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Gina Cousineau

By Gina Cousineau, aka Mama G

We are just starting to come up for air after experiencing unprecedented times together. Over the past few days, I have had conversations with several individuals who said they wish they could have a redo on this time at home due to behaviors they employed that they consider less than stellar.

In my world, we have spoken in jest about people gaining the “COVID-15,” as those extra pounds just seemed to have crept up on us. But let me remind you that this is no different than a holiday season where you might have overindulged and failed to find time to exercise.

Instead of beating yourself up, I encourage you to learn from past behaviors and let healthful changes begin today.

If you have read my previous columns every month, you know I feel pretty strongly about using your food to drive your health, and that weight loss should not lead your way.

But let’s get real, the majority of prospective clients come to me for help with weight loss. And while I have the game plan to help them reach that goal, I refuse to do it at the detriment of that individual, so conversations ensue regarding their dieting history.

What I hear most often is the statement, “But the diet worked for me”—that is, until I ask for details. The common theme with each “diet success” was that while on the “diet,” due to calorie and food group restrictions, often paired with restricted eating times, people lost weight.

But there are repercussions to all behaviors, good and bad, and in this case, this punitive and restrictive eating pattern, while easy to follow temporarily, is impossible to stick to for the long haul and can cause detrimental shifts in our metabolism. In other words, everyone gains the weight back, and potentially more.

It is here that I try to help them look at the risks versus benefits and pros and cons of the diet mentality that has guided them throughout their lives, and challenge them to answer the question: “Are you ready to get off the diet rollercoaster?”

With these conversations, we could have discussed the multibillion-dollar health industry with its plethora of pills, potions and products that we have funded throughout our lifetimes, asking, “Why not just try the next fad or trend?”

But instead, I just keep reminding you why it is time to consider a more wholesome, healthful, and long-term approach, versus another temporary quick-fix.

One consideration is the knowledge we have gained from current clinical trials during this pandemic. We are just seeing the tip of the iceberg, but we know that those who suffer from preexisting conditions who contract this virus are at higher risk for death once put on a ventilator.

In a recently published study of 5,700 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 in the New York area, data showed that “hypertension, obesity, and diabetes are among the most prevalent co-morbidities in patients with COVID-19.”

Not much more needs to be said. If we can just lean more toward wholesome food choices including more plants, drinking more water, eating less highly processed foods, and getting more consistent exercise on a daily basis, without counting calories or eliminating major food groups, we will begin to improve our health.

Gina Cousineau works with clients 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 more than 30 years as a fitness professional, allow her to help clients with finding a practical nutrition approach to reach their goals. You can reach her at mamag@mamagslifestyle.com, 949.842.9975, and on Instagram and Facebook @mamagslifestyle.

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