When you are trying to lose weight, it is so easy to just focus on the number on the scale. However, the number on the scale isn’t the only way to measure your success. Measuring your progress by recognizing the many improvements you’re experiencing daily is known as non-scale victories (NSV). NSVs are improvements that result from your diet and exercise behavior changes, which often go unnoticed if you only measure your success by the number on the scale.
Here are 5 NSVs that we often overlook:
1. Your clothes fit better
Your clothes often let you know you are shedding the weight before the scale does. If your clothes are feeling more comfortable before, your efforts are very likely paying off. You’re probably losing inches instead of pounds. This is significant to note because the scale does not account for your body composition. Conversely, when you measure the inches you’re losing in different body areas, for example, your arms or waist, and you’re down a few inches, you’ll discover you are losing fat, even if the scale doesn’t reflect this yet.
2. You have more energy to do the things you love
When you’re eating more nutritious food and increasing your physical activity, you are guaranteed to feel more energetic. If you’re on the path to a healthier life, you will find that your new habits are making it easier for you to get out and do things you enjoy more often. Weight loss allows more oxygen efficiency, so you’re able to do more physical activities without losing your breath. Playing catch with your children, walking your dog, gardening, dancing, or taking a brisk walk are all NSVs to celebrate.
3. Your sleep has improved
When you change your eating habits and increase your physical activity, you may find that you are sleeping more soundly at night. “We found that improvement in sleep quality was significantly associated with overall weight loss, especially belly fat,” says Kerry Stewart, director of clinical and research exercise physiology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Quality sleep is important for mental and physical health, and is key for a healthy cardiovascular system. If you’re catching more z’s, then it’s definitely something to celebrate.
4. Your health metrics are improving
If you continuously make healthy changes to your diet and exercise routine, health metrics like blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol are likely to improve. Consequently, you may be able to reduce some of your medications. It may not be your initial goal when starting on your weight loss journey, but it definitely is a powerful accomplishment and NSV.
5. You feel happier
Instead of focusing solely on the scale, notice how you feel as you go through your day. Chances are, you feel happier as a result of eating healthier and increasing physical activity. A 2009 study by the Society for Study of Ingestive Behavior found that individuals with depression, saw an improvement in moods after losing weight.1 Weight loss can cause a boost in self-esteem and self-image, which results in more elevated moods. If you find yourself smiling and laughing more often, that’s a NSV in itself.
When you notice and celebrate your non-scale victories, you are more likely to stay motivated and continue your weight loss journey. Make sure you take the time to notice and appreciate the effort you’ve invested in becoming healthier, and don’t just measure your success by a scale. Remember that NSVs are milestones, too!
1 Faulconbridge, L.“Weight loss improves mood in depressed people.” Society for the Study of Ingestive Behaviour.