Non scale victories are small wins that have nothing to do with the number the scale shows. These victories can range from clothes fitting better, to reduced sugar cravings, to an increased libido. Setting non-weight-related goals and celebrating small achievements increases one’s motivation and commitment to the intermittent fasting lifestyle.
Do you wake up and hop on the scale every day? Or are you a weekly weigher? Do you not even own a scale?
There is no right or wrong way to measure your intermittent fasting weight loss success. For some women, the scale is accountability. For others, it is a mental torture device. The scale can be a fickle friend.
Studies have shown that weighing yourself daily increases weight loss (1). However, other studies show that weighing yourself every day can prevent weight loss (2). Regardless of whether the cold metal box on the floor tells you your weight has increased or decreased, understand that the scale is giving you a mere glimpse at what your body is achieving with intermittent fasting.
The scale reflects your weight at a single moment in time, and the number it shows often fluctuates throughout the day. There are better ways to gauge your progress: Non scale victories (NSV). Non scale victories are small, tangible, measurable wins having nothing to do with the numbers on your scale.
Intermittent fasting, no matter what method you choose, has many benefits beyond weight loss, which can be effective motivators to stay committed to the intermittent fasting lifestyle.
It is an unfortunate fact that many women allow the scale to dictate their emotions. If it gives them the news they desire, it is a celebration. But if the scale shows something unexpectedly unwanted, especially after a week following all the intermittent fasting rules, it can be upsetting and may derail one’s weight loss efforts.
Intermittent fasting success isn’t just about losing weight. Some other benefits of intermittent fasting include:
There are so many amazing ways intermittent fasting supports health and well-being. That is why it is essential to have other ways of measuring intermittent fasting success beyond dependence on the scale alone for feedback.
Non scale victories can provide a measure of progress and motivation to continue daily fasting (6). Seeing an unwelcome number pop up on the scale isn’t so devastating when you are focused on non scale victories.
Non scale victories give you small, achievable goals to strive for, and when met, they prompt the desire to reach for the next small goal.
Non scale victories help you to notice your body beyond what the scale says and listen to it for guidance.
If you focus attention on the non scale victories on your intermittent fasting journey, the weight loss will follow.
When starting out with intermittent fasting, take the time to write out a list of ways you want to look and feel once you start to lose weight. No goal weight numbers, just a list of wins that would make you feel successful and keep you motivated. Refer to the list often to inspire you, especially when your resolve is weakened, or the scale has upset you.
Add your own goals to this non scale victories list!
The number on the scale doesn’t tell you how awesome you are. It doesn’t see all that you have overcome in your life. It doesn’t see your determination. It doesn’t see your beauty.
Weigh yourself if you must, but non scale victories can be the motivator you are looking for when the scale fails to encourage. These small but meaningful, non-weight related achievements are a great way to measure your intermittent fasting progress.
Pay attention to your body so you don’t miss the positive changes that the non scale victories reveal. And when you have a small victory, celebrate like it’s a huge triumph and then find another goal to add to your non scale victories list.
1. Steinberg DM, Bennett GG, Askew S, Tate DF. Weighing every day matters: daily weighing improves weight loss and adoption of weight control behaviors. J Acad Nutr Diet. 2015;115(4):511-518. doi:10.1016/j.jand.2014.12.011
2. Daley A, Jolly K, Madigan C, et al. A brief behavioural intervention to promote regular self-weighing to prevent weight regain after weight loss: a RCT. Southampton (UK): NIHR Journals Library; 2019 Apr. doi: 10.3310/phr07070
3. Longo V, Mattson, M. Fasting: molecular mechanisms and clinical applications. Cell Metabolism. 2014;19(2):181-192. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cmet.2013.12.008
4. Xie, K., Neff, F., Markert, A. et al. Every-other-day feeding extends lifespan but fails to delay many symptoms of aging in mice. Nat Commun 8, 155 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-017-00178-3
5. Hussin NM, Shahar S, Teng NI, Ngah WZ, Das SK. Efficacy of fasting and calorie restriction (FCR) on mood and depression among ageing men. J Nutr Health Aging. 2013;17(8):674-680. doi:10.1007/s12603-013-0344-9
6. Teixeira PJ, Silva MN, Mata J, Palmeira AL, Markland D. Motivation, self-determination, and long-term weight control. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act. 2012;9:22. doi:10.1186/1479-5868-9-22
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