Welcome back for another keto blog post!
Today, I want to talk about keto and weight loss; specifically, about non-scale victories, or NSVs. NSVs are exactly what they sound like they are. An NSV is a little “win” that you get as a result of weight loss that has nothing to do with the number on the scale.
How to Set Goals for Weight Loss
I talked a little on Instagram stories the other day about how I view weight loss as a measurable goal. Basically, I think that weight loss should not be your priority (I know, you’re probably rolling your eyes… but hear me out). I think that your #1 goal – your “why” – should be something bigger than a scale number. For example, my “why” is that I want to be an active, healthy person for my family members. That’s my biggest goal. I’m going to achieve that goal, which is something that’s hard to measure outright, by breaking it into smaller goals that are easier to measure.
For example, one of my little goals could be to go on a run every week. I can measure that, and it’s a contributor to making sure I’m an active person. Another example could be that I take a walk during lunch and after dinner every day. If your goal is to be more present, you could spend one night a week without your phone in your hands. All of these things are easily quantifiable AND contribute to your bigger goal. You don’t want to introduce too many of these mini goals at once, thought, or else your body and mind will totally reject the change.
If you don’t meet those little goals, it’s totally ok. Don’t expect to change everything overnight. The point is that slowly introducing each task will help you to form long-term habits to stimulate healthy change. I think this is where weight loss fits in. While it’s measurable, it shouldn’t be a “big goal.” Weight loss may a contributor to the lifestyle you want to lead, sure, but if you’re achieving your “big goal” without the fast weight loss you desire, just relax! And give yourself some grace and time. Your body is already working really hard to keep you going – I promise. Give it some credit.
Keto Non-Scale Victories that Changed My Life
In the spirit of not focusing on weight loss, I want to share five of my favorite NSVs with you.
Reduced hunger throughout the day
I used to be a bottomless pit. You could tell me that you just ate two slices of pizza and were full, but I would have no idea what that really meant. I used to eat large thin crust Domino’s pizzas and 20 count chicken tenders like it was nothing. Since keto naturally helps you to reduce your hunger, I find myself getting full now before finishing my plate most of the time. And my stomach doesn’t just growl throughout the day anymore. Sometimes, I forget to eat altogether. If I didn’t work a desk job (which all but forces me to see a clock throughout the day) I would probably make it through the entire day without eating and be fine sometimes. As someone who used to be totally controlled by hunger (read: hanger), this one was huge for me
Run endurance increased (without dips in energy)
I used to sweat through my runs, and not in the way you’d expect from cardio. As a distance runner, endurance is vital. It will make or break how you feel about your workouts. In my case, self esteem is half the battle for motivation to run. I run when I’m happy, celebratory, anxious, and sad. It’s a form of therapy, to be able to zone out like I do when running; if I can only think about how much my body hurts during a run, then I feel like my “therapy session” has been a waste.
After starting keto, there was a little period where my endurance took a plunge, and I’m not going to lie, that was discouraging. But after doing some research, it turns out that I was just not getting enough salt to retain all of the water I was drinking. I upped my salt intake a little and my run performance took off! Also, since nutritional ketosis involves your body using your fat stores for energy back-ups, I didn’t hit walls mid-run like I used to, where I would just totally run out of stamina. Now, it’s really up to me to decide when I am done.
Bye-bye carpal tunnel pain
Does anyone else suffer from carpal tunnel/arthritis/tenosynovitis issues like I have? I played the clarinet for a decade and somehow, nobody communicated to me that you should stretch/warm up your wrists before playing your instrument. That sounds pitiful, I know – how could a clarinet damage your wrists? Check out this study on musicians that suffer from pain and loss of muscle function to learn more about this.
Since the keto diet helps to reduce inflammation (as a result of dropped water weight/retention), I was able to reduce the perpetual swelling in my wrists so I could help them heal. I’ve gone to physical therapy for this issue, and it never seemed to help much because my wrist swelling would not subside. We spent hours working through scar tissue and stretching. Now that I’ve dropped some water weight, lost some excess pounds on my body, and tried those PT techniques again, I’m finally getting relief here.
I’m a… morning person?
If you’ve ever snoozed your alarm more than once… if you’ve ever set multiple alarms at random intervals to upset your circadian rhythm… if you’ve ever relied on another person to wake you up in the morning… this one’s for you.
Pre-keto, I was definitely a night owl. Since I tended to eat more carbs later in the day, my body had more fuel to work off of and would convince me that I needed to be up late. I’m talking 2-4am late. And you can forget waking me up; I would sleep through absolutely any and every alarm, including a smoke alarm! Since I went to bed late, I almost never woke up early if I could help it.
Now, it’s a totally different story.
Since I don’t get very hungry throughout the day, it’s natural for me to intermittent fast. I’m usually finishing my last meal around 5:30 or 6:00pm, which means that by the time I wake up in the morning, I’m in a fasted state. My body, at that point, is using fat for fuel, which means that my energy levels are much more consistent and waking my body up isn’t so damn hard. While sometimes I still need multiple alarms to wake up entirely (because let’s face it, old habits of laziness are hard to break), it’s definitely not the struggle it used to be.
I typically wake up (even on the weekends) between 6:00 and 8:00am now. Can you believe it?
Improved body image
This one is a NSV that keto has indirectly helped me with. I used to be so frustrated with my body, not only because of excess weight, but because I felt like it limited me when I tried to better myself. If I wanted to work out, my body didn’t have the energy. If I wanted to run, my body didn’t have the stamina. If I wanted to wear nice clothes, the bloating I felt from the foods I ate made me feel like I didn’t want to wear those clothes anymore. And it wasn’t like I could just eat less to lose the weight – I tried that. That’s how I ended up down the HCG diet road. Never again.
Now that I’ve lost the excess weight AND have experienced increased energy levels and decreased water retention/inflammation, my body doesn’t feel so limiting. Sure, I need conditioning and practice to do certain things like lift heavy weights and run long distances, but those things feel within my reach. I don’t think I would have ever gotten to this point without keto.
So, what do you think? Have you experienced some of these NSVs, or do you have some victories of your own that you’d like to share? Drop a comment below and let me know!
Until next time,