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Non-scale Victories and Non-food Rewards

June 21, 2011

Photo by fimb

I’ve often exercised, I’ve sometimes dieted, I’ve almost always been aware of my own weight, but this time feels different. Most notably, I’ve never had access to the amount of information I have now with the Internet and healthy living blogs.

Two concepts I’m really loving which are probably not new to everyone else are the concepts of Non-Scale Victories and Non-Food Rewards.

Non-Scale Victories

It’s easy to get seduced by the machine that first calibrates itself, then magically makes a number appear as you step onto it. You might be tempted to step on it more than once, as if the act of calibration is also flexible and therefore might produce different results. Lean forward? Lean back? Feet centered? Weigh daily? weekly?

The number on the scale can be important to your goal, but it’s not all there is.

Celebrating non-scale victories – positives and wins that have nothing to do with that number on the scale can be great reinforcements for what you’re doing, whether it’s fitting into an old dress or running your fastest mile. You are not your scale. I believe this concept came from Weight Watchers but I’m not sure.

Here are some non-scale victories:

  • Fitting into an old (smaller)
  • Hitting your highest free weight reps
  • Your fastest mile
  • Your longest run
  • Your most consecutive weeks without missing a workout
  • The first time doing X in Y


Non-Food Rewards

Similarly, Non-Food Rewards are important because they remove the idea of “deserving” food as a reward for exercising, sticking to your diet, etc. When you hit goals, your first thought should not be of rewarding yourself with chocolate, for example.

By all means, have the chocolate, but separate the thought process of it as a reward. Instead, focus on non-food rewards for being healthy, hitting a weight goal or even a non-scale victory.

Achieve a non-scale victory? Reward it with a non-food reward!

Some examples of non-food rewards:

  • new workout clothes or other gear
  • new clothes in general
  • a manicure or pedicure
  • a trip to the hair salon
  • new nail polish
  • a visit to the movies
  • a new domain name (this is a purely me reward)

Are you familiar with these concepts? Any non-scale victories or non-food rewards to share?

4 Comments leave one →
  1. June 21, 2011 4:15 pm

    Ya know, I’ve always only considered measurements being a non-scale victory, but you’re right. Being able to do anything better, faster, longer, harder is totally a reward in and of itself! I’ve been using heavier weights and longer reps—non-scale victory! I’ve been at p90x for three weeks (woohoo) and I’m getting my hair done for the first time in a little over a year—non-food reward 🙂

    • June 21, 2011 5:15 pm

      Those are both excellent 🙂 I haven’t really focused on measurements mostly because I didn’t do them before I started so now I can’t measure any change 😦 I rely on smaller clothes I’ve kept around to help that.

  2. Heidi permalink
    January 23, 2012 12:05 am

    I just found this article and loved it. I have a non-food reward system that works great for me. After every workout I put a tick mark in my WW tracker, for every 10 ticks I reward myself. It’s worked great, I have lost 75 pounds so far, and I have some great new smaller clothes that show me how my hard work is paying off.

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