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Frequently Asked Questions

Getting Started
Phase 1: Lose It!
Phase 2: Live It!
Weight-Loss Tools

Getting Started

How do I know if the Mayo Clinic Diet is right for me?

The Mayo Clinic Diet is not a one-size-fits-all approach to weight loss. It is not a fad. This program helps people from all walks of life make simple, healthy, pleasurable changes that  can help them achieve a weight they can maintain for the rest of their lives.

There are so many diets out there. Why should I trust this one?

For more than 100 years, Mayo Clinic has helped millions of people improve their health and well-being. The diet is based on clinically tested techniques that put you in charge of reshaping your lifestyle. The experts who created the Mayo Clinic Diet include specialists in preventive health, nutrition, weight management, health psychology and more.

What is the difference between the Lose It! and the Live It! phases?

Lose It! is a quick start to the Mayo Clinic Diet that’s designed to help you lose up to 6 to 10 pounds in two weeks in a safe and healthy way. During this time, you'll focus on making important lifestyle changes by adding new healthy habits and breaking some unhealthy ones. You'll develop an awareness of what you're doing well — as well as the areas you need to work on. Very little preparation is required to start. You just do it!

After two weeks, you’ll move on to the Live It! phase, which can help you lose 1 to 2 pounds a week until you reach your goal. There's no specific length of time for you to stay in Live It! This phase is a simple, practical, enjoyable approach to healthy eating and fitness that will give you the tools you need to maintain your healthy weight for a lifetime. During this time, you'll take a more active role in building a structured exercise plan into your daily life, as well as figuring out your food choices and portion sizes based on the Mayo Clinic Diet Healthy Weight Pyramid.

Can the diet be adapted for heart health, vegetarian, low-glycemic diets, etc.?

A guiding principle of the Mayo Clinic Diet is eating an abundance of delicious vegetables, fruits and whole grains, while also learning how to make smart food choices to help reduce consumption of fats and sweets. And yes, the diet can be adapted to meet specialized dietary needs and preferences, in addition to helping you continue to lose weight. You’ll have access to hundreds of delicious recipes that will show you how enjoyable — and easy — healthy eating can be.

However, if you have any medical conditions, it's always wise to check with your health care provider before going on a diet.

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Phase 1: Lose It!

What is the Habit Tracker? How can it help me lose weight?

During Lose It!, you’ll use the Habit Tracker to help jump-start your weight loss and lose up to 6 to 10 pounds in two weeks. Lose It! is all about doing the 15 key habits that Mayo Clinic experts have identified as essential weight-loss practices. Some habits might seem easy, while others will be more challenging. Just keep in mind that it’s the combination of all of them together that will give you the results you’re after. And remember, this phase of the diet is only for two weeks. It will get easier with time.

By utilizing the Habit Tracker, you will be encouraged and motivated to perform as many of the habits each day as possible over 14 days. Check off the habits as you do them and your daily Progress Report will update with the new information. This is a fantastic tool to keep you on track and help you identify strengths and weaknesses, as well as behavioral and eating patterns.

During Lose It!, what am I supposed to eat? What foods, how many servings, how many calories?

Throughout the Mayo Clinic Diet, use the Mayo Clinic Healthy Weight Pyramid as your guide to making smart eating choices. Eat most of your food from the food groups at the base of the pyramid and less from the groups at the top — and don’t forget to move more. For now, don't worry about being too precise — just follow the general pattern of the pyramid and you’ll be fine.

At the end of the two weeks of Lose It!, you need to learn a few more details about calorie goals — what to eat and how many servings. Here are general calorie goals based on your current weight:

Weight in pounds Starting calorie goal
Women 1,200 1,400 1,600 1,800
250 or less X

251 to 300

301 or more

Men 1,200 1,400 1,600 1,800
250 or less

251 to 300

301 or more


As for servings, here are general goals based on your current calorie needs:

Food group Daily calorie goals

1,200 1,400 1,600 1,800 2,000
Vegetables 4 or more 4 or more 5 or more 5 or more 5 or more
Fruits 3 or more 4 or more 5 or more 5 or more 5 or more
Carbohydrates 4 5 6 7 8
Protein/Dairy 3 4 5 6 7
Fats 3 3 3 4 5

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Phase 2: Live It!

Is there a tool I can use to translate my servings into calories?
Here's a quick rule of thumb:

One pyramid serving of: Has about this many calories:
Vegetables 25
Fruits 60
Carbohydrates 70
Protein and Dairy 110
Fats 45

Do I have to eat all the servings from all the food groups every day? Some days I fall short on one or two fats or carbs. I don't think it makes sense to eat everything if I'm not hungry — is that OK?

In general, it's best to try to get some servings from each of the food groups. Your number of servings ensures that you're getting a nutritionally balanced diet. As a rule of thumb, focus on vegetables and fruits, followed by progressively lesser amounts of whole grains, lean protein and dairy, healthy fats, and sweets. If you focus on vegetables and fruits but fall a little short in other food groups, that's fine, as long as you don't feel deprived and aren't restricting yourself too much.

Why are there so few calories in the meal plan?

In Live It!, the goal is to lose about 1 to 2 pounds a week, so that means taking in at least 500 to 1,000 calories a day less than you normally do. When you set your daily calorie level, keep in mind that you can adjust it based on your goals and how quickly you want to lose weight. If you feel exceptionally hungry or lose weight too quickly, consider moving up to the next calorie level. If you move down a level, don't drop below the lowest level listed. Fewer than 1,200 daily calories for women and 1,400 for men generally aren't recommended because you may not get enough nutrients.

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Weight-Loss Tools

Does the diet offer any tools that can help keep me on track?

Yes! As a member, you'll be able to log your progress and stay committed to your goals with the Food & Fitness Journal, Habit Tracker and Fitness Planner, as well as a Weight, Inch and Nutrient Tracker. You’ll also learn how to eat well with hundreds of delicious recipes, meal plans, serving guides and more.

How can I learn more about the Mayo Clinic Diet before getting started?

 If you become a member now, you’ll receive our Starter Series newsletter, which outlines each of the healthy habits you will focus on for the first two weeks of the diet. You’ll gain the knowledge and advice you need to begin the diet with confidence and excitement! Nonmembers also can learn more about the diet by signing up for our free newsletter.

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