Lindora Lean For Life Diet Review


Lindora Lean For Life Diet Review

Rating: 6/10 It’s your average low-carb, low-fat, processed food diet plan with some drug options and nurse counseling.
You can do better.

Lindora Lean For Life Diet Review

Lindora is a chain of physician-supervised weight loss clinics in southern California based on low-carb dieting. Lindora also offers telephone counseling and an online program. The book which summarizes their program is called Lean For Life. In order to research Lindora, I signed up for their 10-Week Online Basic Program for $99 so I could become a Lindora insider.

Program Summary
The Lindora Program named Lean For Life is a 45-day “moderate protein, low-carb, low-fat” diet plan divided into different phases:

Phase One: Weight Loss

1) The Prep (1-3 days): The purpose of the prep is to prepare your mind and body to accomplish your goal. During this time, you will eat three meals a day and protein snacks between meals. You will also take your body measurements and create an image of how you want to look when you lose the weight.

2) Weight Loss (up to 28 days): During this phase you will alternate between the Protein Day (first three days and then one day a week afterward) and the Weight Loss Menu Days (six days a week). The Protein Menu is where you essentially eating nothing but protein six times a day. The Weight Loss Menu consists of: 1 protein, 1 fruit, 1 vegetable, lettuce plus 3 protein snacks.

The online program includes ketostix so that you can test for ketones in your urine to make sure that you are in ketosis. Ketosis occurs when your carbohydrate intake is so low that your body uses up its fat stores for energy (which also releases ketones into the urine).
You will keep repeating this phase until you’ve reached your goal weight.

3) Metabolic Adjustment (14 days): Once you’ve lost all the weight you want, you can gradually increase your serving sizes and add grains back into your diet, but you must still alternate this with Protein Days.  

Phase 2: Lifetime Maintenance: During months 3-6, you’ll learn to add a variety of foods to your diet and figure out how many calories, carbs, fat and protein to eat to stay within your goal weight.

Other components of the plan include an exercise plan of walking 10,000 steps a day and many lessons on the mental aspect of weight loss, such as self-sabotage, cravings, denial, problem solving, stress and motivation.

Lindora Options: The "Lean for Life" program is essentially the same whether you're going to the clinic or using the online or phone versions
1. Lindora Clinics: No rates are given over the phone but there is a free consultation. (some internet sites quote a rate of $149 every 45 days.) Includes lab testing, medical supervision and individual nurse counseling two to five times a week.

2. Lindora Online: $79-250 depending on the program

3. Lindora by Phone: $45/3 sessions with nurse educator

4. Weight Loss Starter Kit: $40

5. Lean For Life book $18

6. Nutrition products, food, supplements, ketostix

Online Program Features
1. All online programs include:

  • The 288-page Lean for Life® Phase One: Weight Loss workbook
  • One box of protein bars
  • One bottle of fat burning indicator ketone strips

2. Interactive food diary and daily guidance
2. Daily e-mails and weekly online chats with experts
3. Ten instructional videos
4. Extensive Q & A section
5. Coaching, Monthly Webinars, Online Forums

The online program offers the following new menu of items each day you are on the program (see yellow My Program tab in the screenshot above):

  • A daily message
  • An inspirational audio from Cynthia Graff (CEO of Lindora and daughter of the physician who started Lindora)
  • Today’s chapter of the Lean For Life Book
  • Daily quiz on the book chapter
  • Daily action plan to record what you ate and the nutritional content
  • My Progress-so you can keep track of your weight, ketostick readings, pedometer, water, exercise and stress levels.
  • Journal for you to track your success on the program


  • Lindora Online offers plenty of resources to do each day to keep you on track.

I liked the online functionality of the program and the fact that you can take quizzes, and keep track of your menu and progress. There's also a support system in place with webinars, forums and coaching options to encourage and motivate you.

