What Are Non-Scale Victories And Why Are They Important?

by Lisa McCune, MS, MPH, RDN, LDN

Last Updated: January 18, 2021

New Year resolutions are top of mind at the start of the year as many of us have committed to creating a healthier lifestyle for ourselves. Whether your goal is striving for physical or mental health, it’s important to quantify this in a healthful way. For physical health, most people equate success by monitoring the number on the scale in order to measure progress. Maintaining a healthy weight is certainly a component of health, but focusing on this alone doesn’t give us the whole picture of our true success. There are many factors other than weight that also contribute to making us “healthy”, that can hold more value to our progress.

For some people, healthier means fitting in their clothes more comfortably. For others, it may mean feeling more energetic throughout the day or reducing joint pain. All these are non-scale measures of progress and they should be celebrated! Non-scale victories are often even better indicators of our progress than weight alone because they give us a more comprehensive look at our health. The scale shows us one moment in time that is expected to change daily, but non-scale victories show improvement over time. Non-scale victories may go unnoticed if we are only focused on the scale. Keep the following in mind when looking at your progress towards a healthier you this year.

Improved Energy
People who have made lifestyle changes may notice that they are not dreading getting off the couch to play with their children anymore or that they are able to enjoy things they used to dread due to lack of energy. Increased energy levels can significantly increase your quality of life.

Improved Fitness
You may notice you are hitting fitness milestones. This could be running a faster mile or lifting heavier weights, or even completing more reps. It could also be walking up a flight of stairs without having to rest. Bonus- you may start to enjoy physical activity!

Improved Sleep
We know that sleep is important to our health, but it’s often put on the back burner. We just think we are supposed to feel tired all the time. With healthier eating patterns and regular exercise often comes improvement in sleep quantity and/or quality, which may reduce our risk for chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease.

Body Composition
Body composition includes measurements like waist circumference, waist-to-hip ratio, and body fat percentage. These measurements can change while your weight remains relatively unchanged, which can be frustrating if you are only focused on weight. Losing inches on our waist can reduce the risk for cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. These changes are a sign of progress towards a healthier you, even if your weight isn’t reflecting it.

Less Pain
Carrying excess weight puts stress on our joints, causing pain. The anti-inflammatory benefit of a diet high in fruits and vegetables and regular exercise can improve joint pain and other general aches and pains.

Improved mood
When we feel good physically, our mood will reflect that! Physical activity naturally improves mood with endorphins.

Improved Cognition
Living a healthier lifestyle with diet and exercise may help increase focus, attention span, and memory.

Improved Medical Conditions
Diet and exercise play a role in many medical markers, but are specifically helpful in managing blood sugar, cholesterol and blood pressure. A reduction in these values with lifestyle changes can even prompt a reduction or elimination of medication, which is a significant health victory.

This year let’s focus on all the things that make us healthy. Acknowledge and celebrate non-scale victories! If you would like to talk about personalized non-scale victories you can make a video chat appointment with one of our Kroger dietitians for FREE right now at https://www.thelittleclinic.com/dietitian.

Disclaimer: This information is educational only and not providing healthcare recommendations. Please see a healthcare provider.


Lisa McCune, MS, MPH, RDN, LDN

Lisa McCune, MS, MPH, RDN, LDN

Teaching people about the positive things that food can do for the mind, body and spirit, and helping them understand that all foods can fit into a healthy diet is Lisa’s nutrition philosophy. She believes food should be exciting and fun! Lisa encourages celebration of non-scale victories, which focus on what good nutrition can do for your life beyond weight. She loves food, but also loves to break a sweat whether it’s cycling, walking her dog or doing CrossFit.