80+ Non Scale Victories That Prove You’re Making Progress in Your Weight Loss Journey
Non-scale victories, or NSVs, are an important part of any healthy lifestyle journey. While the number on the scale is one way to measure progress, it doesn’t tell the whole story.
NSVs are those achievements that may not show up on the scale but nonetheless have a significant impact on your health.
NSVs are another reminder that you are making progress, so track and celebrate them!
What are Non-Scale Victories?
A non-scale victory, or NSV, is any kind of success you have while working on your health and fitness that is not directly related to your weight on any particular day.
NSVs can be anything related to creating the habits you need to lose weight and keep it off. For example, having one piece of chocolate instead of two, trying a new vegetable, drinking more water, staying on your weight loss plan, or exercising on a rainy day.
But non-scale victories can also be a reminder of your ‘why’—an indication of the reason you want to lose weight. For example, you can declare victory if you feel better about yourself, have more energy, you’re able to play with your kids, or get good news about your health because of the changes in your eating and exercise habits.
NSVs are a reminder that you’re making progress, even if the scale isn’t moving as quickly as you would like. And when you hit a plateau or have a setback, NSVs can help you remember how far you’ve come and give you the motivation to keep going.
So celebrate those non-scale victories—they’re an essential part of your journey to a healthier you!
Rewarding yourself is another way to keep you motivated, so it’s always a good idea to find more reasons to celebrate. But do be mindful of choosing a non-food rewards.
Examples of Non-Scale Victories
Here is a long list of non-scale victories to help you see just how much you have achieved.
You’re Getting Fitter
Sometimes you don’t see a number moving on the scale, but nonetheless you’re feeling great about your body. Here are some examples of this type of NSV.
- Feeling stronger
- Being able to lift more weight
- Being able to play with your kids without stopping to gasp for air
- Noticing an improvement in your ability to exercise (i.e. run a mile without feeling tired or completing a full workout class)
- Seeing or feeling your muscles
- Completing a 5K, half or full marathon
Your Clothes Fit Better
This is a classic! Nothing is more motivating as a non-scale victory than fitting more comfortably into your clothes. I include accessories in this list too. Reward yourself (non-food) when you:
- Fit into clothes that were previously too small
- Fit into the clothes you had before you gained extra weight
- Actually enjoy buying clothes
- Have to donate clothes because they’re too big for you
- Discover you are a size smaller
- Feel more confident in a swimsuit
- Can wear a bracelet or watch without it feeling tight.
- Find that your wedding ring fits well again
You Have More Energy
Often, this is one of the first things people notice when they start eating healthier and moving more.
You’re Sleeping Better
Sleeping is the key to a healthy and happy life. Put simply, when you sleep well, your body works better, you lose weight much easier, and you feel emotionally better. Sleeping better can be measured in different ways. You can claim victory when you:
- Get enough sleep (7 to 9 hours is ideal)
- Sleep through the night without waking up
- Sleep more deeply and feel rested in the morning
Your Health is Better
Better health is priceless, so do celebrate when you get good news from your healthcare provider, and when you can tell your doctor good news. Get excited when:
- Your daily blood sugar is improved (not necessarily perfect, just better than before)
- Your A1C improves
- Your cholesterol numbers are better
- Your blood pressure improves
- You reduce the number of medications you take
- Your pain decreases
- Your lung function improves
- Your fatty liver is improved
- Your heart is working more efficiently
- Your asthma is improved
You are a Better Mom, Dad, Grandparent, or Romantic Partner
We care deeply for our loved ones, and we often tell them what to do to ensure they remain healthy and happy. BUT modeling behavior is the most effective way to create healthy behaviors for them.
Another important victory is when you’re able to be more present and more involved with them. Healthy eating and regular exercise can give you the energy and physical ability to be there for them.
Non-scale family victories include:
- Seeing your family eating better because of you
- Being able to play with your kids or grandkids
- Doing a fun weekend activity involving movement (i.e, biking or playing a sport)
- Hiking with your kids or partner without the need to rest every few minutes
- Going down to the floor to play with the kids in your life without feeling uncomfortable
You’re Able to do Things You Couldn’t do Before
You have a win when you can do things that were difficult before but that are part of most people’s daily life. Celebrate when:
- You’re able to tie your shoelaces without difficulty
- You’re moving much better
- You can look down and see your feet
You’re Building Better Eating Habits
Habits are the building blocks of any successful weight loss plan. Once you make healthy eating habits part of your regular routine, weight loss, and weight maintenance become effortless.
So celebrate when you make better choices that will lead to better health and weight loss. The goal is to make healthy eating second nature so that you never have to give it a thought.
