Health & Nutrition 101: Reality Check for the New Year


Gina Cousineau

By Gina Cousineau

On a flight home from the East Coast last week, I counted more than a dozen TV commercials promoting their new and improved diet programs.

In opposition to the January weight loss obsession, one popular gym went so far as to state it is not accepting new members in the month of January, as it knows these individuals are not serious about their health for the long haul.

Bold move, I say. And yet for me, the excuses from prospective clients continue.

In order to “lose weight,” one has to be in a calorie deficit, period. How one gets there can come in a million and one ways; hence, why so many diet approaches limit food groups, meal portions, timing of eating, encouragement of exercise, and more.

Losing weight is really the easy part, but as most of you know, keeping the weight off is the difficult, if not impossible, part.

While most prospective clients seek my guidance to lose weight, in good conscience, I cannot cajole an individual to work with me by giving them false hope.

Instead, as I do with you loyal readers each month, I continue to try to stick to the facts regarding the value of a healthy eating pattern based on solid science of evidence-based nutrition, and an approach that will “teach them” how do lose the weight and keep it off.

What always surprises me is when I ask people what their goals are and if they have a weight objective. Almost all dream of weighing what they did in high school, when they were first married, or when their first baby was born.

I am always taken aback when individuals hold onto these times in their lives, which, for many, were momentary, long ago, and have a difficult time of seeing who they are today.

We all need to have a reality check. There is no going back to years gone by, but there is moving forward in this new year with a clear vision of improving upon who we were last year, and imagining who we could be this year.

Rather than focusing on the almighty scale, perhaps we can draw our attention to the hope of “gaining health” by spending a little time learning the value of including a healthy eating pattern and consistent movement in our daily lives. But how do we do this?

My advice is to think first and to focus on preventative health care, more wholesome food choices, and a little movement each day:

  1. You don’t need to be plant-exclusive to be healthy, but simply including more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds, in your life will drive your health.
  2. Remember, you didn’t gain the weight overnight. A one-pound-a-week weight loss totals 52 pounds in one year. Slow and steady wins the race.
  3. Adding an exercise routine to your life will improve your health, but it will not be the driving force to weight loss. All major health organizations recommend 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week.

I am running a complimentary four-week webinar series via Zoom this month called “How to Lose Weight Without Counting Calories.” Feel free to register at

Gina Cousineau is a local nutrition and fitness expert who specializes in weight loss and prevention of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and more. Mama G is a trained chef with her master’s degree in integrative and function nutrition.


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