Many people trying to lose weight only use the scale to measure success — but the journey to a healthier life is complex.
Dr. Christian Birkedal, AdventHealth bariatric surgeon, explains that “celebrating non-scale victories paints a better picture than just the scale to determine your success after bariatric surgery.”
If you feel stuck in your weight-loss journey, here are some non-scale victories you can celebrate to help you get your motivation back.
What Are Non-Scale Victories (NSVs)?
Weight loss isn’t linear, so it can sometimes be frustrating when all the emphasis is on the numbers on the scale.
“Focusing on these other victories can help keep the momentum going when the scale isn’t necessarily moving as fast as you’d like, you’ve hit a plateau or are retaining water,” says Dr. Birkedal.
NSVs are health or lifestyle improvements that result from small life changes. If you’re only focused on the number the bathroom scale shows, you might miss other successes that are just as important.
Non-Scale Victories To Look Out For
Weight is just one of many health indicators, but people seem to focus only on this to measure progress. Here are non-scale victories that you can use as motivation throughout your weight loss journey.
Your Clothes Fit Better
A study conducted by the University of Tennessee found that 77% of women and 36% of men want to lose weight to look better and feel more comfortable in their clothes.
“While the scale might not be changing, your clothes can speak to your weight loss. If your jeans fit looser than before, then your efforts are certainly paying off,” encourages Dr. Birkedal.
You’re in Less Pain
Dr. Birkedal says, “obesity can lead to various pains from the stress placed on your joints.” If your weight is slowly decreasing, you’ll start to notice less pain in your lower back and knees. This will help you move and make it easier to get the physical activity you need to continue your health journey.
You’re Eating Healthier
As you continue on your weight loss journey, you may see that your food choices have become more health-promoting. Choosing meals that are high in protein and include a variety of fruits and vegetables will give your body more of the nutrients it needs. When we improve our food choices, we tend to have more energy and feel better overall.
You Need Less Medication
“Obesity leads to many other health conditions, such as diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol,” warns Dr. Birkedal. The medications for these conditions can be expensive and lead to other harmful side effects. As you lose weight, your doctor might tell you you don’t need to take these medications anymore, which is a big win for you and your health!
Physical activity used to be hard before your bariatric surgery. Just getting up from bed and to the next room might have felt like an overwhelming task. Now not only do you notice that as you lose weight, physical activities like walking and lifting weights become easier but you’re actually motivated to workout. You have a newfound hobby!
“As you exercise, you’ll notice your stamina increasing and muscles toning, meaning you may be able to do activities you used to dread prior to losing weight. All signs of non-scale victories” encourages Dr. Birkedal.
You Need Less Aid
As you get on the plane for your next vacation, you may be surprised to find that you no longer need a seatbelt extender to fly safely. “By reducing the amount of aids you need, you will start experiencing new freedoms. Things like flying, theme park rides, or driving are now more comfortable for you to do” encourages Dr. Birkedal.
You See a Difference in Your Photos
Using photographs to see the physical changes instead of relying on the numbers on the scale is a great way to celebrate all your hard work. You can see the changes in your body, even though the scale might not be moving as fast as you like. As you see these changes in your selfies or group pictures, you’ll start to feel more confident that all the hard work is worth it. Don’t forget to smile in your pictures! You look great!
Helping You Become Your Healthiest Self
At AdventHealth, we’re committed to helping you transform your life and celebrating the small and big wins together. With highly personalized, world-class bariatric care, we’ll guide you through the surgical weight-loss options to find what’s right for you. To learn more about bariatric surgery at one of our four Central Florida practices, click here.