Sometimes when the weight loss process is dragging on and perhaps there are plateaus that we get stuck in, it’s easy to get discouraged. Seeing the same number on the scale is frustrating. Whenever I saw that scale stuck in one place, I tried to tell myself “at least I’m not gaining weight.” That was a positive spin to the disappointment I was feeling.

But I worked so hard this week!

But I made my calorie goals every day this week!

Why isn’t the scale moving?

It’s easy to get obsessed with a number and one trick to get over that is to celebrate something else. Weight loss isn’t ALWAYS about the number on the scale. True health is a combination of things:

Are your clothes looser?

Did you measure your body and see INCHES lost?

Did you buy jeans in a smaller size?

Did you check your blood pressure and it was dramatically improved?

Is your belt too big now and you need to make new holes in it?

If you are keeping track of your weigh-ins, measurements, exercise and goals, I suggest recording all the other things that you see too. Keeping track of positive changes is encouraging. In your journal (electronic or paper), track the inches you lose, your improving moods, landmarks in your health like if your cholesterol levels improve, etc.

Weight Watchers has a term called “Non-Scale Victories” or NSV and I think it’s a fantastic practice to do daily or weekly. Or, if you’d like, keep a gratitude journal. Write down every time someone at work compliments your weight loss.

How to Celebrate Non-Scale Victories

Go on a shopping spree. Buy new clothes in your smaller size and show them off!

Make a goal. For example: “If I lose or maintain ___ weight, I will splurge on expensive running shoes” or “I will hike that local mountain I’m always intimated to try.”

Sign up for something. If you’re noticing your stamina has increased with weight loss, try signing up for a 5k or a walk/run event that you’ve always wanted to do. Getting a t-shirt or a medal for something you’ve accomplished is really encouraging!

Treat yourself. How about a mani/pedi? Or a spa day? Or a day trip to somewhere you wanted to visit? You can reward yourself with anything that makes you happy and celebrates your progress!

Share your success. Tell your friends and family of your NSV and don’t diminish it! Say “I lost 2 more inches!” instead of “I have a long way to go.”


Do I Celebrate Non-Scale Victories?

Of course! In fact, I celebrate those EVEN MORE now that I’m in maintenance mode. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen a change on the scale, which is a good thing because I want to maintain what I’ve lost. But I still need those daily encouragements to keep going on my path. I think it’s even more important now.

I count my calories every day in an app and I include my exercise calories burned. I love seeing those numbers and seeing that I’m on track. I celebrate days when I am under my calories.

I also measure my body once a month. This became much more important when I started a strength training program two years ago because I wanted to see progress; I wanted to see if I toned my body up. I took before pictures to compare and I measured my hips, waist, arms and legs.

I’ve had several NSV’s lately. The first one was fitting into a dress I didn’t think would fit me. It was the “tiny” pink dress I took to Vegas and it was on the clearance rack in the juniors section. I had no hope that it would fit me but loved the pink sequins and HAD to try it. I was shocked and ecstatic when it fit! And looked good!

The second NSV was the progress I’ve made lifting weights. Each week I’ve been able to increase the amount of my weights, or reps, and it made me feel strong and successful. Seeing those physical changes in my body inspire me to keep trying and keep working.

The last NSV is my return to running. After an injury and a break from running, I decided to get back into it. It’s slow going but I’m now able to run over 2.5 miles without walking, or without any pain or discomfort. I LOVE that!

Celebrate your progress!

QUESTION: Please share some of your non-scale victories you’ve had lately.

Author: Lisa Eirene

About Lisa Eirene Lisa lost 110 pounds through calorie counting and exercise. She swims, bikes, runs, hikes and is enjoying life in Portland, Oregon. Her weight loss story has been featured in First Magazine, Yahoo Health, Woman's Day and Glamour.com.

20 thoughts on “NSV”

  1. love NSV’s so much more meaningful and empowering…no mind games 🙂

    Recent NSV’s 5 min plank! Zipped up a size 6 designer dress (didn’t buy it though, but still felt good!) and ran a half marathon in sub 2hrs (1hr 56 min)….I’m letting the scale go for a bit…we don’t get along very well right now LOL.
    Katie Squires recently posted..Struggling and Resetting

  2. I have had several NSVs in the last couple weeks!

    – I started doing squats last Monday and I’ve done them every day since, and I’ve noticed a marked improvement in my thighs, in addition to less back pain.
    – I can now do push ups easier, when I used to not be able to do any.
    – Last weekend my husband and I walked around downtown Philly and I was able to walk almost 6 miles total without purposely having to stop and take a break. My legs didn’t start hurting until about a quarter mile from the car. This is good for me, since I am usually not able to walk more than a mile or two at a time.
    – I’ve increased my plank time from 10 to 30 seconds (maybe I’ll eventually get to 5 minutes).

