The Best Life Diet, Revised and Updated
By Bob Greene Simon & Schuster Paperbacks (2009) Reviewed by: Marisa Moore, RD, LD
"Watch the weight disappear as you learn to prepare festive and flavorful dishes. Bob's plan doesn't end once you've lost the weight. Instead, it gives you the tools you need to make living your best life second nature. The Best Life Diet is not something you go 'on' or 'off' but a set of guidelines that will help you claim the life you deserve."
Synopsis of the Diet Plan:
The book provides three different versions -- Oprah's 7 Day Menu, a Basic Meal Plan and a Speedy Meal Plan -- each with seven to 14 days of menus. All plans include meal adjustments to allow for 1,500 - 2,500 calories per day based on one's level of activity. The author provides detailed fitness guidelines to help readers understand where they are and how to increase their activity level.
The diet plan has three phases:
Phase 1 (four weeks or more): The author discourages readers from the quick-fix approach to weight loss and instead focuses on adopting healthier habits overall. Specific instructions are to be more physically active, stop eating at least two hours before bedtime, eat regular meals and snacks and eliminate six "problem foods" from the diet. Problem foods include alcohol, soda pop, trans fats, fried foods, white bread, high-fat milk and yogurt.
So the reader is not left to drown in a sea of questions about what to do next, the author offers alternatives to these "problem foods" in the "what to have instead" sections of the book.
Phase 2 (four weeks or more): In this phase, readers do weekly weigh-ins and focus on significant and consistent weight loss. Tools like the hunger scale help readers understand the difference between physical and emotional hunger, practice portion control and manage intake of sweets. The author also reiterates well-known tips to help recognize and eliminate emotional eating such as not eating while watching TV. He also introduces "Anything Goes Calories," which are discretionary calories earned primarily through physical activity.
Phase 3: Greene terms this the "rest of your life diet." Here, readers weigh in one to four times a month and focus on improving the quality of their diet for lifelong health and weight maintenance. It builds upon successes realized in the previous phases and adds an ongoing focus on reducing saturated fat, trans fat, added sugar and sodium in the diet.
Nutritional Pros and Cons:
This book provides a sensible, multi-pronged approach to weight management that can help anyone adopt a healthier diet and lose weight. The author sticks with widely accepted and researched strategies for weight management. The tone of the book is relaxed, encouraging the reader to move forward only when he or she has mastered each phase. In fact, the author never insists on following the meal plans. Without this, some readers may find it difficult to achieve consistent and significant weight loss. Also, there's quite a bit of brand name-dropping throughout the book; the author suggests "Best Life" branded foods in many of the recipes. Readers should be aware they can get the same nutrition benefits from non-branded ingredients.
The Best Life Diet offers sound advice for those looking to lose weight or simply adopt a healthier lifestyle. It is not designed for quick weight loss, so the reader must be patient and willing to work. I would recommend this book because it takes a realistic, non-judgmental approach to weight loss while educating the reader on the basics of healthy eating.