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Non Scale-Related Goals Enhance Weight Loss

Scene: My bathroom, random Monday morning.

I’ve got my foot poised over the scale, and I’m about to step on it. I spent an hour tossing and turning last night, berating myself for overeating – again – vowing to be “good” this week.


Me: Okay, here goes nothing.


I step onto the scale and look down. I am horrified.


Me: Ugh! How can this be?!


I hang my head, completely demoralized. In my head I scold myself for being so weak. I am furious with myself for failing once again, but eventually I rally and offer up a pep talk.


Me: You can do this! This week it will be different; I’ll only eat carrots and celery sticks. I’ll drink gallons of water! I’ll exercise every day! I gotta lose two pounds by Friday. Yeah, that’s what I’ll do … I’ll lose two pounds by Friday, for sure!


Even though I was quite determined at that very moment, my motivation to follow through on that newly-minted goal failed me week after week. Know why? Three reasons:

  • I was focusing solely on how bad I felt being fat. (Truly, I felt horrible.)
  • I was reacting out of fear and, unless a bear is chasing you, fear is a bad motivator.
  • I was defining “success” by the number on the scale, specifically whether it went down or not.

I was stuck in this pattern for more than 20 years.

This experience leads me to conclude two fundamental truths of weight loss:

  • You cannot just be moving away from something negative; you must be moving toward something positive.
  • You cannot hate yourself thin.

It absolutely, unequivocally will not work.

What does work?

Well, go back and start reading the previous 200 or so blogs I’ve written, but in a nutshell here’s what works:

Have very specific, non scale-related goals.

Having non scale-related goals takes the focus off of the number you see every time you step on the scale and puts it elsewhere. Those non scale-related goals are most helpful when they support the overall goal of weight loss and healthy living.

For this reason I like physical challenges as goals. Training for a particular event (currently, my first triathlon) forces me to make my goal very specific. There is a date on my calendar and I’m counting down the days!

Having non scale-related goals works very well, for three reasons:

Those things combined are some seriously powerful motivation. (Remember: vision + goals = motivation).

You become intensely focused on achieving this goal. Eating right, getting enough rest, staying hydrated … all of those things fall into place because they help support your goal.

And what do you focus on after you’ve accomplished that goal? Well, you give yourself a little rest from the intensity for a while – maintaining a base level of fitness and healthy eating, of course – and then you find a new goal!

Right now we’re focusing on a 10-Week, 10-Pound Challenge, and that’s great! But I encourage you to find a specific event to train for: your first 5K fun run, a cycling event, or join me in my triathlon training! I promise, having that non scale-related goal will enhance your weight loss more than you think possible.

C’mon, we got this!

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