A Weighty Matter

In the last 16 months, Lori Schaefer lost more than 200 pounds—and found a new identity

Just 16 months ago, marketing entrepreneur Lori Schaefer weighed 381 pounds and had more than 60 percent body fat. “That’s bigger than most linebackers,” she says. “I had turned into someone whose glass was always half empty. But perhaps worst of all, I lost hope for a different life. Everything seemed too difficult. … As each workday passed, I feared for [the company’s success] and, secretly, for my life.”

Thankfully, when she got to that point, something changed.

Through her company, Marketing That Matters, Schaefer met O’Neal Hampton, star of NBC’s The Biggest Loser, at Bluefin Bay on Lake Superior (the resort is on her client roster).

“O’Neal is absolutely gifted at helping people make this transition,” she says. “He has a quote: ‘There are 18 inches from your head to your heart, and until you connect those two, you’re not going to have lasting change.’”  

That resonated with Schaefer, so she assembled her team: Hampton for the boot-camp kickoff, where she lost 21 pounds in 12 days (he also provided long-term pep talks); Leif Anderson for continuing training schedules and nutrition plans; and a counselor.  “I needed to figure out how to get myself back into the center of my life,” she says. “Now I have a list of non-negotiables—the things I must do every day: working out, eating well, and sleeping enough. It’s not like you get there and you’re done. You’re never done.”

Lori Schaefer

So now that Schaefer is entering what’s called her “maintenance phase,” she was ready to define her new style identity. “One of the challenges of dramatic weight loss is the psychology of dealing with what it feels like when you meet your goal. You don’t look perfect, but it sure beats the alternative.” No gimmicks, no fad diets, no surgeries: Schaefer attained all this through working out, eating right, and connecting the head to the heart.

Our stylists were up to the challenge of matching Schaefer’s new can-do carpe-diem attitude and body to an updated style profile. Faith Brue and Christina Holm-Sandok took on the wardrobing and set her up with a fitting at La Bratique for new undergarments, a hair makeover with Justine Hornick of Root Salon, and makeup lessons with Fatima Olive. Transformation: what a beautiful, healthy thing.

Where to Get it

Right (above): St. John sweater, $1,195 @ Neiman Marcus, 505 Nicollet Mall, Mpls., 612-339-2600, neimanmarcus.com. Theory blouse, $235 @ Neiman Marcus. Burberry Brit jeans, $195 @ Neiman Marcus. Mulberry bag, $1,400 @ Pumpz & Co., Galleria, Edina, 952-926-2252, pumpzco.com. Manolo Blahnik heels, $685 @ Pumpz & Co. Outfit.  Right (below): Vitamin top, $300 @ Dugo. Johnny Was belt, $85 @ Dugo. Joe’s jeans, $178 @ Neiman Marcus. Mulberry handbag, $1,100 @ Pumpz & Co. Not pictured: Kay Unger NY dress, $430 @ Neiman Marcus. Eileen Fisher sweater, $248 @ Eileen Fisher, Galleria, Edina, 952-929-0469, eileenfisher.com. SNO necklace, $150, Dugo, Galleria, Edina, 952-746-4440, dressupgoout.com. Mulberry handbag, $1,100 @ Pumpz & Co. Outfit.

Second Look

A Second Look  

Building a wardrobe takes time and patience, but we love this second outfit, which is versatile, flattering, and stylish.

1. This top is tops: it provides coverage without looking heavy, and the turquoise color is a perfect summer bright.

2. Embrace the waist. Belts add fun layers to your outfit and slim the silhouette.

3. Accessories are a great way to add a shot of color to any outfit.

4. Premium denim really does have a better fit and longer life. This lighter wash is a weekend-casual staple.

From the Experts: 3 Things to Know

The Challenge: “Because Lori lost so much weight so quickly, she was facing a bit of an identity crisis with her wardrobe. She hadn’t bought ‘cute’ clothes in several years and wasn’t sure what her style was,” Brue says.

Our Hairstylist’s Take: “The biggest thing we looked at was how Lori’s face changed shape,” Hornick says. “We made softer, sweeping, diagonal lines and added fringe. Then we painted in blended reds for a modern color. We also made it so it was easy to style around gym visits!”

Our Makeup Artist’s Take: “Her crystal-blue eyes are spectacular, so I added warmer tones to bring them out and let people notice them,” Olive says. “A bright lip looks fresh and modern!”  

The Take-away:  “With a newfound joy of showing off her figure, Lori was an ideal candidate,” Brue says. “She was ready for anything, and it was a pleasure to watch her new style unfold.”