My lifestyle was weighing me down: I was stressed and inconsistent, missing out on family time and not connecting with my happy place. Then my mother, Florice, told me about the Challenge. I decided I wanted to make a change when I saw her working hard and getting results. I was like, “Whoa! She’s almost twice my age and is crushing every single goal.” I was also on a journey of my own — I had a health scare back in 2013 and wanted to take control of my well-being. As I watched my mom invest in herself, I realized we could work together. My brother Michael also got involved. They are both Challenge winners and help me stay motivated.
I started with food and fitness, and over the years, I’ve lost 100 pounds and several inches. Before the Challenge, I ate food that made me sluggish, like pizza and alfredo pasta. It would zap my energy and keep me from being active and engaged with my family. Now, I eat zucchini squash — I love spiralized squash noodles. I get omega-3s from trout and salmon. I eat salads all the time, too. My go-to is mixed greens with feta and olives. I stopped drinking my calories, and drink lots of water with cucumber and lemon instead. Investing in a food scale has helped me practice portion control and listen to my body. Plus, it only cost $8!
I joined the Y to bring some variety to my workouts.
I take different classes, like Zumba and boot camp, and love to swim. Switching up my routine encourages me to keep going and helps me stay excited. And going to the gym every day has become a family affair. My choices have shown them that everyone can find an exercise they enjoy.
My family is closer than ever.
We see each other often and plan a big family meal every month. When we’re not together, we get in the group chat and hold each other accountable: How many steps did you get in today? Have you had enough water? What did you have for breakfast? It’s a checkpoint to keep us on track. We’re also focusing on gratitude, even when things don’t go as planned. To me, practicing gratitude is a way to stay humble, and when you stay humble, you invite positive things into your life.
I’ve started a gratitude jar and a gratitude journal.
I bought a glass jar and Post-It notes, and every morning, I sit down with my kids and we write down three things that we’re grateful for. It can be an event, a person, a feeling, anything. It cost me $4 to make, and proves that it doesn’t cost much to do something with big impact. I also started journaling, which allows me to face my emotions and keep a sense of accomplishment. When I first started my boot camp class, I wasn’t thrilled with my performance. So, I sat down and journaled about what I liked, what I didn’t, and whether or not I’d go back. This gave me space to think through my decisions — and after processing everything, I’m back at it!
—Tracey Nims, Walmart Customer; Hampton, VA; $5K Winner