Dr. Susan M. Kleiner, PHD, RD, FACN, CNS, FISSN • High Performance Nutrition

The Good Mood Diet: Frequently Asked Questions

Feeling better questions

How soon should I feel better?

You will feel better within days of starting this diet.

What does "better" look like? How will I know?

How do you feel right now? How is your energy? Your ability to deal with stress? Your mood? Start the Good Mood Diet and then ask yourself again - how do I feel? You will feel better - it may be your energy level, it may be your attitude or mood, it may be how you handle stress, or it may be all of the above.

What if I don't want to lose weight - can I still follow the diet to feel good without weight loss?

Of course! We can all use a lift in our mood and a fill-up for the energy tank. These feelings are more lasting than weight loss.

Can this diet still help me if I am not depressed or low energy?

Absolutely! I have found that even the most naturally exuberant of my clients claim that they feel better than ever within days of starting the Good Mood Diet. We can all use a lift in our mood and a fill-up for the energy tank. These feelings are more lasting than weight loss.

Losing weight questions

Why do most diets make people feel low energy or depressed?

Most diets are deprivation-based and cause chemical changes in the brain that lead the dieter to feel depressed. The typical plan is often too low in calories to fuel a day's worth of energy for an adult looking to lead a quality life. A common result is lethargy and moodiness in all the wrong ways. The dieter is impelled to eat high-fat, high-sugar foods to ward off the blues - which is a natural response to this type of "brain-starving" diet.

I've always been told you have to eat less to lose weight; how is it possible that I may eat more but still lose weight on this diet?

Many diet plans are so low in calories the body responds by holding on to every bite you eat, making it hard to lose weight and virtually impossible to meet your nutrient needs. The Good Mood Diet promotes eating enough food to sustain a day's worth of energy without excess and because the timing and composition of meals are optimal, you will feel satisfied in addition to losing weight. The diet is also planned with the assumption that you will be exercising. So you have enough calories to feel energized enough, even at the end of your day, to exercise. The combination is ideal for feeling great AND losing weight.

If I am not losing weight but following the 1600 calorie plan, which food group should I eat less of?


How much weight can I expect to lose and how fast?

It depends on the individual and many variables (how much they are exercising, how much muscle is building, how the diet was previous to starting the Good Mood Diet, etc.). In addition, weight loss is an outcome measure, not a goal. The goal is to feel better and make lifestyle changes - if you need to lose weight, you will, don't worry.

Choosing foods questions

Do I have to drink green tea or can I drink other teas?

You can still get some of the health benefits described in the book with black and oolong tea. Green tea is the most potent of these teas, resulting in the greatest benefit.

Can an omega-3 enriched egg be a substitute for a tablespoon of ground flaxseed?

The amount of omega-3 fatty acids in a fortified egg is much less than the amount in a tablespoon of ground flaxseed and is not an equal substitute for flaxseed. In addition, flaxseed is the most abundant source of plant lignans - an indigestible fiber that may help control weight, blood sugar levels, and blood cholesterol. Additionally, lignans may help maintain all-around gut health, reduce risk of prostate and breast cancer and help regulate estrogen levels in the body.

I can still eat chocolate and feel great?

Yes, a small portion of dark chocolate can be a Feel-Great Food. Chapter 3 of The Good Mood Diet further explains how and when this fits in the Good Mood plan.

Can I take a fish oil supplement instead of eating fish? If so, how much?

Yes, although I always prefer food over supplements. I even have brands that I recommend for supplementation. This is addressed in Chapter 4 of The Good Mood Diet.

How can Feel-Bad Foods also be Feel-Great Foods?

Some Feel-Bad Foods can also be Feel-Great Foods because the Good Mood Diet is not an all-or-nothing plan for eating. And with foods you love that are not on the Feel-Great Foods list, the idea is not to eliminate foods you love, but to appreciate them more. Read Chapter 2 of The Good Mood Diet for further detail.

