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Posts tagged ‘strength’

Finding my strong on the mountaintop

Can you be strong when your world falls apart?

As I awoke to the morning sunlight streaming across the ocean and into the bedroom window, I was reminded that Hurricane Irma had just hit my life. Sadness set in before the sleep was out of my eyes. How can you be strong when it feels as if your whole world has just fallen apart? I’ve survived some tough stuff, but I’m not sure I know how to do so while being strong.

I got out of bed and made my way outside to the wrap-around porch to drink my morning coffee and watch the tide slowly roll out, exposing the sea life on the ocean floor. Will those critters survive this tidal change, I wondered? What do they do when they become exposed and are gasping for air?

As I sit rather zombie-like starring out at the sea, I feel sad, mad, worried, empty, scared, tired, overly emotional, and…more. Feelings too exhausting to think about. And yet I find myself preoccupied with one question — what does it look like to be strong when the world as you know it is changing forever and not by choice? When bad things and challenging times pummel you with gale-force speed like an unforgiving Hurricane batters the shore, and you can’t fix it or change it.

This is not the first time I’ve been pummeled, of course, but this feels like the worst pummeling ever. (Most of the details don’t matter to the story — we all have times we experience this). What strikes me today is that I don’t think I’ve ever pondered this question in the midst of a pummeling.

Rather, I’ve wallowed, cried, complained, and suffered alone in my hurt and pain — drowning it with work, food, alcohol — and hiding from the outside world. And when other people experienced pain and suffering — I was the first one to show up. I gave, and gave and gave at the expense of myself, trying to fix it.

None of this feels right to me now. None of it fits my new Lori-in-the-equation life. And yet the pull to go back to bed and bury my head in the covers is strong. The pull to eat everything in sight — even stronger! I have a lot of experience with that.

But perhaps this is the next evolution of transformation for me. An opportunity to find my strongest and best self and learn to cope with “hard,” while loving and giving to her. So, I get curious again.

Can you be strong when your world falls apart? Read more

The mountain and me

Six years, countless climbs. Still conquering the mountain & me!

It started on this mountain in the depth of winter a little over six years ago. This is where I dug deep and found myself – my strength, my determination, my resolve, and my desire for a better life.

This is where I officially decided that I wanted more out of life than being obese and living small. This is where I decided I wanted it all. And most importantly, I decided — YES, indeed, I could do it!

It was December 2010 when I first met Oberg – a little mountain on Minnesota’s North Shore of Lake Superior. I weighed upwards of 360 lbs (down 20 from my all-time high). I was on day two of weight-loss boot camp when they told me we were going to climb a mountain…in snowshoes.

I was pissed, scared, and a bit defiant when it came time to suit up in our snow gear. Fear took over as I contemplated my first mountain climb ever. I stood there and allowed Jeremy, the young activities director, to strap on my snowshoes because it was too hard for me to bend over and I had no idea how to assemble those contraptions to my feet.

How time flies and circumstances change!

Today, March 18, 2017, I find myself back at the foot of Oberg Mountain Loop strapping on trackers over my hiking shoes. I am alone. I am -200 lbs lighter in load. I am strong, confident, resilient and beautiful. And this time, I am oh so grateful for the trip up what I now refer to as “my mountain.”

I KNOW this mountain. I know me. And I know that I will find exactly what I need today as I make my way up the deceivingly steady incline at the start of the trail, on the switchbacks, and as I make my way around the hilly 2.2 mile loop with breathtaking views. Read more

Does every cloud have a silver lining?

Reflections on a tough year and impending holiday. Not the blog I wanted or expected to write.

“Every cloud has a silver lining.” What does that mean, I wondered as a friend said those words in an attempt to comfort my heavy heart? Where did that phrase come from? While I get the spirit of it — there’s a bright side to every situation — it made me wonder if I really believed it.

Sometimes it feels impossible to imagine that even the worst situations have some positive aspect — especially when you are in the throws of it. Like when  your heart is heavy and your spirit broken. When things seem so bleak that you can’t find your way out. When you’re in physical and/or emotional pain that feels unbearable. When it seems as if the world is swirling out of control around you. Or, when something bad has happened to someone (or a whole bunch of someones) you love, and you can’t fix it.

And when this happens at the holidays, it feels even worse because there is so much anticipation and expectation around this time of year. For me, and many that I love, this is how we are feeling as we enter the holidays of 2016.

