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Gina Cousineau

By Gina Cousineau

Provocative title for a provocative subject.

No doubt that your eyes caught this title, and your brain forced you to continue reading. As we peruse this topic, I tease next month’s column, which will be titled “Weight Loss Drugs: Friend or Foe.”

There is not a day that goes by that I am not touched by someone who is desperate to lose weight. Along with that desire come lots of negative emotions like shame, guilt, hopelessness, and despair, but ranking the highest on the list is “fear of failure.”

Most people who seek my advice, or simply want to know my thoughts on the subject, tell me, “I know what to do to lose weight” and “I’ve lost the weight before.” This goes along with all the other “I knows” that come into the nutrition space, including “I know carbs are bad,” “I eat really healthy/clean,” and “I just need to exercise more.”

I am grateful for my science- and evidence-based nutrition education and more than 30 years as a professional in the health industry. Most importantly, I’m grateful for my 60 years of life experiences.

Those experiences have allowed me to help individuals of all ages with most any ailment find peace and serenity in these chaotic times we live in by simply committing to a healthy eating pattern. (Notice I didn’t say “diet.”)

This, along with a game plan for building restorative habits each day, will allow you the ability to finally take control of your life, increasing years of longevity and decreasing years of disability.

This sounds great, right? Well, then, why is no one knocking down my door to get in when I am promising the panacea for all that ails you is within your reach?

It comes down to that “fear of failure” and the “all or nothing” mindset. So instead of seeking perfection, we seek progress. Taking guidance from Elizabeth Lombardo Ph.D., author of Better Than Perfect; she suggests the following five strategies;

  1. Focus on your why. Frequently, when people are making a change, they focus on what they don’t like about it. The secret, however, is to focus on why you want to make that change. What are the benefits of making this change?
  2. It’s not failure; it’s data. People often give up on a resolution or change when they revert to their old ways. You can learn from what didn’t work to make it work.
  3. Take—and celebrate—even small steps. Celebrate each step in the right direction.
  4. Schedule it. Sure, it sounds great to have a goal to reach, but how can you actually do it? The key is to figure out actionable steps and then schedule them.
  5. Get an accountability partner. Choose someone to whom you will be accountable— whether it’s your partner, a friend, or a coach. Sure, you may want to make the change, but when we are accountable to someone else, we are more likely to stick with that new behavior.

This month, I have some “Fabulous Freebies” that will help you in making lifelong life-extending change. This week, we start our “21-day Lifestyle Shift with Mama G,” where you will receive three weekly emails with links to recorded videos with cooking and lifestyle tips.

Then, starting on Aug. 24, join the YMCA’s “Embrace Healthy Eating Patterns,” a five-part seminar series. Head to mamagslifestyle.com to register.

Gina Cousineau, aka Mama G, is your local nutrition expert, chef, and fitness professional, with her BS in Nutrition and MS in functional and integrative nutrition. She uses a food-as-medicine approach for weight loss to health gain, and everything in between. Follow her on social media @mamagslifestyle, and check out her website mamagslifestyle.com to learn more about her programs and freebies offered throughout the year.

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