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Posts tagged ‘transformation journey’

Embracing the whole, beautiful & imperfect me. Swim outfit & all!

The surprising gift of my first 2017 adventure

This lucky girl just got back from her first adventure of 2017 — a fabulous and fun trip to Cozumel, Mexico to kick off the new year!

This trip was significant for me as it meant tackling a list of fun “FIRSTS” that included pushing outside of my comfort zone. I’ve been on a personal mission to say “YES!” to life since I lost weight and put myself in the equation five years ago.

Before my personal transformation, I held back and lived a “small” and safe life. I didn’t put myself out there or take risks. Too often I let fear rule my life decisions — fear of what others would think, fear of looking silly or doing it imperfectly, and fear of failure often stopped me in my tracks.

Perhaps the saddest part of this reality is that I had convinced myself that I could be happy living small and safe. But the truth is, I wasn’t happy. I was hiding behind the layers of fat I donned for self-protection. I hid behind my work. And at my core was a foundation of low self-esteem, lack of confidence and a fear of not measuring up.

But I’m a success story. In 2012, as I reached my goal weight and the peak of living a healthy, happy and WHOLE life, I realized by definition “living WHOLE” meant putting myself out there. Taking risks and going for it, even and especially when I was scared. I decided to live brave. That meant saying “YES!” to life and tackling a whole list of “firsts,” seeking opportunities to grow and expand — even if that meant falling or failing. It’s been a fun and joyous ride, and five years in, I’m still going strong.

So what surprised me about my first big adventure of 2017 was how in the process of saying YES! and doing new things, I ended up embracing my whole and imperfect body and self in an even deeper way. That’s pretty cool and the focus of this blog. Read more

Changing from the inside out

ITE_Whole-Life_Quote_sqWhen I share my transformation story with others I’m often asked a provocative question: If I could do it all again — meaning lose 200+ lbs and become a fit, healthy and in-the-equation girl — but only keep ONE of the gifts of transformation, which would I choose?

What they mean is. Would I choose to keep the external, physical transformation of a 200-lb weight loss OR the internal transformation (the mindset and behavior shifts that garnered the happy, healthy and WHOLE life I describe in those speeches)?

For me, it’s a “no brainer.” I would absolutely choose the internal transformation — hands down!

Some are surprised by my answer, but here’s why. It’s because of my internal transformation –– changing my limiting beliefs and self doubts, learning to really love and accept myself, believing I’m enough exactly as I am, embracing my imperfections, having the courage to push past fear, learning to let go of what I cannot control — that I KNOW I could lose the weight again!

It was the limiting thought patterns and beliefs that I learned at a young age and practiced most of my adult life, that had me turning to food as a source of comfort and put me on the path to weighing 381 lbs. It was those very same limiting beliefs and thought patterns that kept me working like a crazy person to prove my self worth, cutting myself off from love and romance, and ultimately limiting my universe to things I thought I could control. Life got small as I got bigger. It certainly wasn’t what I now call a WHOLE life. Read more

An epiphany on my mountain

She climbed until she saw: No more victim-mentality. No more slippery slope. No more stinkin thinkin. Today we reboot. Yes!

Lori-oberg10-2015Today, I climbed Oberg Mountain on Minnesota’s North Shore for morning cardio. That, in and of itself is not significant as I’ve climbed that mountain no less than 50+ times in the last five years.

However, this climb was significant for many reasons: 1) This was my first on the mountain in several months due to a back injury and chronic case of sciatica; 2) I did so weighing more than I’ve weighed in almost 3.5 years — since I hit my goal in May 2012; and 3) I did so carrying a lot of emotional burdens and some stinkin thinkin.

I had an epiphany on my mountain today. One that jump started a major life “reboot.” Yep, on this day, October 21, 2015, the buck stops here and we restart. Today is the beginning of the official  Lori in the Equation Reboot! Read more

I do hard things…

…and I’m better, stronger for it! #bravegirl

LoriandAnneonMountaintopMy friend Anne coined the phrase, “Hard is fun.” In her awesome Ten Centuries blog (which you can read here), she explains that by stretching our limits, conquering fear, and setting big, difficult goals – we learn all kinds of interesting things about ourselves. And for many, like Anne, hard is fun.

I share Anne’s tenacity for life. Yep, the new Lori does hard things. I seek adventure. Look for opportunities to conquer my fear. Say yes more than no. And run head strong into difficult things instead of running away from them.

