I had a stressful start to the year. I am 46 years old and recently got divorced. My wife and I had been together for 22 years and we have two children: Landon, who’s 19, and Emmaline, who’s 13. I developed very unhealthy eating habits and I was sedentary for months. I was sliding into bad habits like eating fried food and drinking soda and I was feeling sluggish. I weighed 230 pounds and I was a little depressed. 

I was inspired to start The Thrive Challenge back in May by several associates. 

They’ve all found the Thrive app really helpful and several of them were winners. So I got started. Right away the Microsteps helped me, just simple things like doing arm circles every morning and doing squats while brushing my teeth.

Instead of eating fast food, I cook simple meals.

I have a high protein, low carb diet, and that gives me a lot more energy. One of my favorite meals is baked or grilled fish such as salmon, tuna, or tilapia with grilled squash, zucchini, and green beans. Instead of snacks, I’ll have a protein shake.

Thrive Microsteps helped me build a new exercise routine. 

I’ve challenged myself to walk 10,000 steps a day or go cycling. My ankles and knees are less painful. 

Cycling has become a passion.

I biked over 70 miles in the month of July! I ride mostly paved trails and some off-road trails on my mountain bike. I’m usually alone, but I sometimes ride with an old college friend, George, and a former co-worker and friend, Jason. I love getting out into the fresh air and into nature. I live in Northwest Arkansas and we have hundreds of miles of beautiful trails to choose from like Coler, Slaughter Pen, and the Back 40 Loop. 

My kids live with their mom and we get together every other weekend.

I love spending time with them; we play putt putt golf, we go to nature centers, botanical gardens, and museums. We also like to watch movies and eat fresh popcorn. Recently, we went to see Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, which we all really enjoyed.

My family and I have a stronger relationship.

I don’t get to see my mom or my three siblings a lot since they live four hours away, but I’m talking to them on the phone a lot. And when we get together, we just like to hang out. My mom and I go for walks around Hot Springs National Park, which she enjoys tremendously. She likes to reminisce about when I was a baby and how she would walk everywhere with me. My mom sends me scriptures every day which are really uplifting and help me put life into perspective.

A former associate and mentee, Jake Nelson, has become my accountability partner. 

We talk almost daily about how we’re doing mentally and physically. He pushes me to make better eating habits. We talk about how to use Microsteps and Resets to decompress during stressful times. He’s a great sounding board for me.

At work, I’m taking time-outs from the computer. 

I’ll take a quick walk around the store and talk to associates. Also, if I’m feeling overwhelmed, I’ll do breathing exercises for a few minutes to help me stay calm. 

I feel great and people are noticing! 

The other day I took my daughter to school. The assistant principal hadn’t seen me for a while and he said, “You’re looking really good and healthy.” It felt so good because he recognized the hard work I’d been putting in. Thrive has helped me create good, positive habits. I feel proud and accomplished, and I see a brighter future for myself.

Jade Covey, Walmart Supercenter #5260, Rogers, AR; $5K Winner