Health and Nutrition 101: Why You Should Consider a Healthy Eating Pattern

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By Gina Cousineau

The facts are the facts. By losing only 5-10% of body weight, our health will improve. But most people have much bigger goals, dreaming of what they once weighed in college or when they were just married.

Second, as we age, our body composition changes and our metabolism slows due to a cascade of bodily processes including normal hormonal changes, decreased activity levels, muscle loss, and more.

About 99% of my potential clients contact me with the primary goal of losing weight. Although my approach will certainly help them lose weight, I cannot in good conscience help people lose weight without teaching them a healthy eating pattern, which will help them reduce the risk of heart disease and heart disease. other lifestyle-related diseases that increase our years of disability and shorten our lives.

While the traditional diet is always about restricting calories and cutting out favorite foods, we all know from personal experience that it doesn’t lead to lasting weight loss.

It is with this “all or nothing” mentality that I am bound and determined to try to make a difference. As the holiday season approaches, most will not try to lose weight and will assume they will gain weight, with every eating opportunity that comes their way.

They might try to exercise more, but the fact is that few of us can use more than a few hundred calories with an hour of exercise, and that pumpkin latte from your favorite coffee shop will replenish those calories burned in a fraction of time. this time.

Guiding individuals to a healthy diet allows them to both lose weight, if needed, and improve the quality of their lives.

It also allows them to continue enjoying the foods they “can’t live without,” but that can’t happen without proper nutrition education on the foods we need to prioritize throughout the day and strategies on how to eat them. way to take control of yourself. on the foods that keep tripping us up.

It’s no small feat for this nutritionist and chef. So, let’s talk for a moment about what a healthy eating pattern is.

The USDA suggests including a variety of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes (beans, lentils, chickpeas), fat-free or low-fat dairy products, seafood, poultry, and meat , as well as eggs, nuts, seeds and soy. some products.

For most people with varying food preferences, these guidelines hit the mark. Add limiting foods with added sugar, saturated fats and sodium; it’s a logical and practical guide to reducing calories, if losing weight is one of your goals, and improving health.

So what can you eat? Pretty much anything if you let the guidelines above lead the way. Your daily scoop of ice cream is high in calories, saturated fat, and added sugar, so consider eating less of it and/or replacing it most days with a bowl of fat-free plain Greek yogurt topped with your favorite fruit, some chopped walnuts, and a drizzle of honey.

The same can be said for your crunchy, high-fat, high-sodium snack that you eat straight from the bag every afternoon. Consider limiting your portion size, eating only occasionally, or maybe not buying it this week, and replacing it with whole-grain crackers and your favorite sliced ​​cheese.

The simple act of opting for more whole food choices and including more plants in every meal and snack could guide you towards a healthy eating pattern that will change your life in a positive way.

Gina Cousineau, a local nutrition expert specializing in weight loss and health gain, is a trained chef and fitness professional, with her Masters in Integrative and Functional Nutrition. She offers her readers a free 50-minute session on “preventive screening” to help them better advocate for their health with their medical providers. Please email her at [email protected] to arrange this session. Feel free to read more about her on as well.

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