The importance of a diet plan

A healthy dietary planWhich strategy is the best for effective weight loss? Well, it all starts with a proper healthy diet plan. Before deciding what type of diet is the right one for you, it is recommended that you consult a nutrition and dietetic specialist so they can help organise your diet correctly. A nutritionist for example, will perform an extensive interview to understand your pathological history, the anthropometric parameters (weight, height, body mass index or BMI, habitual weight, etc.) and will want to understand your current eating habits. Based on this information the diet plan can be put together.

A good and healthy diet plan should be based on a moderate calorie restriction (500 to 1,000 calories a day less than your usual diet). Try to avoid more restrictive approaches (ie, caloric intake below 1,000-1,200 kcal per day for women and 1,200- 1,600 kcal per day for men). It is particularly important to control your intake of fats and carbohydrates.

In addition, to achieve optimum weight control your healthy diet plan should avoid the following situations:

  • Situations of malnutrition or deficiencies in specific nutrients, such as vitamins or minerals.
  • Worsening the cardiovascular risk of patients.
  • Increasing the risk of eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa or bulimia.
  • Conveying misconceptions about obesity and its treatment.
  • The feeling of frustration, which can deeply affect the psychological state negatively.
  • Changes in the metabolism that produce a state of “resistance” to weight loss, which can be caused by carrying out successive diets.

What objectives could be achieved by following a personalised and well-controlled healthy diet plan?

  • Reduce body fat while preserving muscle mass.
  • The diet can be followed for an extended period of time.
  • Be effective in the long term and sustainable.
  • Prevent future weight gain.
  • Learn about healthy food and how to avoid inappropriate eating habits.
  • Reduce the risk factors associated with obesity (hypertension, hypercholesterolemia or hypertriglyceridemia, diabetes, etc.).
  • Increase quality of life.

What diets should be avoided? Any diet or method that has become fashionable, but which can be hazardous to your health. We must avoid diets that offer quick and easy fixes, “miracle diets”, those that promise great weight loss in a short time frame and diet approaches that have no scientific support.

Included in this list of diets to avoid over an extended period would be those that promote a high protein consumption and a low carbohydrate intake as they can lead to serious health problems.

We should also avoid diets based on a single food, like the artichoke diet or the pineapple diet, etc. These are totally unbalanced diets, deficient in nutrients and that in reality do not favour the loss of fat mass, rather the loss of water and muscle and which in fact can cause a rapid weight gain as soon as the diet is abandoned, the famous “yo-yo effect”.

In short, you must try to avoid any approach that does not promote a balanced, varied or sufficient diet and rather adopt a healthy, balanced and varied Mediterranean diet.

Some other recommendations when you start your healthy diet plan in order to lose weight permanently:

  • There is no doubt, the first thing to do is to go to a nutrition specialist.
  • Do not start with punishments.
  • Do not set unreachable goals, you must be realistic.
  • Take advantage of the strength you have now.
  • Think positively, this can be your year, have confidence in your ability.
  • Do not weight yourself everyday.
  • Control your shopping list very well, analyse if you buy any unnecessary products.
  • Try to organise your meals well this year. 5 meals a day: make breakfast the most important meal of the day, have lunch before 3 pm and have a light dinner at least 2 hours before going to sleep. In addition, a healthy mid-morning and late afternoon snack.
  • Gradually replace refined products with unrefined.
  • Use olive oil as the main source of fat, but in moderation.
  • Add more pulses to your diet and increase the consumption of fruits and vegetables.
  • Eat less meat.
  • Partially substitute salt for other spices.
  • Change side dishes such as French fries, pasta and rice for vegetables or salads.
  • Sleep at least 8 hours.
  • Try to consider some daily activity that involves exercise. It is imperative to incorporate an active routine; go for a run, a brisk walk, do more sports, use the weekends to go on bike or hike excursion.

nutritionsit at Los Monteros HotelAt the Hotel Los Monteros Spa & Golf Resort they will help you to kick start your weight loss program and initiate a healthy diet plan which works for you, and which you are actually able to maintain and sustain long term.

For our detox and weight loss program at Los Monteros, see this link.

This blog was written by Mª José Moreno Navarro.

Head of the nutrition and diet department at Hotel Los Monteros Spa & Golf Resort.
Degree in Pharmacy.
Degree in Food Science and Technology.
Specialist in Nutrition.
University of Granada.

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