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Dr. Ian Smith Discusses The 4-Day Diet, 50 Million Pound Challenge and Tips for Losing Weight

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Dr. Ian Smith
Author, Creator of The 50 Million Pound Challenge
Thursday, April 2, 2009; 11:00 AM

Dr. Ian Smith, diet expert on VH1's "Celebrity Fit Club," will give advice on the most effective ways to lose weight. Smith is the creator of the national weight loss initiative The 50 Million Pound Challenge and bestselling author of "The 4 Day Diet," "The Fat Smash Diet" and "The Extreme Fat Smash Diet." He also hosts "HealthWatch" on American Urban Radio Networks and was a former medical correspondent for NBC News.

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He was online Thursday, April 2, at 11 a.m. ET to answer questions.

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Dr. Ian Smith: Welcome to this chat. I'm Dr. Ian Smith and I'm very happy to talk to you. I won't be able to answer everyone, but I'll try to answer as much as I can. I hope you'll come back for another chat when we do this again. Let's learn and exchange ideas and have fun. My website is www.50millionpounds.com. It's a FREE site. Welcome.

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Annapolis, Md.: Are B-12 shots safe to take in order to lose weight?

Dr. Ian Smith: I don't believe these shots help you lose weight significantly. No major studies have demonstrated their success for permanent weight loss.

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Lanham, Md.: I am a 42-year-old diabetic. I am truly seeking to lose weight. I was told that by doing this I will no longer be diabetic. Is this true? Also, I am 5'3". How much should I truly weigh to be healthy? Thank you...and by the way, I am a member of your club.

Dr. Ian Smith: Yes, many diabetics can help their disease through weight loss and regular physical activity. Some people can actually stop their medications when they are doing well. So give it a try. Work hard. Eating right and exercising can go a long way in preventing complications.

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Arlington, Va.: What is the importance/relevance of fasting on fruits and vegetables and then migrating back to normal foods from your Smash Fast Diet?

Dr. Ian Smith: The first 9 days of The Fat Smash Diet are detox and you eat mostly fruit and veggies. This is to clean out your system of toxins and help jumpstart your weight loss. But let's be honest, you can't eat like this forever, so the rest of the program teaches you how to reintroduce the foods you haven't been eating, but to eat them in a healthier way. Most people lose about 6-8 pounds on detox.

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Tampa, Fla.: Hi, Dr. Smith. Thank you for doing this! I have a question about breakfast. I start eating Egg Beaters in the morning about six months ago to help cut down my overall carb intake. But now I'm so sick of them. I don't think I can face another plate. What would you recommend as a quick and easy (and filling) morning meal? Unfortunately, I HATE oatmeal...

Dr. Ian Smith: What about yougurt, granola and fruit? You can alternate that with eggs. Cold bran cereal is great also.

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Alexandria, Va.: What are your thoughts on using an infrared sauna for weight loss? Are they as beneficial as the manufacturers state?

Dr. Ian Smith: Absolutely not. I don't know of any credible scientific literature published in a peer-reviewed journal that talks about these saunas helping with weight gain. Please be careful of gimmicks. There are a million plus of them out there. Don't be taken in. It's so sad that people prey upon other people by making false promises.

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Bowie, Md.: On a diet is it okay to set aside one day to indulge?

Dr. Ian Smith: Absolutely. But don't let that one day turn into two and three. I totally believe that one of the worst things you can do on a diet is deprive yourself of something you enjoy. I like to teach balance and portion control. Add those things with regular physical activity and you can definitely have that "cheat" day.

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Delran, NJ: Dr. Ian, thank you for your health initiative! Love the Web site! I've lost 10 lbs, but I have trouble pushing through boredom and plateaus. After the 30 day meal plan, I was a little lost. I did purchase your 4-day Diet book to help and it is. (My blood pressure and cholesterol levels are improving!) Can you put a "the next 30 days" printable plan to help those of us who have passed the initial period? Thank you!! :)

Dr. Ian Smith: The free 30 day plan on the website was meant to be just a jumpstart for everyone. It's difficult putting up new 30-day plans every month. The 4 Day Diet, which you now have is a great next step for you and that is something you can do forever, because it's really not a diet, but a way of living and eating that's enjoyable, easy, and healthy.

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McLean, Va.: What is the best diet for vegetarians? Since all the food we consume has so much of carb and sugar, how can we substitute protein with all the veggies and fruits? What are the options we have for following Atkins or South Beach? Thanks.

Dr. Ian Smith: On my diet, The 4 Day Diet, vegetarians are having great success, because they can make the substitutions they need to make. The program is very flexible for all types of eating styles whether you're a vegetarian, vegan, diabetic, etc. If you want non-animal protein, you can load up on legumes and beans and things like chickpeas and lentils. If you eat eggs, egg whites are full of protein also.

