As a weekly weight loss leader, I see a range of emotions at weigh in — frustration, fear, victory, disappointment, excitement. It’s all there. Let’s face it, the scale has more power over our emotional well-being than it has a right to. But everywhere we go, the numbers on the scale stare us in the face. We fill out an insurance form and have to check off a weight range. We go for a doctor’s visit and the first thing we do is to step on the scale. Even purchasing panty hose requires our weight!

The scale is the most accepted measurement of our “diet progress,” and yet the scale can’t measure our behavior or determination, two things which are much more important to weight loss than the numbers themselves. The truth is, there will be weeks when we do everything ‘perfect’ — we plan, prepare, weigh, measure, exercise and stick to it like glue — and the scale stays the same.

Discouraging as it is, our bodies aren’t machines that always behave exactly the same, even if we do exactly the same thing to them. We have cycles, hormones, medication, bloating and a myriad of other reasons why, despite the fact that we’ve lost fat this week, the scale doesn’t show it. And while the slight gain may be temporary, the power it has can be devastating.

One thing that can be helpful is to look at the non-scale victories you’ve had.

1. Check out your closet. Have you been able to go ‘shopping’ there since starting your new food regimen? Found old favorites that haven’t fit in a while or have current clothes fit better, more comfortably?

2. Check out the numbers. Have you had your cholesterol rechecked? Blood sugars or blood pressure? Did you take waist, hips, thighs, wrist measurements before you started?

3. Check out your energy. Are you able to walk farther? Huffing and puffing less going up and down the stairs?

4. Check out your emotions. You’ve been working hard at making those lifestyle changes. Hopefully, along with it has come a boost in your motivation, self-esteem, and confidence levels as well as a better body image. Keep that positive vocabulary flowing. It helps!

5. Check out physical changes. Have your sleep patterns improved? Aches and pains diminishing? Have heartburn and indigestion lessened? I loved it when I could finally cross my legs! What other physical benefits have you noticed?

6. Have YOU been checked out lately? Anyone making positive comments about how good you look? When I had more than 200 pounds to lose, people weren’t noticing my weight loss at first, but they knew something looked better. They asked about a new hairstyle or new shirt. They just couldn’t put their finger on what looked better. Eventually, of course, the comments started coming about my weight loss. It was worth waiting for!

After each weigh-in, you always have two choices. You can keep going, or you can quit. Remember, the only way you WON’T lose weight is if you stop trying.

Kim is a lifetime dieter who lost more than 200 pounds. She leads motivational meetings at The Kim Bensen Weight Loss Center, 405 Bridgeport Ave., in Shelton. For more information, call 203-513-8722 or visit kimbensen.com.