Lita Lewis, best known to her fans, her “friends” as she regards them, as FollowTheLita, walked into her year-old corporate job office fighting back tears, and made a decision that has touched more than 180,000 lives to date. Although she was on the trajectory of success that many of us seek, “my spirit was dead; I really wasn’t happy and decided to resign on the spot.” Many of us can’t imagine that kind of quitting nerve from a person that pulls us off the couch, pushes us into the gym, and holds us to a strength matching her own. Her sacrifice that day mirrors the decision she made seven years ago to leave everything she knew, pack her goals in two suitcases, and move to New York.
“I moved out to the United States by myself. I moved out to New York with two suitcases and pocket money. I landed in New York and paid for the whole 21 days at the hotel. From that point, I told myself that I have 21 days to make it happen, so I started throwing my resume out there, looking for an apartment, as well as showing up to interviews and making friends. When it came to day 19, I was done and was offered a job. By day 20, I had a job and found a lease, as well as making a few friends along the way.”
The sunshine smile that greets you in the videos and pictures is part of the sharing of her spirit that comes from a most valuable lesson from her family; “to share is to love.” Lita was born in Los Angeles, California as the eldest of three girls. Her parents moved to Samoa after her birth and then moved to Australia when she was two years-old. At the age of 12, her parents were divorced, and Lita and her sisters grew up with their mother; nurtured with Samoan values and culture through her grandparents and her mother’s side of the family. “I’m super proud and never forget my Samoan background. My heart and my spirit are really Polynesian.” Lita also embraces that she is half black and credits her move to the United States for fostering her identity as a black woman. Although she grew up in Australia, she has a strong and great relationship with her father who is from the States. Her role as an older sister has molded her to be a leader in her own right. “My parents always raised me to know that I’m the eldest of three and that I need to move cautiously because I have two younger sisters that look up to me. I’m always reminded by my parents that my role as the eldest child is to lead by example.” She shares that her two younger sisters are the “greatest two forces of inspiration in my life because as two individuals, I love who they are.”
Lita’s drive to live a life of well-being and health stems from a recognition that one should live with purpose and that purpose begins with knowing that one is worthy and deserves to, first and foremost, love oneself. “It’s more of a determined motivation to live the life that I love.” Lita began her love for fitness as a track and field athlete who also became a women’s touch football player in Australia. Later in the States, she discovered the gym as a sanctuary for finding her way back to herself. Soon, as she began to build her appetite back for fitness, she found fitness as a place to build herself back to life. Lita acknowledges that there are barriers to building the confidence needed to get started. She shares “When there’s a lot of self doubt I go back to self love because when you love yourself, you know you deserve to give your best efforts. Positive thinking in our efforts leads to other facets of life. When people lose faith and believe that a task or a goal is out of reach, it’s hard to convince them to keep going and to stay at it because it’s like an indirect motivation that they can’t really grasp on to…going back to my upbringing; that I know that I’m worthy, that I’m loved, and knowing that I should love myself.”
It is hard to not follow Lita’s lead. Social media has given all of us access to her lifestyle and her mindset. These interactions barely scratch the surface on a truly beautiful spirit that is rooted in her family and the values that they have instilled in her. Her spirit exudes humility, inspiration, pride, motivation, purpose, and most of all, LOVE. In person, there is so much more in the way her smile embraces you as though you’re family. There is compassion, understanding, and pride, and you begin to grasp the sacrifices she made unapologetically, all the while seeing that she freely chose it because it filled her with purpose, and wish you felt the same happiness she basks in. In the moments when she needs to be courageous, she draws on something her mother told her right before she boarded her plane seven years ago, “Don’t be afraid. Whenever you feel lost or alone, just remember who you are and where you come from, and you will find a way!”
Article Written By: Alisi Tulua