Last year I was feeling a lot of stress and I wasn’t sleeping well. I help to take care of my 83-year-old mother who has health problems and broke her hip. One of my biggest challenges was trying to eat a healthy diet. I was eating fast food and drinking sodas. I’m 62, and I had put on a little weight; I weighed 150 pounds. I wasn’t active and I felt uncomfortable in my skin. I wanted to take better care of myself, so I can be around for my family — I have 27-year-old twin daughters, Brittney and Danielle, and a granddaughter.

I downloaded the Thrive app and started by cutting down on processed food.

I got good ideas from Thrive like swapping soda for water. A Microstep that helps me is replacing one processed food with a healthy choice. So instead of having a pastry for breakfast, I’ll eat fresh fruit and yogurt with granola. 

My mother and I started cooking together, which is fun for both of us.  

My mom has been going through magazines and cookbooks to get new recipes. We make a delicious Santa Fe salad with grilled chicken, black beans, and corn. And we’ll bake salmon with lemon wedges, onion, and garlic. We also like baking fresh green beans and asparagus in olive oil, and we add spices.  

Checking into Microsteps encourages me to move more.

I started doing squats while brushing my teeth. And at work, I take breaks from my desk to stand up or go for a walk. When I can, I like to get outside to get some fresh air and sunshine. I feel more energized when I move around instead of just sitting. 

When I clean my house, I listen to country music, which keeps me motivated.

I love Luke Bryan. Music makes doing the chores fun, and it brings back good memories. When the twins were young, I’d wake them up on Saturday morning, they’d hear the music playing and they’d know it was time to get to work! 

I gradually improved my sleep.

I started with a Microstep, just going to bed five minutes earlier every night. That isn’t a lot, which made it easy, and it adds up over a couple of weeks. Now I go to bed at least 30 minutes earlier than I used to. 

It’s hard juggling my work with my mother’s schedule.

I have to keep all her doctors’ appointments straight. To lower my stress I take deep slow breaths. I also watch Thrive Resets. My favorite color is green and my favorite video takes you to peaceful green hills and valleys.  

My mom doesn’t get out and about a whole lot so I’m trying to do fun things with her.

My daughters and I took her to see the Christmas lights in a neighboring town which she enjoyed very much. I took her shopping at Bath & Body Works. She loves it because of all of the good smelling lotions and candles. Because I’m happier and more patient, we’re getting along much better. 

I’m taking time for myself too.

To relax, I love to read — anything from thrillers to historical romance. I’ve started a daily devotional: Jesus Calling by Sarah Young. I also play with my elderly dog and my cats.

Spending time with my 6-year-old granddaughter, Kinsley, makes us both happy.

She is Danielle’s daughter and she spends the night with me every Sunday. We went to see Cinderella and I’ve been taking her on class field trips. I take her to school and pick her up. We like to do jigsaw puzzles together, we go to the zoo and to the playground. She likes me to get up there with her on the slides and jungle gyms — she keeps me moving.

I’ve lost 15 pounds and I feel more confident.

My clothes fit better and I’m more comfortable in my body. I’m much less stressed and I feel positive about life because now I’m making time for myself. I’ve learned that when you start out with small steps and get focused, you can tackle anything.

— Kimberly Mooney, Distribution Center #9153, Waco TX; $5K Winner