Gina Cousineau and Samantha Blankenburg

By Gina Cousineau

We are seven weeks into the New Year, and I am wondering how that “weight loss diet” is going.

What I have learned since I started my nutrition career back in the 1980s is that most diets with the goal of “weight loss” are temporary, unsustainable, and cause more harm than good. Nothing is different today than it was 30 years ago, except we are much smarter and wiser when it comes to science and evidence-based practice in the nutrition realm and what drives health.

But we are also more exposed to nutrition quackery and, as a society, more gullible to the “influencers” who talk us into diet approaches that have nothing to do with our overall well-being.

I challenge you to ask yourself, why are you obsessed with losing weight? Did your doctor tell you that your health depended on it? Did you look in the mirror disgusted by what you saw? Are you attempting once again to weigh what you did in college? Is that special event coming up, and you want to finally fit in that dress that has been hanging in your closet for years?

As a young nutrition and fitness professional, I gave my clients what they wanted. The “no pain, no gain” mentality was alive and kicking, and I happily provided the workouts to make that happen.

This, paired with calorie restriction but not much thought to food quality, moved the needle on the scale, but few were able to keep it there. Today, as an older and much wiser integrative and culinary nutritionist, my approach has completely shifted. 

If you want a weight loss diet, consult Dr. Google or look to social media for that diet trend/fad. On the other hand, if you want to prioritize your health, reduce and prevent your risk of diseases, and, more importantly, instill healthy habits for a lifetime, then I am your gal.

The number on the scale will follow as needed because of these changes.

Because of the influx of technology today, we have evolved into a crazed, fast-paced society where convenience is everything, and with the stroke of a key, whatever you desire can arrive within 24 hours, without you even having to step out the front door.

It is here where I challenge you to really consider what expertise your influencer has and why you believe them. If you have never clicked on their profile, take the time to do that and see where their education lies.

Just because they are an M.D. doesn’t mean they’ve been educated in nutrition. Same goes for the highly popular fitness trainer; an internet certification in nutrition means nothing for your long-term health and wellness.

Let’s really delve into your questions here each month. Email me with thoughts you would like to know more about, and allow me to help you decipher if it is an approach you should consider using science, evidence and logic above all else.

Gina Cousineau, aka Mama G, sees clients in person and virtually out of her San Clemente office. Her extensive education with a BS in dietetics and MS in integrative and functional nutrition, chef training, and 30-plus years as a fitness professional, allow her to help clients with a practical nutrition and exercise approach for a long, healthy, independent life. Cousineau often partners with local fitness expert Samantha Blankenburg. You can reach her at mamag@mamagslifestyle.com, and on Instagram and Facebook @mamagslifestyle.

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