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Sometimes it takes a village

Support and accountability were key to my -200 lb weight loss & to maintaining it for 3 years!

Celebration Climb Mountaintop - May 2012Cheers to the village!

Thanks to support and encouragement from friends, I just got back from a cold, Minnesota cardio workout — power walking around my lake at 7 p.m. on a Monday night, in 40 degrees and drizzling rain. It was cold and wet, and lonely — only the nutjobs and die hards were out tonight!

I was not in the mood. I had every reason (okay, excuse) in the book for why I couldn’t workout today. Yet, I did it. And, WOW, does it feel great when you have to fight for it!

I will never underestimate the power of support and the accountability that goes with it. It was critical to my success in losing the weight, and it continues as I celebrate three years of healthy living and maintaining my -200 lb weight loss.

Quotation-Katrina-Bee-great-support-love-goal-people-Meetville-Quotes-14536It’s true: A fit, active, happy, healthy girl living in the center of her equation for three years, still has days — like today — where it is harder than h e _ _ to get the workout in. Or, stay the course and not use food to comfort sadness or a hurting heart.

Lori Schaefer, Before & After

Lori Schaefer, Before & After

Lori Schaefer Before & After

Lori Schaefer Before & After

I was again reminded of the power of the community. And how important support, encouragement and accountability are to success — in anything.

Here’s my story…and I know you can relate

Monday morning and I was not feelin it. After another restless night, I was wide awake at 5 a.m. and dressed for my workout by 5:30. My plan was to get an extra long workout in — even though I was not “in the mood.” I was prepared to work harder for it today. It was one of those days.

After my morning coffee, I got engaged on the computer and started working. Soon it was 9:30 a.m. and I realized I had blown off my workout and almost gave up the opportunity to start my day with my precious “Lori in the equation time.”

So I posted my struggle on Facebook, fulling knowing that by “going public,” I would get my butt out of the office chair and hold myself accountable. I also knew people would jump in to either kick my butt, commiserate, and/or support me. Sure enough, all of the above happened. (Thank you friends from Blue Hill and Duluth, and more.) I did my strength training workout and felt so much better. But it was rainy and cold, so I left the cardio/steps until the end of the day.

Uh, oh.

At the end of the day, I didn’t want to do it. I wasn’t feeling it. My meeting ran late. I had work deadlines, and it was windy, rainy and cold outside. The community center was calling my name for indoor cardio and I had every intention of going. But then I got really busy — on Facebook! 🙂

Ever been there?

Just then, I saw a Facebook post from SunShine Hampton (on Season 9 NBC’s The Biggest Loser with my mentor O’Neal Hampton) and it inspired me. SunShine posted that she and a friend had just finished their run in the cold, damp outdoors. She’s training for a half ironman, for God’s sake. If she can get outside and run, I can do it. I bolted out of my chair, and went for my cold, damp walk. And I am so glad I did. I came back mentally prepared to tackle my evening deadlines, and felt accomplished. Yep, today I had to fight for it. Mission Accomplished.

The lessons: Know yourself. Ask for help when you need it.

Support and accountability, framed in these two principles above, were key to my success in weight loss and now as I live a healthy life. As humans, we all struggle. We all have off days. And sometimes we need the “village” to see us through.

First principle: It’s important to know what YOU need to be successful and set yourself up for success. Do everything you can to make sure you’ll succeed. I blog, speak and post about my transformation journey because I learned the very first time I was “outed” in the Star Tribune — our big daily newspaper — that “going public” helped me stay accountable.

When that first feature story about me was published during fitness boot camp, I was “outed.” And I got hundreds of people writing, calling, and messaging me with support. I learned that I fed off of that support and encouragement. And the accountability that came with it drove me harder. So I purposely incorporated that “going public” aspect into my journey. It’s how this blog was born.

Some people don’t respond to that kind of public pressure and/or support. I thrive on it and I know that about myself. The key is to know what YOU need, where/how you might sabotage yourself, and mitigate against it as best you can.

The second principle: “asking for support” cannot be underestimated. For some of us this is really hard. We pride ourselves on being strong and independent. But you can be/are both. Asking for support from others in NOT a sign of weakness. It’s a sign you’re human and are connected to others. And that’s a good thing. We all want to be needed and help others. Give people a chance to love and support you in your goals.

I knew when I made up my mind to tackle my weight issue for good and live a new life with me “in the equation,” that I needed a team of people/a village to support me. I was taking on something BIG that had eluded me for most of my adult life.

Support and accountability for me came in two ways. First, I knew that I needed experts to guide me — like a trainer and nutritional coach, and yes, a therapist. But, I also needed day-to-day support and encouragement from friends, family, colleagues and mentors. I relied on people who were in a similar program, like my friends Shari, Sue and Carrie. I relied on my long-time friends and my family. And I picked up lots of supporters along the way — new friends in new places like Maine, complete strangers or people I connected with through this blog, my speaking engagements, the Biggest Loser finale. All wanted to help and support me. I was amazed by the love and support and encouragement I received (and continue to receive today) from so many people.

So when you are embarking on any big dream, goal or challenge, think about what you need for success, how you will best receive and respond to support, and then go after it. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. As I experienced, and relearned again today, people want to help. They can relate when you struggle — because we all do. And they want to see you succeed.

Every one of those people who supported me today online — and you know who you are — knows that I would do the same for them. And for YOU. It takes a village. And the village is strong! #communitystrong #gratitude #accountability #togetherwearestrong

Thanks team. Cheers


FFLogo313C_SQDoing anything Saturday May 30? Put yourself in the equation and come to a fabulous fitness and wellness event called #MSPFitFest. Come hear me speak and share my personal transformation story and five principles for change. Attend great group fitness classes and seminars with the experts. Attend a great expo with the likes of Athleta, Lole, Surge Cycle and more.Check out my FitFest page. Or, get tickets here.

P.S. If you want to attend my 9 a.m. speech and can’t spend the day or afford the $20 ticket, connect with me here. I WANT you to come!

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