Diet Book Confidential…The Oprah Winfrey / Bob Greene Edition


What makes a personal trainer successful?



Having your clients

  • Transform their bodies
  • Maintain that transformation
  • Understand their own personal prescription for fitness
  • Refer you to all of their friends, eventually leading to
  • many best selling fitness books, an appearance on Oprah, etc…
How did America's Personal Trainer, Bob Greene "let this happen again?"
How did America's Personal Trainer, Bob Greene "let this happen again?"

So, is Bob Greene a successful personal trainer?


Is he simply another well meaning? diet guru / snake oil salesman?


Well, according to this email that I found in my inbox this morning, Oprah’s longtime trainer Bob Greene is about to reveal his foolproof, back-to-business plan….just in time for your New Year’s Resolution Diet Extravaganza!!!


And what is that foolproof, back-to-business plan, you might ask?

Bob Greene Pearl of Wisdom #1

In the 25-plus years that I’ve been helping people slim down, I’ve noticed a few common traps that cause people to fall off the wagon. (Incidentally, they’re similar to the reasons we fail to lose weight in the first place—and I’ll tell you about them in my “Back to Business” Plan.)……

Science, too, is starting to help us understand why certain people may be wired to relapse.

Recently, in fact, experts have started comparing the struggle to slim down with the difficulty of breaking an addictive habit. Research suggests that it often takes a number of attempts before people are able to kick cigarettes or give up alcohol for good; this might also be true for weight loss.

The National Weight Control Registry is conducting an ongoing study of more than 5,000 men and women who have succeeded in maintaining an average loss of 66 pounds for more than five years—and among them, 91 percent had tried and failed before. The average total number of pounds lost (and re-lost) by a participant through various diets is a whopping 565!

So here’s the good news: Instead of thinking, “I’ve failed over and over again, why bother trying again?” take your relapse in stride and stay positive no matter how many attempts it takes you. Each new effort brings you closer to the one that might really work. The key is to stick with it until you achieve your weight and health goals—that’s my definition of a true success story.

Health Habits Translation

  • Weight loss is not easy for a lot of people.
  • Food addiction exists – the hows and whys are under debate
  • The diet that works for me may not work as well for you
  • So, be prepared to try a few different diet plans and don’t get discouraged if you don’t get the results that you were hoping for.
  • Oh, and buy all 3 of my new books…available just in time for your 2009 New Year’s Resolutions


But what if your bank account is running a little low after your most recent Christmas present spending orgy?

Don’t worry.

Bob Greene and Oprah are going to tell you exactly what you need to know about whipping that doughy body of yours into shape starting January 5, 2009.

But, if you can’t wait until then, Bob has a preview for ya.

Bob Greene Pearl of Wisdom #2

If we follow the link over to Bob’s “Back to Business” Plan, we see three 12 week diet and exercise plans geared towards beginner, intermediate and advanced dieters.

Let’s look at the beginner plan.

Weeks 1 & 2:

Food Switch: Replace soda with water, unsweetened iced tea, or fat-free milk. Diet soda is okay, but limit the amount, as it may encourage cravings for sweet foods.

Cardio: Fifteen minutes of activity such as walking or riding a stationary bike five times a week. You should be working hard enough so that you can talk, but not for very long.

Strength: None. Starting a strength-training program can stimulate hunger. That’s why I recommend waiting until you get a few healthy diet changes under your belt.

Traps to Avoid: Don’t be tempted by a shortcut (a fat-burning pill, a fad diet). It may work for a while, but to lose weight permanently you need to move more, eat less, and figure out the emotional reasons you turn to food.

Health Habits Review – Weeks 1 & 2

Replacing soda with lower calorie beverages is a great way to eliminate empty calories from your diet. The loss of caffeine may be a problem for some Coca-Cola junkies.

Starting with some low intensity cardio exercise is a prudent start for a beginner. Diving right into a complicated program of diet, cardio and resistance training can sometimes overwhelm a newbie.

Overall, a safe and sensible start to a weight loss program.

Weeks 3 & 4:

Food Switch: Trade in your white bread for 100 percent whole grain, in addition, try incorporating whole grain pasta and brown rice into your diet.

Cardio: Add five more minutes to each workout session, for a total of 20 minutes, five days a week.

Strength: None at this time.

Traps to Avoid: Exercise is tough. You can shed pounds by just cutting calories, but among successful long-term weight losers, 90 percent exercise regularly. Physical activity also improves mood, sleep, even sex.

Health Habits Review – Weeks 3 & 4

Dumping the Wonder bread in favor of 100% whole grain increases your intake of fiber, slowing digestion, increasing fullness, decreasing hunger and reducing your chances of developing colon cancer. Another no-brainer. Way to go Bob.

Gradually increasing the volume of cardio training is smart. Nothing like a case of shin splints to derail a beginner’s cardio program. Take it slow and easy and let your body get used to these new demands.

I can’t believe that Bob is still avoiding resistance training.

A program designed around natural body movements – squatting, pushing, pulling, lunging, reaching, climbing, twisting, etc.. is vital to increasing the beginner’s quality of life.