  • Low carb diets can help carbohydrate addiction and insulin resistance

These are two very common problems in our modern society. We eat too many carbs which is causing 1 out of every 3 people to be either diabetic or pre-diabetic and 6/10 people to be overweight. The vast majority of people need to decrease their carbs and the Lindora program allows you to alternative protein days with moderate carb days so you don’t feel too restricted.

  • Helpful, friendly staff 

Every day on the program you get a friendly e-mail pep talk from the director of their online program Shelly Lummus:

To be honest, I stopped reading these e-mails past day two but it was nice to know Shelly cared enough to keep writing. But what is great is that I had some questions and I replied to the e-mail and Shelly wrote back! She said I could ask her any questions I wanted. When my membership ran out before I could write this review I asked her if I could have one more day to review the site and she went ahead and renewed my membership for me for free. Even though I only looked at it one day more, I appreciated her generosity.  

  • Nurse coaching is a bargain.

Three sessions with a nurse educator are only $45? That’s $15/session. Lindora is not making much of a profit with these sessions but perhaps they make it up in product sales as seems to be the case with most weight loss programs. At least these nurses have some medical training unlike the “counselors” (really just sales people) at Jenny Craig and LA Fitness. 

  • It does help some people lose weight.

There are a few testimonials for the Lean For Life book on, numerous testimonials in the book, and judging by the popularity of the Lindora Clinics, I’m sure it has helped many people.

  • Addresses the mental aspect of weight loss

Lean For Life’s chapters are mostly on affirmations, visualization, buddy systems, success strategies and other areas to reinforce the mind.


  • Long-term success with the Lindora program is questionable.

I’ve reviewed the studies on low-carb diets and although they cause more weight loss than low-fat diets, they fail in the long-run because most people quit.  T he reviews of the Lean For Life book on state that the Lean For Life Program does work, but you must do it for life and cannot stray; unfortunately most people do fall off the wagon.
Lindora conducted a 2004 research study on 6,500 Lindora patients at their clinic. Over 65% dropped out of the study in the first month. (Not a good sign). Here are the results of the remaining 2,278 patients at the end of 12 months:

BMI of 27 or less: lost 6 percent of their total body weight.
BMI between 27-40: lost 13 percent of their total body weight.
BMI greater than 40: lost 17 percent of their total body weight.

The average starting weight was 191 and the average ending weight was 174 (17 pounds). Now 17 pounds over 12 months is only 1.41 pounds per month. That’s a great deal of time invested (some people went to the clinic 5 days a week!) for less than 2 pounds a month.

It was interesting to note that the peak of weight loss occurred during month 7 for all the BMI groups and afterward there was trend toward weight gain. I’d like to research on these people five years after the Lindora program. If all the groups began to gain weight during month 8, while on an intensive program, I am doubtful that they would be able to continue their weight loss progress five years out. 

2) Drugs, artificial sweeteners, processed food—oh my!
The Lindora clinics use stimulant drugs (e.g. phentermine, sibutramine, tenuate) to speed up the metabolism and suppress appetite (I do not know what percent of the patients receive these). I am opposed to using pharmaceutical drugs for weight loss because they place undue stress on your nervous system and adrenal function, they cause many negative side effects, and they do not show a long term benefit.  

Another problem with the Lindora program is that according to the previously mentioned 2004 study, Lindora patients are put on a 900-1200 calorie diet. The World Health Organization states that any caloric intake below 2,200 calories is defined as starvation. Starvation slows your metabolism to a crawl and you wind up using your own muscle tissue for energy. Not good.

I’m a bit biased when it comes to artificial sweeteners. I spent two years researching the subject for a book I co-wrote called Sweet Deception but hey, what do I know?  What the Lindora people are not aware of is that artificial sweeteners can cause you to gain weight.

They can also lead to neurological diseases, rashes, diarrhea, Parkinson’s, joint and muscle pain, headaches and many more side effects. If you consume these toxic chemicals, you are playing Russian Roulette with your health. But don’t take my word for it; read the research yourself in my book. And if you ever drink another diet soda after reading it, you can return the book for a full refund. (I’m warning you, though; we haven’t had a single return yet.)

