• Emma Green

The problem with ‘non-scale victories’

I’ve seen this term increasingly used within the fitness industry and whilst I admire the attempt to move away from the scale being a primary marker of progress, it is still problematic. Firstly, by using the scale as the reference point, it presents non-scale items as being ‘other’. It implies that the scale is still a source of victory and that alternatives are available, rather than rejecting the scale as a tool outright. Secondly, it is also frequently used to refer to body composition ‘progress’ and thus instead of weight, the focus is on body fat percentage, muscle mass, girth measurements etc and the focus on the body and numbers remain. Thirdly, by using the term victory it suggests that fitness is something we can win at and thus as a consequence can also lose at. That’s a binary and outcome-focused way of conceptualising fitness and a precarious way in which to measure progress for your self-worth. If you are committed to removing the scale as a maker of progress, I’d suggest broadening not only the markers used to denote progress but also your definition of progress itself.

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