The power of 'Non-Scale Victories'

My name is Paul Chesworth and I live in the United Kingdom. As part of World Obesity Day, I want to share my experiences of living with obesity - and the affect it has on my life. I hope you will enjoy my story, and join me in raising awareness of this disease.  

 


By Paul Chesworth, Disease Experience Expert |  6 min read


I have been overweight from the age of 6, and by the time I turned 50 my weight had peaked at 26.5 stone (168 Kg). In my mid-forties, I developed Type 2 Diabetes lucky me!! or not as the case maybe, seeing my father suffer with diabetes for many years. It led to him experiencing a poor quality of life, and the impact this disease had on his major organs was the trigger in my mind that major change was needed and there was only me that could do it; ultimately, it was down to me!

I had already tried the full range of diet books, weight-loss groups and other wacky ways to lose weight, and I did – but only in the short term.

I had a Gastric Bypass surgery in November 2014 - the best decision for me, but only the first of thousands that I have had to make on a daily basis since. 

My operation has only given me a “tool” that significantly reduces the volume of food I can eat. Within the first year post op I achieved an 11 stone (69.5Kg) loss; now 3 years on from the operation, I’m successfully maintaining my weight loss.

On my journey I have discovered that the strongest thing in my body is my mind.

Some days are easier than others to stay on track. When I first started losing the weight, family, friends and work colleagues would be commenting and encouraging me every day, which gave me a real feel good factor. But when I reached what is seen to be a ‘normal weight’, the compliments stopped because I’m now seen as “normal” – great!

Paul Chesworth, Disease Experience Expert from UK

It became clear to me that the initial focus in my head was the scales, not realising that the most important achievements were actually Non-Scale Victories (NSVs). These included:

  • Walking 10 miles without breaking a sweat
  • Fastening the seatbelt on a plane without the shame of asking for an extension
  • Buying a 3 piece suit off the rack
  • Choosing a restaurant to eat in because the menu looks good - not because they don’t have plastic chairs that could collapse under my weight.

These are just a few NSVs that now make me secretly smile to myself. Why? Because pre-op they were the struggles I tried to hide from the people around me. 

I was ashamed to say the words “I won’t fit in the chairs”. Why? Because the stigma attached to being overweight is that I’m greedy and lazy - not that I’m suffering with obesity.

I now live by the 80-20 rule - if I can stay focused 80% of the time, prioritising protein, keeping my fluid intake up, staying active and honest with myself, I can accept getting things wrong 20% of the time without punishing myself. This rule works for me and keeps me happy and healthy. 

Paul Chesworth, Disease Experience Expert from UK

Nothing in life is 100%. People get so focused on everything being perfect: the perfect weight, the perfect BMI (Body Mass Index), the perfect body, the perfect home, the perfect relationship. What's really important to me is finding a balance!


Wednesday, 11 October is World Obesity Day. Organised by the World Obesity Federation, the day aims to raise awareness about the health risks associated with being overweight or obese and calls on the world to take action to help treat and prevent obesity. 

Find out more about World Obesity Day here.

 


Paul Chesworth is a member of Novo Nordisk’s Disease Experience Expert Panel (DEEP)– patients or relatives living with a chronic disease.

As a patient centred company, patient engagement is central to what we do at Novo Nordisk and our DEEP members provide us with a unique insights into the reality of living with a chronic disease. These insights help us meet the real life needs of patients.