Non Scale Victories

What are non scale victories? Why should I focus on them after bariatric surgery? We explain the importance of NSV and how focusing on them can help you make great progress towards achieving your weight loss goals.

What are non scale victories?

When you’re trying to lose weight, it can be really tempting to keep a laser beam focus on the number on the scales. While how much you weigh is important to track, it’s not nearly as important as other success measurements. For the weight loss surgery patient, preoccupation with the scales can be counter-productive and sometimes destructive. 

non scale victories

Enter the non scale victories. Non scale victories (NSV) are a group of success measurements that indicate progress even when the scales do not change that week or month. Because sometimes, they just don’t.

How much we weigh can be a really abstract thing. NSV are rooted in what we do and are easier to attach to a habit we’ve changed or an action we’ve taken. That’s why we love them. When the numbers don’t reduce, we need to know that there are other ways to pat ourselves on the back. To be able to find a new reason to keep putting one foot in front of the other and to keep striving. Because success is made every day, in the little steps.

So what are some non scale victories I can focus on?

Non scale victories prove that it is not all about the scales. Here are some other really important indicators you are on the right track. Make a note of changes you experience in a journal you can refer back to. These wins will encourage you when you feel down. And keep you moving forward.


Has your diabetes gone into remission? Is your medication reduced? Is your blood pressure lower, or resting heart rate better? Are you sleeping better? These are all extremely important milestones to take stock of. As doctors, we love this NSV. It means you are on the road to a healthier longer life.

Body measurements

Maybe the scales are saying you’re the same weight. But if you measure your waist and you’ve lost centimetres then you are winning! Time to celebrate.


Can you get in and out of the car much easier? Do you climb the stairs without running out of breath? Are your joints better and is getting around much easier now? These are not things to take lightly! If you are able to move more freely than you used to, then you have every reason to congratulate yourself.

Kicking exercise goals

If you are making and exceeding the exercise goals you or your physio set, then this is a great NSV to focus on. If you can exercise for longer, or if you can do more reps in the time you are doing really well. If you’re getting stronger and can lift more, then you are building muscle mass and this will have a great result for you.


Are you feeling more able to give things a go? Less worried about weight-related issues holding you back? This will look different for everyone. Some people say they no longer fear having to sit next to someone on a bus or on a flight. Or it might be something like confidently going to the beach or park with the kids.

Looking different

We don’t always want to focus on outward appearance, it’s true. But some days you just have to high-five yourself for how much healthier you look. When pants are too big. When dress and shoe sizes reduce. Or when you catch your new frame in a photo and you feel happy about the new you that’s emerging.

Feeling different

Have you got a certain ‘Joie de Vivre’ that you didn’t have before? If you feel happier within yourself most of the time, then this is a great thing to take note of. This is not to say that weight loss surgery is by any means an easy journey. There are ups and downs – especially when you are undergoing such significant lifestyle changes. But if you are generally happier with your new lifestyle, then this is a great reason to celebrate.

All the other little things

There are so many little ways you can feel victorious. You might have:

  • stopped snoring
  • are able to shop freely in your favourite clothing store
  • adopted a new hobby which you enjoy
  • made some great new friends through a support group.
  • your dog is loving the long walks he has with you in your new exercise routine
  • and so much more that is personal and specific to you.

It’s the little things that make up a life, and a successful weight loss result.

We hope that there are a few NSV that you can take note of. If you’ve had surgery, we hope that there are a few here you can claim as your own. Whatever they are, hold them close. Through the tough times (and there may be tough times) these will gently remind you of your progress, and that you’ve got this!