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Dr. Ian Smith on losing weight quickly — and healthfully — in the New Year

Dr. Ian Smith

Dr. Ian Smith

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Updated: January 22, 2014 12:32PM

It’s that time of year again, when New Year’s resolutions are on the tip of everyone’s tongues. That means millions of people will be starting a new diet, signing up for gym memberships and committing themselves to a healthier lifestyle. It’s a ritual that for many is as predictable and consistent as night following day.

Most people bemoan their holiday weight gain, some believing they will have packed on as many as 15 pounds between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. The truth, however, according to many studies, is that the average holiday weight gain is only 1 pound. The other 14 pounds are completely psychological, because people expect to gain weight, so give themselves license to not be mindful of what they eat or the amount of exercise they do.

Beating holiday weight gain and losing weight for the New Year really starts in the mind. Getting off to a good start means creating realistic goals, following a detailed plan and making a real commitment to change. Regardless of how good the plan is, if you aren’t truly ready to commit and follow through, the results simply won’t come.

One of the biggest desires for those committing themselves to a slimmer self is not only losing weight, but losing it quickly. For many years I have agreed with other diet/nutrition experts cautioning against rapid weight loss. Studies had shown that losing weight too quickly could also mean packing it back on quickly. These rapid weight loss programs also tended to be too extreme and unhealthy. But the repeated diet requests I received from brides-to-be, those preparing for vacation or the courageous getting themselves ready for a reunion got me wondering if it was really possible to lose weight quickly in a healthy manner.

So this summer, a group who had lost weight on my previous program, SHRED, decided they wanted to put this to the test. I called the program SUPER SHRED, because it was an accelerated version of the original plan. The plan combines three strategies into one program: sliding nutrient density, which means toward the latter half of the day, you should consume most of your calories from plant-based foods rather than animal-based; calorie disruption, which means varying the calories you consume from day to day and week to week; and negative energy balance, which means putting your body in a state of energy need, driving it to extract energy from fat stores. After four weeks — July 4th holiday included — the average weight loss was 20 lbs. Thus was born a program purposely designed for those who need or want to quickly lose weight without putting their health at risk.

If you’re planning on finally shedding those stubborn pounds, part of your strategy should be finding or creating a support system. Studies continuously show that those who lose the most weight and keep it off the longest are those who have a supportive environment. As disappointed as you might be in your past efforts to lose weight, it’s important to know that you are not alone and that there’s strength and success in numbers.

Join our Chicago support group on Facebook. It’s called Chicago SHREDDERS. Then get ready to challenge yourself. The body can do amazing things, but if you fall into a comfort zone and don’t push yourself, it will only deliver meager results commensurate with the efforts you make. Have a great 2014!

Dr. Ian Smith’s book, Super SHRED: The Big Results Diet, will be released on Tuesday and available wherever books are sold.

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