My friend, AG, looks great. Gorgeous. If she weren’t a pastor, you could feel normal saying “You look hot!”. (And I have to wonder how many times she’s heard the qualifier, “she’s hot… for a pastor.”) 

However, I find it difficult to tell her how great she looks because it implies a lack of beauty in her “before” shots. She’s managed to loose a whole caboodle of poundage through the hard work of eating well and numerous visits to Urban Active*. But weight – or lack thereof – doesn’t make one pretty. So I have a hard time expressing to the rev that  I do indeed think she looks great without having a slight battle of the conscience.  
So here’s what I realized:
1. I’m proud of her. She made a decision to honor her body and she followed through. When you watch her check-ins at UA**, often she’ll say that she didn’t “want” to be there, but the hard work of doing that which you don’t feel inclined is often the work that matters the most. 
2. Related, but I wanted a new bullet: the effort to resist eating what you love because you know you don’t need it. AG once told me her secret for Chipotle success (“choose between cheese and sour cream”) but as a person who loves both condiments, I always go with what I want, not what I need. Sometimes I’m not sure which is harder, getting yourself to the gym or resisting foods you love. 
3. Confidence sparks beauty. It’s not so much the number on the tag of A’s new pants, but the way she loves herself when she puts them on. Nothing is sexier than contentment and comfort in one’s own skin. 
4. I should have told her she was beautiful before she lost weight. If pounds don’t matter, then she should have heard me tell her that I felt that way. Why do we need events to remark how beautiful others are? Instead, as I encounter beauty, I should be declaring it so. Does this mean that we can’t encourage others to live healthy lifestyles that may involve loosing weight (among other things, such as lowering cholesterol, taking care of the heart, building stronger muscles and the score of other repercussions of eating well and moving the body)? I think we can. Face it, some beautiful people need to care for themselves better. Some very fit and toned folk aren’t always beautiful. We – I – shouldn’t interchange the two ideas. 
5.  I can’t think of a fifth. Insert your own in the comments below. How do you go about complementing someone on weight loss successes? How do you make sure that beautiful people know they’re beautiful? 
*I’m not paid to plug them, but would gladly accept reimbursement
**Um, that’s 2 promotions. Please double that commission. 
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