We’re flooded with so many dreams and visions of our new and improved life when we imagine losing weight once and for all. We imagine improving our health and metabolic profiles. Improving or even reversing some auto-immune conditions.
It’s exciting to imagine what we’ll look like. Moving with ease, energy and vigor. Playing with grandchildren without fatigue. Shopping for clothes in smaller sizes. Perhaps in bright colors and patterns, eschewing that predominately black wardrobe we’ve hidden behind for decades.
Maybe you imagine slipping behind the wheel of your car with room to spare between your stomach and the steering wheel. Or settling into your airline seat without fear that you’re crowding your neighbor.
What about frolicking on the beach in a bathing suit without embarrassment? Maybe you’re dreaming of romance. Or travel. Or something as simple as not grimacing at the sight of your naked body. Of liking what you see when you look in the mirror.
Or maybe it’s a state of mind you imagine achieving. Feeling strong, capable, invincible. Brave, adventurous, bold. Finally at peace with your body and your weight.
The number on the scale is just one indicator of weight loss success.
Whatever your heartfelt dreams and imaginings, the number on the scale still seems to remain the primary evidence of weight loss success. Most of us have a goal number in mind when we daydream about weight loss.
And then, when we seriously commit to weight loss, we get hyper-focused on that number.
Sometimes it’s the uppermost number of your normal weight BMI range. Or the last number you weighed when you thought you looked and felt your best. Maybe it’s what you weighed at a certain age and stage of life.
While there’s nothing wrong with having a number in mind, or even a range that sounds realistic, the scale is not the be all and end all evidence of successful weight loss.
No matter what the number on your scale registers on any given day, there are many non-scale victories (NSVs) to recognize and applaud.
Non-scale victories to celebrate.
Instead of only focusing on weight loss success as a number on the scale, add some of these non-scale victories to your win column.
1. Your clothes fit better than they used to.
Your pants may let you know your weight is changing before the scale does. If your clothes are feeling more comfortable than they used to, your efforts are very likely paying off.
A 2017 study showed that roughly 77 percent of women wanted to lose weight so they’d look better and feel more comfortable in their clothes.
2. You can do more of the things you love.
Physical activity doesn’t have to take place in a gym. If you’re on the path to a healthier life, you may find that your new habits are making it easier for you to get out and do things you enjoy more often.
Playing with your children or pets, working in your garden, dancing, jogging or taking an energetic walk are all activities to celebrate.
3. You have more energy.
When you’re eating more nutritious food and increasing your physical activity, you’re bound to feel more energetic.
Health researchers point out that increased energy is one of the main benefits of adopting a healthier, more active lifestyle.
4. Your sleep has improved.
If your new activity and healthy eating habits have changed your weight, you may be sleeping more soundly at night.
A 2018 study found that people who successfully lost around 15 pounds also improved the quality of their sleep. Research suggests that losing belly fat has a particularly positive impact on sleep quality.
5. You’ve reached a fitness milestone.
Exercise has many health benefits. If you’re moving more than you used to, you’ll probably notice changes in your fitness levels the longer you stick with it.
6. Your mind is sharper.
When you change your diet, exercise more often, and lose weight in the process, your thinking skills are likely to improve.
7. Your skin looks better.
Healthy eating and regular exercise improve the health of your whole body. But research shows that eating lots of fruits and vegetables may produce benefits that show up on your skin.
Studies have found that eliminating dairy products and high-glycemic load foods, such as white bread and sugar, may help improve skin conditions
And a diet full of antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables can help prevent DNA damage from sun exposure, possibly lowering the risk of developing skin cancers.
8. You’ve lost inches.
Exercising, especially strength or weight training, can change your measurements. One important number to track is your waist circumference. According to a 2020 study, losing inches around your middle can reduce your risk of life threatening cardiovascular diseases.
If you’re looking for another NSV to measure, keep an eye on your waist-to-hip ratio, and notice the changes.
9. Your coping mechanisms improve.
When people are stressed by illness, conflict, loss, or trauma, about 80 percent change their eating patterns. Roughly 40 percent increase the amount they eat while the other 40 percent decrease the amount.
Stress eating, sometimes called emotional eating, has been linked to the release of dopamine, a chemical associated with reward centers in your brain. The eat-reward connection may be part of the reason why stress eating became a habit in the first place.
If you’ve noticed that you don’t use food to cope with stress like you may have in the past, this is a victory worth celebrating.
10. You’re in less pain.
Losing weight reduces the stress on the joints in your body that are weight-bearing — your legs and lower back in particular.
When your weight is decreasing, you may be feeling less joint pain. This may make it easier for you to get the physical activity you need to stay active and healthy.
According to one study, losing weight and staying active may reduce your risk of osteoarthritis.
11. Your mood is improved.
Another non-scale victory may be an improved mood.
According to a 2015 study, 82.2 percent of participants who’d been feeling depressed reported a positive change in the severity of their depression symptoms after losing 5 percent or more of their body weight.
What’s more, their improved mood remained even 2 years after their weight loss.
12. Your medical markers are improving.
When those numbers change, it can boost your resolve. It can also reassure you that the changes you’ve made are positively impacting your health.
In fact, a study based on the National Weight Control Registry showed that medical concerns are highly motivational. People who lose weight because of a health concern often lose more weight at first and keep it off over time.
13. You have new sources of social support.
Partnering with a coach, or any number of other personal and professional helpers, may make it easier to reach your health goals.
You may have noticed, for example, that you’re more likely to take a walk if a fitness buddy is waiting outside for you. Or you may find it’s easier to stick with your Food Plan if a coach gives you weekly feedback.
14. Your plate looks beautiful.
If you’re eating more fruits and vegetables, your plate is probably bursting with color. Red peppers, leafy greens, deep orange sweet potatoes — colors so bright and bold you may feel compelled to join the millions who photograph their food before diving in.
15. Your wallet doesn’t miss the drive-thru.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the average American household spent roughly $67 a week on eating out in 2018. This included restaurants and fast food.
If you’re doing more meal prep and less eating out, or if you’re eating more whole foods and fewer processed ones, your budget and your body may both be getting healthier. A NSV for sure.
Let’s do a 360 review of all the NSVs you can learn to love and appreciate.
While it’s important to measure your weight on a scale, the number on the scale doesn’t tell the whole story.
When you notice and celebrate your many non-scale victories, you’re more likely to stay motivated in your marathon toward a healthier life.
So look around. Notice the inner and outer changes you’ve made. Appreciate the efforts you’ve invested in becoming healthier. And keep going.
What are the non-scale victories you’re celebrating?
Not celebrating any yet? Well then, it’s time to make a list of at least 10 that are motivating to you and help you maintain your focus.
Let’s talk more about which ones are the most important to you.
Please take me up on my offer for your FREE Strategy Call. Then you can see for yourself how it’s possible to jump start weight loss by intentionally increasing your ability to shape your thinking.
This exploration can help you reach your weight loss goals with a lot less stress and drama.
It’s totally possible to make 2022 your year to create the healthiest you. No matter your age, stage or past disappointments.
Jump start your fresh start. A year from now you will thank yourself you reached out to me today.
I’m looking forward to meeting you soon.
It’s Never Too Late to make your weight loss journey easier. Let’s go!