Yet as I process through it in writing this blog, I  realize that as incredibly tough as this past year and the impending holidays seem right now, I have not lost heart or hope. I just feel sad. My heart is heavy.

(Stick with me, it gets better, I promise!) Read more

Grateful girl on the mountaintop

Lori-Penobscot-Fall2016Good Monday morning, peeps. And cheers from the mountaintop!

Please forgive the tardiness of this blog. I started it last week, but didn’t get it posted as I was too busy climbing mountains, enjoying the fall leaves of Downeast Maine and Acadia National Park, and living in the moment with Lori in the center of the equation.

Every time I take a rigorous hike to a mountaintop or along a challenging trail, I am overcome with gratitude. I mean it. I carry with me overwhelming gratitude for the ability to walk and hike in places of sheer beauty; for a connection to the Universe and nature that is indescribable; and for my new healthy and fit body that can do so many things I never dreamed of when I was stuck in the office chair 12-18 hours a day making excuses for how I couldn’t grab hold and change my life.

Well, these past two weeks, I’ve been livin’ it. And I’ve vowed that living it, being present in the moment and grateful for every gift — even the hard stuff — will always come first, before writing about it. #gratefulgirl Read more

Why is asking for help so hard?

bestrongenoughDo you consider yourself strong? I do. How about brave? Yep, I do. Do you have trouble asking for help when you need it? I do! Yes, on all counts!

That’s why I love and aspire to this quote by Mark Amend — especially the “be brave enough to ask for it” part.

It turns out, asking for help is one area that continues to trip me up. With all of the progress I’ve made in my personal transformation, asking for help is still difficult. Somehow in my head, I have the notion that I am stronger if I go it alone. When in reality, that has not proven true. And when I do need help from those closest to me, there’s still a part of me that secretly hopes and expects them to know it and do so without my asking.

Did I mention, I am a work in progress?! Read more

What losing 200+ lbs has taught me

LoriSchaefer-IntheEquation-TheBiggestLoser-Jan2015What if you knew in the deepest part of your gut that you could do ANYTHING you set your mind to? That you have within you the power and the potential to make your biggest, hairiest, most audacious goal come true?!

One year ago today, I had the distinct privilege to share my at-home transformation story on NBC TV’s The Biggest Loser Season 16 live finale. It was an incredible experience — thrilling, scary, enlightening, empowering, totally awesome! I’ve blogged about it here, and you can watch the video clip here.

Today, as I reflect on that amazing night one year ago, I am struck by what I have learned throughout this personal transformation journey that continues to serve me today. What I share with the contestants on The Biggest Loser — and likely with anyone who has achieved great things that are really, really, really hard. I’m reflecting on the greatest lesson/gift: I will  continue to grow and win in my life every day because I now know that deep inside of me is an unstoppable force. I can do anything I set my mind to.

Peeps, that is the secret! Read more

2015: Finding & celebrating my strong

MtM_holiday_card_2015_final_front2015 was a year of happy, healthy and hard.

Naively, I did not expect “hard” as I entered the new year steeped in hope and opportunity, with big dreams and deeply in love. At the time, I was experiencing a new level of happy in my now WHOLE life. I was on a roll!

But ironically, it was the “hard” that was the greatest gift of 2015 because it reminded me that I am strong and resilient. It gave me the chance to again prove to myself that I can do absolutely anything.

I first learned this lesson five years ago when my transformation journey started in weight-loss boot camp. Now, here it is again, reminding me: YES, indeed: I am strong. I am resilient. And I can do anything that I make up my mind I’m going to do!

2015 gave me the opportunity to rise strong. And I celebrate that.

Read more

Five years ago, my new life began

And I simply could not have predicted this!

Lori_Before

My weight loss boot camp BEFORE shot taken five years ago today!

Five years ago today my personal transformation journey officially began. On Nov. 28, 2010, I arrived on the North Shore of Lake Superior to participate in a two-week, live-in weight loss boot camp (Think NBC’s Biggest Loser style camp).

I was terrified, nervous and hopeful.

Frankly, there was a tie for my biggest fear going into the camp. Topping the list was: Climbing mountains, working out to the point of throwing up, and crying in front of others. (ALL of these actually happened and I survived!)

Oh, and of course we can’t forget the intense fear of failing. I was so afraid that I’d quit when it got really, really, really hard. Read more

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