NSVs – Non scale victories

I’ve got my third appointment with my personal trainer after work today. And I’m dreading it. I’m not actually dreading the PT session itself, rather I’m dreading the fact he’s expecting me to get weighed.

In Diet Schmiet I often talked about my irrational fear of the scale. I wrote about weight loss, health and fitness being a numbers game. I said that I viewed that horrid machine which lived in the bathroom as the scales of judgement. And I confessed that – although it’s an inanimate object – the bloody scale was capable of ruining my day, if not my week, month or year!

In all honesty, my ideal would be to never weigh myself again, particularly as I attempt to adopt a more zen-like approach to life and well… me – which is something I’ve talked about a bit recently. When I started exercising (after such a long break and having gained so much weight) my plan was to not-diet. I’d hoped that feeling fitter and healthier would eventually translate into me making better choices when it came to what I put in my mouth.

However – unsurprisingly – my PT is keen to track my progress and (as well as my measurements, strength etc) he wants to use my weight to do that. He thinks I’m dutifully monitoring my food and writing down every skerrick which passes my lips. And I’m not. And – although it’s early days – I’m still making some less-than-healthy choices. Hot chips anyone?

Cookie Monster meme

For the last two days I’ve been thinking I could cancel my appointment and make some excuse. Solely because of that bloody scale and those bloody numbers. And even if I ask him not to tell me how I do, I’ll see it on his face. He’s expecting big things from me*. And I know I’m gonna let him down.

And that’s the crux of it. I’m actually happy with my progress. I no longer feel like throwing up in the twice-weekly group circuit classes (and I know I need to start to push myself a tad more now I’m feeling more comfortable) and I’m happy to have my trainer push the hell out of me doing drop-sets and the like in my weekly PT session.

I feel better. This is only my third week of my new (3 classes/week regime) but I can kinda feel my abdominal muscles again. And I feel more agile. And – mostly importantly – I feel proud of myself each time I walk into a session (not to mention relieved as I stumble out!).

These are all fabulous NSVs. And quite frankly I’m happy with my non scale victories. They’re actually enough for me. For now.

So… my only challenge is – how do I tell my PT that I don’t want to get weighed without sounding like I’m simply being slack or without breaking his heart?

Any thoughts? 

*ie. He’s thinking I’m going to lose 50kg by the end of the year.


  1. You should say no and feel good about it. I do not get on the scale unless I want to. I don’t even let the doctor weigh me. It’s a shaming tool and I’m not having any part of it. 🙂 Good luck and stay strong!

    • The sane part of me realises it’s ‘my’ session (and my life) and I should have complete control, but I’m worried I’ll cave in and feel some sort of obligation. Argh!

  2. I’m a numbers girl, but it’s a double edged sword for me. Having said that, I’m overdue for a medical check-up, but have put it off purely because of the scale shaming, It’s ok for me to know it and track to it, but not for anyone else to do so.

    • Usually when I worry about those times Jo, the weigh-in doesn’t happen! I had a stress test (cardiac perfusion) this week and thought I’d have to get weighed but they were happy to accept what I told them.

  3. Uh, I think your trainer is more than a little unrealistic- it’s possible to lose 50kgs in a year but not very sensible. What about just telling him you have a eating disorder background so weighing is a no go because it could trigger bingeing or smt?

    I wouldn’t let my personal trainer fiddle with my diet, unless he’s a trained dietitian too.

    • I’ve told him of my history and about the eating disorder stuff and even told him I really only started (over) eating hot chips (a lot) again since the new calorie restriction started.

      I was honest though and told him I wasn’t tracking. Given my hefty weight my current calorie allowance is 2000 – which (as he says) – is quite a lot. But still….

  4. I actually completely get where you are coming from because I hate being weighed and I am also a people pleaser and hate to let someone down. Maybe you can ask him to postpone it and tell him you are really happy with your progress. I think you should be! You are doing a great job!

  5. I absolutely understand where you are coming from with this. If your trainer is good at what he does, he should have options for tracking progress that don’t include a weigh-in. Maybe focus on an item of clothing that you love which doesn’t fit properly and try it on each week to see if it fits more comfortably. It’s not just about weight loss, but about body toning etc. If weigh-ins discourage you, it seems counter productive for your trainer to insist on them, although he’ll only know that they discourage you if you tell him. Wishing you lots of success with your health plans for this year.

  6. I’d go with a simple no, thanks- this is about feeling and being well, not about numbers. Tell him you’ll consider it further down the track when curious it’s gets the better of you 🙂

    • Have been trying to decide whether to share here or in a new post later.

      I arrived and the scales were out waiting so naturally I felt I couldn’t then say no. (I am such a friggin’ softie!) I warned him he’d be disappointed and he was. “Exactly how badly have you been eating?” he asked.

