Whether weight loss or well-being is your goal, building a healthier life is a multifaceted process. And it doesn’t happen overnight.
It takes imagination, bravery, and sustained commitment to develop healthier eating and movement habits. Focusing on just your weight as measured by the scale can often be too limiting to keep you motivated for long.
So, how do you learn to celebrate those non-scale victories that lift your spirits, reinforce your resolve, and identify results beyond the scale? This article will help show you how.
Non-scale victories, also known as NSVs, are health improvements that result from small life changes. They may go unnoticed if you’re only focused on the scale as a measure of your success.
A bathroom scale shows a number — a snapshot of your weight at a given moment on a given day. But the journey to a healthier life can’t be reduced to a single frame so easily.
You can create a truer picture of your progress by recognizing the many improvements you’re experiencing day to day.
Instead of only focusing on your weight as a number on the scale, why not take a moment to 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.
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 to a favorite tune, or taking a brisk 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 overall.
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.
More reps, heavier weights, and longer exercise sessions indicate that you’re moving in the right direction.
Combining cardio with weight training may be beneficial if weight loss is one of your health goals.
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.
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
If you’re looking for another NSV to measure, keep an eye on your waist-to-hip ratio, and notice the changes as you continue with your health habits.
9. Your coping mechanisms are healthier
When people are stressed by illness, conflict, loss, or trauma, about
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 becomes a habit.
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. You may have retrained yourself to use healthier stress management techniques like exercise or mindfulness.
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.
If your weight is slowly 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.
11. Your mood is improved
Another non-scale victory may be an improvement in your mood.
According to a
12. Your medical markers are getting better
When those numbers change, it can boost your resolve. It can also reassure you that the changes you’ve made are improving your health.
13. You have new sources of social support
Partnering with a friend, a therapist, a support group, a nutritionist, 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 keep a food journal if a nutritionist gives you weekly feedback.
Choose your support carefully. You want people on your team who are genuinely interested in your well-being.
14. Your plate is a thing of beauty
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.
Take advice from the pros: Adjust the lighting, simplify the background, add tasteful accessories, and choose a dramatic angle to accentuate your beautiful and healthy meal.
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.
Losing weight is a health goal for many people. While it’s fine to measure your weight on a scale from time to time, the number on the scale isn’t the only way to measure your success.
When you notice and celebrate your many non-scale victories, you’re more likely to stay motivated in a long-term journey to a healthier life.
So look around. Notice the inner and outer changes you’ve made. Appreciate the effort you’ve invested in becoming healthier. And keep going.