Overall, I would still give Weeks 3 & 4 a passing grade.


Weeks 5 & 6:

Food Switch: Cut out trans fat (look for it on labels—or for “partially hydrogenated oil”). Find baked goods and spreads without it, or make your own, using healthy fats, such as olive and corn oil.

Cardio: Add five more minutes of cardio to each workout, for a total of 25 minutes, five days a week.

Strength: Start with eight moves that work the major muscle groups—triceps extensionbiceps curlsquat. Do one to two sets of eight to 10 reps for each, three times a week. Get all of Bob’s fitness moves!

Traps to Avoid: Have you thought about the emotional reasons behind why you overeat? You’ll keep relapsing if you don’t. Try keeping a journal to help get at the deeper issues you need to address.

Health Habits Review – Weeks 5 & 6

Cutting out trans fats – another no-brainer. No one needs to eat this junk.

A little more cardio…good

And finally some strength training…oh no…Bob, what are you doing?

You finally introduce strength training, and this is what you give to a beginner interested in burning off body-fat?

  • A bodybuilding style program designed for hypertrophy
  • Exercises that require a gym membership
  • Exercises that are the opposite of functional training
  • Exercises that are mislabelled…Oprah’s incline crunch looks suspiciously like an incline sit-up

Oh, Bob.

Overall, I have to give Weeks 5 & 6 a failing grade


Weeks 7 & 8:

Food Switch: Switch from fried foods to roasted, sautéed, or baked. Try roasted potatoes, baked (and lightly breaded) chicken, and vegetables sautéed in olive oil.

Cardio: Add five more minutes of cardio to each workout session, for a total of 30 minutes, five days a week.

Strength: Continue with your strength training routine.

Traps to Avoid: Your initual enthusiasm may be wearing thin—so sudden work demands or an injury can throw you off your program. Figure out now how you’ll respond to such setbacks.

Health Habits Review – Weeks 7 & 8

Eating less fried foods…good

A little more cardio…good

Same resistance training program…bad


Weeks 9 & 10:

Food Switch: Skim the fat from dairy: Go from whole or 2 percent milk and yogurt to 1 percent or fat-free versions. Also try calcium- and vitamin D-enriched soy milk with no more than 100 calories per cup.

Cardio: Add five more minutes of cardio to each workout, for a total of 35 minutes, five days a week.

Strength: Add another set of eight to 10 reps to each of the moves in your routine.

Traps to Avoid: You’re beginning to appreciate the work involved in weight control. Many people set out to lose 20 to 30 percent of their total weight, but 10 percent is more realistic You may want to revisit your initial goal.

Health Habits Review – Weeks 9 & 10

Reducing your saturated fat intake by switching to 1% or skim milk products….

At first glance, this seems like a good idea…less saturated fat equals less calories equals less junk in the trunk…right?

Maybe not. The fat soluble vitamins (A,D,E and K) found in milk require fat for digestion. And considering that most Americans are deficient in Vitamin D, switching to skim milk may not be the healthiest thing to do. Stick to 1% at least, or go and get your Vitamin D elsewhere.

Regarding the exercise program, Bob increases the cardio a little more and continues with the same sad old strength training program.


Weeks 11 & 12:

Food Switch: Consider cutting out alcohol as a way to eliminate calories. Instead of beer, wine, or a cocktail, order sparkling water with a splash of fruit juice (or another low-calorie drink) and see if it doesn’t make a big difference.

Cardio: Add five more minutes of cardio to each workout, for a total of 40 minutes, five days a week.

Strength: Continue with  your strength-training program.

Traps to Avoid: The pounds have come off—great. But now you find yourself skipping a workout and allowing a second helping here and there. Remember, weight loss is not a finish line but the beginning of a process in which you learn about yourself and improve your life. The longer you persist, the easier it gets.

Health Habits Review – Weeks 11 & 12

Less alcohol…some more low hanging fruit here.

Cutting back on booze is a quick way to reduce calories. For some of us, it also reduces our “fun factor”, but that is another story altogether.

And, Bob’s added another 5 minutes of cardio for the final 2 weeks of his Back to Business weight loss plan.


The Final Verdict

Don’t waste your time following this plan.

In fact, don’t waste your time, buying Bob Greene’s books.

Even better, don’t buy any diet books….


And don’t believe what Oprah and Bob are going to tell you next week.

It won’t work.


And this is coming from one of the few men willing to admit that he admires Oprah.

That’s right, I said it.

I admire Oprah.

She is one of the few television personalities that makes her audience think. You may / may not like what she and her guests are saying, but most of the time, her topics are thought provoking.

And that has to be a good thing.


But when it comes to sustained weight loss, she and Bob don’t know what the &$@#* they are doing.


oprah-cover-january-2009-how-did-i-let-this-happen-again2Think about it.

Without Oprah, Bob Greene is an anonymous personal trainer in Chicago.

With Oprah, Bob Greene is a multi-millionare personal trainer with a burgeoning health and fitness empire.

He should be highly motivated to keep Oprah as fit as a fiddle.

And yet…the weight came back.

And if Oprah can’t keep the weight off, who can?

