Seeing the number go down on the scale is great. What can be better are the non scale victories you will obtain during your journey.
The importance of non scale victories
Even the term “losing weight” implies that the most important thing is getting that number on the scale down.
In reality that’s not very often the actual reason behind your weight loss goal. You probably instead want to feel better, look better, live longer, be able to play with your kids more, enjoy working out,…
Putting too much value on the scale can be demotivating at times. This is partly because fat loss doesn’t always equal weight loss. You could be beating yourself up because the number on the scale didn’t go down while in reality you did lose fat.
1. Improved mood
Your physical health doesn’t just influence your body.
Many people really feel their mood improve more and more the further they are in their weight loss journey. Exercise actually promotes the release of hormones called endorphins. These make you feel happier.
Eating healthier, like consuming enough magnesium, can have the same beneficial impact. Lastly avoiding the inflammation from being overweight can be another cause for this.
Getting closer and closer to the goals you set out for yourself can be another reason for your improved mood. Plenty to feel happier about!
2. More energy
Both having to carry less weight around and getting more used to exercising can help you get more energy throughout they day.
Trouble getting out of bed, having midday energy dips, falling asleep during the movies,… You will start to notice that those things become less and less common the more progress you make.
3. Sizing down
A good way to measure progress without having to look at the number on the scale is by keeping an eye on how clothes fit.
The size of the jeans, t-shirts, and even shoes you wear will probably go down. This might not sound like much at first but it feels really good! On top of that, it is the ideal moment to reward yourself for your efforts with new clothes!
4. More confidence
There are multiple ways that hitting your weight loss goals can make you more confident about yourself.
Doing challenging things and succeeding in them will almost inevitably make you feel more in control of your own life. More confident that you can do the things you set out to do.
On the other hand, a lot of people struggle with how they look in the mirror when they carry around more pounds. In that case this non scale victory could mean being comfortable wearing different kinds of clothes or just liking the way you look in the clothes you usually wear more.
5. Physical chores feel easier to do
This might not be the most obvious one in the modern world, where most physical movements are not mandatory. However, chances are you will have to do chores that require physical movement sooner or later.
If you do chores regularly during your weight loss journey you will most likely notice that you can do them with less and less effort.
No more being out of breath after carrying the vacuum cleaner upstairs.
6. More self-discipline
Self-discipline works like a muscle you can train.
The more you use your self-discipline muscle the stronger it will become. You will notice that you just get certain things done. Things that used to take you hours of mental battling with yourself to start.
Self-discipline is extremely helpful in almost all areas of your life. Often the things that are best for you in the long-term are not that fun in the short-term.
7. Less joint pain
Eating healthier foods, eating less bad foods, stronger muscles from exercising, better sleep, and having to carry less weight around. All these things can help you with reducing the amount of joint pain you feel.
Most people are astonished when they try to carry the amount of weight they have lost in for example gym weights. This challenge is great to make you realize how much you are saving your joints from.
8. Muscle starts to appear
By reducing your body fat percentage enough you will start to notice muscle appearing. Some people see their collarbones for the first time in years.
This might not sound like much for most people but it can be a really strong positive experience that can motivate you to keep going at it.
If you like this feeling of having more pronounced muscles, lifting weights might be great for you!
9. Enjoying physical movement
Almost everyone has the same thought after not exercising for a while: “no way I will ever enjoy working out”.
Weirdly enough, slowly but surely, you likely start enjoying the exercising more and more. For a lot of people, it even goes to the point of dreading the days they’re not able to get any exercise.
This is extremely great because if you enjoy doing something, chances become a lot higher of you actually doing it. If you don’t enjoy physical movement (yet), you might need to try other workouts or find friends who want to work out with you.
10. Less circumference
Instead of using the number on the scale, which fluctuates not only with fat loss or gain, you can use a more objective measurement, circumference.
By using a measuring tape you can keep track of the circumference of body parts like legs, arms, belly and hips.
When doing this many people notice that they regularly lose inches but not weight. There are many potential reasons for this but one is that you are gaining muscle and losing fat at the same time.
11. Less cravings
It’s crazy how addicting certain foods can be. Certainly the ones high in added sugar seem to be hard to stay away from.
Luckily, the less you eat those kinds of foods, the easier it becomes to stay away from them. You will get less and less cravings. On top of that you will start to enjoy regular foods more and more.
12. Achieving specific goals
To keep yourself going you can create some specific goals. Here are a few conditions for a good goal:
- It’s completely under your control (so not weight)
- It’s not too easy to achieve, you’ll have to push yourself
- It’s measureable, you can also “fail” at it
Some examples are: “I won’t eat any foods with added sugar for 7 days”, “I will exercise 3 times a week for the next 4 weeks”, “I will run out that one 5k race”.
There is just something amazingly satisfying about hitting challenging goals you set for yourself. Certainly a non scale victory worth celebrating!
13. Reducing meds
Part of the journey is becoming a healthier person. In this day and age meds are often prescribed, and sometimes these cause negative side effects you would rather avoid.
Chances are that you will be able to reduce or completely stop the intake of certain meds like for example for high cholesterol. Of course always talk to your primary care provider on the subject before making any drastic changes.
14. Hitting personal bests
Progress almost always feels good.
Whether it’s lifting heavier weights, doing more repetitions, cycling faster, running longer distances,… All these things feel so good because you know you’ve become a stronger person than you were before.
15. Old clothes that fit again
When the pounds start creeping up you slowly but surely have to say bye to certain pieces of clothing. You might have gathered a collection of old clothes that you really liked but they just didn’t fit anymore.
During your weight loss journey you can take a dive in your wardrobe every once in a while to find those kinds of clothes. Even if they don’t fit yet you can use them as a non scale goal.
16. Getting sick less often
The things you feed your body with have an impact on its health and its ability to deal with diseases. Eating healthier, exercising more and having less body fat can all help you prevent diseases and live longer.
At first you might think it doesn’t matter that much but more and more studies find very strong relations between your lifestyle habits and your health.
17. Getting compliments
While it is likely not your most important reason for losing weight, who does not enjoy getting a compliment or two? People around you might notice the progress you are making and compliment you for it.
Not the case but you know you are getting awesome results? No worries, some people are just not comfortable complimenting others, it doesn’t mean the changes are not visible.
18. Thinking clearer
An unhealthy lifestyle and packing extra pounds or kilos can cause a lot of brain fog. On top of that the things that are part of a healthy lifestyle, exercising, eating healthy, good sleep, and more improve cognitive function positively (1, 2, 3).
If better decision making, better planning, better learning, better memory, and more of those things sound like something you appreciate, this non scale victory is definitely for you.
What is Nsv dieting?
Non scale victory dieting (nsv dieting) is working on your physique without paying too much attention (or any) to your body weight.
The number on the body weight scale inevitably fluctuates because of factors that are not that important. By focusing on the things that ultimately matter (non scale victories), you can avoid a lot of useless negative emotions.
How can you measure progress without scales?
You don’t necessarily have to throw out the scale but by also keeping track of these non scale victories you can see whether or not you’re making progress in a different way too.
When you keep improving more and more on those non scale victories it is very likely you also lost bodyfat.
Other examples to measure progress without bodyweight scales include circumference and body fat percentage.