The Best Life Diet

Overview

The Best Life Diet offers a sensible approach to healthful eating and dieting. The author, Bob Greene, an exercise physiologist with years of experience helping people lose weight, views his diet as a lifetime plan, not a temporary diet. He is focused on helping you get to the root cause of your weight struggles and then working to resolve these issues. On this plan you should lose about 1-2 pounds per week, the amount recommended by nutrition experts.

How Is This Diet Supposed to Work?

This diet works by changing what you eat so that you are ultimately eating fewer calories. In addition, it also addresses other areas that affect your weight, such as your activity level, being in tune with your hunger, and emotional eating. Greene focuses on emotional eating. He believes that dealing with the emotional reasons behind your weight is essential to successfully losing weight and keeping it off.

What’s Involved?

This diet involves three phases. But before you can start changing the way you eat, Greene aims to prepare you for the challenges ahead and to help you understand why you are overweight. He stresses that to be ready to start this diet you need to determine “what in your life is stirring up your emotions and ultimately causing you to turn to food for comfort and distraction.”

Phase One

The first phase of this diet lasts for at least four weeks. The main focus is getting more physical activity and changing your meal patterns—not what or how much you eat. Although, Greene does encourage healthful breakfasts and snacks. During this time you are asked to:
  • Increase your activity level
  • Stop eating two hours before going to bed
  • Eat three meals plus snacks every day
  • Drink a lot of fluids
  • Avoid alcohol
  • Start taking vitamin supplements
  • If you smoke, quit .
While you may not see much weight loss during this time, Greene believes that making these changes will help you establish healthful habits that are the keys to lasting weight loss.

Phase Two

During the second phase you should expect consistent, gradual weight loss. In addition to maintaining the changes you made in phase one, the objectives of this phase are:
  • Understanding the reasons for your hunger
  • Using a hunger scale
  • Eating reasonable portions
  • Removing six "empty" or problem foods from your diet
The hunger scale is a ten-point scale based on the stages of fullness that will help you learn when to eat and when to stop eating. The unhealthy foods that you will remove during this phase are: soda, foods with trans fats, fried foods, white bread, regular pasta, and high-fat dairy products. You will stay on this phase until you are either at your goal weight or within 20 pounds of it (and for at least four weeks).

Phase Three

This is the phase you will stay on for life. The focus of this lifetime phase is improving the quality of your diet and weight maintenance. In addition to the changes you made in phases one and two, during this phase you will:
  • Introduce “anything goes calories”—These are extra calories that you can “spend” any way you like. How many extra calories you get depends on how active you are.
  • Balance your diet using the Best Life Diet guidelines
  • Remove more unhealthy foods from your diet
  • Add more wholesome foods to your diet

Meal Plans

Greene’s book also includes meal plans and recipes to give you ideas on what to eat and if you prefer a more structured eating plan. The meal plans are available for calorie levels from 1,500-2,500. They all provide at least 25 grams of fiber.

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