In an interview with Saúde Brasil, endocrinologist and president of the Brazilian Association for the Study of Obesity and Metabolic Syndrome (Abeso), Maria Edna de Melo, clarifies that there is no magic formula that suggests the ideal balance between exercise and food.
“The patient must be evaluated very individually, because people react differently, both to dietary restrictions and to physical activity,” explains Maria Edna. “Anyone who is overweight needs to understand that losing weight involves fat and muscle. That’s why it’s important to combine aerobic and resistance exercise to maintain muscle mass as much as possible and ensure much healthier weight loss.”
Obesity, characterized by the accumulation of body fat, is one of the biggest health problems today and is increasingly present in society and is already considered an epidemic. In Brazil, according to a 2017 Vigitel survey, one in five people is obese, and more than half of the population of Brazil’s capital cities (54%) are overweight.
Read more: As obesity rises, research shows Brazilians are off to a healthier start
Meaning of food
Healthy eating and physical activity are the two pillars of weight loss. According to endocrinologist Maria Edna, food is the main pillar of supporting energy balance and leading to weight loss.
“Food is not the sole point of obesity treatment, but is a major component of lifestyle change. “Physical activity is considered the second pillar because it is much easier to create a caloric deficit with food than with exercise,” he points out.
The importance of physical activity
The importance of physical activity in weight loss goes far beyond burning calories, as it affects health globally. It supports the improvement of physical condition and biological functions, reduces stress, improves mood and reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
- “If there is a magic pill for health, it is called physical activity. But since it’s not in the pill, it has to be found day by day, it has to be done regularly,” emphasizes the endocrinologist.
- Therefore, physical activity should always be recommended, especially for obese individuals. “The general recommendation is to engage in aerobic and resistance physical activity, i.e. cycling, running or swimming, combined with some strengthening exercise or some functional exercise.
- But always with great care to avoid any injury, because otherwise one will be stopped for a long time”.
Professor Érwelley Andrade reached 110 kg at the age of 25.
That’s when he decided to change his lifestyle for good. Today, at the age of 36, after losing almost 50 kg and writing the book “Beat Obesity”, she tells how diet and physical activity helped her lose weight consciously and permanently.
“I didn’t eat real food in my food re-education. There have been many swaps of refined white grains for whole grains that have brought me greater satisfaction and better health. Since I wasn’t starving, I realized I could do it. At first, because I couldn’t walk much, I started with 20 or 30 minutes slowly, on the boardwalk. After three months of proper nutrition and exercise, I have already lost 20 kg,” he says.
When Érwerlley realized his body was failing, he decided to start bodyweight training and fell in love with the physical activity. “In the gym, I started slow, 20 minutes on the treadmill. I tried cycling, but my knee and legs hurt because of the extra weight. But I insisted.
In one year I lost almost 50 kg. Being able to do more exercises, with the elasticity of the skin returning to its place, came an increase in self-confidence. I think it took me a year and a half to really adapt. I need to exercise today.”