University of São Paulo: Weight loss does not only involve food intake, but sociocultural and environmental factors

The turn of the year and summer usually heat up discussions about the search for weight loss. However, if done incorrectly, this search can cause damage to health and not achieve the expected results.

Taisa Alves Silva, a Master’s student in Nutrition and Metabolism at the Faculty of Medicine of Ribeirão Preto (FMRP) at USP and a member of Nepoca – Nucleus of Studies, Research and Extension in Obesity and Eating Behavior, explains the main motivations behind the desire to lose weight: “This time of year brings an idea of ​​the end and beginning of a cycle and is marked by many reflections on different areas of our lives, such as professional, financial, personal, and the desire to set goals, renew promises arises. The hope for changes and the renewal of goals also happen in relation to body image”.

But it is not just the personal desire for change that is behind this desire. “One of the factors that intensify this search is the dissatisfaction with one’s own body generated by the propagation of aesthetic standards, mainly through social networks, where there is an imposition of the ideal of a thin body to be followed, associating thinness with values ​​such as success and happiness. ”

Taisa also comments that people tend to expose their bodies more at this time of year, which can embarrass those who do not fit into what is considered the “body standard”.

lose weight for health
Some people seek to lose weight for health reasons. In this regard, the expert warns: “It is necessary to reinforce that weight loss is not the solution to all problems and that health is not directly related to thinness, but it is a broader concept, which involves physical well-being. , mental and social”.

“Some people who are overweight do not have other associated health conditions, such as changes in cholesterol, triglycerides, glucose or insulin levels, and are considered metabolically healthy. On the other hand, there are people with thin bodies who have these changes. In this sense, it is important to investigate the reason for the search for weight loss. And, if there are other medical conditions, they can be looked at and treated in addition to the weight.” The nutritionist highlights that a 5% reduction in weight can already have a positive effect on blood pressure and blood glucose levels.



The process of losing weight
Taisa explains how the search for weight loss should be carried out safely. “Weight loss does not happen overnight and does not only involve food intake and energy expenditure, but it is a process that encompasses several factors, such as biological, genetic, sociocultural and environmental.”

The nutritionist highlights the importance of seeking trained health professionals, who ensure that weight loss happens in the right way. “Behavior change involves a set of attitudes, such as, for example, understanding the consequences of dietary restrictions and aesthetic pressures on health, understanding the reasons that lead a person to eat — including emotional reasons, such as anxiety, sadness, stress — and seek to engage in physical activities that are pleasurable, not just for burning calories. In addition, rescuing perceptions of hunger, satiety, sleeping well and respecting that the body has its own genetic structure and that every type of body, regardless of shape, deserves respect.”



The main misconceptions


Taisa draws attention to the main mistakes made during the search for weight loss. Among them is a widely publicized one: diets.

“In the long term, most dieters regain all of their lost weight or even more,” he says. “Restrictions can alter metabolism and the hormones involved in appetite regulation, decreasing energy expenditure, increasing hunger and decreasing satiety, which ends up generating a cycle of restriction and overeating. Furthermore, rapid weight loss is likely to be a consequence of loss of muscle and fluid mass, and not necessarily loss of body fat.”

The nutritionist warns about the danger of seeking information about weight loss with people who are not trained to talk about it. “Usually, people who are not specialized and promote ways to lose weight fast, such as shakes, miracle foods, strenuous exercises, as well as the diet mentality, blame the individual solely for the weight loss, attributing it as a lack of willpower when the individual cannot follow a certain behavior, and disregards physiological, environmental and psychosocial factors — in addition to contributing to the idealization and appreciation of thinness, body dissatisfaction and being considered risk factors for the development of eating disorders.”



the trusted source


Taisa cites as a guide to healthy eating the Food Guide for the Brazilian Population , which brings suggestions such as prioritizing fresh or less processed foods, valuing small farmers and sharing shopping, food preparation and meal planning with people at home.

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