Oprah has:

  • Access to the best trainers in the world (Bob Greene)
  • Access to the best nutritional gurus in the world
  • Access to America’s doctor, Dr. Oz
  • A fully equipped home gym(s)
  • A personal chef
  • Access to the best selling spiritual gurus
  • Access to the most popular personal coaches
  • Access to the psychiatrists who have devoted their practices to weight loss
  • Access to the President-Elect, and
  • More money than God

With all of this equipment and money and advice and healthy eatin’ and healthy livin’, how could she gain 40 lbs. in one year?


Because just about everything that the experts have been telling us about weight loss (since WW2) is wrong.

  • Counting calories doesn’t work
  • Cardio-vascular exercise doesn’t work
  • Eating more fiber doesn’t work
  • Eating off of smaller plates doesn’t work
  • Drinking a glass of water before eating doesn’t work
  • Fat burners don’t work
  • Cleansing your colon doesn’t work

So what does work?

Stay tuned.

Over the next month, I will be giving you everything you need to lose that weight for the last time.

Nothing to buy.

No email lists.

No signing up for anything.


best-life-diet-daily-journalI will also be uploading pdf versions of the diet and training journals that I use with my clients.

Feel free to modify and share them as you see fit

And save the $15 you would have spent on Bob’s Diet Journal.


If you like what you see here, click here for updates or Share this Post with the rest of the world.


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  1. I look forward to your updates, but I disagree with a few of your assessments.

    As you said, everyone is different, and different things work for different people. So, most of your list “doesn’t work” list doesn’t work for me…………….:)

  2. Wow I don’t know what to say about this! its a great article! I have written about my weight loss on my page if you would like to check it out when u get time.
    But losing weight is about a life style chance! and it takes much patience well if I remember I will log in and see your blog for the next couple of weeks about this weight loss plan.

    have a great new year!

  3. Will have to look out for that program – I think what makes a personal training successful depends on this lifestyle goals –

    If being famous makes you happy, then more power to you, but I’ve found that most of the “celebrity trainers” started out like most other, but just happened to be in a location that allowed them to meet celebrities – Of course they were also very good at getting clients results and marketing their services too –

  4. You said “good” a lot of times to Bob’s plan, so I’m interested to see how yours will differ. Please post soon!

  5. Looking forward to your updates. It is very interesting that Oprah just keeps yo-yoing all these years and have all these people that she propels to superstardom that never resolve her issues with food. Quite frankly, I wonder if the fact that she keeps talking about her weight is causing that roadblock to a permanent solution.

  6. Its just the same old routine. Boring really. I do agree with trying new diets as I had given up for a couple of years. Then I tried Paleo and boom it all came off with relative ease. Thanks for the post.

  7. I’m catching up on your blog and I’ll really look forward to reading your series. Your series on “why can’t I loose this fat” really began to change how I was looking at weight loss and fitness.

    When I began this fitness / weight loss kick a year ago I did a lot of what you have said is ineffective but many people do: serious calorie reductions, hours of cardio etc…

    Reading your blog and moderating an online weight loss group has really changed my approach. I’m beginning to learn resistance and body weight exercises and look for ‘better’ food not ‘less’ food (although less is also a consideration, but not as much as it was).

    Here’s the confession bit: I bought a ‘diet’ book.

    Perhaps I didn’t read this post soon enough.

    Nevertheless I’m somewhat optimistic about this one. I am wondering if you have heard of it. I’m not asking if ‘it will work for me’ because not knowing me, I’m sure that it would be a difficult estimation.

    In any case this book seems to be a similar message to what you are writing about, it’s called New Rules of Lifting for Women.

    Right now I’ve been flipping between the Why Can’t I Loose This Fat series that you wrote and doing HIIT exercises on the body weight exercises that I’ve become familiar with and can do, and using NROLFW to find modifiers for the exercises that were too challenging (i.e. can’t do a chin up to save my life).

    I’ll definitely be looking at your new series. In and around April I’ll be trying to put myself on some sort of 12-week plan to measure consistency and if I think that whatever exercise program I land on is working. If you review NROLFW before that I’ll pay close attention, if not and I follow it I’ll give you an update.

  8. I haven’t looked at that book, but I am a big fan of Alwyn Cosgrove.

    I thought that the first book in this series was a good intro to his training techniques, so I would assume that this book is pretty similar. If you like the concepts in the book, you might want to google him or drop by t-nation. He writes a lot of articles for them. The site is very “male” and pre-bodybuilding, but Alwyn’s articles are very good.

  9. Check out my commentary on this subject matter (reprinted from
    by blog)…

    We must all be accountable for our successes and failures in life. It is no different when it comes to dieting. There are few better feelings in the world than for someone to notice and compliment your efforts. If you are very obese unfortunately, it may take a little more time for people to actually notice the weight you’ve lost. Too many men and women give up simply because no one noticed and that is an incredible shame. Give your dieting practices an opportunity to work before you decide they are a failure and you just might surprise yourself with a roaring success.

    As you can see, our opinions aren’t exactly the same but for the
    most part they serve the same purpose.

    Here’s the full post…

    I wish you success with your blog,

Comments are closed.