While the new year is the prime time for people to attack their fitness and health goals, it’s important to go into any plan—no matter what time of year—with the best information possible. It gets SO dang easy to get caught up in setting the most common resolution for ourselves (like “I want to lose weight”), that we often get SO caught up on what the number on the scale is showing us, and we completely ignore any and all progress we HAVE actually made! And the end result can be so detrimental to our overall success, not to mention our sanity. This is why I’m celebrating Non-Scale Victories, many of which are even better than any number on a scale.
Q. What Are Non-Scale Victories?
A. The most simple definition of a Non-Scale Victory (aka NSV) is any health-related progress that has nothing to do with the scale or your actual weight.
Our body weight fluctuates, and that’s totally normal. It can change daily depending on our water intake, sodium intake, hormonal changes, that time of the month…and so many other things. So relying ONLY on that number on the scale as a way of measuring our progress can actually cause us to feel frustrated and lead us to give up when we don’t see the changes we expect (that darn number on the scale!) quick enough. Instead, learn to identify and celebrate non-scale victories. I’m sharing my favorite five below!
Top 5 Non-Scale Victories
1. Sizing Down + Measurements: Those jeans you’ve been coveting in the back of your closet that now fit, despite what the scale says, is a non-scale victory worth journaling. In fact, sizing down is a great non-scale victory during your transformation.
At the beginning of any weight loss journey, you should be taking body measurements in addition to recording your starting weight. Taking measurements of your upper arms, thighs, calves, hips, and waist will show changes that you won’t see on a scale.
Compare inches lost weekly or monthly to track progress in addition to the scale, and when those inches are decreasing and the weight is staying close to the same, you know that you’re successfully burning fat and turning it into strong muscle!
2. Gains (Increased Muscle): In addition to your measurements changing, you’ll notice your body getting strong—recompositioning—while the scale might now be moving. That’s a big victory.
Here’s what’s happening: Muscle is denser than fat, which means even though five pounds weighs the same between fat and muscle, 5 pounds of muscle is going to take up less space than those five pounds of fat. Sometimes people don’t realize that they’re actually converting fat to muscle, which is an amazing thing to do! If you really want to get into the nitty-gritty, which you know I do, buy a scale that shows you more than just your weight. I love Vanity Planet’s Body Analyzer Scale (Bonus: Just for my blog readers, you’ll get 50% OFF by using the link above). This scale allows you to see your weight while also breaking down what that number means. It’s a great way for the scale to tell you much more without having to guess at it.
3. Increased Energy Levels: When you start to notice you’re feeling more energized throughout the day (without having to rely on extra trips to Starbucks!), and you’re able to power through a workout with more energy than normal, you can count that as progress. It’s a great thing to journal while you’re at it.
Focus on how you’re feeling! How you feel should always be an important part of your journey. Participating in regular physical activity helps increase the blood flow throughout your body, and it improves your overall cardiovascular health as well. This allows for more blood and oxygen to get to your tissues and provide the energy for you to move. Exercising regularly increases your energy levels because of this flow!
4. Progress with Workouts: Maybe you were able to jog an extra mile, lift more weight, or go on that hike you’ve always wanted.
Either way, if your workouts are becoming “easier,” that’s also a non-scale victory. Even if the scale isn’t moving as fast as you’d like, being able to lift heavier weights, go for longer reps and sets, or run farther than before are great indicators of progress. Look for opportunities to notice improvements in your performance inside the gym and count them as a win, win, win!
5. Better Sleep: Sleep is such an important part of losing weight, reducing stress, and feeling overall HAPPIER, yet it often gets overlooked. It’s also a great NSV.
You look at your phone until late into the night and then wonder why you have such trouble falling asleep. WELL…if you’ve been eating healthier and exercising regularly, you may start to notice that you’re getting more nights of restful sleep. Additionally, making sleep a priority in your transformation is key, and if you’re doing your part to put that phone down and get a full eight hours of shut eye every night, then kudos to you!
Select photos by Ashley Burns
At the end of the day, weight really is just a number, and it’s not always the best indicator of how you’re doing progress-wise, even when losing weight is your #1 goal.
There are so many factors that cause your weight to fluctuate on a daily basis, and paying attention to the scale every single day isn’t going to make you happy. Instead, remember these NSVs and make sure you keep a journal to keep track of them. Get into the practice of weighing yourself once a week (not daily!), at the same time of day (preferably first thing in the morning after you’ve gone to the bathroom), and without any clothes or shoes on. This, along with a full in-body reading, will give you the best overall idea of what your current weight is and any trends you may be noticing.
And don’t forget to celebrate all the changes you see along the way! I’ll be cheering you on! What are your most celebrated NSVs? Comment Below!
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