Dr. Ian K. Smith talks diet, fitness with SEPTA employees
Last Friday, I ventured over to SEPTA headquarters to hear Dr. Ian K. Smith, the medical/diet expert on VH1’s Celebrity Fit Club, speak about diet and healthy eating, sharing his tips to achieving a healthier body and lifestyle with over 300 SEPTA employees.
“We have great employees who are afforded great benefits; but the problem is they use those benefits for diabetes, obesity, and a number of other problems,” said Jacob Aufschauer, the Senior Director of Human Resources, as he introduced the distinguished speaker.
Dr. Ian has recently been appointed by President Obama to the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition. And his new book SHRED, which he gave to all SEPTA employees, is the No. 1 book on New York Times Advice Best Seller list, Publisher's Weekly and Wall Street Journal.
In a one hour talk to SEPTA employees, Dr. Ian shared easy-to-follow tips such as his ideas on eating habits, which he recommends, “breakfast like a king, lunch like a price and dinner like a pauper.”
I had a chance to catch up with Dr. Ian after his talk and ask him the burning questions that people should know when they’re ready to embark on a healthier lifestyle:
What is the one weight loss myth that you want to dispel?
“I think the skipping meals thing is worst. People think that you can save calories by eating fewer meals a day, but it works just the opposite: the fewer meals you eat the more counterproductive it becomes to you being able to lose weight. Eating fewer meals may save some calories but it increases the chance that you have insulin spikes, which isn’t good in the long run.
The other thing is the idea of diets sodas: it’s not that they’re bad for you; it’s that people who tend to drink a lot of diet soda tend to surround that drinking with bad nutritional choices. They think that the diet soda gives them the opportunity to eat more calories elsewhere and then they ultimately end up consuming more calories than they normally would have consumed.”
What do you find is the best exercise regimen to lose weight?
“I would choose circuit training. I do a SHRED circuit with some of my clients; it’s a 23 minute workout where we go from the elliptical to the treadmill to the stationary bicycle, all in 23 minutes. We do this high intensity interval training in which you’re doing a ‘burst’ workout rather than a relatively stable, sedentary work out where you’re just doing the same thing over a long period of time.”
What is the one piece of advice you think everyone should know before they start a diet?
“People have to realize that dieting is not a sprint, it’s a marathon. If you celebrate the small victories you will eventually win the war. Too many people focus on the big thing they’re trying to accomplish and not working week to week. I always say to set the large milestone but the mini-milestones are equally, if not more important, because that’s how you really reach the overall goal.”
What is the best way to start your path towards a healthier lifestyle?
“To make changes people have to write a list of things that they know they are doing wrong and things they know they want to do better. You form these lists, for example: you know that you don’t eat enough fruits and vegetables, you eat too many fried foods, you eat too much in one sitting. You have to ask yourself in an honest way: what things am I doing wrong? Then choose only one behavior to change every three weeks, focus on just one thing on that list. People try to change too much at once and it becomes overwhelming and they end up falling off the program. So gradually changing bad habits makes much more of a difference than trying to change them all at once.”
If there’s only one piece of advice that everyone takes out of this, what do you want it to be?
“Their health future and their ability to succeed from a health standpoint really is within their grasp and they have control over their own health destiny by enlarge. In order to do that, they have to make smarter decisions and they have to be a little more active; but most importantly they have to keep a balance in life rather than trying to over-do it or under-do it. If they incorporate it into a lifestyle change they can make a big difference.”