      Apparently I stayed the same. He was very important but took solace when I explained it was THAT time of the month yadda yadda yadda. He’s so keen for me to do well it’s hard for me to say no. I did try to tell him how great I’d been feeling and how proud of myself. And I think I had a good session with him yesterday (mostly about weights and doing everything to fatigue). But still…

  7. Deb I just had to visit this post as the “schmiet” stuck out at me – my blog name is Robo Schmobo 😉
    I’m on a similar quest to you but I’m happy to be weighed. At first I was embarrassed and put out when the numbers weren’t coming down, but now that they are, it motivates me to no end. I even instagram my numbers to keep me on track.
    I understand how you feel but the PT needs the facts in order to do his job. Can you tell him how you feel and perhaps turn away while he reads the scale? At this point you need to be honest with him as you’ll be taking this journey together. Best of luck with everything! X

    • Ah yes Robo, I used to have the habit of adding ‘schm’ in front of everything – which is why I named my previous blog Diet Schmiet. (I also used to add ‘ish’ to the end of everything and was known to friends as Debbish!)

      He’s okay about not telling me what I weigh, but I think it’s the fact he thinks I’m okay about dieting that worries me more. I realise though it’s something I need to get straight in my head. He did remind me that the 2000 calories a day I’m currently allowed isn’t really restrictive or dieting. (But of course in my little mind – warped from years of eating disorders – it is!).

      Thanks for dropping by!

  8. I completely agree with you that looking at the scales are very unmotivating. I avoid them at all costs because if I do look it is always disappointing, you either haven’t lost any weight or you haven’t lost as much as you thought you would have. It is more about how you feel in yourself. If you feel better than tell him to stick his scales

    • Ah yes Malinda – I’ve done that in the past – assumed I’ll have lost more than I did and instead of being happy with a 1kg loss I’ll wonder why it’s not 5kg in a week like the Biggest Loser contestants! I’m happy for me to take my measurements though so perhaps we can find some middle ground in future.


  9. I honestly think you should tell him if you don’t want to be weighed. This is an ongoing battle for me too and I am now committed to not weighing myself as it really messed with my head all of last year while I was going to the gym regularly. I find it hugely demotivating as the numbers (for me) tend to bounce up and down a bit, even if they’re generally trending down. There are other ways to chart progress, like number of push ups or increased reps at a particular weight. It’s worth asking anyway!

    • Yes, he’s monitoring my weights and reps (and doing my measurements). And I’m the same re de-motivation. I tend to think… “Wow, I’ve done all of this work and not lost any weight, so I might as well not worry!”

      That type of thing!


  10. I had a session where my instructor said “so shall we take some measurements?” To which I answ “absolutely not!” And that was the end of it.

  11. So great that you turned up and had a good session even with the fear of the weigh in. I reckon if you keep going you will focus more and more on the work you are doing and how you are feeling stronger and not the weight, and if you focus on overall healthy lifestyle eating, the weight will take care of itself over time. I just saw a story on this video they’ve produced in the UK to encourage women to exercise – I think it’s fantastic. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aN7lt0CYwHg

    • Thought I’d responded to this (so sorry if I respond twice). I think I liked the clip so much I went and shared it elsewhere before finishing my comment!

      PS. I love the clip!

  12. I’ve just gone back to PT too after a hefty weight gain. I’ve piled on the pounds since I lost my thyroid to cancer but I’ve learned that being healthy and happy is not all about numbers on a scale. Wild horses, let alone my PT wouldn’t get me back on the scales, not yet anyway. Remember you’re the paying customer so you do have a choice about how you bang your buck! Just say no! And high five for your new exercise routine – huzzah for healthy habits!

  13. Can you be weighed without him telling you the number? That would satisfy his need to know and your need to not know. I’m glad you’re starting to feel the results already. It’s disheartening when you work hard and not get any satisfaction. And you really deserve some satisfaction for getting out and doing it.

    • I think it’s more his focus on the weight loss than the weight itself which I’m struggling with – the concept of ‘dieting’. I’d much prefer it be about me feeling better – which as you said – I already am!

    • Yes Kylie. I think the ‘results’ stuff is probably very much drummed into them though. And I suspect he can’t understand how I can be committed on the exercise front but not on the eating front! 🙂

  14. I totally get what you mean. It’s took a bit of time (at least a few months) to make my PT understand that my main priority isn’t to lose weight but to get strong, fit and be in a balanced frame of mind.
    She gets it now but it took a lot of deep discussions and for her to really understand my lifestyle as well as my personality.
    As long as your PT sees the NSV’s you’ve accomplished, I think they’ll get it.

    • I hope so Grace. I guess the fact I’m so overweight means he can’t understand how reducing that isn’t my priority. Which ultimately it is, but I’d like it to be a side effect / symptom of the decisions I’m making rather than the focus itself. (If that makes sense!)

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