There is a phrase you hear at Weight Watchers meetings, in the Half Size Me community (and many other places as well, I am sure) called Non Scale Victories, or NSVs for short. These are the markers of progress you see on your journey independent of the scale. I had a big one this week, and it got me thinking of all the little ones along the way that I want to acknowledge and remember when the going is tough, which it often is.
I was driving to meet up with some dear friends early one morning when I noticed something that made me kinda weepy. My hands didn’t hurt. My hands haven’t hurt for quite a while… I don’t know when that stopped. I used to wake up every morning with my hands stiff and achy. I babied them at the gym, arguing with my trainer that I couldn’t do this exercise or that because of my arthritis. He always helped me find a work-around, but looking back over the last 2 months I haven’t said my wrists or my hands hurt. I don’t know why, exactly. I was never diagnosed with arthritis in my hands, I just assumed that is what is was. Is it general inflammation that is subsiding? Have I lost weight in my hands? (I’m guessing that is not exactly it.) I don’t know why, really, just that losing some weight and exercising regularly is having this wonderful side effect.
Here is another NSV: My husband and I are slowly changing our pattern on “date nights.” In the past they always meant a luscious meal out, usually with wine. But more and more we are eating less extravagant meals, and being more active. Last night we had a healthy dinner and then rode our bikes for an hour. Then we felt energized and went to the grocery together and went for a little walk on a well-lit nighttime trail we had just discovered. Plenty of energy to make it through the night. Not feeling sleepy and bloated and drooling on the couch at 8pm is a huge NSV. Life changing, really.
Another NSV is that I have gone down 3 sizes on top and 2 on the bottom. This is awesome feedback when the scale is moving down so, so slowly. I discovered that in some brands I can wear an extra-large top instead of plus size. The first time I was brave enough to try on a top from the “regular” section of the store and it fit I was all giddy and weepy alone in the dressing room. I bought a few shirts (more than one fit! It wasn’t just an aberration!). I walked around the mall in a daze, quite full of myself, then promptly spilled a diet coke all over myself and it sloshed into my bag of new shirts. I actually had to laugh and take it as a reminder to enjoy my NSVs, but then put my head down again and keep doing the work.
Today I packed for a quick getaway trip and loaded up a little cooler with yogurt, string cheese, apples and veggies for snacks. In the past on this same jaunt I have packed chocolate, pretzels and wine. Behavioral change. NSV.
I have only lost 38 pounds. That is not very much. I am nowhere near my goal. How could my life change so much when I am still, quite frankly, so fat? I mean, the magic is supposed to happen when I am at goal weight, right? Then all my dreams will come true, all of the things I don’t like about myself, in addition to the weight, will be gone, all of my problems solved, every one will like– no, LOVE–me, and oh yes, my hair will magically grow long and silky like a Barbie doll’s. Right?
Well, OK, I am still kinda secretly hoping all of that is true, but what I think is truer is that I feel more in control of my life. I feel happier with myself, not because I have reached my goal, but because I am taking action and treating myself better than I used to. I feel empowered. Empowered in my 50s. And empowered in issues surrounding food and weight, no less. That is the biggest NSV of all.