Beyond the Scale

Those last 10 pounds, many of us know them well. “I have three clients who are fixated on them,” said George Bein, a personal trainer at Healthtrax Fitness & Wellness in Garden City. “They think they failed.”

Bein insists that nothing could be further from the truth. Weight loss success, he said, can manifest in ways that have nothing to do with the numbers on a scale. Bein teaches his clients to look forward to these five eureka moments:

1. Running after kids or with the dog is easier
Bein noted this is often the first clue a client is on the right track. Positive results show up first at the park, he said. “I had to keep saying ‘Mommy needs a break’ at the playground,” shared Elaine Kohler of Seaford. But when her two preschoolers were trying to catch her instead, she knew she’d turned a corner. “That milestone motivated me to keep going with my tennis lessons,” she enthused.

2. The all-or-nothing mentality disappears
One of the most common mistakes is giving up after slipping up. “I encounter it in a surprising number of people,” said Bein. “If they bag a workout, hit the drive-thru, or have one too many cocktails, they figure it’s a lost cause.” The antidote? When struggling to get back in a groove, repeat the following affirmation: Anything is better than nothing. “Act like a shark: Just keep moving,” Bein advised. “It doesn’t need to be a major effort; it just has to be motion.” Bein’s other suggestions include taking a walk around the block or going on a 15-minute bike ride. When people tell Bein they don’t have time, his answer is always the same: Explosive movement. Sprint to the corner and back, he said. Do 50 jumping jacks or try squat thrusts: Squat almost all the way down, then jump up as high as you can. “Shoot for ten. They’re harder than they sound,” Bein noted. And remember: It’s easier to get back on track after a week of bits of exercise than a week of no exercise.

3. Clothes fit better
The scale won’t budge, but the sexy cocktail dress suddenly looks slimming? Rejoice! Weight can shift without dropping, explained Bein. “Two women weighing 130 pounds can look quite different.” As fitness newbies hit their strides, their midsections will get smaller while their arms, shoulders, legs and butts firm up. Since fat weighs less than muscle, the number on the scale may stay the same although there is a noticeable tightening up.

4. A workout isn’t a wipe out
Bein has heard it time and again: Clients flop on the couch after leaving his gym. He says another sign of measurable progress is when a workout becomes energizing rather than exhausting. “It was great to come home after a run and be ready to garden or hit Roosevelt Field,” said Marie lorio of New Hyde Park. “When I felt pumped instead of like I might pass out, it was my turning point.”

5. Positive thinking takes over
Fitness is about more than looks—it reflects how we embrace life. “Developing the ability to stay positive when things don’t go right is the final hurdle,” stressed Bein. Bad moods sabotage the best fitness intentions, when feeling down call a friend or get a mani-pedi. “You’re one second away from changing your life,” said Bein. What does that mean? “You can think, ‘I’m still 140 pounds!’ or ‘I rock for coming this far.’ It’s a choice that takes one second. And it’s the key to a long-term healthy lifestyle.”

christina vercelletto

christina vercelletto

Christina Vercelletto is a lifelong south-shore Long Islander. She currently resides in Babylon with her husband, three children, and a morbidly obese calico. A media veteran, Christina has held editorial positions at Babytalk, Parenting, Scholastic Parent & Child, Woman's Day, and Davler Media. Her work has appeared in numerous national publications, including Redbook, Rachael Ray, Good Housekeeping, FamilyFun, and The Huffington Post. She's been a frequent guest on Today, The View, and Good Morning America.