How Shonda Rhimes Lost Over 100 Pounds (And Gained A Life) By Saying Yes
Mind Body Green writes:
Six words were all it took to make Shonda Rhimes — the acclaimed writer and producer behind Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, and How To Get Away With Murder — reimagine her entire life.
her older sister bluntly told her, “You never say yes to anything,” the
TV showrunner set out to say yes to everything that scared her for an
Rhimes explores the lessons she took away from those 365 days spent outside her comfort zone in her new book, Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand in the Sun, and Be Your Own Person.
“The years and years of saying no were, for me, a quiet way to let go,“ she writes. “Saying no was a way to disappear.”
are seven yeses she had to embrace in order to regain control over her
life and hone a strong voice outside of her TV scripts:
1. YES to being honest with others (even strangers).
writes that she used to avoid television appearances and speeches at all
costs, preferring instead to express herself through her written
characters. But at the start of her yearlong project, she vows to say
yes to all of them: She laughs alongside Kimmel, gets real with Oprah,
and gives a commencement speech at her alma mater, Dartmouth. Before
each gig, she asks herself, “What am I afraid they will see if I am
really myself?” — a question that ultimately leads her to become more
comfortable on the other side of the screen.
2. YES to family, always.
Rhimes has three young daughters at home, and she’s honest about how demanding it is to be a working mom.
“If I am succeeding at one, I am inevitably failing at the other. That
is the Faustian bargain one makes with the devil that comes with being a
powerful working woman who is also a powerful mother. You never feel
100 percent okay, you never get your sea legs, you are always a little
nauseous. Something is always lost. Something is always missing,” she
But, during her Year of Yes, when faced with the decision
over whether to work or spend some extra time with her kids, she vows
to choose the latter every time. She finds that carving out more time
for family ultimately gives her an energetic boost that carries over
into other areas of her life.
3. YES to uninterrupted personal time.
workload that comes with writing and producing multiple TV shows week
after week used to leave Rhimes with little downtime. In an effort to
regain some control and set clear boundaries between professional and
personal time, she changed her email signature to read: “Please Note: I
will not engage in work emails after 7 p.m. or on weekends. IF I AM YOUR
BOSS, MAY I SUGGEST: PUT DOWN YOUR PHONE.”
Though it proves
impossible for her to stick to this proclamation every day (“I fail as
often as I succeed,” she writes), Rhimes takes full advantage of the
time it does clear up, using it to “relight that little spark inside.”
She pursues those tiny personal escapes that bring a smile to her face —
hours spent in a bookstore or moments spent singing Aretha Franklin in
the bath. These acts of self-care prove to reduce her stress levels and feed her creativity.