Carnival is approaching, summer is in full swing and even those who are up to date want to “lose a couple of kilos” to arrive impeccably at the beaches, blocks and avenues. Making restrictive eating plans focused on losing weight for commemorative dates, however, can be a trigger for eating disorders and the medical recommendation is to avoid falling into the temptation of miraculous and intensive diets.
Asbran (Brazilian Association of Nutrition) declares, in a note signed by the vice-president of the entity, Daniela Cierro, that diets with low energy consumption, long-term fasting and without nutritional monitoring are not recommended and their practice is a risk factor for development of eating disorders.
“The search for the perfect body generates an excessive and illusory criterion for many people, putting mental and physical health at risk”, says Cierro, in the document.
The entity also highlighted that “drastic food restriction” is also associated with a disorder called “hedonic deprivation”, which consists of taking pleasure in feeling hungry or avoiding food.
Asbran reinforces that eating disorders are characterized by behavioral disturbances related to eating habits, in addition to involving excessive concern with body image, which leads to harmful behaviors such as reduced food intake, use of laxatives and diuretics, or incitement to vomit.
“It is essential to note that a healthy body within individual standards is a daily achievement, through good hydration and a varied healthy diet”, says Cierro.
Doctor Fábio Salzano, vice-coordinator of the Eating Disorders Program at the Institute of Psychiatry at the Hospital das Clínicas of the University of São Paulo (HC-USP), says that weight loss diets should only be done by those who really need to lose weight.
People without health problems due to excess weight should not resort to this type of eating plan, even with follow-up, he says.
“Carnival is synonymous with joy and fraternization. Risking your health for aesthetic reasons should not be the focus, but conscious fun. One of the main triggering factors for eating disorders is food restriction”, reinforces the specialist.
Professor Gabriel Almeida, physician and coordinator of the graduate program in Obesity and Sarcopenia at Faculdade Focus, says that another problem resulting from restrictive diets is that they usually arise through friends or influencers, instead of professionals in the area indicated for prescribe meal plans.
“These diets have a big problem. They really lead to initial weight loss, but this is often accompanied by a loss of muscle mass, which decreases metabolism”, says Almeida.
Author of the book “The Accordion Effect” (Vital), Almeida points out that this metabolic alteration modifies the body’s normal regulation for fat burning and makes it easier for people to put on weight after weight loss.
“If before a person ate 2,000 calories and did not gain or lose weight because their metabolism revolved around that daily consumption, when they lose muscle mass, their metabolism drops to 1,500 calories, which becomes the balance point. With that , now, if she eats 1,600 or 1,700 calories, she starts to gain weight”, he points out.
The teacher says that Carnival, like New Year’s Eve, is a big trigger, but that it is possible to create more effective and healthier strategies to feel good – all of them must have professional help.
The model and actress Alane Pereira, 37, muse of the samba school of the special group Unidos de Vila Maria, has been parading in the São Paulo Carnival for eight years. Mother of two children, the model maintains “intense follow-up”, according to her, with a nutritionist and personal trainer.
“I spend the whole year on a diet, every 6 months a new strategy. In this final phase [pré-Carnaval]the diet changes every week”, he says.
Born in Natal (RN), Pereira says that he is not pressured by the school to keep his body in shape and that his eating habits were incorporated when he started his modeling career, a time when he received criticism for his body.
“As a teenager I suffered a lot from this, I wasn’t very tall, I wasn’t very chubby. The owner of the agency himself said that I would never be a model. So I grew up with this vision, trying to find my place. Unfortunately, society still demands that from women, yes “, reports.
The muse considers herself adapted to her training and diet routine and without image disturbances, despite all her concerns about keeping in shape. “I’m a woman who has a big nose, which for a long time was a laughing stock, something I used to want to hide and today I don’t even think about touching it. I like everything about me”, she says.
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