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The Promise

Could the plan that worked for Oprah work for you? The Best Life Diet comes from exercise physiologist and certified personal trainer Bob Greene, who worked closely with Oprah Winfrey for years.

Even though "diet" is in the title, this isn't the sort of diet you hop on for a few days for quick weight loss. Instead, it's got staying power: It's a way of eating, and living, that helps you gradually change your eating habits so they stick with you for good.

You'll go through three phases:

  1. Baby Steps (at least 4 weeks): Prepare your body for weight loss by being more active, revving up your metabolism, getting rid of six "problem foods," and increasing the number of calories you burn.
  2. Get Moving (at least 4 weeks): Keep calories in check by increasing your activity at least one level, understanding emotional reasons for hunger, introducing "anything-goes calories," and portion control.
  3. Your Best Life (ongoing): Add even more activity; cut back on saturated fat, sodium, and added sugar; eliminate trans fats; and include wholesome foods.

What You Can Eat and What You Can't

You’ll eat three meals and at least one snack a day, take supplements, and drink lots of water.

Phase 1: Say yes to a fiber- and calcium-rich breakfast every day, healthy 100- to 200-calorie snacks, no eating for at least 2 hours before bedtime, and lots of water. Say no to six problem foods: alcohol, soda, trans fats, fried foods, white bread, and full-fat milk and yogurt.

Phase 2: This phase is all about controlling your portions. You’ll eat the same types of food as in Phase 1, but you’ll add "anything-goes calories," with the amount depending on your activity level. In short, you have to earn them by being active.

Phase 3: You still keep portions in check, and you shift toward nutritious foods (leaner proteins, fruit, whole grains, colorful vegetables). You'll also focus on the quality of your diet. Everything you eat should offer great taste, vitamins, minerals, and nutrients you need to be satisfied and stay healthy.

The Best Life Diet doesn’t allow alcohol in Phase 1 but allows it in moderation in Phases 2 and 3 as part of your "anything-goes calories."

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