For most of my adult life I’ve been diabetic and obese with high blood pressure. Food was my comfort. I’d eat all the time — fried food, breads, chips, pasta.  I’m 39 and my husband, Jason, and I have three children. Chloe’s 10. Luke, who’s autistic, is 13. And Logan’s 16. I weighed 248 pounds, I was very stressed, and I was in a dark place. My father died at 43 from congestive heart failure. He’d been overweight and that was a big motivation for me to change.

My co-worker and friend, Pam Jordan, inspired me to download the Thrive app. 

I loved the idea of Microsteps — making small changes. Sticking to a routine for my meals really helps. For breakfast I have eggs with sausage patties, or an avocado. Lunch is salad. For dinner I grill, bake, or smoke lean meat or chicken. And I’m proud to say I always have vegetables. My favorites are broccoli, asparagus, and green beans. I’ve learned about  portion control; I eat slowly now and enjoy my food.

I walk or stretch on my lunch breaks.

And I go to the gym a few times a week with Jason. I work out for 30 minutes on the treadmill or the stationary bike, and I do strengthening exercises with weights. 

When I get off work, I make sure I keep moving.

I talk myself into getting outside, even if it’s just to water my flowers. Small movements are better than no movements. Just being able to do yard work or go on a short walk down the dirt road with my family makes me happy.

Instead of driving, I walk to pick up my kids at the bus stop after school. 

And I love planning small, fun activities with my family. We used to be on our phones all the time, but now we’ll go for a boat ride, go fishing, or work in the yard together. And I have much more patience with Luke. We have a hoop in the backyard and we’ll play basketball. 

At work, Pam and I hold each other accountable.

When we have a bad day or we’re stressed, we’ll talk each other out of grabbing ice cream! And we encourage each other to go to the gym. We just really lift each other’s spirits! 

Another Microstep I love is responding calmly to difficult situations.

In the past I would let things get to me and let people talk to me any way they wanted to and I’d get very upset. I’m happy to say that now I can take a deep breath and just let it go. If I can, I’ll watch a Thrive Reset to help me calm down. Thrive is a soothing support system for me to fall back on when I get caught in one of those not-so-good moments.

In the past, I was short with my children after a long day at work.

Now, I recharge and watch a Reset before talking to them about a stressful situation. For example, I’m a person who likes to keep a rather tidy house and I’d get upset when I’d come back and find a mess — paper on the counters, shoes on the floor. Now I can have a calm conversation and say “Mom and Dad work all day and if you guys clean up after yourselves it would help everyone.” I’ve also learned to be more tolerant and let the little things go! 

I have more self-confidence.

A couple of months ago I bought a pair of jeans that were too small — I wanted to motivate myself to get into them. I tried those jeans on a few days ago and they fit perfectly. That was a big milestone. I cried as I looked at myself in the mirror, and my husband told me how proud he was of me.

I’ve lost 17 pounds so far.

I went to the doctor for a check-up and all my blood test results were great. My A1C was down and my kidney functions were normal.

Last week I took part in my first 3K run — it was for breast cancer.

I was scared doing it, but the fact that I was able to make it over the finish line was another milestone — it felt great. Thrive is a life-line for me and I know I’ll keep crushing my goals.

Rebecca Tennison, Walmart Supercenter #556, Waycross, GA; $5K Winner