Non-Scale Victories: 50 Examples to Use With Your Clients

Non-Scale Victories
Written by Olivia Farrow, RD, MHSc

Written by Olivia Farrow, RD, MHSc

Reviewed by Maria Dellanina, RDN

Non-scale victories highlight the positive changes in clients’ lives that aren’t reflected by their weight, helping to maintain motivation and commitment to their health goals. 

This article will provide you with examples of non-scale victories you can consider using with your clients. 

Integrating the non-diet approach into your practice can further support this mindset, promoting overall health without weight-focused goals. To learn more about the non-diet approach, check out this blog post.

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What are Non-Scale Victories?

Non-scale victories refer to the various positive outcomes clients experience from making nutrition and lifestyle changes that aren’t related to weight loss. 

 

These include improvements in:

  • Nutrition
  • Physical health
  • Mental well-being
  • Daily habits

 

For clients, recognizing these victories can provide a sense of accomplishment and encourage continued engagement in their health goals, without focusing on a number on the scale. 

Why Consider Non-Scale Victories with Your Clients

Implementing non-scale victories in your practice can help to foster long-term health and well-being. 

As nutrition professionals, we know that sustainable long-term weight loss is often an unachievable goal and does not always focus on efforts or behavior change. There are so many factors that can influence the number on the scale. Realistic, effort-based goals can provide a sense of achievement and promote continuity. 

Non-weight focused interventions that implement qualitative dietary changes and increased physical activity can improve cardiometabolic function and decrease disease risk (1). Studies also show that various non-diet interventions, such as those improving eating behavior, self-esteem and mental health, do not result in weight gain and may enhance biochemical measures (2).

Incorporating non-scale victories into your practice can help clients shift their focus from weight to overall health. Have this conversation early on in your sessions so your client understands your approach and isn’t expecting to be guaranteed weight loss by working with you. Digging deeper by asking your client open ended questions about their overall health goals can help here. 

This approach aligns with findings that improved physical activity and dietary quality, rather than weight reduction alone, can enhance metabolic health and reduce disease risk (1). Additionally, emphasizing non-scale victories can alleviate the psychological stress often associated with weight loss efforts, contributing to better mental health outcomes (2). By celebrating these victories, dietitians can support clients in achieving sustainable, health-enhancing changes.

50 Examples of Non-Scale Victories

Here are some examples of non-scale victories that you can discuss with your clients to help them recognize and celebrate their progress:

 

Nutrition

  1. Trying a new recipe. 
  2. Eating more home-cooked meals.
  3. Trying a new fruit or vegetable. 
  4. Replacing sugary drinks with water. 
  5. Drinking more water throughout the day.
  6. Choosing whole grains over refined grains.
  7. Packing lunches from home rather than dining out. 
  8. Listening to hunger and fullness cues.
  9. Eating ½ a plate of vegetables at dinner. 
  10. Enjoying meals without distractions.
  11. Eating a “balanced plate” meal. 
  12. Experimenting with new herbs and spices instead of salt.
  13. Replacing high-sodium foods. 
  14. Incorporating a lean protein source with every meal. 
  15. Incorporating more plant-based meals.

 

Physical Health & Activity

  1. Sleeping better and waking up feeling refreshed.
  2. Increased energy levels throughout the day.
  3. Improved digestion and regularity.
  4. Feeling less bloated.
  5. Improved lab values (e.g., HbA1C, Lipids, Blood Pressure, etc.) 
  6. Reduced frequency of headaches.
  7. Improved stamina and endurance.
  8. Incorporating movement every day. 
  9. Enhanced flexibility and range of motion.
  10. Reduction in joint pain or stiffness.
  11. Finding enjoyable physical activities. 
  12. Achieving personal records in physical activities (e.g., running faster, lifting heavier).
  13. Feeling stronger during workouts.
  14. Reduced shortness of breath during physical activities.
  15. Choosing physically active social activities.

 

Mental Well-being

  1. Improved mood and outlook on life.
  2. Increased self-esteem and confidence.
  3. Reduced anxious feelings and stress levels.
  4. Better focus and concentration.
  5. Feeling more in control of eating habits.
  6. Enjoying social activities without food anxiety.
  7. Greater resilience and ability to cope with challenges.
  8. Feeling proud of personal achievements.
  9. Increased mindfulness and presence in daily activities.
  10. Improved relationship with food and body.
  11. Experiencing more joy in physical activities.
  12. Celebrating small wins and milestones.
  13. Feeling more patient and kind with oneself.
  14. Enhanced creativity and motivation.
  15. Developing a more positive self-image.

 

Daily Habits

  1. Establishing a regular exercise/movement routine.
  2. Creating a list of meals for the week.
  3. Filling out food tracker (e.g., food record, food and mood tracker, food and symptom tracker). 
  4. Making a grocery list. 
  5. Setting and achieving personal goals consistently.

 

Focusing on non-scale victories can transform the way clients perceive their progress, fostering a more sustainable approach to well-being. By highlighting improvements in nutrition, physical health, mental well-being and daily habits, dietitians can help clients appreciate the full spectrum of positive changes resulting from their efforts. These victories not only boost motivation but also contribute to a more balanced and fulfilling lifestyle. Encouraging clients to celebrate these achievements can lead to lasting, meaningful improvements in their overall health and quality of life.

References

  1. Magkos F. Metabolically healthy obesity: what’s in a name? Am J Clin Nutr. 2019 Sep 1;110(3):533-539. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/nqz133. PMID: 31240297.
  2. Clifford D, Ozier A, Bundros J, Moore J, Kreiser A, Morris MN. Impact of non-diet approaches on attitudes, behaviors, and health outcomes: a systematic review. J Nutr Educ Behav. 2015 Mar-Apr;47(2):143-55.e1. doi: 10.1016/j.jneb.2014.12.002. PMID: 25754299.

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