I’m a breast cancer survivor. I got my diagnosis in 2009, and at the time I said, “This is not going to beat me. I have weddings to dance at and babies to hold.” I got better and I kept that positive attitude. And over the years, I’ve danced at my children’s weddings and held my grandbabies. I’m 57, I have five children and four grandchildren. I knew I was overweight, but I wasn’t concerned because I had a job I loved and a supportive family. I’d say, “If I want that donut I’m going to eat it.” My husband and I love pizza. I’d cook spaghetti with meatballs and we could eat half a loaf of italian bread at dinner. 

At the start of this year, I went on a Caribbean cruise with my girlfriends. 

We’ve been friends for 20 years and we had a great time. But when we got home, I was looking at pictures of myself and I said, “Oh no!” I was so embarrassed. I thought how did I let myself get to this point? My lovely husband, James, always tells me I’m beautiful, but I felt depressed. I weighed 194 pounds.

James had his yearly checkup and the doctor said he was obese.

Right then and there we decided to focus on taking care of ourselves. And I downloaded the Thrive app.

We joined a fitness center together.

It’s wonderful because when I don’t feel like going, James inspires me to go and when he’s feeling off, I encourage him. We’re a team. I started out with 20 minutes on the elliptical and now I work out for an hour and a half. Oh my goodness, I love it. 

After working out, I put on my swimsuit and do laps in the pool.

And I’ll do different water exercises, I go at my own pace, and I really enjoy being in the water. 

I have a regular morning routine. 

I start with coffee, but I don’t have sugar. Then I look at the Thrive app and hit one of those Resets, like the ones with waterfalls and mountains. I take a nice deep breath and clear my mind. Then I’ll do my morning tasks — unloading the dishwasher or starting a load of laundry. 

When the weather’s nice, hanging out the clothes to dry on the line makes me happy.

James and I share the housework. I love the Thrive Microstep about making your bed. Something as simple as having your room straightened when you walk out of the house feels so good. 

Lunch is a tossed salad. 

I’ll add lots of fixings like carrots, tomatoes, sunflower seeds, cheese, and turkey. And I’ll have oranges or grapes. For dinner we’ll make grilled chicken with fresh green beans, squash, or corn on the cob. Or we make chicken fajitas.

Sometimes we throw our bicycles in the back of the truck.

We cycle around the next little town to us, Fairhaven. It’s so beautiful and we talk to each other as we’re pedaling away. Also, we live right next to Lake Ontario and we’ll take the kayaks out. 

When we visit my son and his family in Idaho, I can run around with my grandbabies.

Corbin is seven and Max is five. I can jump on the trampoline with them now. They say, “Grandma, come and jump!” Oh my goodness, I feel like I’m 10-years-old again. 

I love getting together with the girls. 

We play Bunco, a dice game, and we rotate houses. It’s always a big food event, but now we’ll have healthy snacks like veggies and dips. I don’t partake in the brownies! My friends have noticed a big difference in how I look, and they’re inspired.

At work, I’ve created my own little Thrive Group.

I’m inspiring others in the Academy and we motivate each other. The spark is knowing that others are on this journey with you.

I’ve lost 28 pounds. I’m happy with the way I look and I feel toned.

My clothes feel so much better. I love thrift stores and soon I’ll be going shopping again to get smaller sizes. I’m excited. 

I still have weddings to dance at and babies to hold. 

I’ve always looked at the sunny side of life, but oh my word, I have a new attitude and a whole new sense of who I am.

— Michele Sherman, Walmart Supercenter #3332, Fulton, NY; $5K Winner