From a young age, we are being weighed and reacted to based on the number. But unfortunately, this can create an extremely unhealthy approach to health or fitness efforts, which is why you should DITCH the scale, or at least stop using it as your primary form of measuring progress. Non-scale victories, or NSV’s, are one of my absolute favorite ways to calculate progress in a wellness, lifestyle change, or fat loss journey. NSV’s are simply accomplishments or noticeable progression that have nothing to do with the scale.
So how do you actually know you’re making progress without using the scale? Here are some examples of non-scale victories:
- Better sleep
- Clothes fitting better
- Having more energy
- Improved digestion
- Body measurement changes (one of my favorite ways of checking physique progress)
- Improved blood work markers
- Mindset shifts or a healthier headspace around food/exercise
- Strength gains or performance improvements (able to hike a 14er, faster mile pace, feeling better during a workout, etc
- New habits becoming more second-nature
- Feeling more capable of active hobbies
- Letting go of limiting beliefs
- Gaining more confidence or self-efficacy
- Noticeable change visually
- Better mood
- Improved skin
- Sharper focus and mental clarity
- Healthier metabolism
- More muscle mass
As a holistic health coach, these are an incredibly important aspect of seeing progress in a client’s journey. In our Mountain Metabolic Coaching Method, we measure and check in on these things often. NSV’s make your goals more three-dimensional and look at the entire picture, instead of just the slight piece of the puzzle that many people tend to get hung up on; weight. While trending weight loss, weight gain, or maintenance patterns (depending on your goals) can be a really important tool to use over a longer period of time, NSV’s are what prove you are heading in the right direction even if the scale isn’t reflecting your consistent efforts yet. Body composition can change drastically while the scale stays “stuck” in one place. Our bodies are complex and dynamic with so many different processes happening that have absolutely nothing to do with our weight.
This side-by-side photo is a prime example of why putting too much emphasis on the scale can be misleading, and even discouraging. On the left I weighed about 8 lbs less than I do on the right. I was newly postpartum, lost a lot of muscle, and was struggling with crippling postpartum anxiety. On the left, I was a year postpartum, had gained a lot of muscle back, was in a much healthier mental state, and FEEL much stronger + healthier. Not to mention my clothes actually fit better despite being heavier on the scale. This is a prime example of why only looking at the scale could actually make a person think they are taking steps in the WRONG direction, even if that’s far from true.
NSV’s might just be the missing link in getting your wellness journey momentum built and moving in the right direction. Celebrating any win, whatever it may be, is a vital part of creating a sustainably healthy lifestyle. Creating positive feedback within our own perspectives can have a massive impact on how we continue to show up for ourselves and our mindset while doing so. We want to make our health goals enjoyable instead of stressfully hyper-focusing on a number that reflects back to us only a fraction of potential change.
Here are a few prompts you can ask yourself to reflect or journal on that revolve around NSV’s instead of your weight:
What small win can I celebrate today?
What habits have I gotten better at sticking to?
What movements have I noticed improvement on?
What am I proud of myself for?
If my best friend was in my shoes, how would I congratulate him/her?
What is a promise I have kept to myself lately?
Are there any noticeable differences I can see or feel?
I hope that non-scale victories can be something you focus on in your wellness journey and they can bring some pressure-relief and positivity to your goals. You can’t complete a puzzle without all of the pieces, and weight is just one. In conclusion, the scale can be a useful tool at times, but it absolutely shouldn’t be the ONLY metric of progress that you are using consistently.
If you would like some accountability and guidance with your health and performance goals, let’s chat about our 1:1 Mountain Metabolic Coaching Method. Our team of experts are extremely passionate about helping you achieve your most vibrant life!
Happy + Healthy Trails,