Forget the scale—try these 4 new ways to measure your progress

by | Apr 15, 2022 | Last updated Mar 29, 2023

Weight fluctuations and plateaus are natural. They’re part of the journey. But when that number on the scale won’t budge—it can happen even if you’re consistently making better choices for your health and doing everything in your power to stick to your plan—it can be seriously demotivating. It might even give you the urge to stick that scale back in your closet. We get it.

When this happens, it can feel like you’re falling short of your goals, even though you’re right on track. You may not always wake up to a lower number on the scale, but there are so many other meaningful ways to define your success. At Noom, we know weight loss is highly personal and it looks different for each person. One of the most motivating things you can do for yourself is expand your thinking to recognize ways in which you’re progressing that simply can’t be captured by a scale.

We’ve defined four categories of victories—what we call non-scale victories or NSVs—and identified more than 30 ways to mark your progress and appreciate how much you’ve accomplished.

Physical progress

These signs of progress—changes to your physical body and abilities—are usually the easiest to see and measure:

  • Inches lost.
  • Feeling more energized.
  • Better sleep.
  • Dropping a size in your jeans.
  • Clothes fitting better.
  • Working out longer.
  • Exercising with more intensity.
  • Increased flexibility.
  • Fewer aches and pains.

Psychological progress

Sometimes the most monumental changes are also kind of subtle. Take a look at these examples of psychological progress—changes to your emotions and how you respond to the world around you—to help you notice how much you’ve transformed.

  • Overcoming a trigger.
  • Reframing a thought distortion.
  • Experiencing fewer thought distortions.
  • Allowing yourself to enjoy a food you previously labeled as “off-limits.”
  • Enjoying foods without guilt.
  • Having a more balanced relationship with food.
  • Feeling less stress or anxiety in uncomfortable situations.
  • Feeling more confident.
  • Feeling optimistic about your health efforts.
  • Feeling good about your life in general.

Social progress

The people around you are a big part of any health endeavor. Changes on your social front—like how you relate to others as you navigate your health goals—are among the surest signs of progress.

  • Making time for more fun outings and events.
  • Turning down unwanted treats at work.
  • Meeting a friend for tennis or an active hangout.
  • Having only one drink at happy hour.
  • Saying no to a food pusher.
  • Making a healthy choice at when you’re out to eat.
  • Getting your family and friends to try some healthy habits.

Daily wins

You might think of these as “small steps,” but they add up in a big way. These are the small steps you make toward your goals—and they’re progress all by themselves. 

  • Taking the stairs instead of the elevator.
  • Walking more steps than the day before.
  • Cooking a new recipe.
  • Bringing your lunch to work.
  • Meal prepping for the week.
  • Trying a new healthy food.
  • Eating one less red food.
  • Eating one more green food.
  • Staying within your calorie range.
  • Listening to your hunger and fullness cues.
  • Cooking at home instead of eating out.
  • Experiencing a craving for nutritious foods.
  • Experiencing fewer cravings.
  • Walking more steps than the day before.

Would any of these accomplishments resonate with you? It can feel liberating to reframe your idea of progress to include the things that naturally motivate you. Try picking one from each category and reflecting on your progress through that lens. Remember, each of the above is a major piece of progress in and of itself. And if you’re making progress on some of these items, you’re likely to also make progress on the scale. 

What comes next? The Noom Weight program is designed to help you both measure your progress and celebrate it, too. Recognizing your successes isn’t just for fun (though it is fun, we promise); it’s a key element of staying on track. Check back next week for our favorite, Noomer-inspired ways to reward yourself for what you’re achieving.