I’ve decided that Judy Blume needs to write an honest, funny, and encouraging book for all women dealing with the ups and downs of well...being a woman. If she did, I’m certain it would have an amazing title we could all relate to, and I would give it to all of my girlfriends. I say that because I was overwhelmed by the response I received from last week’s blog. From the personal stories shared by readers in the comments section, to emails I received in my personal inbox from friends, I was stunned by how many people have felt exactly as I have.
In turn, I learned what I’ve always suspected: that so many women, regardless of how thin, feel equally unsure about their bodies. That even the girl we all want to look like can relate too...because there's someone out there that she wants to look like. Now I’m no expert on this subject, and many, far more educated women than me have tackled it, but I must say that it’s a truly astounding phenomenon despite the fact that it’s so prevalent, even in myself, that I forget to notice it.
One of my girlfriends wrote to me about the 20 lbs she’s gained over the past few years. She wrote about her struggles and failures to lose it. How she wasn’t getting anywhere, and how she was contemplating just dealing with it instead.
I wrote back to her immediately. I commiserated with her, and then set out to motivate her. I told her about the 2 things that I think helped me achieve my losses: honesty and consistency. That I got honest about my habits, and that I was consistent with the changes I made. I told her that I believed in her, and that I had faith that she could do it too. Before I knew it, I had pumped out almost 1,000 words, and hit send...feeling like a great friend.
It didn’t take long, however, when I didn’t get a response from her, to begin to second guess myself. Was she upset? Did I offend her? Oh my GOD, I didn’t tell her what you’re supposed to say in these situations! I didn’t say: you are beautiful the way you are. You don’t need to lose weight. I felt awful. Who did I think I was? Some weight-loss guru doling out unsolicited advice?
I kept asking myself why it hadn’t occurred to me to at least lead with that sentiment in my email, because of course I felt that way. Instead, I just kept coming back to her words in her original letter to me: “I haven't lost my 20 extra lbs, and I despair of ever actually doing it, and have been trying to convince myself that it's not the most important thing in the world.”
It was the word despair that just kept reverberating in my head. It was that word that made me sit down and write her a novella in the middle of the workday. I realized that I certainly didn’t think she needed to lose a single pound, but that I felt the need to acknowledge that she really wanted to. That it wasn’t that I thought she should lose weight, but that I wanted her to believe she could.
Because for me, over and beyond the pounds I’ve lost, something else happened when I realized I could accomplish my fitness goals, but it was the letter from my friend that helped me finally put a finger on what that is.That it’s not just more confidence in the way I look, but that the despair is gone. The ambient despair about weight loss that almost every woman has felt, that can quietly gnaw at your hope for ever accomplishing your goals, any goals. That feeling is gone...most of the time. And for me, that’s the real victory that comes from the hard work we all put into Lithe.
So when I finally broke down and called my friend to make sure I hadn’t shattered her self-esteem, I apologized profusely and assured her that I did think she was beautiful the way she was. She said, in the matter of fact way that I love her for: “Oh. Yeah. I know.” Turns out, she was on vacation, and didn’t have the opportunity to respond yet. Clearly, my email wasn’t the biggest thing happening in her life that day. I slapped myself on the forehead for ever thinking it was. But, that’s a whole ‘nother blog...
See you in class!
Image of Lither, Sayeh Hormozi wearing Lithe via Dominic Episcopo