I wasn’t feeling good. I was gaining weight, I struggled with slightly high blood pressure, I wasn’t sleeping well, and I felt lethargic. I’m a 53-year-old Arapaho Native American and the father of two grown daughters and four young granddaughters, but I had no energy to play with them, which made me feel sad. I spent most of my free time sleeping, lounging around, or watching T.V.

I decided to make some changes and downloaded the Thrive app.

I started my journey with a subtle, but significant Microstep. I swapped two out of three sodas a day for water. I gradually stopped drinking soda, increased my water intake, and started drinking herbal tea, and I soon found my stamina was increasing and my energy climbing. 

My wife Irene and I began food prepping,

We have good meals for three days at a time. We focus on enjoying the taste of our food, and chewing slowly. We also have smaller portions. Our meals now consist mostly of steamed fish or chicken with rice and veggies. For snacks, we’ll have nuts and raisins, and we’ll have one small piece of dark chocolate. 

Irene and I got a gym membership through Walmart.

We swim four days a week and we bought an elliptical so we could work out at home. I also began doing push-ups. When I hit 40, I felt great and so accomplished. Now I’m up to 100 a day. I feel better in my clothes. My pants became loose and I had to get a belt, which I’ve now moved another notch.  

I started saying affirmations every day, which helped my self-esteem.

Before, when something went wrong I’d get down on myself, but with positive affirmations that started to change. Now, whenever I feel stressed I say to myself: “There’s nothing I cannot do,” or “I work hard and I deserve good things.” I find those simple statements make me feel better about myself. My wife picked up on the changes I was making and she started doing affirmations too. 

Irene and I have grown a lot closer.

We spend most of our time moving and doing things, instead of just sitting. We talk about the blessings we’ve been given. In the evening, we wind down and relax. We stay quiet for a few minutes; we’ll just do breathing exercises and meditate. 

The pain in my knee has decreased, and my blood pressure has improved. 

I’ve learned how to calm myself down. I hold myself to a higher standard of personal accountability. I know it’s my responsibility to focus on my health and keep my stress in check, and doing deep breathing has become second nature. My life is moving in a positive direction. 

I’ve lost four pounds which has made a big difference to how I feel. 

It may not seem like a lot, but I have more energy to spend time with my granddaughters and play with them. I can chase them and keep up with them now. We love to go to the park and play kickball. I feel that life is no longer passing me by.

— Byron Harter, Distribution Center #6024, Grove City, OH; $5K Winner