The importance of non-scale victories

Three years ago I embarked on my weight loss journey. My journey started like many folks by surfing the web. I read countless blogs, visited bariatric center and bariatric vendor web sites, lurking on weight loss forums, moving from lurking to chatting daily on message boards, and blogging about my journey within my first 6 months.

One of the first lessons I learned was that success in weight loss involves setting goals and celebrating victories. As my surgery date approached, I set a series of goals that I wanted to achieve in the coming 12-24 months. Theywere all tied to reaching a specific level of weight loss in a given point of time. I recall discussing these goals with a chat buddy who was about a year further out than me. I was surprised what he told me. He said that I needed to set goals that were not weight loss specific and celebrate non-scale victories.

Celebrating non scale victories… I had a good idea of what these were. Many people posted these daily in the weight loss forums. At that time I looked at these as good things that just came along for the ride with weight loss. I figured that when a good thing happened to me I would probably post something about it. Heck, I thought posting about fitting in an airline seat without the seat belt extender or not having to shop in the big men’s department was just a little bragging.

As the days turned into months after my Lapband surgery, I became much more aware that my goals were shortsighted. I did need to take a forward look and envision what non-scale victories might lay ahead. I set goals that celebrated reaching those high points in my weight loss journey. I found that goals based on non-scale victories are more indicative that you are are changing your lifestyle and embracing a healthier, happier life.

Today was an excellent example of how my non-scale victories translated into changes in my life. I set many goals around physical activity, cycling and just being a more active person. This morning I snowshoed for 2 hours with two bariatric surgery pals that I also cycle with. It was a wonderful morning in a national park. Three years ago I would have been lying in front of the TV on the couch complaining about the snow.

Getting out and being more active has become a passion in my life. I was pretty excited this morning when a park ranger was talking about an upcoming “spring training” hiking spree designed to attract new hikers to hike the national park trails. The ranger led hikes start short and easy and gradually work up in level of difficulty and distance over a few months. This was exactly what I have been looking for. I want to start hiking and this is just the ticket. I am psyched.

I encourage you to set some non scale victories. Even if they are baby steps, you will soon find that they become leaps and bounds over time. Approaching my third year post-op, I am so happy that I discovered that I love outdoor activities. It started with a non scale victory to cycle part of a popular trail in my area. That first 8 mile bike ride turned into a full season of cycling and ultimately completing a 150 mile charity bike ride. How about just setting one non scale victory and telling me about it?

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