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Bowie, Md.: Dr. Smith, my friend and I are just beginning the transition module of the 4 Day Diet. There is a Web site listed on the book jacket, but it is not active. Where can we get answers to questions about food preparation, etc. By the way, I feel great and have already lost 5 pounds in less than a week. I created a little spreadsheet to help us keep track each day. I am excited!

Dr. Ian Smith: The website to use is www.50millionpounds.com. This is a FREE site that I've set up with lots of great tools you can lose to help you continue to lose weight. Congrats on your weight loss so far. On average, people lose between 10-12 pounds per month on The 4 Day Diet. Keep going!

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Fairbanks, Ala.: Doctor Smith, I'm close to 60, African American female, eat healthy, don't smoke/drink, not overweight, and do exercise. I struggle with keeping my blood pressure under control. My doctor switched me from Hyzaar, to Cozaar (sp?) to avoid further problems with low Potassium. Doctors I've seen are not sure why my Potassium is so low and stays that way with supplements. I fear going through the family of high blood pressure meds until they get it right. I preferred Hyzaar, Cozaar gives me headaches (which my doc says it shouldn't since I tolerated Hyzaar) and I just don't want to switch and keep switching.

Dr. Ian Smith: Sometimes you have to keep switching until your doctor finds out what works for you. No one medication works well for everyone, so they have to find out what works for you. Exercise and low sodium diet can go a long way in helping you lower the blood pressure.

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Richmond, Va.: There's a theory out there -- and of course the infomercials to back it up -- that the midsection needs to be treated differently than the rest of the body. Is that true? Do you have any suggestions for getting rid of belly fat?

Dr. Ian Smith: It's really difficult to "target" your stomach area. The first place you gain fat is typically your stomach and unfortunately it tends to be the last place you lose it. Despite what those late night infomercials may lead you to believe, there's also no such thing as "spot reduction" where you can lose fat only in one area. The good news is that with the proper diet and exercise regimen, you can burn the fat all over, including your stomach. I want to share with you some great news about my new book that can help you reach your goals in a healthy, effective, and straightforward manner. More importantly, it will help you keep the weight off permanently, because it teaches you how to make lifestyle changes. No more roller coaster ride with your weight! The 4 Day Diet is really two books in one. The first half of the book deals with the common missteps that many people make while trying to lose weight. It teaches you how to set a proper weight loss goal, what's realistic to lose over a certain period of time, how to get motivated, how to avoid temptations, and how to STAY motivated. The second half of the book is the diet-the modular eating plan. This is a revolutionary way to eat that has produced tremendous results in those who have tried it. The diet is broken up into 4 day modules. These modules all have a theme and a purpose. There are 7 in total.

Induction (detox/cleansing)

Transition (to reintroduce all food groups)

Protein Stretch (to avoid plateaus)

Smooth (when you can have some formerly forbidden foods like pizza and French fries)

Push (the sprint just before the final stretch, back to a stricter eating plan)

Pace (a comfortable module for you to catch your breath)

Vigorous (the final module to lose those last few pounds)

The beauty of this eating plan is that every four days you are changing your eating style. One of the biggest complaints about most diets is that the food becomes boring after eating the same thing over and over. Not on The 4 Day Diet. You NEVER get bored because there's so much variety and flexibility in the food choices. Just think, every four days you can eat in an entirely different fashion. You will have no problems following this program. Just think-YOU CAN DO ANYTHING FOR JUST 4 DAYS.

What's also helpful is that once you do the Induction and Transition modules, you can decide the order in which you do the rest of the modules. And when you complete the modules, you simply go back and do them in any order that you prefer until you have hit your weight loss goal. With The 4 Day Diet, you don't feel like you're on a diet because the food is constantly changing.

The 4 Day Diet will not only get you to finally lose those stubborn pounds, but it will re-train your brain to get motivated and stay motivated. You will not only lose weight, but you will become healthier and enjoy all that life has to offer. This is not a short-term fix, it's about changing your lifestyle that will bring long-lasting success. The 4 Day Diet is now available in all bookstores, and you can also order a copy at http://www.amazon.com or www.barnesandnoble.com. This is the plan that has helped many and it can help you too. I can't wait to receive updates on your success. The NEW you begins NOW!!!

Best,

Ian K. Smith, M.D.

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Rockville: Hi, Dr. Smith. How much of weight loss is genetic? I have a friend who swears that he will always be overweight because of his genes. I think that as long as his calorie intake is less than calories burned, then he'd lose weight. I understand that his genes might play a role in how efficiently the calories are burned, but still...? So what role do genes actually play? Thanks.

Dr. Ian Smith: Genes can greatly impact your metabolism, but people are in charge of what they eat and how much they exercise. Tell your friend to stop hiding behind science that he doesn't understand very well and get going and lose weight. It only gets more difficult each year!

