Small Victories.

Clarity, Moments of :
Everyone has them once in a while.  Even me.

So at last month’s WLS support group meeting, we were encouraged to share a non-scale victory (NSV) or something positive. I like this part of the meeting, because it helps people shift their focus from the numbers to the things that really matter. The number on the scale is just one of the many benefits we get from losing weight and getting healthy. When you can stop weighing yourself every day and deciding your worth based on how much you lost or didn’t lose, that’s a victory in itself.

Breathe. Relax, and don’t be so hard on yourself! Not all of us are going to run a 5K or join a Zumba class; some of us are just happy to throw away our elastic-waist slacks or walk through Costco without eating all the samples.

A win is a win — it doesn’t have to be big to count. You’re the judge – is it important to you? Did it put a smile on your face, bring tears of joy, or make you pump your fist in the air? Then it counts! Zipping up a pair of jeans that didn’t fit last month, going on a hike, going unrecognized when you run into someone who hasn’t seen you in a while, fitting in a restaurant booth or an airplane seat, or wearing a swimsuit for the first time in years are wonderful examples. Making it through a party with your willpower and determination intact is another. For me, crossing my legs at the knees instead of at the ankles was huge, and still is.

What makes you feel triumphant?  That’s what counts!

And really, I think NSVs are about perspective. Small victories are important in all parts of life: as a parent, in your work environment, and in relationships. It isn’t all about the finish line.

I love seeing familiar faces and meeting new ones at the meetings. It feels so good to be social after feeling somewhat isolated, insulated by fat. But it’s not just fat, is it? It’s anger. Resentment. Protection. Rejection. Denial. Self-loathing. Shame. Whatever. So often we hide ourselves away and stop interacting. We don’t go out much, we don’t want to be seen, and we feel embarrassed. We shrink even further into ourselves. Even when the ‘outside you’ forces a smile, the ‘inside you’ is miserable, and it’s easier to be miserable alone.

So as the fat melts away and reveals the true self, communication and social interaction become even more important. We need the encouragement and support. We’re not hiding anymore. We are learning to stand up for ourselves in a different way. We are learning to speak a new language — the language of hope, of positivity, of gratitude, of acceptance and love. Maybe we’re learning to say No or allowing ourselves to say Yes. We are learning to love our imperfect selves.

It’s tough — some of us have hated ourselves for a long time.

But in the end, it’s these little wins that will sustain us, by teaching us to appreciate what we have worked so hard for.

Look in the mirror and smile at the winner you see there.  That’s a start!



photo credit Richard Moross


I lay in bed last night, thinking.  I was thinking about people who are fluent in more than one language.  Actually, I was imagining being a polyglot — a person who is fluent in multiple languages.  I love to think about reading, writing, and speaking several languages; I would want to read the great classics in their original forms and travel the world and talk to people everywhere!  I could sit in a theater and watch any foreign-language film without subtitles.  I would understand the bits and pieces of conversations around me wherever I went.

English has borrowed elements of many other languages, expressing ideas or concepts that we have no words for, or that seem better said in their native tongue.  We all know some of them: schadenfreude, pleasure derived from others’ misfortunes; bona fide, authentic; carte blanche, unrestricted power to act on one’s own; and hoi polloi, the common folk, just to name a few.  I’ve browsed the net looking for that kind of word, and I’ve found a few more that perhaps should be borrowed:

  1. Yuputka, from the Honduran/Nicaraguan Ulwa language, is the false sensation of something crawling on your skin.  Eww.
  2. Pana Po’o, which comes to us from the Hawaiian language, describes the act of scratching your head while trying to remember something.
  3. Zeg is the word the Georgians use for ‘the day after tomorrow.’  We need this word!
  4. Boketto, according to the Japanese, is staring vacantly into the distance; I do this a lot.
  5. Kummerspeck, literally, grief bacon, describes the extra pounds you gain from emotional eating.  Leave it to the Germans to have a word for this!

But it’s not just a word game; each language has its own syntax, cadence, tonality, and structure; while there is overlap with many languages, there are also areas where there are no commonalities.  For example, certain African languages incorporate clicks; the first time I had ever heard of that was when I saw The Gods Must Be Crazy. (Fun movie, by the way.)  The people of Kuskoy, a village in Turkey, still communicate by whistling, as do the inhabitants of La Gomera in the Canary Islands.  These sounds are so foreign to my ears.

I don’t really have a point to make here; I just find multilingualism quite fascinating.  I took a couple years of French in high school and another year of it in college, but I’m in no way fluent.  I was glad to be able to remember some of it when I was in Paris, enough to find my way in the Metro and be able to ask the time and where the bathrooms were.

But I did have a bit of difficulty trying to ask the waiter if they had pickles for my son’s hamburger.  (I later asked our tour guide, Franc, the word for pickle, and he had to think about it awhile, then came up with “cornichon.”)

Here are some examples of polyglots and hyperpolyglots:
Tim Doner (and his Facebook page)
Benny and Moses

Fun stuff!!

photo credit: woodleywonderworks