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Dr. Ian K. Smith adds a little uncertainty to the menu

Dr. Ian Smith

Dr. Ian Smith

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Updated: January 8, 2013 9:51AM

I remember the conversation so vividly. I was sitting in my editor’s manuscript-strewn office when I delivered the news. “I’m not going to write any more diet books,” I proclaimed defiantly. “I’ve said all that I have to say about weight loss.”

I had already written three diet books, and felt I had covered enough territory to literally close the book on the subject. I was hoping to spend time on three novels I had started that were in various stages of completion.

“Your diet books have helped millions of people,” she said. “Certainly there’s more you can add to the discussion.”

I replied, “If something groundbreaking happens in the world of weight loss, only then I will consider rejoining the discussion.”

About eight months later, a friend of mine called and in utter exasperation, explained that she had lost 60 pounds on my Fat Smash Diet, but had reached a plateau. Despite everything she tried, she couldn’t jump-start her weight loss. She was extremely frustrated, especially since she had only about 20 more pounds to go before she hit her goal. I made her send me a food and exercise journal for a week. I sat down expecting to find numerous errors — eating too late at night or eating calorie-rich snacks — but instead, I found myself dumbfounded. Her journal was practically perfect.

So I quietly went to work on a new plan that would help her smash through that plateau and get those last 20 pounds off. I’d been reading about the concept of meal spacing and how it stabilized hormones to prevent weight gain. I’d also been intrigued by a concept used in exercise called “muscle confusion,” where trainers switch up the types and duration of exercises once people hit a wall and stop making progress.

I increased her meal count to four a day with three snack options in between. I then adopted the concept of muscle confusion and applied it to the diet. I coined a new term, “diet confusion,” and made sure that she would now be consuming a variety of different foods from day to day and week to week. Once the first week of the new plan was hammered out, I decided to call it “Shred.” I wanted a title that was active so that every time she saw it, it made her visualize what she was doing to those stubborn fat cells.

My friend lost five pounds during that first week and called me practically in tears with the good news. Now she needed a longer plan to keep it going. I drafted new weeks with more food switching, and increased the fiber content one week, and then the protein content the next. In her daily feedback, she would explain how the variety of food choices prevented her from feeling like she was on a diet.

Two years after that initial proclamation in my editor’s office, I was on the phone with her explaining that I had a new plan that was producing amazing results. To test it, I had given it to thousands of people throughout the country and their average weight loss over the six weeks of the plan was 20 pounds.

Today, I stand ready to re-join the weight loss discussion and I’m humbly confident that “Shred” will not only help people lose weight, but change their lives forever.

Dr. Ian K. Smith donated his fee for writing this column to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metropolitan Chicago. Follow Dr. Ian on Twitter @doctoriansmith or reach him at

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