THRIVING, not just surviving

I’m a huge skeptic. I follow the old adage, “don’t believe anything you read and only half of what you see.” A few years ago my friend April, whom I’ve known since we were children growing up in the same neighborhood (only she was the cool older girl who wore cool clothes and listened to cool music), start talking about this new supplement she started taking that changed her life: THRIVE.

I didn’t really pay it any attention and probably rolled my eyes at a few posts. I think we’ve all be told a million times that a new product will change our lives. What is that famous line from The Princess Bride? “Life is pain, Highness. Anyone who says differently is selling you something.”

Then about 2 months ago I came to a crossroads in my life where I knew I couldn’t continue down the path I was going. I was tired all.the.time. So much so that I was seriously thinking I might have chronic fatigue syndrome. I know that working full-time and being a mother of 4 children can exhaust anyone, but this was next level tired. I felt like crap all of the time. I never felt good. I used to exercise daily, but had given that up when I started working full-time and made every excuse in the book as to why I couldn’t find time in my busy schedule to work out. I was in a perpetually bad mood (working in child abuse prevention can start to affect one’s emotional health). I was drinking Mountain Dew like it was going out of style, and I knew all that high fructose corn syrup was bad for me.

My mother developed Type II diabetes in her late 50’s. She changed her lifestyle and managed it so well that she didn’t even need medication after about the first 6 months. However, she died from pancreatic cancer at the young age of 62. She has missed out on the last 7 1/2 years of her grandkids growing up and missed the births of the last 3 grandbabies (at least in the being alive mortal kind of way).

I want a better future for me. I want a better future for my children. I want to live to see my grandchildren and watch them grow up. Not only watch them grow, but be a full participant in their lives. Something my mother never got the chance to do.

And I don’t know if it’s directly related, but my mother loved Coca-Cola and drank it the way I drank Mountain Dew. And I don’t know if the daily intake of excessive amounts of sugar, and later when they added the high fructose corn syrup, it was made her develop Type II diabetes and eventually pancreatic cancer. I don’t know anything, but I do know that it couldn’t have been good for her.

So there I was at in my life. Exhausted. Feeling like crap. Missing my mom. Not eating healthy foods. Drinking high sugar drinks. Feeling miserable. Not living the full life I wanted to live.

I don’t know what post it was that April linked to on Facebook, but something I read in that post clicked with me. April works in the medical field and has a lot of knowledge about nutrition, so I thought I would be brave and trust her.

I decided that because I wanted to observe Lent this year I was going to give up a bad habit that would be exceptionally difficult for me (Mountain Dew) and begin a habit that could possibly be very good for me. I contacted April and we discussed all the details of THRIVE. I was still skeptical, but I was willing to try anything. I had to see for myself if it actually worked. I desperately needed a change.

They say people don’t usually change until it becomes too painful for them not to change. That was me. I was at max level pain and exhaustion.

I decided to take the 8 week challenge, and today marks the end of the 8 weeks. This is how my life has changed since taking THRIVE:

1. Immediately I noticed an increase in my energy. Now I finally have the energy to actually live my life instead of just going through the motions. I have so much energy that I’m finally doing all those chores around the house I’ve been meaning to get to for months.

2. I’m now a morning person. As a life-long night owl I cannot believe that I get up at 4:30 am every day and am usually in bed between 9 and 10 pm.

3. I sleep better. I’m a deep sleeper, but I would usually wake up several times throughout the night. Now I sleep deeply throughout the night and never wake up. And I wake up fully rested instead of waking up already tired and wanting to go back to sleep.

4. I now exercise regularly. All those excuses I made about not having enough time to exercise? They were just excuses. With THRIVE I actually have the energy to get up, get an hour work-out in, before I come home and get ready for work and get my kids ready for and off to school (with the help of the Hubs of course).

5. I actually have the energy to work a full day at work and come home and make dinner for my family and spend time with them afterwards. Usually by 3 pm I was done every day and couldn’t stop yawning. And I’d be too tired to meal plan or make anything, so I was picking up a bag of fast food every night for my family for dinner. No wonder I felt like crap all the time when I only ate crap food.

6. My cravings for Mountain Dew have lessened. I fully embrace that I am addicted to Mountain Dew. The first step in overcoming is admitting. There will always be a part of me that when something emotionally difficult happens, my first response is to want a 32 oz of MD from the gas station. I have been able to curb those cravings, and for the entirety of Lent, I didn’t have any Mountain Dew. That is the longest I’ve gone without it in 20 years.

7. I’m craving healthy food. I made it my goal with Lent to eat at least 5 to 10 servings of fruits and veggies a day. Now I am finding I crave a handful of grapes over a handful of chocolate. The grapes will make me feel great. The chocolate makes me feel sick to my stomach.

8. I’ve lost weight. My goal with THRIVE was never to lose weight, but I’m not going to complain about shedding 10 lbs in 8 weeks.

9. My libido has increased. Which none of you need to know about, but the hubs is very happy.

10. I’m HAPPY. Yes I deal with emotionally difficult things at work all day. Yes, I have 4 children who need things from me constantly. But I’m happy. The hubs noticed right away that I was in a better mood and had more patience after I started taking THRIVE.

I feel like I’m setting better habits that will lead me to a longer life than the habits I had before. None of us knows when we’re going to die, but I’m trying to live as long as possible because frankly, life is a gift and I have a lot to live for.

So, THANK YOU April! Thank you for spreading the message about THRIVE. Thank you for continuing to share it even in the faces of friends like me who roll their eyes. It has changed my life for the better. I’ll always be so grateful for that. In 8 short weeks my outlook on life has completely changed. I’m THRIVING and not just surviving anymore.

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