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Washington DC (a former neighbor of yours from NYC): Hello. I am much better at cutting calories than I am at exercising. I know this is not ideal and I'm working on it. In the meantime, what is the lowest I can safely go calorie-wise? I have a desk job, am a 5'4" 32-year-old female and weigh in the 120s (I'm not trying to lose a huge amount of weight).

Dr. Ian Smith: Difficult question to answer considering I don't know enough about you, but I would say 1000-1200 calories in general. I wouldn't go much lower than that and I would not go low all the time.

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Washington, DC: Hi, Dr. Smith! First, a shout out to a fellow TC grad! I hope you had a good time when you were on 120th Street. So, I have such a hard time getting to the gym! I still work in education (no longer a teacher, though) and I'm just so drained by the end of the day. How can I get my arse off the couch? Also, I love that commercial when you're in the drive through. I haven't been through a drive-through since I saw your commercial!

Dr. Ian Smith: Shout out back atchya, I miss TC (Teachers College of Columbia University). Listen, it's all about motivation. I can't give you motivation, but I can teach you how to find it and keep it and get perspective. You are a perfect candidate for my new book, The 4 Day Diet. The first 7 chapters are dedicated to mental issues of weight loss such as motivation. You'll LOVE it!! Thanks for writing.

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Washington, DC: I broke my foot three weeks ago. Any ideas for me while I am not mobile?

One-legged lady

Dr. Ian Smith: Eat really really well, since you can't do much exercise. Cut your calories down tremendously until you're up and moving. Take a look at the meal plans in The 4 Day Diet.

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Colesville, Md.: Hi. I am a 33-year-old woman with 100+ lbs to lose. I want to do a diet based on calorie consumption with a focus on mediterranean foods. The problem I am having is that I can't figure out how many calories to restrict myself to. Online calculators say that in order to lose two pounds a week I could still eat 1885 calories. This seems too high. What do you recommend?

Dr. Ian Smith: I don't believe people can count calories effectively. That's why in my book, The 4 Day Diet you don't have to count calories. I've already done it for you. All you have to do is follow the meal plans that are easy and straightforward.

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Boston College alum: I have dropped from 225 to 205 since January through diet and exercise. My goal is to get under 200 and stay that way. Any advise on how to maintain one's weight?

Dr. Ian Smith: It really depends on how you dropped the weight..hopefully in a healthy way. Exercise four days a week for 35-45 mins. NO white stuff like bread, pasta, rice, potato. Stay away from soda and junk.

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Baltimore, Md.: Good morning. Is there anything women can do to offset the menopausal weight gain or is it a losing battle?

Dr. Ian Smith: Not a losing battle, but you have to work hard. Try The Fat Smash Diet and make sure you exercise and you'll find success.

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Wilmington, Del.: I have been told that drinking green tea contributes to weight loss. Is this true or it it an urban legend?

Dr. Ian Smith: Urban legend. No credible studies state or show this. Don't believe the hype!!!!!!!!!

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Washington, DC: I have, like everyone else, been playing the losing game for a long time, with only modest success. The past couple of years I have been dealing with fibroids and have been going through procedures, etc. Last year, as another attempt to control bleeding, my gyn put me on the pill. My bleeding is totally under control, however, I have had zero success in losing weight. I have followed a variety of programs, eat healthy, and exercise everyday but have lost NO weight. I see other positive changes. Do we know why the pill prevents people from losing? Is it just me and my body?

Dr. Ian Smith: The pill does different things to different people. It can cause a lot of bloating and water retention. I know you can still lose weight. I bet The 4 Day Diet would get you going if you follow it as written. If it doesn't work, e-mail me and let me know, but I bet it will get you going.

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Atlanta, Ga.: Dr. Ian, I love your new 50 Million Pound Challenge commercials; they're hilarious but they hit home. I bought your 4-Day Diet book. Are there success stories posted somewhere? I find those very motivational.

Dr. Ian Smith: We have some on the blog at www.50millionpounds.com. And Essence has published one of a woman who lost 125 pounds in 9 months. More are coming.

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San Diego, Calif.: Hi, Dr. Smith. I am very overweight (more than 150 pounds to lose), and have started on the right direction by going on a delivery meal service of 1600 calories a day. I have been losing between 1-2 pounds per week, which is great, but I'd like to add in some exercise to bump that number up a bit (and get the other health benefits). What type of exercise would you recommend for someone just getting started?

Dr. Ian Smith: Walk one mile every other day. Each week walk it faster by 30 seconds. Also you increase the frequency of the walks every 10 days. Go to www.50millionpounds.com for other great exercises. FREE.

