I wasn’t feeling good about myself. Recently, my wife Ravyn and I moved five hours away from our home in Magnolia, South Arkansas, to Bentonville. We made the move for my career at Walmart, and to build a bright future for our three children: Ryker, who’s 8, Parker, who’s 3, and our 1-year-old daughter, Saylor. But the move was hard and stressful. I wasn’t connecting with my mom and grandparents back home, which made me feel sad. And in my new life, I didn’t have the energy to be the kind of dad I knew I could be.

There’s a history of high blood pressure in my family.

I wanted to ensure that I’m healthy as I get older, for myself and my family. I’m 33 and I needed to lose weight and move more. I downloaded the Thrive app for guidance and motivation.

I began with a simple Microstep: reading ingredients on food labels while I’m shopping for groceries. 

Expanding my knowledge about nutrition has been interesting and it helps me make healthier decisions about what I put in my body. I had been eating a lot of fried chicken and pizza. Now I’ll have Greek yogurt and fruit for breakfast. I’ll pack snacks for work like an apple or orange and a good lunch like chicken and broccoli. One of my favorite recipes for dinner is grilled lemon pepper salmon with a side of grilled asparagus. I started substituting one soda a day for water. I allowed myself one to two sodas a day, and now, most days, I only have one soda. 

At work I make sure I move throughout the day. 

I walk around our facilities which cover 17 acres, instead of driving carts. So I’m getting in a lot more steps. Before starting my journey I weighed 222 pounds, and so far I’ve lost six pounds. It doesn’t sound like a lot, but doing it slowly means I’m maintaining the weight loss.

I have more energy for my kids. 

I’m coaching Ryker’s little league baseball and basketball teams. We spend time in the yard doing drills to improve his game. And we all play catch in the backyard or go to the trampoline park. I’m always chasing the kids around the house and giving piggyback rides to the little ones. I’m the kind of dad who will lie on the floor and let the little kids jump on me, and we all laugh a lot! 

Ravyn and I are less stressed because we’re sharing responsibilities like cleaning.

I do most of the cooking. I love to cook, especially grilling and smoking meat. While I make dinner, my wife is in charge of bath time and putting on pajamas. She does all the laundry and I do all the yard work. 

Once a month I plan a date night so we can connect as husband and wife instead of dad and mom. 

It’s really helped our relationship. We went to an art evening at “Painting with a Twist,” a class where the instructor coaches you and you paint a small canvas. We both are definitely not artistic, but it was a fun night. We followed up the class with a fancy dinner date and good conversation. Those paintings are now hanging on our bedroom wall.

Connection Microsteps have made a real difference in connecting with people I care about in a meaningful way. 

We go to see my family as often as possible. My grandparents live on a cattle farm so the kids  can ride around the farm by the cows and play outside. When we’re not with them, I contact my mom at least once a day to see how she’s doing. And I call my grandparents weekly. Sometimes all it takes to show someone you care is a simple “I love you.” I love my family and I make sure I let them know.

— Chase Burns, Distribution Center #6094, Bentonville, AR; $5K Winner