As a mom of two now-grown children, I was always busy working and worrying about other things. I was never on my own list of priorities. I had kids at home, a husband, work, housework, and a million excuses for not taking care of myself. I also had my thyroid removed back in 2016 and hysterectomy in 2020, so I had medical reasons for being tired and not feeling motivated. I was always trying to do the right thing but as I always said I was running on Monster and Slim Jim. Once my son moved out, I realized I was out of excuses. I needed to change for me. I started my journey to feel better in my skin.

The first step was getting off the soda, Monster, and Slim Jims.

I started drinking more water. I used my Apple Watch to help track my steps and exercise. It was a tool that I already had, but never used! Step two was talking to my doctor about what steps were right for me to take. The support and accountability my doctor gave was great. 

A huge win for me was portion control. 

I eat slower and pay attention to how much I eat. I’ve started with cutting out the things that I feel were my biggest problem: soda and carbonated drinks. Now, I love ice-cold water and nuts, especially almonds. I could live off almonds and water! I was never a water person so it’s so huge for me. I feel better, and don’t mind pictures with friends now.

To be honest, I have “goal jeans.” 

I know, right? I have goal jeans and clothes I used to wear and love that I no longer fit into. But my real goal is to just continue to lose weight and feel better about myself in general. Instead of coming home and heading straight to the couch, I’m doing housework and moving while I’m cooking dinner to get my 30 minutes of exercise in 5 days a week.

My kids are coming over and we are spending more time together. 

We’re playing cards and I’m also spending time with my grandpuppies. I’m also saving money from spending less on snacks and eating out. I’m working on saving that money for a new mattress. Sleep is so important, and prioritizing my sleep helps me know I’m in need of a new mattress!

I’m so grateful for the support from people I have talked to about my journey. 

I’m a keep-to-myself kind of person, so opening up is hard, but here I am! The support from my doctor, my husband, and a great friend has really helped me stay on track. I couldn’t do it without these people, and I couldn’t continue without them. I also appreciate Thrive for helping me stay focused.

To me, the Thrive Challenge means motivation.

It’s making me a better person and making me feel better about myself. Even just small changes can help you make a better life.

— Jennifer Willey, Walmart Supercenter #3253, Edinboro PA; $5K Winner