If you want to lose weight, the diet is not enough

Neus Vives

1 February, 2017

We all know cases of people who comment: "If I already do a diet and even so I do not get it!" And it's true. Our weight depends on many factors that are basically reduced to a balance of energies. If the energy I ingest eating foods is higher than what I spend, the energy that is stored will accumulate in the form of fat. In other words: just eat if I do not consume more calories, I'll get better.

How can I do it to consume or "burn" more calories? Well obviously doing more physical activity. It is also true that if I do not control the diet, with exercise alone I will not miss it. It is easier to reduce 500 calories a day of the diet than to burn 500 additional calories through exercise. So the most effective is the combination of diet and physical activity.
How do you prescribe the exercise?
As we have said, total energy expenditure is what makes us lose weight. But most of it is not caused by physical activity that we voluntarily do but also involves other processes that consume energy such as digestion of food, thermoregulation and, above all, basal metabolism, which is the energy that all cells of the body to be able to live and perform its functions. This energy expenditure also has energy in a state of rest that is between 60 and 75% of all that we consume. Therefore any increase will be very important for losing weight.
Regular exercise can increase basal metabolism, as it makes you gain more muscle mass that is much more active than fat, which is a non-calorie tissue and it will be easier to maintain weight. However, if we only reduce calories with the diet, it will be much easier to recover the lost weight, as the body reacts to a lack of food by slowing basal metabolism and burning fewer calories at rest too.
Physical exercise also helps improve eating habits, reduces the sensation of appetite and helps to select foods with less fat. Additionally, you must add all the effects that you have on the metabolism of glucose and insulin by promoting energy consumption.
What kind of exercise is it most recommended?
All the guides are advised to make between 30 and 60 minutes a day of physical activity according to age, but if we spend the rest of the day stretched on the sofa we will not lose weight. The most important thing is to change daily life habits to increase physical activity. For example, climb the stairs on foot instead of taking the elevator, moving on foot or by bicycle instead of by car or motorcycle, in the free time have active hobbies such as DIY or gardening, walk the dog. ... In short, dedicate most hours of the day to activities and at the same time dedicate ourselves to physical exercise controlled with aerobic exercises about 40 minutes such as walking, running, swimming or cycling and the rest with combined exercises aerobics and strength.
Survival physical exercise for 60 minutes per day produces a caloric loss of 700 Kcal / d if the energy intake is constant. At 3 months some 7,6 kg may have been lost.
And if, despite the physical activity we do, we can not achieve the desired weight, we have the consolation that we always have a higher risk of mortality than a sedentary, even if it is thin, that one is active even if it is obese. Regular physical activity is the best medicine we can take to control weight and maintain a good state of health.

the author

Neus Vives

Head of the Health Department of Claror Cartagena

Medical specialist in Physical Education and Sports Medicine (UB)

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