What is it?
The Best Life Diet is more than a diet; it's a comprehensive plan for changing the way you eat, exercise, and live to achieve better health. It's designed to get at the root cause of overeating and to tackle it. The Best Life was developed by Bob Greene, an exercise physiologist who achieved fame in 1996 when Oprah Winfrey promoted his book Make the Connection: Ten Steps to a Better Body...and a Better Life. Greene subsequently became Winfrey's personal trainer, helping her lose nearly 80 pounds.
Greene's program, outlined in a later book entitled The Best Life Diet, is designed as a counterbalance to the quick-fix mentality of most diet programs out there. Greene believes that dieting is both a physical and emotional process and must be undergone deliberately in order to be successful. Greene designed a three-phase program:
- Phase 1: Up to four weeks of slowly developing healthy habits. During this phase, Greene suggests cutting out alcohol, avoiding eating within two hours of bedtime, starting to take daily vitamins, and making sure you eat three meals and one snack daily.
- Phase 2: A minimum of four weeks where you start to rev up physical activity and begin to make more serious dietary changes, such as counting calories. Phase 2 emphasizes controlling physical and emotional hunger and also requires that you rid your diet of six problem foods (different for everyone). Dieters begin to weigh themselves weekly and start to restrict portions more severely.
- Phase 3: The maintenance phase that is meant to last the rest of your life. During this phase, you should establish healthy dietary and exercise habits that you can keep up forever.
The Best Life Diet promises that you'll lose weight and keep it off for good. If you're looking for raw numbers, you should expect to lose one to two pounds a week during phases 1 and 2. More importantly though, The Best Life Diet promises to help you discover why it is you were out of shape to begin with and use that as the jumping off point for physical and emotional changes that will last a lifetime.
Although the basics of the Best Life program can be found in Greene's book, you'll get the most out of the program by signing up on the Best Life website. Subscribers gain access to online interaction and coaching from Greene and his team and connect to other members of The Best Life Diet Community for support. The website offers customizable workout plans, goal-tracking software, and other support tools. Daily and weekly meal plans are provided as well as access to a healthy foods recipe database. Online guidance for cardiovascular fitness, flexibility, and strength training are also provided. The site's interactive workout plans and personalized meal plans promise to transform your physical body, provide greater health, and lead to a better life.
Pros & Cons
If you want to diet but are worried about suffering months of boring salads, have no fear; the Best Life program has very few severe dietary restrictions and offers a range of interesting recipes. It's a practical and realistic diet with relatively generous calorie counts that are still within the range established for successful weight loss. The program is individually tailored so that if you're performing an especially high amount of physical exercise, the Best Life site will adjust your allowed calories accordingly. The Best Life Diet is balanced nutritionally and takes a commendable multi-pronged approach to weight loss. Unlike many other dieting programs, the program purposefully takes things slowly to make sure you are adjusting physically and emotionally to the changes being made in your life.
On the other side of the coin, if you're looking for a quick fix, don't have the patience to commit to a long-term program, or are unable or unwilling to address the psychological aspects of weight maintenance, then The Best Life Diet program probably isn't right for you.
We admire The Best Life Diet for its attention to the complete weight-loss process, especially the psychological aspect — which in many cases is the most challenging and important component. In fact, Greene recommends that you don't even begin phase 1 of the program until you've addressed the reasons you want to lose weight, why you've been unable to maintain a healthy weight in the past, and what drives you to eat unnecessarily. That's commendable given that most branded diets take a "try first, ask questions later" approach. For people truly committed to making permanent changes in their dietary habits and physical health, it is essential to confront these issues. Otherwise, the diet usually ends up being a short-term fix.
The combination of graduated levels of fitness and meal plans at affordable prices makes The Best Life Diet a reasonable option for anyone who seeks to achieve their ideal body weight and greater health. Greene has a lot of corporate sponsorships, so his recipes and shopping lists generally recommend specific brand names, which is a little too commercial for our tastes. However, as long as you pay attention to the ingredients and nutritional content of the food you buy, there's no reason you should have to buy the brands Greene is promoting, especially if there are less expensive options.
Always check with your health care provider before embarking on any new course of physical activity and diet. The Best Life Diet and exercise plans are not extreme and include access to community online support, which make this diet a good choice for almost anyone.