Guest blogger Dana says the plan definitely has its pros and cons.
When I decided once and for all that I needed to lose a few pounds (after all, my 20-year high school reunion is coming up this summer), I took a cue from Oprah and followed The Best Life Diet. After all, Oprah is a kazillionaire, so I figured she could afford to get the best trainer in the country. Her main man, Bob Greene, developed this diet, and it had helped Oprah get all svelte and slender. Hey, if it's good enough for Oprah, it's good enough for me! I'm in.
In the first phase (which lasts for weeks), you make gradual changes. You have to eat three meals plus one snack a day. Greene stresses the importance of breakfast, which I never really ate before. So I start eating egg whites before I take the kids to school. You also have to increase your activity level, so I instituted family walks after dinner. My kids, ages 5 and 3, loved that. The biggest drag of all is that I had to eliminate alcohol from my diet. (No! Say it isn't so!) But I was assured that it wasn't gone for good. Phew.
Pounds lost: 5
The weight loss in this phase is gradual. Too gradual for my liking, actually. I am used to losing big numbers from diets like South Beach and Atkins, but those pounds never stay off for long. I'm hoping that slow and steady wins the race!
The diet gets way harder in this phase. Basically, think of everything you normally eat, then just assume you can't have that! You have to eliminate six things from your diet for four weeks: soft drinks, foods containing trans fat, fried foods, white bread, regular pasta, and high-fat dairy products. Plus, you have to exercise more. This was challenging for me. I'm a mom who makes my kids chicken nuggets and mac-and-cheese, and often have a bite (or six) before they're served. No more of that. The first week of phase two was toughest, but the road was a little smoother thanks to the fact I could have wine again (in moderation).
One complaint I have about The Best Life Diet is all the foods at the store that say "Best Life-approved." I don't know why, but this just annoyed me. With all the product placement and brand endorsement, it seemed like all they wanted to do was get my money. But then I thought about how many South Beach-approved foods I'd bought in the past, and I quit my complaining. I guess it's just the nature of the beast. My favorite "Best Life Diet-approved" food was Skinny Cow ice cream sandwiches. Delicious. In fact, I don't think I would have stayed on the diet if it weren't for these. Yum.
Pounds lost: 13
I was happy about losing another 13 pounds in four weeks. This kept me motivated when all I really wanted to do was curl up on my couch with a pint of Ben & Jerry's. Maybe I'd look halfway decent at my high school reunion after all ...
I've only been in the last phase for two weeks, but this phase lasts "a lifetime." I hate the fact that I will have to be on a diet for life, but what's the alternative? Being 20 pounds overweight for life? I don't want that either. Basically, in phase three, you go back to eating what you did in phase one, but you're allowed to incorporate a few "forbidden" foods in your diet every once in a while--like dark chocolate and high-fat cheese.
Pounds lost (so far): 3
All in all, I am very happy with the fact I have lost 21 pounds in 10 weeks. I'm five pounds lighter than before I even got pregnant. I feel lighter, healthier, and stronger. And I will be so much more confident walking into my high school reunion in July, feeling fierce. Thanks for the tip, Oprah!