Success is the sum of small efforts repeated day in and day out.-Robert Collier
You Made Healthy Eating Easier
This is a key to weight loss, especially if you live a busy life. So be proud of getting into habits that make it easy to follow a plan. Some examples include:
- Making a grocery list
- Grocery shopping in preparation for the week
- Preparing your meals in advance
- Bringing healthy snacks with you to work, the mall, or anywhere you go
- Keeping prepared healthy snacks to munch on when at home
You Made Better Choices
Weight loss is achieved by making better choices, one meal and one snack at a time. Even when you’re not perfect, if you make good choices most of the time, you will see the extra pounds melt away. Examples include:
- Making healthier food choices, like swapping fries for a salad or switching out sugary drinks for water
- Passing by the fast food drive-through without stopping
- Going out for a 10-minute walk to soothe yourself instead of stress eating
- Choosing a food with high nutrient content instead of one with little nutrition, even when the calories are the same for both
- Making a better choice when eating out
You Controlled Your Portions Better
This is an important aspect of weight loss because even when you eat healthily, weight loss requires portion control. Examples include:
- Measuring or packing all your foods to stay within your plan (if that’s your thing) or using a plate method to control portion sizes
- Enjoying one piece of chocolate instead of two
- Avoiding second servings
- Eating only half of your large restaurant meal
- Listening to your body and stopping when you’re full
You’re Eating More Vegetables
Got to love veggies! They fill you up without lots of calories, plus they provide tons of nutrients that will improve your overall health. Eating veggies is a huge non-scale victory you can have every day! Celebrate:
- Eating vegetables in at least two of your daily meals
- Filling half your plate with vegetables
- Finding exciting new ways to eat veggies
- Substituting high-calorie foods for veggies. For example replacing pasta with spaghetti squash
You’re Practicing Mindful Eating
Awareness is the first step to long-lasting change of any kind. Mindfulness has been successfully used as a long-lasting weight loss technique.
Making mindful eating part of your day is a victory that will pay off. Pillars of mindfulness include:
- Eating without distractions
- Eating slowly
- Stopping eating when you’re full instead of just eating because food is there
- Being kind to yourself
- Recovering quickly after “breaking the diet”
You Made Better Choices When Eating Out
We are social beings, and eating out is a normal part of life for most people. Celebrate as you learn to enjoy meals away from home in a healthier way. Examples include:
- Ordering a healthier meal when eating out
- Looking at the menu (and nutrition facts if available) before going to the restaurant and feeling at ease with your choice
- Following your plan when eating out or at a party
- Choosing low-calorie drinks (including water)
- Limiting alcohol intake
You’re Building Better Exercise Habits
Fitness is not about weight, it is about becoming stronger and having a body that allows you to feel great and to move the way you want. Regardless of their weight, a fit person is generally healthier and is able to enjoy life at its best.
Additionally, when you develop more muscle, you will burn more calories overall. Celebrate making those lifestyle choices that are making you a fit person.
These non-scale fitness victories include:
You’re Building Consistency
In his million-copy bestseller, Atomic Habits,* James Clear describes how improving just 1% of your habits on a regular basis leads to astonishing results. So, don’t discard small fitness wins; you will see results IF you are consistent.
Examples of activities that can help build consistency include:
- Going for a walk even when you don’t feel like it
- Doing a 15-20-minute workout on a busy day
- Reaching your step goal (if you use a tracking app)
- Closing your Apple watch rings or completing a workout challenge
- Going until regular exercise feels like part of your routine
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You’re Making Exercise Fun
When you make exercise fun, it is no longer a chore but rather something you look forward to.
- Getting outside for a walk, run, bike ride, or a group class in the park
- Doing something fun that gets you moving, like dancing
- Joining a fitness class and making new friends
- Finding a new sport, class, or gym that makes you happy
- Doing a challenge that keeps you motivated
You Limit or Avoid Stress Eating
It’s no secret that stress can lead to weight gain. When you’re stressed, your body releases cortisol, a hormone that causes you to store more fat. In addition, when you’re stressed, you’re more likely to indulge in unhealthy foods.
So, taking steps to reduce your stress is definitely a non-scale victory! For example, wins include:
- Choosing a non-food related activity instead of stress eating
- Being kind to yourself. Instead of beating yourself up for going off your weight loss plan, you picked up your plan again with kindness. This can help prevent further stress eating.
You Like Yourself More
This is a significant victory. Self-love is the key to a happy and healthy life. So pat yourself on the back when you:
- Are feeling good about yourself
- Like how you look in a picture
- Are looking at yourself in the mirror more often
Your Mood Is Better
One of the biggest benefits of healthy eating and exercise is improving your mental wellness. When depression is gone, or you are smiling more, life is better.
Therefore, you can be extra happy when you have non-scale victories related to mental well-being and happiness. Praise yourself when:
- You’re able to get out of bed without heaviness in your heart
- You’re looking forward to the future
- You’re enjoying life more
- Your relationships with family and friends have improved
- You can stop taking anti-depressants
Small wins are still wins, and they add up. Celebrating your non-scale victories as you work on your weight loss will help you feel both more motivated and happier, so enjoy them and keep going.
Track your Non-Scale Victories
Make a note of your NSVs to remind yourself that you’re making progress and developing good habits that will result in long-term weight loss.
Tracking your NSVs can also help you stay motivated on those days when the scale isn’t moving. Remembering how far you’ve come and all of the amazing things your body is capable of can help give you the boost you need to stay on track.
Tools to Track NSVs
You can track non-scale victories in the same place you track your weight, whether that’s a document on your computer, a note on your phone, a special journal for NSVs, or a blank journal.
The last two are my favorites because it enables you to go back and remind yourself of your accomplishments very easily. It’s a powerful tool to keep you motivated.
Obviously, you can get any notebook and use it for tracking, but there are also a few dedicated journals available on the market.
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Non-Scale Victory Journals
Celebrate every tiny victory. This journal allows you to add pictures, quotes, and your non-scale victory.
This journal provides a way to enter a short victory every day and space to reflect on your victories every week. Great way to have a large collection of NSVs for when you need a reminder that you are doing great.
So go ahead and start celebrating those non-scale victories—you deserve it!
Dr. Su-Nui Escobar is a Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist in Miami, FL. She is passionate about helping women over 40 live their best lives through healthy eating and a healthy lifestyle. Su-Nui is a doctor in clinical nutrition, able to translate complicated evidence-based science into practical advice. Su-Nui is the former spokesperson of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.