This plan outlines a gradual approach to weight loss divided into four phases. It is designed to develop healthy eating and exercise habits for sustainable weight loss and an overall “healthier, happier, and longer life.”

Basic principles:
Moderation (not deprivation) is the goal and exercise is key. Gradually develop healthy eating habits (i.e., reasonable portion sizes, not skipping meals, and eating four to five smaller meals spaced three to four hours apart daily) and incorporate a regular exercise routine (eventually building up to one-hour sessions at least five times per week at an intense level, along with supervised weight training) into your weekly schedule.

How it works:
The 90-day diet is broken down into four progressive phases, each with an exercise component and a list of allowed and forbidden foods:

  1. Detox (9 days): a vegetarian diet and 30 minutes of cardio five days a week.
  2. Foundation (3 weeks): Incorporation of more foods such as lean meats and cold cereals. Increase exercise by 10% to 15%.
  3. Construction (4 weeks): Slightly larger portion sizes of protein sources and addition of whole-wheat pasta and bread. One small, non-fruit dessert allowed per day. Increase exercise by 25%, and add light weights if desired.
  4. The Temple (lifetime): Previously restricted foods allowed in moderation and exercise increased to one hour of high intensity five times per week. If weight loss plateaus, simply return to the beginning phases and increase exercise.

What you eat:
Each day you will eat four to five meals with limited quantities of more calorie-dense foods introduced at each phase in accordance with increased activity levels. The first phase is essentially vegetarian with an emphasis on fresh fruits and vegetables, legumes, and low-fat dairy/soy products. As you progress to the second and third phases, seafood and other lean proteins, more whole-grains, fats, and sugars are introduced. In the final, weight-loss maintenance stage, most foods are allowed in moderation following the previously established portion control guidelines.

How much can you lose?
As much or as little as you like. The website claims the diet will work for those trying to lose anywhere from 10 to 200 pounds. The author claims, “On average, most people lose 6–8 pounds in the first phase, then it slows down to a few pounds a week in the other phases as you increase calories.”

Is it healthy?
For the most part. Fat Smash promotes gradual weight loss through smaller, more frequent meals of nutritious foods and regular physical activity. However, the diet “encourages unlimited consumption of fruits and vegetables, which could be detrimental to some people,” says Tara Gidus, a registered dietitian and spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association. "Check with your health-care provider if you have dietary restrictions or concerns."

Expert opinion:
Gidus says, “Many people will lose weight on this diet through cutting foods that are high in calories and increasing foods that are low in calories. Someone following this diet will very likely end up eating far more fruits, vegetables, and even whole grains than they did previously. However, the program in the initial phases is unnecessarily strict." Dieters may lose the weight exercising more and eating less, but the means to get there may be too restrictive for many people to stick with.

  • Try this diet if you:
  • Want to get more active
  • Want to improve eating habits
  • Want a sustainable weight-loss strategy

1-day sample menus:
No menus provided. You just choose from the appropriate “allowed” foods listed for each phase and consume up to the maximum recommended portion sizes according to your hunger level.