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Dumfries, Va.: Just want to say I did the Fat Smash Diet for three weeks and went from 140 to 130. I've learned from your book portion control and maintaining a great workout schedule. However, now I'd really like to tone up, especially my legs. Even though I've lost weight I have cellulite. Any good workouts you recommend?

Dr. Ian Smith: Congrats on losing weight on The Fat Smash Diet. Many people love what it has done for them. For toning, cardio three days a week for 30 minutes. Weight training two days a week. Light weight, 12-15 reps and many sets. This will tone you quickly!

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Heartland: As many others do, I lose weight but seem unable to keep it off. I don't deprive myself, but when I go off the bandwagon, I binge like there's no tomorrow and gain weight back rapidly. Any thoughts as to how to get control over my out-of control eating? Thanks.

Dr. Ian Smith: You are a perfect candidate for The 4 Day Diet. The first seven chapters of the book are dedicated to exactly what you say is bothering you.

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Philadelphia, Pa.: Dr. Ian, does stress play a role in gaining or losing weight? Thanks.

Dr. Ian Smith: Absolutely. Reduce your stress as much as possible. I deal with the issue of stress in the early chapters of The 4 Day Diet. You should take a look at that and see what works.

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Oviedo, Fla.: Thanks for a high volume of questions answered. Wow -- you're fast!

Dr. Ian Smith: Trying my best to get as much in as possible. My wrist and fingers are screaming, but that's alright.

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Washington, D.C. : Hi Dr. Smith! I have been swimming on average 3-5 times a week since January and haven't lost a pound. My arms and legs have gotten toned, but I haven't lost my stomach bulge (and I also do sit-ups every night). I eat pretty healthy and rarely eat after 7pm. What else can I do to lose the belly fat?

Dr. Ian Smith: It's really difficult to "target" your stomach area. The first place you gain fat is typically your stomach and unfortunately it tends to be the last place you lose it. Despite what those late night infomercials may lead you to believe, there's also no such thing as "spot reduction" where you can lose fat only in one area. The good news is that with the proper diet and exercise regimen, you can burn the fat all over, including your stomach.

Cardio is the key. Get into the fat burning zone my book talks about. Also, increase your protein intake. Try another exercise other than swimming, though I think swimming is great.

Eat four small meals throughout the day 3-4 hours apart.

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for Wlimington, Del.: I've lost weight drinking green tea -- but not because of the green tea. It's because when I'm craving food, I have green tea instead, which has zero calories. So drinking green tea helps me lower my overall calorie consumption and makes me feel full until I REALLY need to eat. Drinking a lot of water or any other zero calorie beverage might have the same affect.

Dr. Ian Smith: I AGREE!!! This is a great comment. Others should read it.

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Richmond, Va: Thanks for your response, and I just ordered the book. Look forward to learning new tools to help me finally drop this extra weight!

Dr. Ian Smith: The 4 Day Diet can change your life if you believe, work hard, and you're patient. Trust me. I have so many e-mails from people who never thought they could've done it until they got the book. Also, join the Challenge at www.50millionpounds.com.

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Catonsville, Md.: You mention 35 - 45 minutes, four times a week for exercise. What about intervals? Should the duration stay the same?

Dr. Ian Smith: What do you mean intervals?

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Alexandria: Hi, Dr. Smith. I have a question about eating six meals a day three to four hours apart. How do I do that exactly? I don't eat breakfast until 8/8:30 and if I eat every three hours that would put me eating dinner at 8:30 p.m. and a snack at 11:30 p.m. How do people who don't get up at 5 in the morning fit in six meals a day? Thanks.

Dr. Ian Smith: I think you're fine with four meals a day spaced 3-4 hours apart and 2-3 snacks. That's what my plan recommends. You'll never feel hungry.

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Upper Marlboro, Md.: Is it really necessary to do a "detox" before starting new eating habits? I've read elsewhere that this really isn't necessary.

Dr. Ian Smith: Is it necessary? No. Does it help? You better believe it. But you need to do a healthy detox. My book starts off with a healthy 4-day detox. Try it.

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Washington, DC: I've been on a diet and exercise regimen since January 1 and have lost 15 pounds but now I have stopped losing weight according to the scale. I have tried varying my workouts and adding more weights but nothing is happening on the scale although my clothes are looser. When will I see movement on the scale again?

Dr. Ian Smith: When you exercise more and you reduce your calories. Plateaus are completely normal, but to break through them you MUST change your routine. It can happen. I've worked with thousands in a similar position and they have succeeded.

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Alexandria, Va.: I know I need to lose weight, but here's the thing -- I love to eat chocolate. It's better than everything else, even sex. If it weren't for chocolate I'd be thin. But miserable. Any advice? And don't tell me to eat that crappy nutrasweet chocolate stuff.

Dr. Ian Smith: Chocolate better than sex? Hmmmmm.... Anyway, I believe you can eat almost anything in moderation. Check out page 139 in my book and look at all of the snacks and the quantities you can eat. I think this will satisfy your chocolate urge.

