Thrive Grand Champ Candie Holland Is “Winning at Life”


Candie reveals how she became the best version of herself.

What’s a goal you’re working toward? Saving money for a down payment? Exercising more? Being more patient with your kids? Candie Holland has an idea to help motivate you: “When I hear anybody say anything about goals, I say, ‘Have you heard of the Thrive Challenge? It’s going to change your life!’”

The Thrive Challenge is a free Walmart-sponsored program offered to all of us (plus our friends, family members, and customers). It’s all about making small, better choices in your everyday life using the Thrive app.

“Thrive helps me be the best version of myself that I can possibly be. It’s a way of life for me,” says Candie, an Associate Merchant. And if that’s not enough of a win, she was also one of three annual Thrive winners — with a prize of $15,000!

A hard road

Getting to her best version has been a journey marked by heartache. After a difficult childhood, shadowed by trauma and a parent who suffered from alcoholism, Candie weathered two divorces and lost her home to Hurricane Katrina in 2005. She gave birth to six children, but two babies — her “angel children” — died within hours of being born.

“After losing one child, you never think you’ll lose another,” she shares. “It was devastating.”

With so many challenges, her health fell by the wayside. She ate junk food, smoked a pack of cigarettes a day, was overweight and had high blood pressure. Terrible back pain made it hard to walk.

“I was tired of being miserable,” she says. She wanted to be her best self for her children and her husband, Dustin, who is also a Walmart associate.

After back surgery, she joined the Thrive Challenge — along with her sister Andrea.

Small steps add up

Focusing on small steps helped Candie get started. Her first microstep was quitting soda. “I lost weight right away. It was a great incentive to keep going because I could see the difference, and I started to feel happier.”

Her 15-year-old daughter Alexis helps her mom cook healthy, fresh food with lots of fruits and vegetables. Diet changes and smaller portions have helped Candie lose 30 pounds. “We follow an 80/20 rule: 80% of what we eat is healthy, and 20% might be treats like pizza,” Candie explains.

The family goes to the gym together and explores the beauty of Arkansas, their new home. “We go hiking and hunt for waterfalls. It’s invigorating to breathe the fresh air and see nature in all its glory,” Candie says. She is grateful to feel good, be active and enjoy time away in nature with her kids.

Candie even quit smoking — cold turkey! “Thrive helped me find ways to occupy my time,” she explains. “I’d go for walks instead of smoking. Or have a healthy snack. Plus, a lot of praying and meditation.”

Inspired and inspiring others

Candie recently celebrated 17 years with Walmart. She started as a part-time cashier and though she wasn’t looking for a career, she found a great one. “Walmart gives us so many resources that can help you live your best life,” she says. “Walmart keeps investing in associates and encourages us to invest in ourselves.”

Candie enjoys watching people change their lives through the power of microsteps. She even inspired Thrive Grand Champion Kathryn Carpitcher to begin her Thrive journey.

“With Thrive, each day I can be one percent better than I was yesterday,” Candie says. It adds up. “I’ve continued my Thrive journey because I’m growing as a person.”

Winning the Thrive Challenge was a welcome surprise, but Candie knows her health is the real prize. “What means the most is that I am winning in my health, winning in my relationships — and winning at life.”

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