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Gina Cousineau

By Gina Cousineau

No fewer than six times this year, I have written my monthly column with COVID-19 at the forefront, as its effect on our lives, both physically and mentally, cannot be denied.

As a nutrition professional, people typically reach out when they are finally “sick and tired of being sick and tired,” turning to me as a last-ditch effort when the pills, potions, and diet claims fail.

While I would prefer to be one of the first practitioners to be sought out, at some point individuals realize that the quick fixes are nothing more than putting duct tape over the gaping hole on the damaged hull of their boat.

Recently, I was chatting with a 50-something couple who are “scared to death” about contracting the coronavirus. Over the past six months, they have rarely socialized, purchased most of their needs online, and spent a lot of time on their boat avoiding people. They are concerned that if the husband gets the virus—he is a former firefighter who has compromised lungs and a heart condition, as well as overweight and pre-diabetic—he will not survive.

While I can only imagine having that fear, I hope you know me well enough by now, as I have shared monthly the importance of using nutrition and exercise to shift the course of your life. I believe in the concept of being “proactive.”

To this couple, and perhaps to many of you reading this article right now, know I am speaking to you. I cannot reiterate enough that there is so much more that you can do right now that can build your immunity to help combat not only the virus, but every other comorbidity that aids in the horrific death rate we have seen during the pandemic.

This is no different than when your doctor tells you that you must start to take care of yourself and shoos you out the door with the directions to start exercising and lose weight. Unfortunately, even that medical professional doesn’t have the time nor education to help you figure out how this might look in your life.

Enter Mama G, or another highly qualified nutrition and/or fitness professional.

Where to start:

1. Move more. The concept of “use it or lose it” is alive and well. Start walking daily.

2. Buy more food in its natural state and learn to cook basic meals. A banana over banana bread, brown rice over rice crackers, roast chicken over chicken nuggets.

3. Never allow your gas tank to hit empty. While there are a million and one tricks to help you ingest fewer calories throughout your day, the sure-fire fail is to starve yourself. Eating a wholesome breakfast, lunch and dinner, paired with a snack or two, can drive your success. Calories do matter, folks, but so does the quality of your food choices.

4. Be kind. This is not an all-or-none proposition. You must literally and figuratively stop putting too much on your plate. Exercise a little each day. Pull together a lovely plate of food that has fiber, fat and protein. And practice kindness with yourself and others.

Gina Cousineau sees clients virtually and in person 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 lose weight and improve their health. You can reach her at, 949.842.9975, and on Instagram and Facebook @mamagslifestyle.

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