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New York, NY: Random question for you: I have been diagnosed with bunions and was planning to run a 5k in a couple weeks!! How can I exercise with this?

Dr. Ian Smith: Get them removed!

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Baltimore, Md.: Hi, Dr, Smith. Is there any validity to the idea that you need at least seven hours of sleep in order for your metabolism to function properly. Thanks.

Dr. Ian Smith: Hard to say. I would say at least six hours. Depends on the individual. But sleep is VERY important in weight loss and people don't realize that.

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Annapolis, Md.: I am addicted to sugar and I don't know how to ween myself off of it. I did manage to loose 30 pounds last year with Weight Watchers but my addiction to sugar has caused me to gain 8 lbs back. How can I cut it out of my life. I really don't want to use Splenda and Equal because I know that they're not safe.

Dr. Ian Smith: Sugar addiction is tough and requires a lot of time to discuss. Go to 50millionpounds.com and e-mail me from the contact us link.

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Fairfax, Va.: Dr. Smith, thanks for being on Wash Post. Question for you: I am trying to lose approx 35-40 pounds by August and was wondering two things: a. if this is possible (I know, vague question, but i do workout about three times a week and try to control my food intake), and b. how to eat to stay FULL. My biggest enemy is hunger, and even though i eat tons of fiber, i find myself extremely hungry throughout the day. Any suggestions?

Dr. Ian Smith: Yes, it's possible, but you have to work hard starting now. You're not eating enough or enough times. That's why I recommend eating four small meals a day. Also three times a week is not enough for what you're tyring to accomplish. Take a look at The 4 Day Diet. That will help you understand what you need to do.

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Greenbelt, Md.: I try to stop eating at least two hours before bedtime, but I also exercise right after work. I usually eat before I go to the gym, around 5 pm, but by the time I finish my work out and get home it is 8:30 and I am very hungry. Sometimes I stick to my guns and don't eat anything, only to wake up in the middle of the night painfully hungry. Other times I nibble on something (fruit, whole grain bread with a little peanut butter) but I feel like I am destroying the hard work I just did at the gym. What should I do?

Dr. Ian Smith: Eat you dinner 90 minutes before going to sleep. Then before sleeping definitely have 1 or 2 snacks, but 150 calories or less. Check out page 139 of The 4 Day Diet for these snacks.

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re: You'll never feel hungry. : Isn't it good to feel hungry at some point though? I've lost 10 pounds this year by eating less. I now eat when I start feeling hungry, and stop eating when I am no longer hungry. I used to stuff myself so that I would never, ever feel hunger. Now that I'm allowing myself to get hungry, I'm losing weight. Or maybe what you're getting at is that you won't feel hungry all day?

Dr. Ian Smith: Correct. It's about not feeling hungry all day. Also eat until you're not hungry, not until you're stuffed. Hunger is a signal that you should respond to as soon as possible.

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Dayton, OH: I know all the "right" things to do for weight loss but I have so many personal hang-ups and habits that prevent me from doing what is right. I need an overall attitude adjustment but can't seem to get there. I know the right foods to eat, I know that I should exercise more, etc. But why can't I get out of this rut of negative thinking? None of the major diet plans really address this -- they're all about the right foods, calorie or portion counting, etc. None really seem to get to the heart of the matter -- psychological roadblocks. What's out there that could help?

Dr. Ian Smith: I know I keep saying this, but my book, The 4 Day Diet, dedicates the first seven chapters to this issue of the mind and weight loss. You will be so empowered after reading those chapters. Then in chapter 8 you start the eating program.

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Intervals: Sorry wasn't more clear. Exercising all out for one minute recovery for two minutes. How many times a week and how long was my original question.

Dr. Ian Smith: Doing that three times a week should be good. The length really depends on the specific exercise. I can't say without knowing the entire routine.

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Alexandria - Meals Again: Hi again. Your comment confused me some. Isn't four meals a day plus two to three snacks still eating six times a day three to four hours apart still going to put me at eating something at 11:30 at night? Thanks.

Dr. Ian Smith: Yes, but it doesn't take all that time to eat. You eat the meals 3-4 hours apart and you eat the snacks within the 3-4 hours.

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African Mango?: I just read about African Mango as a supplement to increase metabolism and lose weight. I'm desperate; as a 54-year-old, formerly *very thin* woman, I can't get the pounds to budge!!

Dr. Ian Smith: African Mango? Are you serious? Forget it! Don't be fooled. Get on a real program!

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Willingboro, NJ: Dr. Ian, I've found it really hard to give up my morning coffee routine (tall with cream and sugar). It seems to trigger me to eat. Any ideas?

