Savoring Success

Patricia's Guide to Bariatric Living


Celebrating Non-Scale Victories After Bariatric Surgery: Why They Matter

Bariatric surgery is a significant step towards a healthier life for many people struggling with obesity. While the journey often starts with a focus on weight loss, there’s a crucial aspect of post-surgery life that deserves equal attention—celebrating non-scale victories (NSVs). These milestones, which aren't related to weight, are essential indicators of progress and can greatly enhance one’s quality of life. Let's dive into why non-scale victories are important and how acknowledging them can support long-term success after bariatric surgery.


What Are Non-Scale Victories?

Non-scale victories are achievements that aren’t reflected by the numbers on a scale but indicate improvements in health, mobility, emotional well-being, and overall lifestyle. They can range from physical changes, like fitting into smaller clothing sizes or being able to comfortably sit in an airplane seat, to emotional and psychological improvements, such as increased self-confidence or reduced symptoms of depression.


The Psychological Impact of Non-Scale Victories

1. Boosts Motivation: The scale can become less responsive after the initial post-operative phase when weight loss is most rapid. During these times, non-scale victories are a crucial motivator. They remind individuals that the benefits of surgery extend beyond weight loss and include overall health and happiness.

2. Reduces Pressure: Focusing solely on weight can create immense pressure and potential disappointment if progress stalls. Celebrating NSVs helps shift the focus to other, equally important outcomes, thus alleviating the anxiety associated with numbers on the scale.

3. Encourages a Holistic View of Health: NSVs highlight the comprehensive health benefits of bariatric surgery, such as improved mobility, better control of comorbidities like diabetes and hypertension, and enhanced mental health. This holistic view encourages a broader approach to maintaining health.


Examples of Non-Scale Victories

- Physical Endurance: Being able to engage in physical activities that were previously too challenging, like hiking or playing with children.
- Medical Improvements: Experiencing a reduction in medications needed to manage conditions such as type 2 diabetes or high blood pressure.
- Emotional Well-being: Feeling more socially confident and experiencing less social anxiety during outings or events.
- Daily Comforts: Noticing easier mobility in daily tasks, such as bending over to tie shoes or crossing legs while seated.


How to Celebrate and Track Non-Scale Victories

Keep a Journal: Documenting NSVs can be as motivating as tracking pounds lost. A journal can serve as a tangible reminder of progress on difficult days.

Set Non-Weight Related Goals: Setting goals unrelated to weight, like walking a certain number of steps daily or joining a community class, can pave the way for new NSVs.

Share Your Success: Discussing your victories with peers, support groups, or a therapist can reinforce positive behaviors and provide social support.

Reward Yourself: Establish rewards for achieving NSVs. These rewards should not contradict your goals (like food rewards) but should celebrate your progress (like a new book or a day out).


Celebrating non-scale victories is an essential part of the journey after bariatric surgery. They provide a more comprehensive view of one's progress and well-being than the scale alone could offer. By focusing on these victories, individuals can maintain motivation, reduce stress related to weight expectations, and enjoy a fuller, healthier life. Remember, every victory counts on the path to recovery and health, and acknowledging them can make the journey both rewarding and sustainable.

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