Many people use weight loss as their only metric for how well they are doing with their diet and exercise routines.
While it is true that weight loss can be very beneficial for your cardiometabolic health and wellness, your weight does not always decrease in a linear fashion. Plateaus are a common and stubborn phenomenon during weight loss phases.
What is NSV?
NSV are any positive changes that you notice on your health journey that are not related to your scale. Many times people obsess over their weight, which can cause problems and lead to negative consequences.
For example, if the scale doesn’t decrease or perhaps even increases (which happens regularly due to fluid, sodium, hormones, bowel movements, starting a new workout regimen, lifting weights, strenuous exercise etc.), many people will give up altogether on their healthier eating journey. They just throw their hands up in the air and say “forget it”!
Some individuals just don’t have a scale at home and want to find other ways to see if they are making progress. Other people may not like checking their weight and find it too stressful.
The good news is that you don’t have to check your weight, if you don’t want to! Weighing yourself and self monitoring your trends can be incredibly helpful, but it’s not beneficial for everyone.
Review the non-scale victories list below to see what other metrics you can use to monitor your progress and help you stay on track in your health journey.
Non-Scale Victories List
Let’s review our non-scale victories list. Keep note of which ones that would be meaningful for you to keep track of and monitor trends.
- Heart Rate
Your heart rate can be drastically improved by diet and exercise. The best part is that it can happen quickly. Monitor the trends each day and you will see a nice downward trend to keep you motivated.
- Blood Pressure
Blood pressure can also be significantly influenced by diet, exercise and stress reduction. Keep a record of your blood pressure at similar times each day and see if you can notice some improvements. Sometimes it can take a little longer for some individuals with stubborn numbers.
- Blood Glucose
Your blood glucose (sugar) is very sensitive to change. If you keep a record of your food, beverage, exercise and glucose levels, you will start to see patterns and which items improve your levels the best. Stick with those healthy habits that cause the biggest improvements.
- How Your Clothing Fits
We get used to seeing how the clothes that we wear on a regular basis, fit us. This can be good because over time we will be able to notice little differences in how they hang on us.
Some people like to use an old favorite outfit that doesn’t zip up or fit right anymore and check how they fit once per month to see changes.
- How You Look In Pictures
You don’t have to show these pictures to anyone, but it may be helpful to take a few face and body (from the front and side) pictures at the beginning of your journey and then every month later to see if you notice any differences.
Be sure to wear the same outfit and take the picture in the same location with the same lighting for consistency.
- Breathing Abilities
When you notice your breathing improves, it can be a great sign that you are on the right track. This is especially true for those who notice they don’t get out of bed as easily doing everyday activities. It can give you such confidence to be able to do more.
- Energy levels
Your energy levels can improve when you are treating your body right. When you get up and move, many times, people report more energy, which seems counterintuitive. Try to notice if you can do more each day.
Strength gains are a great measurement, because you will be sure to have increased muscle mass, which is associated with reduction of many health risks. Work on incorporating more strengthening exercises into your routine and see if you notice improvements over time.
You may notice that you walk farther than you used to or that you can keep up with your kids better. Maybe you used to barely get up from your chair or bed and now you are actually getting up and staying up throughout the day. Keep track and monitor your stamina levels.
- Positive Mindset
You may notice that you feel more joyful, happy or positive when you treat your body well.
- Clarity of Mind
Many times when you are not making your health a priority, you have a brain fog that can make it hard to see clearly. You may start to notice that your thinking is more clear, once you start to take care of yourself.
You can check the time you go to bed or how restful or refreshed you feel after sleep. If you have a smart watch, it can reveal if the quality of your sleep has improved over time.
Stress can paralyze us, lead us to make poor decisions, increase stress eating and decrease physical activity. Focus on stress reduction techniques and coping strategies.
You can keep track of your stress levels by measuring your stress on a scale of 1-10 (1 being stress free and 10 being super stressed). Right your number down in a notebook and each month right your current number. Hopefully, it will improve overtime.
- Noticing Improvements in Other Areas in Your Life
Many times, people start to notice improvements in other areas of their lives when they work on improving their diet, exercise and stress levels.
Perhaps, they are able to clean their house, be more organized, prioritize their social life or find active hobbies to do. When you stop negative habits and replace them with positive ones, you start to see a snowball effect into other areas of your life.
- Body Measurements
Starting a new workout regimen can actually increase your weight temporarily at first due to inflammation, water retention and muscle gains. Many people get very nervous when this happens.
Anyone who is starting a new exercise program keeps measurements. You will be happy you got your baseline measurements when you recheck after a month! Sometimes the weight won’t show a difference or will even increase, but your measurements will show a nice improvement.
Don’t Give Up on Yourself!
The bottom line is that giving up is the worst thing you can do! Keep working on improving your diet and other health habits. Especially, since we know that weight fluctuations are a natural occurrence. Some individuals even fluctuate 5 pounds throughout the week on a regular basis and it’s not necessarily a problem.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that weight can be a useful tool, because it can be extremely motivating. However, it’s still important to have other areas of your life that can be used as motivation.
Try to identify a few non-scale victories that are meaningful to you. Keep a record of your chosen metrics and monitor their trends over time. This will help you stay motivated and give you a sense of accomplishment.
If you haven’t already, sign up for my free Healthy Eating Guide to get started on improving your health and wellness.
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