I’m a U.S. citizen and was living in Latin America, but in 2018 I evacuated with my family because of the political and economic situation and moved to Texas. We arrived in Dallas with just two suitcases, and at 57, settling into a new life and getting a job was hard. I missed our children — our 20-year-old son is studying abroad, and our younger daughter is living in Oregon — as well as our old home, our pets, family, and friends.
“I was exhausted physically and emotionally.”
I felt a lot of weight on my shoulders financially, because my husband, Jaime, isn’t working yet. It was stressful and I developed plantar fasciitis, which caused pain in my leg and foot. I started the Challenge because I knew I needed to take better care of myself. I love cooking, but was eating too much fat and sugar: tuna fish sandwiches with a lot of mayonnaise, and desserts like chocolate mousse and carrot cake.
“I’ve changed the way I cook and I’m following a gluten-free diet.”
I use much less mayonnaise and mix it with mustard for flavor and fewer calories. I throw spinach into sauces and leave it to simmer, so we’re getting more nutritious greens in our diet. For lunch at work, instead of fast food, I have a sandwich my husband makes me, with one slice of bread instead of two, and I top it with fresh homemade salsa. I make reduced sugar chocolate mousse and put it into little cups so I just have a small serving.
“At least three times a week I go ‘jog/walking,’ alternating between jogging and walking, to get my heart rate up.”
Spending time in nature — there’s a forest and creek at the back of our apartment — helps me relax. And I stretch regularly. We don’t have a car, and my husband walks with me to work and back every day. After work I take a 20-minute nap and sometimes a hot bath, which refreshes me for the evening. I try to put away all electronics 30 minutes before bedtime to help me unwind, and I’m sleeping well. Praying and reading Christian literature gives me peace and strength.
“My marriage has grown, and Jaime and I have become a tight, united team.”
The Challenge has helped me to maintain a positive, can-do attitude. My foot has healed and I have more energy at work. I know I can handle life’s challenges now because I feel better, and I’m encouraging friends and co-workers to do it. My advice: Don’t remain stuck. Keep on a-moving and a-shaking!
—Clare Creegan, Supercenter #5823, Dallas, TX; $5K Winner
Through the Thrive ZP Challenge, our community is making Better Choices, seeing big results, and winning big.
Stories from past winners, such as Clare Creegan, prove that every individual has the power to transform their life every day through a combination of small, sustainable changes and peer-to-peer inspiration.