The Best Life Diet

Bob Greene is a physiologist who has become well renowned for his diet books and was catapulted into the public eye in 1996 when praised on the Oprah show. Oprah has been on record as saying that the Best Life Diet changed her life and was responsible for her own success in weight loss.

Sensible, traditional approach - calories in and out

The diet is similar to other diets where the approach focuses on a gradual, gentle and healthy lifestyle change. It involves, obviously, a lean towards healthier food and highlights the requirement for frequent physical activity. Going by this the diet has followed the conservative values for healthy weight loss rather then taking the road of fads that come and go. This is essentially about calories in and calories out so if you are involved in plenty of physical activity (which burns calories), then you can eat more (calories in).

The problem with this is that the reason why many people turn to fad diets is because they generally make unrealistic promises of rapid weight loss, with no regard for a healthy basis that can be carried on and maintained well into the future. The healthier approach on the other hand does require some work and patience on the dieter's part and this is something many people find difficult to face.

Greene recognises that people are different in terms of preferences, genetics and lifestyles and attempts to personalize programs accordingly.

Phases

The phase/stages aspect of this diet (along with others such as Medifast) is how it introduces the dieter to a healthier lifestyle in a less abrasive, slower manner. When I say slower, I mean compared to diets where the weight loss aimed for is not considered healthy and/or maintainable.

Phase 1 (maximum 4 weeks)

Other diets, even those with phases, still involve a relatively abrasive beginning with major food restrictions. The best life diet has a relatively gentle first phase.

It involves increasing activity after first establishing your current activity level (this allows you to eat more food during this phase).

Here is what it asks of its dieters.

Guidelines:

  • 3 meals and 1 snack daily
  • eliminate alcohol (you can add it back in later)
  • drink a glass of water with every meal and drinking plenty of water in general
  • Take a multivitamin, an omega-3 supplement and a calcium supplement if you're not getting enough from your diet
  • Stop eating at least 2 hours before you go to bed

Phase 2 (minimum 4 weeks)

In this phase, major changes to your diet may occur, depending on how bad your diet was to begin with. After phase 1 you have already made changes that will put you in a good position to handle this transition.

It is time to replace bad foods with good foods and there are some basic guidelines you are asked to follow.

Foods to cut out

  • Soft drinks: A big culprit for empty calories. Alternatively drink water, skim milk, soda water, tea. One diet soda a day if you must to begin with.
  • Trans Fats: Margarine is a common offender but Trans fats sneaks its way into most processed foods around us.
  • Fried Foods: Are high in calories. Take away and restaurants often reuse oil. Go for baked or grilled options.
  • White bread: go for whole grains instead. It is good for you and is high in fiber keeping you regular. You should check the ingredients list on bread to see if whole grains are first in the ingredients list.
  • Regular pasta: same with white bread try and find whole grain instead.
  • High fat dairy products: this includes all the common dairy products milk, yoghurt, ice-cream etc Have low fat options instead. The difference is significant!

This phase also encourages increasing physical activity though it’s not absolutely necessary. Exercise is an excellent way to keep your mind off food and pumps endorphins into the body that can satisfy cravings for comfort food.

Phase 3

This final phase is about living the healthier, more active, sensible eating lifestyle that the first two phases have primed you for.

You are now allowed to re-introduce the foods that were restricted in Phase 2 towards "anything goes" calories. This allows you to indulge yourself in foods you love in limited portions that are dependent upon your activity level. There is a guide to the number of "anything goes" calories you can have that are proportional to your activity level. Overtime, this will teach you to adjust your diet and activity levels naturally.

General guidelines for a healthy diet:

  • Eat more vegetables then anything else (they strongly endorse beans a couple times a week)
  • A couple of fruit servings a day
  • 75% of grains in your diet as whole grains

The Best Life Diet Daily Journal

With the success of "The Best Life Diet" book comes "The Best Life Diet Daily Journal", also by Bob Greene. This book is to be used as a companion with The Best Life Diet. This book gives you the tools you need to keep you motivated, for example, the book allows you to write down any notes or for you to put jot down your goals.