|The Fat Smash Diet: The Last Diet You'll Ever Need
|Ian K. Smith
|St. Martin's Griffin
|April 4, 2006
Executive SummaryThe Fat Smash Diet is the book-length version of the nutrition and fitness regimen that Dr. Ian K. Smith has used with great success and to widespread acclaim on VH1’s popular weight-loss reality show, Celebrity Fit Club. In the book, Smith outlines a simple weight loss plan that foregoes trendy gimmicks and focuses instead on a rigorous, commonsense approach. Dr. Smith avoids delving into the emotional complexities that many other experts regard as the chief component of weight problems and instead emphasizes the physical mechanics and bodily processes that have been consistently linked to successful weight loss efforts, both in scholarly research and in Smith’s experiences working with a diverse range of clients.
Smith’s Fat Smash Diet plan proceeds in four distinct, but interrelated phases that are designed to carry the reader through not only the initial weight loss, but also through a lifetime of healthy weight maintenance and beneficial nutrition and exercise habits. The plan is geared to be flexible and adaptable to the ups and downs, changes and transitions that characterize real life. As such, Dr. Smith has included some latitude for social situations and stressful times that may impede one’s ability to stick to a healthy fitness and nutrition program. If a person who has reached the maintenance phase of the plan regresses, slips up, or otherwise regains weight, Dr. Smith recommends returning to the first phase of the diet for a 10-day period of rehabilitation. This unusual level of flexibility distinguishes the Fat Smash Diet from other, less realistic weight loss plans, and positions individuals using this approach to develop the skills and strategies that are necessary to achieve and maintain weight loss in the long-term.
The Fat Smash Diet plan begins with a relatively strict phase of limited food choices and regular exercise. Dr. Smith refers to this nine-day period as the “detox” phase of the diet, during which a simple, largely-plant-based eating plan is designed to clear the body of unhealthy toxins. In addition, the mandated avoidance of all fast food, fried food, coffee, desserts, alcohol, and soda during this period is geared to help participants begin to loosen the grip of all of the bad eating habits that may have been ingrained over the course of a lifetime. This strict eating regimen is accompanied by a fitness routine that consists of thirty minutes of cardiovascular exercise five days a week.
Each subsequent phase of the Fat Smash Diet plan builds on the foundation established in the “detox” phase of the program, with a number of additional food and beverage options added during Phases 2, 3, and 4. In phase 2 (“The Foundation”), a number of the strict limitations imposed during the initial phase are eased, with program participants regaining the option to chose foods such as lean meats, seafood, eggs, dairy products, cold cereals, and coffee. The exercise requirements are also increased slightly during phase 2, with participants required to up their five-times-a-week cardiovascular workout sessions to 35 minutes each.
By the fourth and final phase of the Fat Smash Diet (“The Temple”), the food choices available to diet participants have increased considerably. In keeping with his stated goal of gearing the diet toward real-life success, Dr. Smith has added food and beverage choices ranging from pizza to pancakes, with daily desserts and occasional alcohol consumption both allowed in moderation. However, the weekly exercise requirement during this lifelong maintenance phase has been increased to 5 sessions of one hour each in order to compensate for the increased caloric consumption. Dr. Smith also reiterates the near-inevitability of plateaus and backsliding in any long-term health and fitness plan, reminding readers to return to the strict “detox” plan outlined in phase 1 for nine days if they experience a ten-to-fifteen percent weight regain.
Chapter 1 -- The Fat Smash Diet Philosophy
Dr. Smith introduces readers to his tough-love diet philosophy in the bold first sentence of this chapter: “Diets don’t fail people; people fail diets.” If you eat healthier foods in smaller portion sizes in small but frequent meals and get frequent, consistent cardiovascular exercise, Smith contends, you are virtually guaranteed to lose weight. Obesity is a growing problem in the United States, as are the host of related health problems that often co-occur with obesity, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes. Taken together, all of these problems can significantly diminish an overweight person’s health, happiness, and quality of life. Smith promises readers that if they will make the commitment to adhere faithfully to the tenets of the Fat Smash Diet plan, they will be able to lose weight, improve their fitness levels, and enjoy life more fully.
In this chapter, Smith also emphasizes the realistic approach that he favors in the Fat Smash Diet plan, including an eating plan that can stretch to accommodate social gatherings, trips to the ice cream or pizza parlor, and the occasional cocktail party. At the same time, Dr. Smith calls into question the all-too-prevalent belief that exercise is an optional component of weight loss. In sharp contrast to this lackadaisical attitude about fitness, Smith’s Fat Smash Diet plan revolves around participants’ commitment to consistent cardiovascular exercise undertaken at least five times per week. Without this strong commitment to consistent aerobic exercise, Dr. Smith claims that any weight loss initiative is likely to be doomed to failure. At the close of the chapter, Smith exhorts his readers to use the tools they will gain in the book to attack their excess weight mercilessly.
Chapter 2: Phase 1: Detox (9 Days)
This chapter lays the groundwork for the entirety of the Fat Smash Diet plan. Although the diet evolves over the course of the four phases, the basic parameters for the plan are outlined in this initial phase. Dr. Smith suggests a formal introductory weigh-in, accompanied by three unvarnished photographs in a swimsuit that depict the front, side, and back of the body at the starting point of the dieting process. Before describing the nutrition and fitness components of the Fat Smash Diet plan, Dr. Smith emphasizes the importance of mental and emotional focus on success, reminding readers that diet success is “at least 50% mental.”
