The Best Life Diet


Bob Greene, an exercise physiologist, is best known as Oprah Winfrey’s trainer.  In 1996, Greene, in collaboration with Winfrey, wrote his first book, Make the Connection: Ten Steps To A Better Body — And A Better Life, which went to #1 on The New York Times Best Sellers list.  Since then, Greene has written several other books including Keep the Connection:  Choices for a Better Body and a Healthier Life:  Get With the Program and Get with the Program!  Guide to Good Eating.

Green created the Best Life Diet, as a way for people to learn how to gradually make small yet powerful lifestyle changes.  Today, the Best Life Diet encompasses a wide range of products including books, DVDs, and even a food product line. 


By committing to eating a sensible and nutritious diet and regularly exercising, you can become fit and lose weight.   


The path to lasting good health is one of the gradual changes.  Greene follows a three-phase approach that emphasizes learning how to eat healthier and exercise regularly.  

Program Overview

Shedding pounds and learning to keep them off takes time.  That is the basic message of Greene’s Best Life Diet plan.  Your lifestyle contributed to your weight gain and learning to change the bad habits that led you down that path of not making healthy choices will take time to change. There is no quick fix. However, you can change those bad habits for good ones by following Greene’s three-phase approach, which allows participants to start out slowly, and then gradually begin stepping it up to a more intense regimen for weight loss and physical fitness.

Phase 1 lasts no more than four weeks.  It is designed so participants learn to start taking “baby steps” in terms of changing their old habits.   Greene’s recommendations during this phase include stopping eating two hours before bedtime, eating three meals and one snack a day, eliminating alcohol (at least initially), staying hydrated, and taking a multivitamin.  Individuals that are inactive, are encouraged to start undertaking some type of physical activity.

Once the objectives of Phase 1 are consistently met, participants are encouraged to weigh in and then move on to Phase 2.  Phase 2, which should last a minimum of four weeks, builds on the new habits started in Phase 1, but also places a greater emphasis on learning how to control physical and emotional hunger.  Greene has participants identify and then remove six problem foods from their diet, start portion control, and perform weekly weigh-ins.  Physical activity levels should increase and become more consistent.

At four weeks, participants should check their weight.  If ready (i.e. lost the weight desired, or are within 20 pounds of reaching that goal), participants should move on to Phase 3.   If not, then they should stick with Phase 2, and continue weighing in each week to monitor progress. 

Once participants are ready to move on to Phase 3, the focus moves to maintenance.  During this phase, participants continue to focus on eliminating unhealthy foods from their diet and substituting bad foods with more wholesome choices.  As participants become more active, discretionary calories, are allowed, but in smaller portion-controlled servings.  Participants should continue to weigh in at least each month, but no more than once a week.

Greene provides a calorie range of between 1500 and 2500 calories a day, depending on gender and activity level, but counting calories is not the focus of this program.  Instead, participants are asked to control portion sizes.  

According to Greene, there are no forbidden foods, just better choices. With that said, participants are encouraged to eat fresh fruits and vegetables, breads and cereals, lean meats and protein, oils such as olive oil, and nonfat to low-fat dairy products.  Foods participants need to learn to gradually eliminate include fried foods, high-fat dairy, regular pasta, white bread, trans fats, and soft drinks.  

Plan Strengths

This is not a diet per se, but a plan for living a healthy lifestyle.  Greene strives to provide participants with a variety of tools, not just geared to making nutritious food choices, or increasing activity levels, but also for learning how to combat hunger and emotional eating. 

Its gradual approach can be easily tailored to a wide variety of lifestyles, activity levels and food preferences. Greene has even developed a Best Life program geared to people who suffer from diabetes. 

The plan, which is based on science, supports the U.S. Government Dietary Guidelines (2005).  Additionally, it has received high marks and recommendations from various individuals and groups within the health and wellness field.

Plan Weaknesses

This program may not appeal to those individuals looking for a quick fix, or who are obsessed with losing several pounds in an unrealistically short period.  Given the program’s gradual and moderate approach, weight loss will occur, but at a slower, more sensible pace.  

Cost may prove probative.  The book retails for around $20, and is reasonable in terms of cost.  However, the website, which Greene plugs frequently, is not free.  For the latest tools and information, participants are continually encouraged to join.  Membership starts at $9.95 a month with a 30-day free trial, or if you pay for a full year in advance, you can get the second year free. 

Greene has entered into several endorsement deals to promote Best Life products, including a line of foods.  If there are no bad food choices, then one would have to ask why the push to eat these “approved” foods.  Therefore, the commercialization of this side of the program may prove off-putting for some, but it should not cloud the underlying message of the program, which is sound.


Greene’s program focuses on long-term success, and on providing participants with the tools that can assist in changing unhealthy habits into healthy ones.  For those who are not a fan of dieting, but instead are looking to improve their life and gain control over their struggle with eating and weight, this program may be a good fit.

The information provided here is for educational or informational purposes only.  Dave DePew does not endorse any of the programs/services reviewed here.  

Additional Resources

Best Life Diet,

Best Life Diet:  The Phases, 

That’s Fit,

Best Life Diet, WebMD,