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Blast through extra pounds with the SHRED diet

Jessica Padykula is a freelance writer and editor in Toronto, Canada covering a wide range of  topics for several online lifestyle publications. She is a regular contributor for SheKnows, covering travel, style, relationships, health and...

Get ready to shred extra weight

One of the most common concerns for people trying to lose weight is hitting a plateau. You get close to your goal — and then the scale stops budging.
Shred Diet

No. 1 New York Times bestseller and Dr. Oz-approved, SHRED: The Revolutionary Diet is helping people push past that problem, jump-start weight loss and meet their fitness goals faster than ever.

We asked Dr. Ian Smith, creator of SHRED, to let us in on what makes his plan so effective at blasting fat. In addition to Dr. Oz, Smith and his weight loss plan have been featured on various TV and radio shows — with good reason: The plan works. Even Steve Harvey and Sunny Anderson have started the diet. Four inches and two sizes in six weeks? Sign us up!

SHRED explained

SHRED consists of six easy-to-follow cycles that take the body through different routines from week to week. Both meals and exercise suggestions are provided for each cycle.

  1. Prime: This beginning cycle prepares you for the rest of the plan, focusing on meal spacing, proper snacking techniques and suppressing hunger without consuming too many calories.
  2. Challenge: This part of the plan is all about boosting your confidence and showing dieters that despite past failures or plans that didn't work, they actually have what it takes to succeed.
  3. Transformation: This is the toughest week, but also where most shredders start truly noticing a difference, many dropping a clothing size.
  4. Ascend: This week you'll be combining knowledge and skills learned in the first three weeks to keep you motivated and moving forward.
  5. Cleanse: The focus of this stage is to enhance your liver’s ability to detoxify your blood.
  6. Explode: This cycle is meant to take you into your new life with the knowledge and skills you’ve developed. The variety in the types and quantity of food and beverages keeps you moving along from one day to the next.

Many people will need to do more than one cycle of SHRED to achieve their goals, but Smith assures us that this is completely expected. Once you do the cycle once, you can customize it based on what you need. “In order to make SHRED work best for you, it’s important during the first cycle that you keep brief notes as you go through the weeks,” he advises. “You should be recording what you find difficult about the week, what you find easy and ultimately how much you lose during that seven-day period.”

If you haven’t reached your goal, Smith says you can simply start right back into another cycle doing the weeks in a different order than you did the first cycle.

Who is it for?

SHRED can work for anyone who wants to lose weight, no matter how much you want to lose. “It’s best suited for anyone who needs to lose weight and is serious about doing so. Whether you’re trying to lose 15 pounds or over 100 pounds, SHRED can work,” Smith tells us.

The program is also easy to follow, even for those with dietary restrictions such as diabetics, vegans, vegetarians and many others with medical conditions such as gluten allergy. “The program, while being specific in what you eat each meal, also gives you great flexibility to make substitutions that work for your dietary preference or medical restrictions,” explains Smith. “SHRED is also great for families, because the food is regular and inexpensive, and something that appeals to both children and adults.”

What you eat while you SHRED

First of all, you eat a lot while you SHRED: four meals (or meal replacements) and three snacks a day. But don't worry about buying pricey supplements or hard-to-find items. What you eat on the SHRED plan is affordable, regular food that can be purchased at any grocery store. The plan is also portable, says Smith, meaning you can follow the SHRED diet anywhere, whether it’s in an airport, at a ball game, in a restaurant or on vacation. “The way the meals are constructed and the substitutions that are allowed make it easy to stay on the plan when away from home,” he explains. “The other aspect of the program that people love is that they don’t go hungry. So many diets are restrictive, not just in food choices, but in quantities, but SHRED calls for four meals and three snacks, which means you can eat all day and there simply isn’t time to get hungry.”

Diet confusion

Varying your food choices, which Smith calls “diet confusion,” is another important aspect of the SHRED diet. Keeping your body guessing is thought to help increase your metabolism and keep your body off-kilter, Smith explains. “SHRED aims to introduce a variety of foods to your body in the hopes of decreasing your chances of food boredom and increasing your chances of increased metabolism.”

Meal spacing

Rather than just being concerned with what you put in your mouth, SHRED also puts the focus on when you’re eating, which Smith says is an important factor when it comes to weight loss. “Research has continuously shown that spacing out your meals and snacks in a regular manner can be extremely advantageous to weight loss,” he explains. “Many of us have extremely irregular and unhealthy eating schedules, but SHRED can get you on a routine that will not only help you lose weight, but prevent you from having those intense bouts of hunger between meals.”

Getting started with SHRED

Smith shares some tips to help those who are just starting SHRED.

Look at your week’s meal in advance:  Planning ahead will help you avoid the panic of figuring out what you want to eat and where you’re going to get it. Make a grocery list for each week so that you’re organized and not distracted.

Find a support network:  Find someone at home, work, church, wherever, who wants to SHRED with you. Being accountable to yourself and someone else can make a real difference.

Start slowly: If you’re someone who has been quite sedentary and not doing a lot of exercise, start the physical activity portion of the program in a gradual manner so you don't get overwhelmed. If a particular day calls for 30 minutes of physical activity, instead of doing it all at once, you can break it up into two 15-minute segments.

Keep a journal of what you eat: Though the book gives specific directions on what you should be eating, keeping a personal journal of the food you eat and the times you eat them can make a big difference.

Ready to SHRED? You can follow Dr. Ian Smith on Twitter@doctoriansmith or visit his website for more weight loss and healthy-living tips. To join SHREDDER Nation, go to facebook.com/ShredderNation.

More diet and weight loss tips

The only 6 sculpting moves you need for a hot body
Pre-workout foods that burn more fat
Sizzling fitness: The best workouts for winter

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