Finally, I have confidence in myself and my abilities to live life to the absolute fullest. Even, and especially, when that means doing hard things.

Read more

3 lessons I learned on the mountaintop

NOTE: This week marks my 3-year anniversary living as a fit, active, healthy, happy girl from the center of her equation — maintaining a -200 lb weight loss. To celebrate, I’m working on a series of blogs sharing the lessons of the road of the past three years of healthy living. This is a continuing journey. It’s been the ride of a lifetime and I wouldn’t change a thing — even and especially the hard stuff.

Lori-ObergMountain-April2015

Hello mountain. Hello fresh spring air. Hello switchbacks and ascending trails….expansive and breathtaking views. Hello critters of the forest. It’s just us today. Just the way I like it. Good morning!

As I pass the entrance to Oberg Mountain and hit the ascending trail, this is my internal conversation — with myself and my mountain. It’s been months since we’ve met and it feels like coming home again.

Oberg — on the beautiful North Shore of Lake Superior — was the first mountain I ever climbed. And like a first love, it will always have a very special place in my heart.

That was not always the case. Read more

Courageous Girl: Four years ago I was scared to death…

…and I had the courage to begin my transformation journey.

ITE_Weight_Quote-blog

Lori_Before

BEFORE: This is me at the start of weight loss boot camp.

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AFTER: This is me in my makeover photo shoot after reaching goal in May 2012.

Four years ago today, I found myself at a live-in, weight-loss boot camp at my beloved resort on Lake Superior — beginning a journey that would change the trajectory of my life forever.

I had no idea at the time just how much this one decision would matter, or what it meant in the grand scheme of my life. Nor did I have a clue how much courage I would have to muster. There simply was no way to prepare my mind and body for what I was about to put it through. Nor was there a way to ease my intense fear.

And so, with a pit in my stomach the size of California, I leapt off the cliff. I adopted a “just do it” mentality and trusted that I would survive the boot camp and be stronger for it. I trusted that my business would be okay in the hands of others for those two weeks and that my clients would understand. And, I trusted my mentor and inspiration, O’Neal Hampton, when he said “We’ve got this. You can be happy.”

I trusted in these things because at 381 pounds I felt I had no choice. I weighed more than an NFL Defensive Lineman (the biggest player on the football team) and was living a small and limiting life. Although I was successful in my career, I had given up on love, had a limited social life because I couldn’t do so many things at my size. And, I was secretly hiding behind the shame that I had let my body and my life come to this and I couldn’t seem to fix it.

To mask the internal pain, I stuffed my feelings with gallons of fast and processed foods, and worked 12 to 18 hours a day, seven days a week, in an office chair. This was not a path to a happy and fulfilling life. Rather, it was a quick road to an early death since stroke, diabetes and heart disease all run rampant in my family. I was out of the equation of my own life, not even in the picture at all. And, I was out of options.

Courageous Girl

It takes immense courage to change your life when you’ve lost hope. But I did it. I swallowed hard, packed my bags, handed off the reigns of my marketing business, and ventured to Minnesota’s North Shore for weight-loss boot camp. Taking one moment, one hour at a time, I repeated to myself over and over what O’Neal had said to me: “We’ve got this. You can do this.”

I showed up on day one of the two-week boot camp and in that first meeting with the program director set this goal for myself: “I will NOT quit. No matter what!” That goal has been my mantra since that very day four years ago. Yep, it was not just my goal in boot camp, but my new mantra in life, especially when the going gets tough. And it has served me well.

Most people set weight loss goals at the beginning of the boot camp. But I knew that, for me, it would be tough to stay in the game and not throw in the towel when the going got really, really tough. To keep fighting and pushing forward through intense physical and emotional pain would be my biggest victory. I knew that if I found the courage to do that, the weight loss would follow.

I was right.

I went on to lose -211pounds, nearly 50% body fat, and 11 dress sizes. It took me 18-months from that day to lose the weight and achieve a body fat of 14.5%. I’ve now maintained my weight loss for 2.5 years, with a few ups and downs. That was the physical transformation. But it was the internal transformation that was most profound and that many of you have heard me speak and write about. The internal happiness that comes from learning self-love and acceptance, and really believing that you are enough. This is the gift that leaves one nearly speechless. And the gift that truly keeps on giving, and giving and giving.