    1. Those are all great! Isn’t walking fun? It’s a good way to see a city and neighborhoods you’d never go to normally. And the squat thing is awesome. I noticed the same thing when I started doing squats on a regular basis. The change was noticeable almost immediately. I feel so much stronger.

  3. Okay, I love that your buttons match the shirt you’re wearing in your profile picture!!! I know that’s a silly thing to love but it just looks so neat.

    ANYWAY I love this post and relate to it quite a bit. My scale ALWAYS moves slowly – it took me 2 years to lose 60lb! So I have to focus on NSVs or I lose my dang mind. My fave is to get my blood checked – cholesterol, lipids, fasting glucose, etc. I can only do it once a year but those numbers slowly improving is the best kind of reassurance that I’m treating my body right.

    1. Thank you, Sable! 🙂

      Congratulations on losing 60 pounds. And I am with you…it took me just under 2 years to lose 110 and if I hadn’t celebrated the NSV I would have surely given up too. Plateaus were especially frustrating.

      My favorite NSV is also going to the doctor. When they check my rest heart rate and blood pressure, the nurses always ask me if I’m a marathon runner because the numbers are so great. That makes me happy. 🙂

  4. Awesome post! NSVs are great and I try to celebrate them.

    My latest NSV was doing pushups. My husband was trying to see how many knee pushups he could do because they are easier. He did his then I said I’d give it a go…. and did 3 times as many. Haha. I love NSVs related to strength!
    Mary (A Merry Life) recently posted..Dinner Time! (Video)

  5. Non-scale victories are the best! My latest was fitting a men’s Large t-shirt instead of an extra large. Its not quite as loose as I’d like, but it fits in a way that wouldn’t be embarrassing in public. 🙂
    Deb recently posted..Day 193 & 194

  6. I love NSV! Sometimes they are all I have. Recently I had had to have 2 of my watch straps shortened, because they no longer fit. That was my favourite NSV this month! I am also restricted to one pair of jeans because all my others are waaaay too big, and this pair of jeans didn’t fit me a month ago and they do now!

    Ha, take that, scale!

    1. WOW! Those are awesome! I especially like the watch NSV. That must feel so great. When I was losing weight, I never thought about my shoe size, watch, jewelry etc being effected by the weight loss so when it happened I was shocked. I couldn’t wear any of my rings and a lot of my bracelets had to be given away because they just fell off.

      I agree! Take THAT scale!

  7. I love this post! I’m really bad at celebrating NSV’s…I always want to immediately move on to the next goal without enjoying what I’ve accomplished. It’s something I’m trying to work on. I had a great NSV this week…realized I could have a hair bad around my wrist without it cutting off circulation to my hand…it was a great feeling!
    Jodi @ Jodi, Fat or Not recently posted..Ready, set, health!

    1. Great job! I’d forgotten about the hair band thing. I did the same thing back in the day.

      (And I’m with you, I am very goal oriented…one of the reasons I struggled a bit once I reached goal weight. I was like “now what?!?!”)

  8. I am currently battling a plateau. I’ve got over 100lbs to lose and I’m stuck at about 25-30lbs lost and little movement on the scale for the past few weeks. NSVs are the best! Today I jogged almost continually for 2.5miles. That is a MAJOR achievement for me! I started jogging, MyFitnessPal (and reading your blog) in January. I have three 5Ks planned for this summer and I feel good about my slow and steady progress. Another NSV, I now fit into 3 pairs of pants that were in my “too small for now” box for over a year. And several pairs of pants that I was wearing throughout the fall and into the winter are so baggy I can’t wear them anymore. Thank you for your blog. You are a major inspiration for me! Your awesome and frequent posts help me stay motivated.

    1. Great job, Beki! That is awesome that you were able to job for 2.5 miles. I remember when I could FINALLY run without taking walking breaks. It felt really good to be able to do that. I’m glad you enjoy my blog! Thanks for reading. 🙂

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