “I don’t know how I’m going to do this again. I’m old now.” But little by little, I got back into it. Now, running gives me life. It’s like therapy to me. If I have a busy day, I’ll get up at 5 o’clock in the morning; I’ll run up and down my neighborhood, even up and down my driveway. My neighbors probably think I’m crazy, but I’m getting those miles in. I’ve learned to be adaptable. 

“I’ve gotten my son involved in my changes”

I’ve been doing the Thrive ZP Challenge since 2015. I took a little time off when I was pregnant, but I’m back at it. Since I started the Challenge, I’ve lost 35 to 40 pounds. I get out for a run five or six days a week — I’m that invested. My goal is to complete a full marathon. On top of running, I’m meal prepping on Sundays for the week ahead. I started seeing my savings increase from that because I didn’t have to go grab a $10 lunch anymore — my food is already there, I can just grab and go. I’ve gotten my son involved in my changes; he’s noticed them himself. He asks what I’m doing, he’ll even join me and challenge me: “Mom, can you do 10 push-ups?” And I’ll do more than 10. 

“I am more complete at 42 than I was in my 30s”

The Thrive ZP Challenge has helped me get back in control of my life — it has changed my life. I’ve found my identity again. I’ve found out who Heidy Cruz is. I had lost myself there for a while, just going through the motions. If someone had told me in 2015 that I would be running, I would be able to find balance, I would be a new mom after 14 years, I’d say, “You’re lying. There’s no way. A baby at 40?” But here I am. I feel alive. I feel complete. I’m happier and more complete at 42 than I was in my 30s. I’m able to do what I love, work, provide for my family, and share with the people I love.

—Heidy Cruz, Supercenter #2732; Villa Rica, GA; $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 Heidy Cruz, 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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