Dr. Ian Smith: I allow coffee on my program, but not with all the junk. Drink tea instead if you can't do any better.

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Washington, DC: Help! My family is visiting next week and they always bring tons of junk food with them and want to eat out at junk food restaurants or order pizza every night. That's all they like to eat, and they are overweight and don't seem to care. I'm worried about losing motivation. I've lost 11 pounds this year, and don't want a setback.

Dr. Ian Smith: DON"T let them steal your success! Period. Tell them that also. You have to be strong! Don't give it back. Stick to your program. You've worked too hard to give it back.

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Arlington, Va.: How do you feel about Hoodia or any other appetite suppressant ?

Dr. Ian Smith: NO WAY!!! NO WAY!!!!!!!

I have nothing else to say about that foolishness!

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Upper Marlboro, Md.: To the person that loves chocolate: Trader Joe's sells these 100-calorie chocolate bars that are great and really help with cravings. Also, try dark chocolate, it has more flavor, is better for you and it takes less of it to satisfy a craving.

Dr. Ian Smith: Good idea.

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Manassas, Va.: What do you think of these places like Diet to Go, e-diets, etc., that sell pre-portioned meals with a limited Calorie intake? I'm single and really hate to cook. I'd rather NUKE!

Dr. Ian Smith: If you can afford it, I guess. I personally think they're too much money. There are cheaper ways to do it, especially in this tough economy.

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Random Unrelated Question:: I realize this may not be posted, but I'll take a chance and ask. Do you have a twin brother? I recall seeing another fellow looking a lot like you on a television show.

Dr. Ian Smith:

Good eye. Yes, I do. He did an episode on MTV a couple of months back.

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Dr. Ian Smith: A lot of these questions are answered in my book The 4 Day Diet, so I'm going to post a synopsis here for everyone.

I want to share with you some great news about my new book that can help you reach your goals in a healthy, effective, and straightforward manner. More importantly, it will help you keep the weight off permanently, because it teaches you how to make lifestyle changes. No more roller coaster ride with your weight! The 4 Day Diet is really two books in one. The first half of the book deals with the common missteps that many people make while trying to lose weight. It teaches you how to set a proper weight loss goal, what's realistic to lose over a certain period of time, how to get motivated, how to avoid temptations, and how to STAY motivated. The second half of the book is the diet-the modular eating plan. This is a revolutionary way to eat that has produced tremendous results in those who have tried it. The diet is broken up into 4 day modules using regular, inexpensive food that you can purchase at any local grocery store. And to make it even easier, you don't have to count calories on this program as I have done it for you. All you have to do is follow the daily meal plans. These modules all have a theme and a purpose. There are 7 in total.

Induction (detox/cleansing)

Transition (to reintroduce all food groups)

Protein Stretch (to avoid plateaus)

Smooth (when you can have some formerly forbidden foods like pizza and French fries)

Push (the sprint just before the final stretch, back to a stricter eating plan)

Pace (a comfortable module for you to catch your breath)

Vigorous (the final module to lose those last few pounds)

The beauty of this eating plan is that every four days you are changing your eating style. One of the biggest complaints about most diets is that the food becomes boring after eating the same thing over and over. Not on The 4 Day Diet. You NEVER get bored because there's so much variety and flexibility in the food choices. Just think, every four days you can eat in an entirely different fashion. You will have no problems following this program. Just think-YOU CAN DO ANYTHING FOR JUST 4 DAYS.

What's also helpful is that once you do the Induction and Transition modules, you can decide the order in which you do the rest of the modules. And when you complete the modules, you simply go back and do them in any order that you prefer until you have hit your weight loss goal. With The 4 Day Diet, you don't feel like you're on a diet because the food is constantly changing.

The 4 Day Diet will not only get you to finally lose those stubborn pounds, but it will re-train your brain to get motivated and stay motivated. You will not only lose weight, but you will become healthier and enjoy all that life has to offer. This is not a short-term fix, it's about changing your lifestyle that will bring long-lasting success. The 4 Day Diet is now available in all bookstores, and you can also order a discounted copy at http://www.amazon.com or www.barnesandnoble.com. This is the plan that has helped many and it can help you too. I can't wait to receive updates on your success. The NEW you begins NOW!!!

Best,

Ian K. Smith, M.D.

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to Tampa seeking new breakfast idea: Smash a banana with plain low-fat yogurt, nuts, raisins, peanut butter, wheat germ. It's sorta like a smoothie without the trouble.

Dr. Ian Smith: Good idea.

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22044, Va.: Dr. Smith, are there any special considerations for people trying to lose weight because of major gain caused by a prescription drug being taken? I gained 25 pounds in six months before I knew it while on a new drug, and still think the drug has some effect on my metabolism. I'm taking charge with exercise and calorie counting, but it's still been a frustrating, slow-going experience. Any advice?

