Skinny Daily Post


You’ve heard many admonitions not to focus too hard on the scale when you’re working to lose weight. But how else can you monitor your progress? How do you know your hard work is paying off? How do you know if your diet is working?

Weight loss societies and programs of every ilk recommend attending to other measures of success. Diet warriors call these “non-scale victories” or NSVs for short. What is an NSV? Any event, ability, bit of data, or observance that shows your health and fitness are improving. Anything, that is, except your total weight.

What do NSVs look like for those of us who work at a massive weight loss? They include things like being able to wear our wedding rings again, comfortably picking a dropped pen off of the floor, being able to cross our legs, seeing our knuckles and wrist bones emerge, fitting comfortably in public seating, climbing stairs without getting dizzy, watching body measurements change, jeans sizes drop, dropping medications, recovering easily from colds, less arthritis pain, fewer asthma attacks, lowering blood pressure and resting heart rates, clearer skin, less hair loss, less unwanted hair growth, healthier feet, more comfortable walking, easier shopping, finding clothes that fit — the list goes on and on and looks different for everyone.

But NSVs are also behavioral. It’s a big victory when we comfortably and easily make choices to move more and eat less or eat a better quality of food. It’s a big NSV when we learn to say no to one more responsibility to make time for exercise and healthy eating. It’s a major NSV when you find ways to exercise with friends, family, community. It’s a great big hairy NSV and very good karma when you participate in changes in your community that help everybody eat better and move more.

Your personal NSVs are worth collecting on a list, on a page, in your body log or diet journal. By keeping a list of all the advantages and successes you’ve earned, you have an easy source of motivation for staying on track when doing that gets hard, boring, frustrating, or when the scale is not showing what you wish it would.

Your record of non-scale victories is the truest measure of your hard work and of the many advantages that a healthy diet and regular exercise will bring you. You’ll soon see that a mere scale reading pales considerably next to a normal cholesterol count, healthy blood pressure reading, or lowered heart rate. You may not know that now, but please trust me that 10, 50, 200 lbs. from now, your NSV list will be a great treasure.

6 thoughts on “Non-Scale Victories

  1. Marcia says:

    Amen ! I just recognized a major NSV the other day. I have kept the same bag of chocolate chips in my kitchen cabinet for over two months! The old compulsion to eat everything tasty in my kitchen immediately is diminishing. Of course, I still can’t have chips/pretzels/cookies lying about. I do cherish this small victory!

  2. jacquie says:

    It’s so hard to look at the NSVs when the scale looks like it does!The scale is so powerful. But writing them down & seeing them often has to make some difference! Thanks!

  3. ladymisstree says:

    I note down every single NSV on my blog triumphantly because I know that these are what are going to get me through the night when the scale is going in the wrong direction.

  4. Val says:

    For some reason the need to check the scale is as engrossed in my persona as the need to clean my plate. No amount of rational, logical reasoning stops me from feeling bummed if the number is higher than I hoped, or happy when the number is lower. Nevertheless, in the same way I have learned to either take a large portion off the plate before I start, only put on a small one, or force myself to leave food on the plate, I also force myself to balance the NSVs with the scale. It helps me remember the goal is not to be thin, but rather to be fit and healthy. I’d much rather be fit and healthy than thin–yeah, that’s what I keep telling myself after I wash my clean plate and step on the scale!!! 🙂 (we’re all works in progress)

  5. JUDY BUSSIS says:


  6. Sheri says:

    This has been a tough year for me to use the scale as a motivating force…because, despite seeming to do “all the right things,” it hasn’t budged much this year. As a result, I have HAD to depend on NSVs to keep me sane and keep me moving in the right direction.

    One big one was a friend thinking I’d lost more weight since my last visit when I hadn’t…and his comment that I surely must have been doing SOMETHING right then because he could tell a major difference in the, shall we say, “jiggleability” of my behind! YEA! I’ve also seen my watchband get bigger (have already had it taken in once this year) and have less “kimono arms” and less double chin. All of this without seeing much change on the scale. I say thank goodness for NSVs!!

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