Dr. Ian

Dr. Ian Smith Photo Credit T. Smith

Losing weight can be a particularly challenging goal, but Dr. Ian Smith believes it’s an objective anyone can accomplish with the right plan and a supportive community.

Smith, a Harvard-educated physician known for his roles as host of “The Doctors” and medical contributor on “The Rachael Ray Show,” is also a New York Times best-selling author who has written more than a dozen books on dieting. In April, Smith released his latest book, “Fast Burn: The Power of Negative Energy Balance,” which highlights his signature nine-week diet program with a focus on accessible, affordable food.

The Fast Burn program has an active online community where dieters come together to share their experiences, support one another, discuss their favorite recipes and more. Smith encouraged readers interested in starting the diet to join his “Fast Burn Challenge” Facebook group and follow him on Instagram at @doctoriansmith.

“What I’ve learned from many years is that people who lose the most weight and keep it off the longest are those who have some type of support system,” he explained. “I believe that the Facebook group, which is full of positive energy and great sharing of ideas ... and the Instagram platform are great ways to help you through the program.”

While Fast Burn discourages participants from eating certain foods, such as fried foods and soda, the plan still allows dieters to enjoy a variety of items forbidden by other diet programs, including alcohol, pizza and pasta, Smith said. Each week of the program offers a different experience to help dieters stay focused.

“I have always believed that the more you deprive people of things, the more they want them and the less compliant they’re going to be on your program,” Smith explained.

Before Smith published his Fast Burn plan, around 2,000 people took part in a trial run of the program. The results were signifi cant: participants reported an average weight loss of 15-17 pounds in nine weeks, in addition to reduced midsection fat and lower blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol levels.

“The reason they lost a lot of that fat around their midsection was because of the intermittent fasting component of the program, because that drives the body into your fat stores and the body will use that fat, which is a storage form of energy,” Smith said. “The body will break down the fat and convert it into fuel or energy that the body can use.”

Beyond just the numbers on the scale, Smith stressed the importance of achieving NSVs, or non-scale victories, through weight loss and exercise.

“I want people to be able to get to their gate from the checkpoint without being winded if they’re running late and not feel like they’re about to collapse when they get there,” he said.

Above all else, Smith said, the focus of Fast Burn is flexibility, rather than rigidity. As he put it, “it’s not about how you fall down—it’s about how you get up.”

“I wrote the program so that it is a forgiving program,” he explained. “And so if you mess up one day or a couple days, no problem. Keep right on going.”

In the era of COVID-19, maintaining a strong immune system is more important than ever, Smith noted. Weight loss, rest, vitamins and stress reduction all work in tandem to keep this crucial bodily system as strong and healthy as possible.

“I think this is a great time for people, as we near hopefully the end of this pandemic tunnel, to turn the lens on ourselves and make ourselves the priority,” he said. “And boosting our immune system and losing weight at the same time—those are two things that are going to be very beneficial to a lot of people.”

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