NSV, in the weight-loss world, is an acronym that stands for “non-scale victory”. This is a term that I was not familiar with prior to starting this li’l ol’ blog here, but is something that I have come to appreciate more and more as my journey has gone on. See, in the beginning, it is ALL about the numbers. When you’re significantly overweight, and make an honest effort to start turning your health around, the weight starts to come off so quickly that it’s all you can do not to scream your losses from the rooftop (or in my case, proclaim them to the entire internet. Which is what I did do. Heh.) But as your progress slows, and it gets harder and harder to shed each full pound, you have to start looking to other things to validate your journey. And if you don’t have measures besides the scale to mark your progress (because yes, you ARE making progress!), it will break you. And believe, it is already all too easy to give up.
My first NSVs all had to do with clothing. After all, aside from the digits on the scale, the number on the tag at the back of your jeans is probably the one that holds the most weight, right? (Pun intended.) Even when my weight loss for the month would only add up to a few pounds in total, I might have been able to jump down a dress size that month, or had to have my bra size remeasured. Of course, these kinds of number-centric victories have a shelf-life too. There are only so many sizes you can drop before things slow down, just like the scale does. So while I still thoroughly enjoy being able to pull items off the rack that don’t have an “X” on their size label, since getting down to a size 12/L, things haven’t really budged too much in that department (thankfully they haven’t gone in the other direction either though!). Still, it’s a (slightly bittersweet) victory in and of itself just to be able to bag up the clothing that no longer fits and haul it off to Goodwill!
So as someone who has only been able to validate my health progress by way of numbers, imagine my surprise to realize that I’m actually starting to put stock in non-numerical measures. Things that are actually more related to my — gasp! — fitness, than my weight or clothing size. Things like being able to walk up the three flights of stairs from the parking garage at work without gasping for air anymore. And being able to successfully complete a full cycle of 40-lb chest presses without dropping the barbell into my throat, or sets of walking lunges without falling over. And at the risk of sounding even more superficial than I normally do, I consider self-esteem boosters like catching a guy checking you out as definite NSVs. After all, the Gretchen of Old never used to get that kind of attention, so why not consider it a mark of weight loss success? Numbers are still important, of course. They are a literal measure of progress. But they are not the be-all and end-all of weight loss, and they are certainly not the sole determination of my success.
And with all of that said, let’s take a look at how I measured up (ha!) this week, shall we?
See, now this is a perfect example of a weigh-in that I probably should be frustrated at. I mean, seriously? 0.1? Not even allowing me to (re)see a number that starts with a 1-8? Shockingly, I am not upset by this. I’m starting to learn that my body’s pattern is not to drop weight super consistently every single week, and now that I’ve accepted that, only the gains really get to me. I’m really starting to come around to the idea that maintaining for a week or two, in my opinion, is not a bad thing. My overall goal is still weight loss, after all, and after the past 60 — now 56 — pounds lost, I’ve really come around to that. Hopefully that doesn’t sound like justification or an excuse. I honestly don’t mean it that way! I’m just trying to keep that positive attitude going. After all, as I’ve been saying, it’s that negativity and single-minded focus on the numbers on the scale that led to my weight loss downfall over and over in past attempts. It’s only this time, when I’ve started trying to see beyond my actual weight, that I’ve been able to keep going (counter-intuitive, isn’t it?). Through months of plateaus, through more than my fair share of dips in motivation, through all my wishy-washy, ho-hum weigh-ins, I am still fighting the good fight — and am armed to the teeth with NSVs to help me out along the way. 🙂
What’s your favorite kind of NSV? Clothing-related? Fitness-related? Self-esteem-related?