NSVs: True Motivation for Long-Term Weight Loss
90% of my clients come to me specifically to lose weight. That's cool; I get it.
Most people initially want to lose weight because they want to look better. Any coach who's been in the game a long time can tell you that straight-up vanity is one of the top weight-loss motivators, and it spans across all ages, genders, and seasons of life.
This is why "before and after" weight loss photos work so well for marketing - people are desperate to look better, above all else. And for those who have never really been fit, they think that just looking better is the obvious end game for any fitness & nutrition program.
But what if I let you in on a little secret: looking better, or even losing "scale" weight (which doesn't distinguish between muscle, water, and fat), is only the tip of the iceberg of how an actual functioning, thriving and healthy body can completely change your life.
I find that a lot of my clients, at the beginning of our journey, don't even realise all the other things a truly healthy person can do/have/feel outside of just seeing a lower number on the scale - such as:
A healthy person wakes up in the morning feeling energetic and ready to take on the tasks of the day - not dragging, aching (DOMS aside, haha), dreadful and exhausted.
A healthy person doesn't cycle uppers and downers (caffeine and alcohol) to control their stress and energy, they just....work out and sleep better.
A healthy person poops easily 1-2 times a day (yeah, I said it). Every day. And the food they choose doesn't give them gas, bloating, constipation, or lethargy.
A healthy person doesn't need to second-guess whether they can take the stairs if the elevator goes out or if they'll be able to run a bit to catch a bus. They know they can.
A healthy person can indulge at a party, a restaurant meal, or a vacation and get right back to their regularly scheduled nutrition, without guilt, shame, or sustained weight gain.
A healthy person doesn't fall sick every other week or month - or really more than a couple times a year.
A healthy person has 1 (maybe 2, especially for my mamas out there going through stages of pregnancy and postpartum, I see you) size of clothes in their closet, and they all fit.
A healthy person doesn't "hide" a poor metabolic profile under a "normal" body weight (i.e. "skinny-fat" or NAFLD).
The above statements have little to do with the scale; they have everything to do with consistency in habits, actual nutrition (vs. diets), longevity-focused health (vs. fads/quick-fixes), and the mental game required to sustain healthy lifestyle changes over time.
When clients start experiencing these healthy-person outcomes, whether accompanied or not by changes in weight, they realise that there's more to this whole "wellness" game than just looking a certain way or seeing certain numbers show up on the scale.
And this, my friends, is why my coaching program hits BIG on the NSVs (non-scale victories).
The following real-life NSVs are drawn from my actual coaching clients over the past year alone (you can check many of these out on my Instagram Testimonials):
changed to a new (smaller) notch on her belt
performed tree pose (one-leg balancing pose) in yoga without pain after ACL repair
reduced inflammation and healed her plantar fasciitis
lifted more than her bodyweight on a back squat
increased his strength (as measured by exit velocity) in college-level baseball
improved her lipid profile, including lowered cholesterol and triglycerides
demonstrated better blood sugar control, measured by a continuous glucose monitor
ran a faster pace for her first postpartum half marathon than she had pre-baby
decreased "puffiness" in her hands & face for a client with Hashimoto's disease
A common coach's mantra is to "fall in love with the process," and this is much easier to do when you start looking at all the aspects of that process - like these - that happen outside of your two feet standing on a cold square of metal on your bathroom floor.
Non-scale victories are a powerful reminder that the most meaningful health and wellness transformations go so far beyond what you see on a scale, or honestly, what you could ever tell from a "before and after" photo (many of which have been manipulated, by the way - but that's a blog for another day).
Whether it's increased self-confidence, more mental resilience, improved relationships with food, or simply rediscovering the joy of movement - celebrating non-scale victories is a crucial part of sustaining your healthy lifestyle changes in the long run. Never forget to embrace and broadcast your NSVs—big or small—as you continue to forge your path toward optimal health.