Imagine yourself stepping on a scale to weigh in. How do you feel? If you are like me, I get on with one eye closed and the other barely open—just enough to see the number. I’m feeling nervous to see the outcome, because I’m either about to feel really excited or depressed.
Now imagine throwing the scale out your window and never needing to worry about it again! Health coach and motivational speaker Michelle Myers is the reason many women are doing this and still achieving their fitness goals. I caught up with her to learn a bit more about her fitness story and share her “recipe” to living leaner, happier and even richer.
When Michelle first started her journey to being healthier, she was seeking perfection. She explained, “I was working out obsessively and stressing out over every calorie that went into my mouth. Slowly, it took over so much of my life that I didn’t enjoy food or exercise anymore. I began eating less and less, feeling more and more empty inside. I got down to about 84 pounds, and I was anything but healthy.”
Thankfully, she began her journey to restored health with the help of God. (Michelle explains this transformation in detail from anorexia to complete health in her book: The Look That Kills.)
After that experience, Michelle never expected to work in fitness again. “After all,” she stated, “I had done it completely wrong! But, my story has been a huge way for me to identify with my clients and understand their insecurities first-hand.”
Michelle is now married to her husband, James, and has 2 boys – Noah (4 years old) and Cole (21 months). She runs an online fitness community, a clothing line (Cross Training Couture), and a ministry for women called She Works His Way.
How Michelle Stays Fit
For her own health, Michelle currently stays in shape by following an at-home DVD workout series (from Team Beachbody), and using the 21 Day Fix Nutrition system to control her food portions. She likes the portion-controlled containers used in the program, because she doesn’t have to measure any food out. One of her favorite mini-meals is 2 hard boiled eggs (red container), cucumbers (green container), and hummus (blue container).
Non-Scale Victories (NSVs)
Michelle also doesn’t measure her bodyweight and advises her clients to follow suit. She (and her clients) center their success around NSVs (non-scale victories). “Think about it – why do we allow a number than no one knows but us determine how we feel about our worth? It doesn’t make sense!,” explains Michelle.
Instead, Michelle and her clients focus on increased energy, achieving new fitness milestones, having more endurance, lifting heavier, sleeping better, reduced cravings, etc. These things will keep any person more motivated than a scale, because each fosters good self-esteem, self-efficacy (belief in one’s self), and an intrinsic drive to exercise. According to Vallerand and Bissonette (1992), intrinsic motivation is the highest and best form of motivation, because an individual is behaving in a way because he/she “likes the feeling of success and enjoyment that comes from it.”
In contrast, using the scale as a progress marker can cause an “introjected regulation motivation” where an individual acts in a way because of a “tension/guilt that pressures them to do so.” Although both are sources for motivation, an intrinsic motivation will last much longer as opposed to the introjected regulation motivation that will end once a specific number on the scale has been achieved.
One way to start focusing on NSVs on your own is to use an Accountability Jar. This is so simple & fun!
Here’s the “recipe” to a leaner, happier, and richer YOU:
*Start with an empty jar (or a protein shaker cup if you have 25 laying around like at my house).
*You can decorate it, write your goals or favorite motivational quotes on it, or leave it blank.
*Put the jar somewhere you can see it often.
*Add $1 to it each time you workout, and every time you skip an unnecessary treat.
*Set a timeline for yourself according to your preference – like from now until next month, or now until Thanksgiving, etc.
*Once you reach your goal date, you can take out your lump of cash and use the money for anything that motivates you – new workout shoes, clothes, a charity, Christmas gifts, vacation, etc.
Focus On Real Beauty, Not The Scale
As a middle school teacher, I see teenage girls daily and often compare the images I grew up seeing on TV and magazine to ALL of the images girls are exposed to today with Facebook, Instagram, magazines, TV, movies, internet, etc. It’s a little frightening to think about. I asked Michelle what advice or encouragement she would give to teens (and young women in general) that struggle with body confidence. Here was her answer:
You are more than a number.
The scale will never be able to tell you how smart you are, how funny you are, and how special you are.
Your beauty comes from within.
There’s no six-pack that stands out more than a woman with contagious joy.
Use your smile more than any other muscle.
Vallerand, R. J., & Bissonnette, R. (1992). Intrinsic, extrinsic, and motivational styles as predictors of behavior: A prospective study. Journal of Personality, 60, 599–620.