Friday, August 12, 2016

Non-Scale Victories

There is a whole new language incorporated into learning any new skill or interest. Mortgage lenders and borrowers must learn what is meant by APY and ARMs. Baseball players and fans have to dig into things thing OBP and RBI. And bariatric surgery patients need to ask someone what in the heck is meant by things like RNY and NSV.

NSV is one of the big ones for those of us on the far side of bariatric surgery. It stands for "Non-Scale Victory." Too many of us get completely focused on what our latest scale reading tells us, and don't pay attention to all of the other benefits that come along with the changed lifestyle that results from successful bariatric surgery and maintenance. Weight is important, sure. But weight numbers can stop dropping for a period of time (or "stall") as your body reconfigures itself. And wouldn't you hate to be so fixated on the fact that you've been stuck at a particular weight for a couple of weeks that you completely miss the fact that your waistline is suddenly down two inches?

NSVs don't even necessarily have to be about physical appearance. Maybe you can now walk to the top of a hill you couldn't before. Perhaps you've decided to take up biking for the first time since you were in junior high. It could be that you've made the decision to go to a reunion for the first time when you have skipped all the previous ones because you didn't want your classmates to see how much weight you had put on. NSVs come in various forms, and all are worth celebrating and sharing.

I have had a few myself. Some were appearance related: I can no longer wear 48-inch waist bottoms, for example. They fall right off me, even with a belt attempting to keep them up. Others are a little more practical - I was able to get out and work in my disaster area of a yard yesterday, trying to bring order out of months' worth of chaos. No gasping, no feeling faint, no needing to stop every 5 minutes to make sure I didn't fall over. It felt good to be able to actually finish a project, instead of leaving it only partway completed, to be finished "later". (Read: "never".)

My most profound NSV, though, has been entirely mental. For 12 years now, I have been shackled by the twin handicaps of epilepsy and obesity: a one-two punch that has not only interfered with my abilities to accomplish much, but has also drained away my confidence. Why even try, I have thought - I won't ever be able to succeed.

The beginning of the weight-loss process also brought about a change in my thinking. If I can really stick through this whole process, I thought, actually get rid of almost half my body weight, well, then - what can't I do? I was wise enough to not wait to "prove" anything to myself, but to start trying to succeed at something completely unrelated to weight loss, that I have wanted to do my whole life: writing professionally.

Since that decision was made, I have successfully published several articles, ghost written some blog posts, and, of course, switched Misdirected over to focusing on weight-loss rather than gaming. The results have been awesome. But the most exciting part is that I have been selected by Fiction Vortex to create one of their "serial boxes" - serialized science fiction and fantasy novels, released in 10 episodes over a period of 10 months. The writing is great, the stories are outstanding - and I get to be a part of it. My series is slated to be starting in January of 2017, and I can hardly wait - even though I haven't finished writing it yet.

Is this an NSV? You bet it is: if not for the decision to pursue weight loss surgery, I would never have had the confidence to put myself out there as an author. Proving to myself that I could go through the preliminary diet changes, go through the surgery, and then commit to the lifestyle changes that will be required showed me that I am not hopelessly broken: I can still pursue dreams, just a little more slowly than most people. If I never lose another pound from this point forward, it will still have been worth it.

Though, just for future reference, I apparently still have about 60 pounds of weight loss to go. But, you know, that would be a "Scale Victory". 

Proof That You CAN Teach An Old Dog New Tricks,

- Hawkwind


  1. Yeah you!!! I am so proud of you both.

  2. I'm so impressed with you guys! You are both winners.