Lindora has a complete line of processed food items: puddings, shakes, soups, protein bars. You can even get scrambled eggs, spaghetti, oatmeal and chili in a box (even though these items are so easy to make from scratch!) The website for some reason does not list the ingredients, but if they put artificial sweeteners in their food, I would not trust eating any products from Lindora as they obviously do not support the concept of only eating natural, whole, real food.

3) Exercise advice is way behind the times
Lindora recommends walking 10,000 steps a day. This is so last century. If you don’t change your routine every month your body will adapt and you will plateau. This is especially true for cardio exercise. Read this review posted on

Good program, but with a caution, May 5, 2002

Anonymous (Glendora, CA United States) - See all my reviews

Also, the book doesn't say anything about the importance of STRENGTH TRAINING as part of the exercise routine. The book only talks about walking and counting steps. This is a MAJOR failing, in my opinion. Yeah, I lost weight on LFL, but I also lost a lot of muscle.

This reviewer is correct. Strength training is one of the keys to weight loss and you can walk 100,000,000 steps and not get the benefits you would get in 30 minutes of a well- designed strength training workout.

4) This program is very average
 Ok, so they borrowed the Atkins diet, except they made it low-fat also. Dr. Atkins specifically stated that doing low-carb and low-fat is dangerous and too restrictive in calories. I agree with this statement. Low-carb + low-fat = lots of hunger, low blood sugar and food cravings.
The book and website are written in a friendly, informal tone but are a bit corny (e.g. “Mr. Mito the cartoon character in the book and Cynthia’s daily audio messages”.)
Unfortunately the company offers no refunds or free trials. I had to pay $99 just to see what it was like. But at least I now have a new pen pal (Shelly) whose daily e-mails I will read over the next time I struggle with insomnia.

But I can’t say there was anything earth- shattering about this program. There was nothing that really rocked my world, except that if a program this mediocre can become a million dollar franchise, then I have to start planning a franchise of the Enlita Program!

5) Lindora addresses just one small piece of the puzzle
This program advocates a low-carb, low-fat diet and walking but it isn’t very comprehensive or holistic. Here is a table of factors that should be addressed in a comprehensive weight loss program like the classes offered at

Poor nutrition

Wrong diet for metabolic type


Food allergies


Emotional issues

Insulin sensitivity

Vitamin deficiencies






Social pressure

Room Temperature



Metabolic imbalance



Inappropriate exercise

Thyroid deficiency

Unhealthy relationship with food

Artificial foods


Disease or disability

Lack of life purpose/goals

No spiritual foundation

Sabotage from others

Fat mindset

Amazon Reviews of Lean For Life Book
Good program, but with a caution, May 5, 2002

Anonymous (Glendora, CA United States) - See all my reviews

I generally concur with the other reviews of this book, but I would add two caveats.
Basically, LFL is a low carb (between 50 to 100 grams a day), low fat, high protein (70 to 100 grams a day) diet. If you follow the program TO THE LETTER, you WILL lose weight. I lost 60 pounds in 5 months doing LFL. It was fabulous! However, I also WRECKED my metabolism.
The book does not warn you that if you do this program for a sustained amount of time that the low carb intake will eventually SLOW DOWN your metabolism to a crawl -- even with rigorous regular exercise. In fact, my metabolism got so slow that my body began to simulate a thyroid problem (e.g. my hair started falling out). After stopping LFL, it took my body about 3 months to recover and my metabolism to normalize again.
So, if you want to lose weight and make healthy life changes, LFL is a great way to do it. You WILL be successful. BUT, be careful not to do it for too long...the consequences could be devastating...and add in some strength training along the way.

About the Author:
Dr. Kendra Pearsall, N.M.D. is a Naturopathic Medical Doctor specializing in natural weight loss and food addiction. She created to help millions of people achieve optimal health, natural weight loss and life success with her free weekly e-newsletter (sign up at the top of this page.)