She just needed a moment to collect her thoughts.
Throughout our 30-minute conversation, Lo Bosworth had the eloquence and charm you expect from the CEO of a wellness empire. But in that moment, while discussing her innate ability to take risks—mainly on herself—she struggled to say what was on her mind.
"It's hard to get words out," she admits, "harder to find the words that I'm looking for to express myself."
It's a fight she's been battling silently for years—until now. On March 13, Bosworth shared with her nearly 1 million Instagram followers that, in March 2019, she suffered a traumatic brain injury while celebrating her friend's birthday at an NYC restaurant. After a door fell off its hinges and onto Bosworth's head, she passed out and collapsed into a nearby booth.
By the time she got to the hospital, "I had a huge bump on my head and a black eye," the 34-year-old recalls in her exclusive interview with E! News. "The doctor told me if the door had hit me an inch further back, it could have been a really serious accident."
Not to say this wasn't, in fact, a serious accident. Bedridden and unable to look at a phone, computer or TV screen for more than a few minutes, "I hardly have a recollection of those first few weeks," she says. "I was terrified."
Which, who wouldn't be? The words traumatic brain injury alone would send anyone into complete panic. And for Bosworth, it would take weeks to truly discover the true severity of her injury. At the neurologist, for example, "I was struggling to tell him the difference in monetary value between a quarter and a dime," the Laguna Beach alum explains. "It took me a solid 30 seconds to figure it out. It was during appointments like that that I realized, ‘Wow, I really need to take it easy.'"
While slowing down isn't exactly in her repertoire—she is building her own freaking brand, Love Wellness, a female-focused line of personal care products—Bosworth had no other option but to set up boundaries and genuinely prioritize her own health. "My team just stepped in and took charge," she says. "My family and friends, everyone cheered me on and was understanding of everything I was going through."
Well, almost everyone. She wasn't ready to share the news with her social following—"I just felt some hesitancy, maybe I felt like the severity of it was not valid enough"—so she continued filling her feed with her standard bright-eyed selfies. Meanwhile, in reality, she was canceling plans with friends, leaving some to question the gravity of her injury.
"It's very challenging when you look OK on the outside, but you're not OK on the inside," she admits. "If I had not been through this experience, I probably would also think, 'You look fine. I've asked you out to dinner three times. Why can't you make it?' People were like ‘What's wrong with you?'"
As it turned out, more than she initially knew. In June, three months after her accident, she was diagnosed with mononucleosis, which, following weeks of crippling exhaustion, was honestly a relief to hear. (Though she had no idea how she got it at the time, she's since learned, through her followers, that the stress of her accident likely activated the dormant Epstein-Barr virus in her body.)
Rather than wallow in self-pity, she embraced the answers and, a problem solver at heart, got to work on her doctor's orders: Move your body, get rest and follow an anti-inflammatory diet.
Which, OK, easier said than done.
Through a lot of trial and error (it's not one size fits all), she found gluten caused inflammation in her body and swiftly eliminated it from her diet. In exchange, she added more raw vegetables and fiber—she recommends Love Wellness' Sparkle Fiber supplement—and discovered the pros of infrared saunas and lymphatic drainage massages. "It helps move your lymph fluid around in ways that can't be achieved just from sitting or exercising," she shares. "It gets everything moving throughout my body again."
Her next hurdle was her workout routine. As someone who found an excuse to skip exercising when she was "feeling too down or tired" (which, at this point, was always), Bosworth applied LoveWellness' 21/90 rule. "It takes 21 days to build a habit and 90 days for it to stick," she explains. So, she simply sweat it out through Taryn Toomey's cardio-meditation hybrid, The Class. (Jennifer Aniston, Gwyneth Paltrow, Alicia Keys and Drew Barrymore are just a few of the celebs who swear by the practice.)
"I used to be somebody that when it go too hard, I would just quit. And I don't do that anymore," explains Bosworth, who now even works out hungover. "I have learned to just push through the discomfort because I realize how much better I feel on the other side of that workout. We can tolerate more pain and discomfort than we ever thought imaginable. We are very resilient."
She's the living, breathing embodiment of that. Over two intense years, "I've dedicated myself to improving my health," she says. "And now I feel really good every day. I feel healthy." But she hasn't 100 percent snapped back—and she may never get there. Right now, "I would say I have 85 percent improvement from where I was" after the accident, she reveals. "I'm not sure if it's going to get any better than it is now."
While it's still a challenge to think straight, her memory often failing her, she's constantly testing herself to get there...eventually. Just last week, "I couldn't remember my friend's last name," she says. But rather than ask or look it up, "I thought, let's see how long it takes to remember this. Finally, after a day I went on Instagram to find out. This is someone who is my friend."
But, at this point, those struggles just empower her. "More than anything," she tells E!, "I have the grit to continue to move forward. That's who I am as a person. I don't like to be stagnant. Constant evolution is what makes me satisfied every day."
So reader, today is where her book begins...