Why you should ditch your scale and celebrate non-scale victories
If you are on a wellness journey, which often includes losing weight, you might be focused on what the scale has to say about your progress. Is this the only way to measure the effects of what you’re doing (diet, exercise, etc.)? Absolutely not! Have you heard of non-scale victories? These are also known as NSVs! The idea of non-scale victories help one see progress, especially when the scale may not be showing it. You might be wondering what some NSVs might be… well, your clothes fitting better, losing inches, gaining strength, having more energy and sleeping better are all examples! These things are so much more important than what the number on the scale says. Have you ever hit a plateau on the scale, but your clothes continue to fit better, or you notice that you have more energy? These are non-scale victories that are definitely worth celebrating! What is most important is how your body FEELS. In this article, we will look at why you should ditch your scale and celebrate non-scale victories!
Weight Loss vs. Fat Loss
One question to ask yourself is if you really recognize the difference between the terms “weight loss” and “fat loss?” There are three main things that occur when you see the number drop on the scale: 1. Fat loss, 2. Muscle loss, 3. Water loss. Which one of these do you focus on when you look at the number on the scale? One thing that many people forget when looking at the number on the scale is that muscle weighs more than fat. You could be building muscle and gaining weight, but losing FAT! This is really the goal. For most people, they believe that weight loss = fat loss, and that isn’t always true. You don’t want to focus so much on the number on the scale that you lose muscle mass. Muscle retention is important, especially as the body ages. Weight loss should be considered successful when the body loses fat but retains muscle mass (or possibly even gains muscle).
Listening to Your Body
The human body is very smart. It knows what it needs. . . we just have to look for signals and listen when they arise. If you’re not getting good sleep, don’t feel like you have enough energy, feel bloated or have digestive discomfort… nutrition is likely the culprit. We recommend that you try to be more aware and make changes when you notice these things happening in your body. Changing the diet (adding more nutritious foods, removing processed foods) and adding physical activity have a huge impact on the overall health of the body. Listening to your body has so much more to offer than what the scale says. For many people, following the cues from the body provides so much more value. Listening to your body means you will be more likely to recognize non-scale victories and that is a better indicator of your wellness than tracking numbers.
Not Obsessing Over Numbers
Celebrating non-scale victories counteracts the natural tendency to obsess over what the scale says. You may have heard some people recommend that you only weigh yourself once a week or once a month… maybe even to just throw the scale away! Weighing yourself every day does not give a clear picture. Depending on what you eat, how much water you retain or even how your body responds to hormones, it is possible for the scale to fluctuate a few pounds either way from day to day. If the scale does not show results one day, that can be detrimental to your plan. Have you ever had a day where you gave up because one thing didn’t go as planned? Well, starting off the day thinking your nutrition and exercise plan is failing could derail all your efforts (i.e. make poor choices, throw in the towel, etc.). If you focus on how you feel, how your body feels, how your clothes fit, you are more likely to see the progress you’re making!
Lifestyle vs. Diet
Relying on the scale to display your results only makes you feel restricted. For many people, any increase in what the scale says sets them up to focus on calorie counts, macros and not how food makes the body feel. We prefer to use the term “lifestyle” instead of “diet” because we feel that your nutrition should be based on what makes you feel your best. Ditching the scale and listening to your body (as mentioned above) allows you to feel less restrictive with your nutrition and enjoy the things that make you feel good. If you eat something and don’t sleep well, feel sluggish in energy levels, or have digestive issues, then you know to minimize that in your diet. This idea rings true when it comes to exercise also. Some people see the scale go up a little bit and then exercise based on the number of calories they MUST burn to “lose weight”. We feel that exercise should be something that makes your body feel good and that you enjoy doing not a punishment for what the scale says. Making these things part of your lifestyle usually means you are more likely to stuck with it because it makes your body feel good.
For most people, their wellness journey includes losing a certain amount of weight or having a “goal weight.” We encourage you to avoid depending so much on what the scale has to say about your body. Keep a journal of your non-scale victories! You will find that much more motivating and encouraging. Remember that just some examples include your clothes fitting better, losing inches, gaining strength, having more energy and sleeping better! These things are great indicators of our wellness than what the number on the scale says. The body is very smart, and if we pay attention, it will tell us what we are doing right and what we are doing wrong. We invite you to consider these reasons why you should ditch your scale and celebrate non-scale victories! They are so powerful in how you view your overall health.