Week 6: The importance of NSVs

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I have always wished that when you decided you were finally, definitely going to lose weight and get fit, a magical weight loss and get fit fairy would appear, perhaps grill you on your intentions and, if they deem you genuine, magic off a couple of stone.

You’d still have to do the work -but the gratification would be magically instant and you would feel wonderful. I have always thought it slightly unfair that losing weight is such a long and hard process when putting weight on requires relatively little effort.

But of course wishes are just that - and the reality is that as I didn’t put on several stone of excess weight overnight I’m not going to lose it overnight either.

There have been times, however, during this Biggest Loser process when I have wondered does a point not come when it gets easier? When it all clicks? And when you finally realise you are making progress?

Each Wednesday night at the OLT us losers face a weigh in. Each session is a bit like a session in the confessional. If you want to move on you have to weigh in - face your sins and your saintly moments on the scales and go forward to a new week with a different number on your score card.

I’ve found that most of us obsess a bit about Wednesdays. I’ve heard all the stories. People who don’t eat all day before weigh in, who refuse to consume any liquids after 1pm, who make sure to take off all excess clothing before stepping on the scales (even down to wedding rings and other jewellery) and who make sure to take one last visit to the loo to ensure not an extra ounce shows up.

The truth is we are all fixated just that wee bit on seeing the numbers on the scales move down the way - especially if, like me - the number on the scales is much higher than it should be.

But as the weeks go on I’m starting to personally rely much more on what we dieters call NSVs - Non Scales Victories.

These can be relatively little milestones which show how your body is changing, and how your fitness level is improving.

I already wrote last week how recently I was able to wear an outfit two dress sizes smaller than the one I wore in January. In the same week I went shopping for new jeans (after a near flashing incident in Tesco) and found I was able to fit into a jean size that I have not worn in ten years.

Bizarrely, I’ve had to move the seat in my car forward a bit and readjust my seatbelt. The coat I couldn’t even close in January is now much too big - but my biggest sense of achievement is the improvement in my fitness levels.

Okay running for anything longer than around 30 seconds still has been screaming for mercy. Spin still terrifies me - but last week when I held a plank (evil strength and conditioning move) for 45 seconds I knew I was improving. When I did 30 squats without crying, I knew my body was getting fitter.

As we took part in our Kettle Bells class on Thursday night (which I personally loved) the chat among the Red Team was of clothes fitting better, or walks being completed faster, or nutrition improving.

Of course we would love it to happen faster, and we would all love to wake up thin and healthy one morning - but there is a certain sense of achievement in knowing you have paid for every ounce of your own weight loss in blood, sweat and tears.