On portion sizes, when you say "½ cup cooked cereal," do you mean ½ cup cereal dry or ½ cup portion once it's cooked?

If the description states "cooked," it means the amount of COOKED food, not the amount TO cook.

I don't want to change everything I eat; do I have to on this diet?

Of course not! The focus of the Good Mood Diet is to learn what and when to eat to feed your brain and body to function optimally. The plan teaches you ways to make the diet fit into your life, not the other way around.

If I feel hungry before bed, should I eat something or go to bed hungry?

Have you had your nightly Good Mood cocoa? If so, have you eaten enough today? Have you stayed up too late? My suggestion is: go to bed - unless you are so hungry that you will not be able to sleep without eating something. If you are following the meal plan, you should have plenty to eat to not feel hungry before bed.

Can you substitute milk or yogurt for a lean or very lean protein serving?

Yes. But I would not recommend more than 3 servings of milk a day.

Are honey, brown rice syrup, maple syrup, corn syrup, and high fructose corn syrup considered "added sugar?"

Yes. And so is "white grape juice concentrate and agave syrup."

What types of foods do I eat on this diet?

Some examples of the Feel-Great Foods include: turkey, blueberries, egg yolks, milk, air-popped popcorn, and oranges.

What can't I eat on this diet?

There are no foods you can't eat in the Good Mood Diet. There are foods that are considered Feel-Bad because they tend to make you feel lousy in the long run If Feel-Bad foods are minimized in the diet, you will still feel great. The plan is not about eliminating the foods you love, but about appreciating them more.

What if I can't afford to buy salmon 5 times a week?

No problem. I don't even recommend salmon 5 times a week. There are many other options suggested in the book, do not worry!

I have read that chewing gum stimulates digestion - causing people to feel hungry; should I avoid chewing sugarless gum?

No. If you are chewing it all day long to avoid snacking, you may want to address the cause underlying the need to have "something" all the time.

Modifying the plan questions

If I don't follow the diet perfectly, can I still feel great?

Absolutely - the eating plan of the Good Mood Diet is the kinder, gentler approach to taking care of you - no more self-abuse through deprivation.

Can this diet work for vegans or vegetarians?

Yes, although there is not a "specific" plan for vegetarians and vegans, plant proteins are promoted in the book and there are all kinds of vegetarian options as part of the diet plan.

I don't like the taste of milk; can this diet still work for me?

Yes! There are other options mentioned in the book.

Can you have more than 3 servings of milk a day?

You can, but I would not recommend it.

Exercising questions

If I could only make one change in my diet to start with, what would you suggest?

Are you exercising regularly? If not, start exercising! If you are exercising regularly, make sure and eat immediately following exercise for optimal muscle repair. If you are already eating immediately following exercise, eat breakfast everyday. If you are already doing all the above mentioned suggestions, see the book for further suggestions.

What if I exercise in the afternoon? Should I drink my smoothie in the afternoon and have a different snack in the morning or is the smoothie only beneficial in the morning?

The whey protein in the smoothie is most beneficial immediately following exercise.

Is it better to walk once a day for 30 minutes or twice a day for 15?

Either way works great!

If I am going to lift weights and do cardio - does it matter which one I do first?

It does not matter. But most people prefer to do their cardio first, so that they are warmed up for strength training.

Joining or starting a club questions

How do I start an online Good Mood Diet group?

Find anyone who you are close with, or you spend time with, or who also want to feel better. The concept of The Good Mood Diet Club is that you a create support group in your own life. You've got the book, now all you need is the downloadable discussion guide, and a way to chat or video online.

Can I do this diet plan on my own?

Yes. The Good Mood Diet Clubs are available to enhance your experience and offer support in a variety of ways.

Miscellaneous questions

How was the Good Mood Diet developed?

Through Dr. Kleiner's 25-plus years of experience in private practice. The first "Good Mood Dieter" was actually Dr. Kleiner's mom!

Is this diet appropriate for children and/or adolescents?