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Smart for Life: What You Need to Know

        Health | Diets

Getting Started

The Smart for Life evaluation includes a complete physical exam -- blood work, electrocardiogram, BMI (Body Mass Index) reading and client history review -- plus a goal-setting and diet program discussion, educational audio and video, diet program handbook review, vitamins and supplements. From that exam, program doctors then draw up a dietary blueprint for participants, using their branded products as the basic component.

However, participants also receive ongoing clinical and phone support from Smart for Life staff -- which may include physicians or certified nutritional specialists -- and information to help them understand the changes that the program takes them through.

Participants who successfully complete the diet portion advance to a "maintenance phase." Designed to keep the weight off, this secondary phase allows participants to adjust their diet, while continuing to provide phone and personal support at the program's clinics. For example, some Smart for Life adherents adopt a strict program diet during the work week and then allow themselves more leeway on the weekends.

One benefit is that you're not undertaking the plan alone, which is a major stumbling block for many dieters. The program also offers medical supervision -- especially important for Smart for Life dieters, because at 800 calories, the plan falls below generally accepted guidelines for a healthy diet.

The program also includes education to help participants understand the emotional and mental issues behind cravings, binges and weight issues, and offers motivational instruction to keep them on track.

Since the Smart for Life program provides the cookies (and shakes, muffins, and soups) for six of the seven daily meals, it removes much of the guesswork. Your only decision is which flavor of cookie you're going to have. For many overweight people who've tried and failed at weight loss, that kind of straightforward approach can be a blessing.

The products are completely natural and primarily organic (the cookies, for example, are 60 percent organic), which helps maintain healthy blood sugar levels. You won't find any preservatives or stimulants.

At only 1,100 daily calories or less, the plan promises quick results and often a 15-pound weight loss in the first 30 days. That can provide just the kind of motivation that many dieters need to stick with it. The program also offers detailed support material to educate dieters on healthy eating habits and help them to maintain weight loss

There are, however, some concerns.