What began as a stand-alone weight loss clinic in Southern California in 1971 has grown into a brand for, as Lindora calls it, "comprehensive weight control." After losing his mother to complications from obesity, Dr. Marshall Stamper founded Lindora to offer medically supervised weight reduction and control to men, women and children. There are now multiple on-site clinics in California, and the Lindora diet is also available through an interactive online program as well as books, all-in-one kits and high protein food products including shakes, soups, puddings, bars and snacks.
The Lindora "Lean for Life" diet is a 10 week program which promises you can lose up to 10% of your body weight. The in-clinic programs are medically supervised affairs which begin with a medical evaluation and tests. Obviously, counseling, supervision and the guidance and tools necessary to successfully complete the program and stay "lean for life" are part of the in-clinic experience. Lesser expensive, do-it-yourself options are the online program for $99, or the "Weight Loss Starter Kit", available in drugstores and on Lindora's website for $40. The online program - which they call the "virtual clinic" - features the expert and community support, tools and information common to other online weight loss plans. The Weight Loss Starter kit includes the Lean for Life Phase One: Weight Loss book, a tape measure, a bottle of fat burning supplements, a Six Essentials for Lifetime Weight Control CD and a Cooking Lean for Life DVD.
The Lindora diet is a three phase, high protein/low carbohydrate regimen they call "Smart Carb." It's different from widely recognized low carb plans like South Beach and Atkins in that the carb allowance is more generous from the get-go, and increases as you continue on the plan. The first phase is the Prep, where the goal is rapid weight loss. This is where you essentially starve, but it's only for a few days. The second phase is the "weight loss" phase, which is more reasonable, and where you should be learning about incorporating healthy food choices into your life for good. Note that you are required to subject yourself to one prep day per week in the weight loss phase. The third phase is called metabolic adjustment, and it lasts for two weeks. The goal here is the addition of foods back into the diet for the long term.
Experts dispute the value of low carbohydrate diets for weight loss - a primary reason being that scientific evidence has shown again and again that weight loss is strictly a numbers game: calories in versus calories out. And whether those calories come from carbs or protein is totally irrelevant to the body. You will only lose weight if you burn more calories than you take in. Which brings us to our primary complaint with Lindora - it places relatively light emphasis on exercise while imposing a highly restrictive dietary regimen. This is concerning for the long term - how long can you live under severe dietary restriction without going nuts? How long can you be hungry? There must be balance, and allowances in your diet. And you can always compensate for or overcome those - staying at a caloric cap or deficit to maintain or keep losing weight - if you exercise. While Lindora's mission is a good one, it is ultimately a pricey deprivation plan that may not leave you prepared for life outside of its highly regulated phases.