Last year I was feeling really tired and unhealthy. I got a promotion at work, which was great, but I was moving less, eating fast food, and barely drinking water. I was gaining weight which felt scary. Also, I was literally wasting money. I’d go to Starbucks every day and that added up to $300 a month. I’m 38, and my husband, Quincy, and I have two girls — 19-year-old Jamiya, and Cori, who’s seven — but I was too exhausted to spend time with them. Cori would want to play and I just didn’t have the energy. 

My big motivation to change was that we’re renewing our wedding vows.

When we got married we just went down to the courthouse. This time we’re having a big celebration. I wanted to look great in my dress — and I wanted to feel great, so I downloaded the Thrive app.

First, I eliminated sodas and sugary snacks from my diet. 

When I’m shopping, I stay away from snacks and Junior Mints. And if I see a bag of Twizzlers in the kitchen, I put it away in the cabinet. I know I can’t open that bag and just eat one. Out of sight, out of mind! My next step was to stock up with healthier options like nuts, peanut butter, and healthy crackers.

For lunch, I’ll have a lettuce wrap with turkey and Swiss cheese.

I’m cooking homemade dinners. I’ll roast chicken in the oven, seasoned with garlic. And I’ll sauté onion, broccoli, and zucchini in olive oil for a quick side dish. We have veggies with everything. 

I bought a treadmill and I’m doing core workout videos on Netflix. 

I love the Microsteps on the app, like squatting as I brush my teeth — it’s super simple. Quincy’s working out too and we’re very competitive. He’ll be like, “Hey, you’re slacking, I’ve already been on the treadmill.” To stay motivated, I listen to upbeat music like Rihanna’s “Don’t Stop The Music.” Music also gets me pumped up when I’m doing dishes.

I’m saving so much money.

Instead of going to Starbucks every day, I treat myself twice a month. I’m washing my own clothes and anyone who knows me knows that was hard! I was spending $500 every six weeks on dry cleaning. I’m also doing my own nails instead of going for pedicures, which saves $120 a month. 

My family’s getting more of me.

We’re playing games and talking to each other. We’re all extreme movie lovers, and we love horror! Just recently, we’ve seen A Knock At The Cabin, and M3GAN. I’m also a sucker for rom-coms and loved Shotgun Wedding. And we’re going with 20 friends to see the new Ant-Man film.

Quincy and I are bonding without our phones.

We used to be poor communicators, but now we’re talking all the time. He loves animals and tells me interesting facts about spiders and sharks. He’d be great on Jeopardy! I’m a big fashion person, and we’ll talk about clothes.

I’m carving out time to listen to audiobooks.

I find that good books energize me. I just read Can’t Hurt Me by David Goggins. And to escape, I love the Bridgerton books by Julia Quinn.

It’s really important to take a moment and breathe.

I call it sitting in silence. It’s important because there’s so much noise around us all the time. I’ll watch a Thrive Reset, like the one where you stretch your neck from side to side. And my favorite is called Grasslands. While I watch it, I just let my worries and frustrations slip away. I’ve struggled with sleep since I was a child. Now, I turn off my devices, turn off the lights, and sleep in darkness. 

I feel good and I feel powerful. 

I’ve lost six pounds. I have a feeling of accomplishment, because I’ve found balance and I’m making better choices. 

I’m excited about renewing our vows.

We have close to 100 people coming to the ceremony and reception. We’re having a DJ and a plated meal with champagne and lots of dancing. I’m more confident in my own skin, and I know I look good in my dress. I’ve bought a beautiful white jumpsuit to change into, with a gold belt and bell bottoms.

Renewing our vows means moving forward, but also starting over.

We’re building on the commitment we made to each other. Quincy’s my best friend and I wouldn’t want to be doing this life with anyone else.

— Patrice Gibson, Walmart Home Office, Bentonville, AR; $5K Winner