Dr. Ian Smith: Yes, ask your doctor. Can you take another drug that will be effective for your condition, but not have the side effect of weight gain?

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Rolla, Mo.: Ever been fat? Just curious.

Dr. Ian Smith: Nope. Always been active in sports and never ate big meals. No soda or fast food for more than 20 years.

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I've found it really hard to give up my morning coffee routine (tall with cream and sugar). It seems to trigger me to eat. Any ideas?: I like peppermint tea. It's the one tea I've found that I enjoy without sweetener. Give it a try -- after a few days you might agree.

Dr. Ian Smith: Good idea.

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Upper Marlboro, Md.: I'm interested in your thoughts on natural sweeeteners versus artificial sweeteners. I noticed that my headaches stopped after I stopped drinking Diet Soda and Crystal Light so I'm now a fan of Stevia and Agave when I do sweeten, which is rare. Are these safe?

Dr. Ian Smith: No one knows for sure. Some say yes, some say no. The jury is still out. I eat regular sugar, I just don't go crazy. I'm a fan of the old way. Limit portions.

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Rockville, Md.: I've got the exercise thing down, and I love to do it. I do have problems with food, though. If I'm bored or sad, I eat. I'll tell myself not to do it, but I lack the self control. And the snacks I choose aren't really unhealthy, but I just eat a lot of them. I guess portion control isn't really my thing. What can I do to stick with a more sensible snacking plan?

Dr. Ian Smith: Please read the posting I wrote about The 4 Day Diet.

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Sugar addiction: I can sympathize. I was totally addicted, could eat packets of sugar straight. My advice is just cut the sugar out. No sweets period. Do it for long enough (in my case a couple of months) and the cravings go away.

Dr. Ian Smith: For some this might work, but for others they have to get off slowly. It depends on your body and what works for each person. Give it a try and see if this works.

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Long Island, NY: Dr Smith, for Lent, I gave up both alcohol and chocolate (my normal consumption was about five drinks a week and would eat approx 1/2/oz chocolate per day). Even though I've really haven't changed anything else, I've dropped about 5 pounds in 5 weeks (I'm 5'7", 163 lbs). I have been trying to figure out what was the bigger factor in my weight loss so I know what I should cut out going forward. Do I give up the Cadburys or the Sierra Nevada Pale Ale going forward?

Dr. Ian Smith: SODA!!! I would give it up in a heart beat. What you've learned is that small changes can yield big results. Keep going!!!!

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Carrboro, NC: Dr. Smith, if one doesn't have metabolic disorder, what other reason might make it difficult for a 50+ body to build energy needed to burn calories post menopause? Others have mentioned the body's inability to absorb B-12 and other nutrients. What's your thought on this?

Dr. Ian Smith: There are lots of possbilities which are too many to go into right now in this forum. E-mail me and I'll try to respond that way.

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I'd rather NUKE!: What about those "steam fresh" veggies you can nuke? I've been eating those with baked chicken on nights I don't have lots of time to cook.

Dr. Ian Smith: They are yummy and healthy! Great suggestion.

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Baltimore, Md.: I exercise every day, and I am not tempted to overeat when I'm at work or otherwise away from home. But at home, I constantly gravitate to the kitchen to snack! Do you have any tips on breaking this habit? I do not have any junk food in the house, but I'm still consuming too many calories.

Dr. Ian Smith: Yes, read the first seven chapters of The 4 Day Diet. It's all in there and there are exercises you can do that will help.

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re: My biggest enemy is hunger, and even though i eat tons of fiber, i find myself extremely hungry throughout the day. : Sometimes nothing will satisfy me but some protein. If I have protein, I'm satisfied and stop eating. If I don't have protein, I keep nibbling at different things and end up consuming more calories than if I'd just had the protein and been satisifed.

Dr. Ian Smith: Protein is great to feel full longer and to increase your metabolism.

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Exercise: I really want to help emphasize the importance of exercising and the overall impact. Since I started running a few years ago, it is amazing how much better I feel and look. Overall pounds dropped isn't all that great (20) but I've lost two clothing sizes and feel better about myself. I also don't eat the really bad stuff for me because running with junk food in your belly is not a pretty sight. But the most weight I lost in the shortest amount of time was when I got a dog and started really long walks with her. Making sure she was healthy and happy has made me healthy and happier. And you are forced to move every day no matter the weather.

Dr. Ian Smith: GREAT point! Thanks for adding this.

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WDC -- Madison: I'm 5'71/2" (African American) currently weighing 177 and I have been advised by my doctor that 160 is the best and where I should stay once I achieve that goal. However, according to most of the BMI I can go as low as 142 and shouldn't exceed 165. I don't think aiming for 160 is "safe" enough and would like to know your opinion?

