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  • Janyne McConnaughey, PhD


To Thrive is to Live!

During his Oscar acceptance speech for Best Picture, Steve McQueen stated, “Everyone deserves not just to survive, but to live.” This poignant statement about the free man, Samuel Northrup, who was tricked into the travesty of slavery, is also true in the life of every human being. It is all too easy, even in the best of circumstances, to fall into survival mode vs. truly living. The reasons for this are too numerous to list, but for me it was health.

Seven years ago, I had just completed a doctorate and had time to enjoy my family. The only problem was that I could either get dressed or go to work; I couldn’t do both without resting first. Health issues and over 100 pounds of excess weight were my overwhelming reality. My father and mother were both 93 and it occurred to me that I could be miserable for a long time—or not. I was in survival mode.

No one in this situation can fully explain how he or she got there—at least not at first. It was actually somewhat surprising. The day I was flying and had to ask for a belt extension, I came to the stark realization that I was obese. Over the next six years, I would uncover layer upon layer of reasons—some were obvious, others were not.

I am often asked, “How did you loose that much weight?” I will be sharing more about this along the way, but the truth is that I did everything—but I started by limiting myself to one soda a week. That’s it. That one decision changed my life forever because it got me started. Like The Little Engine that Could, that first step was the most important.

I could not change who I was on the outside without changing inside—that involved my body, brain, and soul. There were two key areas: diet and exercise, but more important was my thinking.

I had to think differently about food. I learned that if I cleaned out years of toxins from my body and said goodbye to carbs, sugars, and packaged foods, my body would be healthy. In addition, medications can save lives but mine were killing me. I say this understanding that some face serious conditions that require medications—I did not. I just needed health.

So, I had to think differently about exercise and stop believing that “I just had a slow metabolism." Noooo, I had no muscles—well of course, I had some, but only enough for survival. Fat only burns 1/3 the calories that muscle burns, so yes my metabolism was slow, but it wasn’t hereditary. I just never believed exercise was all that important. I was wrong.

And finally, I had to think differently about me. I had to believe that who I am today was possible. I had to convince myself that there was more to life than survival. Once I did that, God brought me every resource that I needed. He will do the same for you! God never intended that we should just survive—He intended for us to live—to THRIVE!

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