For a long time, I was unhappy and struggling. I was overweight, I weighed 272 pounds, and every day I’d say, “Today’s the day I’m changing my eating habits.” But I never did. I had high blood pressure and headaches. I was hoping for a blast of magic to will me to change. I’m a working mom with three kids, and it was hard. Then one night my husband, David, was choking and I had to perform the Heimlich maneuver on him, and I saved his life. But I could barely fit my arms around him due to my size, and that was a wake up call — not a wake up call I’d ever wanted.

I downloaded the Thrive app and slowly implemented Microsteps into my day. 

First, I opted for water or fruit-infused water instead of a sugary drink. And I opted for healthier meals. My favorites: asparagus with Parmesan cheese, and air fried chicken, with carrots, leeks, and zucchini noodles as a substitute for pasta! I also started cutting down on portions. For snacks, instead of chips, I’ll have eggs with lemon pepper and salt or peanut butter and apples.

I swapped the word exercise for movement. 

I work from home and it’s so easy to stay inside all day. But Movement Microsteps have really helped me get outside. I started walking 500 to 1,000 steps and gradually increased my walks to 5,000 steps. Another Microstep I love: when I brush my teeth I do some squats and I also do arm circles. 

We go on family bike rides.

We live in the country and it’s wooded — long roads with the sun peeking through the trees. And on the weekend we ride to the lake and go fishing. I love it. The Thrive Challenge is not just improving my life, it’s great for everyone in my family too.

Microsteps are helping me to sleep better.

I set a daily caffeine cut off and I’ve created a consistent bedtime. I take a hot shower or bath, and when I’m in bed, I focus on the rising and falling of my breath for 10 seconds. Watching a Thrive Reset helps me relax and I charge my phone away from my bed. 

I’m connecting with my kids — Cooper, Cole, and Connor — and I love being with them.

I take time to listen to them one-on-one. The older ones tell me about their days, and I ask them whether they’ve accomplished anything new. We’re cooking together, and we all have our “thing.” One kid peels carrots, the other chops potatoes, my husband prepares the chicken, and I make salad. And we have weekend movie night (usually Star Wars)! 

My Saturdays are spent helping out at the local food bank.

I have always been one to offer a hand and now I have more energy. Doing it as a family is key. Our community gets donations from grocery stores. The food is packaged, a car pulls up and we hand out packages of foods like fruit, meats and veggies. Some people have been laid off, some are single moms on a low income, others are elderly. It’s very rewarding and humbling and teaches the kids about compassion.

I’m a lot less stressed.

At home it was so stressful keeping the house tidy, figuring out meals, and taking care of the pets. Now, when I get overwhelmed, I do Thrive Resets. I stop, take deep breaths, and relax my shoulders. if I see dishes in the sink and a full dishwasher I shake it off, do some box breathing, and then slowly do one thing at a time.

I wake up with purpose every day.

I wish I could explain it better; I feel alive. We’re planning a family road trip next year, we’ll be hiking and camping in Yellowstone National Park, the Salt Flats in Utah,and we’ll be exploring the Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico. That’s something I never would have considered before. 

My doctor cut my blood pressure medicine in half.

I’ve lost 37 pounds, I’m healthier, my skin is radiant, and I don’t feel fatigued all the time. My kids see the difference, they’re so proud of me, and there’s nothing that matters to me as much as that.

Hannah Hague, Walmart Supercenter #2993, Sugar Land, TX; $5K Winner