Dr. Ian Smith: I think that if you fall into a healthy BMI that it's safe enough. There is a range that you can fall into and as long as you're in that range, it's great!

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Fairfax, Va.: Thanks for the advice on how to drop the 35-40 pounds. If i do the 4 Day Diet, will that be enough eating-wise to accomplish this? And as far as exercise, if three days a week won't cut it, what do you suggest? Four days of cardio and three of weight training? Up the length of the workout rather than the times?

Dr. Ian Smith: You will NOT be hungry on The 4 Day Diet if you eat and drink all that's listed. Also, the book tells you what exercise you need to do for each day. It's very straight forward.

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Do I give up the Cadburys or the Sierra Nevada Pale Ale going forward?: Give up the beer. I did nothing to change my diet a few years ago except give up beer, and I lost 13 pounds. I drank sparkling water instead.

Dr. Ian Smith: AGREED!!!! I meant to say beer before and I said soda. My bad.

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Washington, DC: You're the best guest ever. You've answered so many questions! How do I wean myself off soda?

Dr. Ian Smith: Reduce it by a can or cup a week and replace that with water, flavored water, tea, or fresh juice. Also, diet is better than regular soda!

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DC Diva: Hi Dr. Ian! I am a 23 year old, black female who has lost over 40 pounds since my peak in high school (down from 270!) but I have stalled at around 230 pounds for the past two years. I really want keep going to eventually lose another 50 or so pounds, but nothing I have done seems to make anything budge. My biggest thing is that I cannot give up sugar. I love desserts! Is sugar affecting my metabolism? Thank you -- Love ya!

Dr. Ian Smith: Not your metabolism, but your calorie intake. Sugar is not the enemy, but overconsuming it is. You need more fruits--natural sugars in your diet. Have you read my plan?

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Dr. Ian Smith: We have 5 minutes left in this chat. I can take a couple of more questions. This has been fun. I hope it's helped.

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Washington, DC: What about the Acai Berry? Is there any benefits to using any form of it? Also what type of detox do you recommend and for how long?

www.washingtonpost.com: No Matter How You Say It, Acai Comes With Some Pronounced Doubts (Post, March 31 2009)

Dr. Ian Smith: Are you serious? NO WAY!! Doesn't do all that it's been said. This thing has become an Internet legend. Don't believe. Do the right thing.

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Van Ness, DC: Hi, Dr. Ian! Love you on Celebrity Fit Club and on The Steve Harvey Show. I am going to buy the book at lunch today! I'm having trouble with motivating myself to eat better and workout. I really would like to lose 30 or so pounds over the next three months. Does that sound reasonable? I'm 5'5" and about 165 right now. I've been afraid to weigh myself this year! Thanks!

Dr. Ian Smith: It's definitely possible, but let's say four months to be safe. Follow the plan in the book. You will LOVE the results!

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Upper Marlboro, Md.: Me again...lol...last question. I hope this gets answered. In what circumstances do you think drugs should be prescribed? I have at least 100 pounds to lose and I have tried phentermine and meridia in the past with results, but the weight returned and then some after I stopped taking them. Are these ever an option? What about weight loss surgery? When does that become an option?

Dr. Ian Smith: You answered your own question. Diet pills DON'T work in the vast majority of cases. Think about it. If they did, we wouldn't have such an obesity problem. Everyone would be on pills. Surgery is right for the right people. Please know they are dangerous and still require you to eat right and exercise.

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Follow-up from Long Island..: Dr. Smith, I presume you suggested I cut out the candy/chocolate versus the alcohol, right (I'm a diet soda drinker)?

Dr. Ian Smith: Alcohol first. Diet soda is better than alcohol.

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Do I give up the Cadburys or the Sierra Nevada Pale Ale going forward: Or alternate. My success was because I never forbade any food or created a sense of deprivation. I just decided I had to choose one 'treat' rather than letting myself have them all everyday. So if I have a dough nut at work, it's realizing I won't have a glass of wine at dinner. OR, on the other hand, it's easier to pass up on that dought nut if I tell myself it's so I can have one glass of wine later as a reward for a good day.

Dr. Ian Smith: Excellent point! EXCELLENT!

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Dr. Ian Smith: UNFORTUNATELY, OUR TIME HAS ENDED. I HOPED THIS HELPED. I HAD FUN. JOIN ME AT WWW.50MILLIONPOUNDS.COM. HOPEFULLY THE WASHINGTON POST WILL INVITE ME BACK FOR ANOTHER CHAT. IF YOU WANT TO KNOW ABOUT MY PLAN, THE 4 DAY DIET IS AVAILABLE EVERYWHERE BOOKS ARE SOLD AND ONLINE AT AMAZON.COM AND BARNESANDNOBLE.COM. UNTIL NEXT TIME. BELIEVE. PERSIST. WORK HARD. DREAM!

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