Taking stock of the journey & reaping the rewards…one anniversary at a time

Each year on the anniversary of my official transformation start (Nov. 28-Dec. 11, 2010) and again on the anniversary of reaching my goal weight (May 12, 2012), I blog about the impact on my life. I write about what the transformation anniversary means to me and how my life is different as a result. And, each year, I hope to reach others with my message: Each and every person deserves to be happy, can be happy, and has within them the power to make it happen. I am a living example. If I can do it, you can do it.

This year, I’ve decided to take stock in a slightly more formal way. I’ve set a goal to write something every day in my personal journal and/or here about the transformation as I’m experiencing it today. It’s strange but I have found that the farther I get into the journey of healthy living, the more profound the transformation for me.

The internal transformation continues, and the learning and growth are more palpable with each passing month and year. The external transformation — learning to live a healthy lifestyle and keep the weight off (which for me means battling addiction and changing life-long patterns and behaviors) — becomes more real. I thought it would get easier with time but the truth is, it ebbs and flows, like life. It is definitely an ongoing challenge and a process.

Proud, happy and grateful

So, today, on the four-year anniversary of my life-changing transformation start, I feel intensely proud of my courage and eternally grateful for the process AND the results.

I am grateful for the life-changing gift of health and happiness. I am grateful for my new life, even with its twisty ups and downs. I am grateful for O’Neal Hampton, my inspiration and mentor in the boot camp process. And, for my coaches and trainers who’ve helped me along the way. I am grateful for Sue, Shari and Carrie who supported me in those incredibly challenging boot camp days, and in many days since.

I am overwhelmed with gratitude for all of my family, friends and supporters — old and new — who continue to encourage, cheer, listen and support me now, four years later.

Finally, I hold tremendous gratitude in my heart that I am strong enough, brave enough, beautiful enough, sexy enough, wise enough, courageous enough to follow my heart and go for my big, hairy, audacious goals and dreams — wherever they may take me.

Thank you for reading this blog. For being here as part of the In the Equation community. And for being courageous enough to follow your dreams and go for your big, hairy, audacious goals!

XO

Lori

#courageousgirl #beyondgrateful #happyhealthygirl

Read related blogs here, including a few from my boot camp experience four years ago:

You are exactly where you need to be

Day 1: 7 hours and still going strong

Climbed a mountain and then some

Oberg Mountain — my new personal quest

My Fitness North 2 Finale

Before & After Pics, Video

Celebrating one year in a little black dress

One year sans 200 pounds…my new reality

Two years fit and healthy

Three years — another cool milestone

From lost hope to #beyondgrateful

Filled with gratitude for the ability to go from small life to WHOLE life!

LoriandBud-smallI woke up Saturday morning, after a week and half of struggle to get back into my MN routine, beyond grateful.

As I entered my day, I was overwhelmed with thoughts about where I am today compared to where I was just four or five years ago. This contrast was just what I needed. The ability to see the big picture from 35,000 feet of all I’ve accomplished and to feel my wildest dreams now coming true.

For those of you that don’t know my story, this November will mark the four-year anniversary of the major turning point in my life. My decision to put myself in the equation of my own life, get healthy and follow my dreams. This is when my transformation journey began. Read more

Three years – another cool milestone!

LoriSchaefer-After-BigPantsThree years ago today, I was leaving weight-loss boot camp on the North Shore of Lake Superior to begin my transformation journey at home. My journey yielded a -211 pound weight loss, nearly -50% body fat loss, and sparked a self-acceptance and internal happiness that for so many years I didn’t believe was possible. And, it continues today.

I remember vividly my mindset when I walked out of boot camp. After losing 21 pounds in 12 days and pushing myself past serious physical pain, fear and heart ache — I gained a new perspective that has grounded me to this day. I left boot camp knowing that I could do absolutely anything. Knowing that I was physically capable and strong, internally stubborn, goal oriented and focused, and that nothing could stop me, but me.

Now, three years later, I’ve successfully maintained my weight loss for more a year and a half. I live in the center of my equation and lead a healthy and happy life, and hopefully inspire others to do the same. But most importantly, I live fully knowing I can accomplish absolutely anything. And I am opening myself up emotionally and taking risks in ways that I didn’t before when I was hiding behind all that weight. There is no greater gift. Read more

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