When trying to lose weight or even gain weight it can be so easy to get caught up in the numbers on the scale, to the point where it can become obsessive and disheartening if the numbers aren’t going in the direction we want them to. Weight loss isn’t a steady journey, there are ups and downs, emotionally and physically. If you plot anyone’s weight loss on a graph, it is never a straight line. We plateau, we have a cheat meal, sometimes cheat days, we gain muscle, we have parties and cake, there are a whole host of reasons why losing weight is not a smooth ride. This is why it is important to take a step back from the ‘sad-step’ and celebrate your Non-Scale Victories.
A Non-Scale Victory is a benefit or achievement associated with weight loss that has nothing to do the scale. On a week where your weight may have gone up or not shifted at all, it is easy to start feeling negative and question whether it’s all worth it. This feeling can sabotage the hard work you’ve put in and progress you’ve made so far. Before you know it you’ve ditched the salad you prepared for lunch and bought a club sandwich with extra mayo and a plate of chips, telling yourself that this meal will make you happier than being healthy will. Next time you start feeling like this, stop, before you even get to the sandwich shop. Remember this list of Non-Scale Victories and feel proud of how far you’ve come. The next time you get a NSV, reward yourself! Buy a new top, get your nails done, whatever you want to treat yourself and have a “YAY!” moment to yourself.
You ignored the voice that said “you can’t” – Whether it was someone you know or that voice inside you shouting to be heard, you ignored them and carried on even when you didn’t think you could. You showed yourself and others that you can make time for the gym, you can make delicious healthy meals and enjoy them, you can do this.
You are stronger than you were yesterday – You can swing kettlebells, lift weights heavier than your handbag, heck you can lift weights heavier than some of the boys you know and you are getting muscles to show for it. You ache in places you didn’t know could ache from yesterday’s workout. When you poke your wobbly bits, they feel just that little less wobbly.
Your willpower isn’t so feeble – You no longer feel guilty for turning down the pastries your boss has “so kindly” bought for you. You resisted the naughty stuff at the free buffet. You’ve broken the 3pm chocolate habit. You had a cheat meal, enjoyed it, savoured it and didn’t go overboard. You can eat out with friends and make healthy choices without getting food envy.
You have more energy – You no longer have a mid-afternoon slump. You no longer need 3 coffees to get you going for the day. You no longer drift off to sleep on the train home. You can now run around with your younger siblings or your children. You can focus and concentrate at work or school all day. You feel awake, you feel alive.
Your fitness has improved – While the 6 flights of stairs may still burn, you no longer have to take breaks whilst climbing them. You can run for the bus without feeling so out of breath by the time you board it. You ran further than you’d ever run yesterday and get this, you enjoyed it. You can keep up with the fitter members of your aerobics class.
You’ve lost inches – Your jeans are feeling looser. That old pair of shorts in the back of your wardrobe aren’t so tight anymore. Your love handles aren’t quite as grab-able as they once were. You’ve gone down a dress size. You need a new wardrobe. You look smaller, leaner, tighter, more toned.
You’ve changed your lifestyle – Your speciality is no longer Mac’n’Cheese with an extra helping of cheese, instead you whip up a mean grilled salmon fillet with roasted vegetables and cajun sweet potato slices. Going to the gym after work is now your routine and you make working out a priority. You drink more water than you ever have before. Your wardrobe has more sports bras than bras, and that’s the way you want it.
There are so many Non-Scale Victories that I could go on and on and on. Instead, I am going to leave it there and hope that it inspires one of you not to feel so negative the next time the scale doesn’t display the number you wanted. Remember that being healthy is most important and that no one else needs to know what you weigh – it is honestly just a number!