The first component of the diet that Dr. Smith outlines is the increased number of meals that participants should eat, with a recommended guideline of 4-5 daily meals consisting of small portion sizes. He also reiterates that meals should not be skipped as a means of decreasing caloric intake, as this actually has the effect of slowing down the metabolism and slowing the weight loss process.
With a few exceptions, vegetables and fruits can be eaten freely during the detox phase of the diet. Beans, legumes, tofu, oatmeal, and brown rice are also important staples of this phase. Low-fat yogurt and egg whites are also key features of the detox phase menu. Allowed beverages include 2 cups of herbal tea and unlimited water. All herbs and spices can be used freely, as well. Virtually all other foods and beverages are restricted during this nine-day phase. In addition, at least thirty minutes of daily cardiovascular exercise is required five days per week.
Chapter 3: Phase II: Foundation (3 weeks)
After dieters’ bodies have been detoxified in the strict first phase of the Fat Smash Diet plan, the slightly more lenient “Foundation” phase begins. During this phase, a number of foods and beverages that were disallowed during the first nine days of the diet are gradually re-introduced. However, the same basic parameters and guidelines that were set forth in the initial phase remain in place.
Dr. Smith reiterates the importance of distributing the days’ caloric intake over four to five servings. These servings vary in size from heavy snacks to small meals, with the last food intake occurring at least 1.5 hours prior to bedtime. A short walk or comparable period of mild exertion is suggested after dinner, as a means of kick-starting the metabolism at a time that is usually associated with metabolic inactivity.
On the issue of food quantities, Dr. Smith recommends a fairly relaxed approach that doesn’t revolve around the arduous process of detailed record-keeping, calorie or carb-counting, food weighing, and tabulating points that many other popular weight loss methods require. Instead, Dr. Smith recommends eating a sufficient quantity to attain a feeling of fullness and satisfaction, while avoiding the uncomfortable sensation of being overstuffed.
Phase II of the diet involves the reintroduction of lean meats, seafood, some dairy products, select cold cereals, limited artificial and natural sweeteners, fats, and condiments, and an expanded selection of beverage options. The five-times-weekly exercise requirement is increased by 10-15%, so that a 30-minute period of cardiovascular exercise is now increased to 35 minutes. Dr. Smith reiterates that any exercise completed over the required amount will be beneficial, although weight lifting and similar forms of anaerobic exercise are discouraged during this phase of the Fat Smash Diet plan.
Chapter 4: Phase III: Construction (4 weeks)
Once again, the third phase of the Fat Smash Diet plan builds and expands upon the system set forth in the previous phases. In this phase, which continues for a duration of four weeks, dieters continue to build upon the changes and successes of the previous phases, while also beginning to gradually reintroduce additional food and beverage options and increasing the length of the five-times-weekly sessions of cardiovascular exercise.
With a continued schedule of four to five meals daily, participants in the Fat Smash Diet plan focus on maintaining their newly-honed nutritional and fitness behaviors during this phase of the diet, using the structured guidelines to make positive choices among a broader array of food and beverage options. As with the previous two phases of the diet, Dr. Smith recommends that foods should be eaten raw, steamed, baked, or grilled, in order to minimize the amount of fat added in preparation. It is also recommended that participants revert back to the stricter Phase I guidelines for at least one day a week during Phase III in order to boost their rate of weight loss.
New choices that are permitted during this phase include limited amounts of fresh fruit juice, increased daily allowances of lean meats, expanded choices in dairy products, small amounts of whole wheat grains and pastas, and daily servings of a choice of several desserts. In terms of exercise, Dr. Smith requires another increase in the duration of the five-times-weekly cardiovascular exercise sessions amounting to a 25% extension over the 30-minute minimum of Phase I. As such, participants in Phase III of the Fat Smash Diet plan are expected to engage in at least 45 minutes of cardiovascular exercise five times a week. In addition, Dr. Smith recommends exercising twice a day several times a week in order to achieve an extra metabolic boost.
Chapter 5: Phase IV: The Temple (for life)
In the maintenance phase of the Fat Smash Diet plan, even more food and beverage options are allowed, while the exercise requirements are increased to compensate for increased caloric intake. In order to accommodate the fluctuations and changes that characterize the ebb and flow of real life, Dr. Smith includes recommended guidelines for weekly consumption of a broad array of foods and beverages, ranging from beer to pizza to pancakes. In terms of exercise, Dr. Smith requires five hour-long sessions of cardiovascular exercise each week, as well as consistent strength training in order to increase the body’s lean muscle mass and further enhance fat-burning efficiency.
Chapter 6: Busting Through the Plateau
Dr. Smith notes that every sustained weight-loss efforts are beset at times with periods of seemingly inexplicable failure and stagnation. This, he explains, is a vestige of the periods of famine that often faced our distant ancestors. A plateau represents a manifestation of the body’s preventive defense against starvation.
The strategy that Dr. Smith suggests to break through a weight-loss plateau is varying the nutrition and/or fitness routine slightly. For example, increasing the duration of exercise by 10%, or focusing on another type of cardiovascular exercise than the one usually engaged in, can both fool the body into dropping its overprotective defenses against starvation and help dieters move past even the most stubborn plateaus. During extended periods of stalled progress, or after a weight regain, Dr. Smith recommends that dieters return to the limitations of the first phase of the Fat Smash Diet plan.
Chapter 7: Tasty Recipes
In this chapter, Dr. Smith provides an array of recipes suitable for each phase of the Fat Smash Diet plan. In addition, nutritional information for commonly used foods is provided, along with menu suggestions and snack ideas.