The SHRED Concept
SHRED is a revolutionary diet plan that combines several different strategies in an effort to help users lose weight, increase confidence, and improve overall wellness. Unlike many other programs that simply focus on how many pounds are lost on the scale, SHRED also improves other health factors, such as reducing risk for high blood pressure, decreasing the risk for diabetes, and improving energy levels. With so many programs available it is reasonable to ask why one would choose SHRED over another popular diet. The answer is simple. SHRED allows you to eat normal food that’s inexpensive. It is extremely simple to understand, and it does not require perfection for you to find success. Another important aspect that many SHREDDERs have liked is that the diet can be customized based on the results you’re looking for or any dietary preferences you might have. You will find that making substitutions while SHREDDING is not only allowed but encouraged, as it will not impede your success in any way.
There are many programs that can help you lose weight, but there are few that combine the appropriate balance of challenging you while at the same time not making it too difficult to follow for the long term. One major problem with many diet plans is that while they can help users lose weight, they are so extreme, difficult, or uncomfortable that dieters are unable to follow the guidelines for an extended period of time. The second you stop following the plan, the pounds that were lost pile back on with a vengeance, and often, then some. This is not the case with SHRED. The vast majority of those surveyed who tried the early versions of the program repeatedly commented that unlike other plans they had tried, SHRED was one they could see themselves following forever.
There are many principles at work in SHRED that lead to the tremendous success that so many experience. Ease of use is at the top of the list: each day is thoughtfully planned out so that your need to think about what works and what doesn’t is kept to a minimum. Ironically, many who have been asked about programs that give them the greatest level of flexibility in choosing the foods they can eat say that too much flexibility can actually make the diet more difficult. It’s a struggle to have so many choices in front of them. SHRED spells out in detail each meal you will consume for six weeks, but it also gives you plenty of room to make substitutions so that you can swap out meals if you like.
SHRED is a six-week program. You may well stay on SHRED for more than six weeks, but each six weeks is considered to be a cycle. Based on the hundreds of SHREDDERs who have tried the program and provided feedback, the average weight loss for a cycle is between 18 and 25 pounds. Results, as with any diet program, will vary from person to person for various reasons, but more than with any diet I’ve developed or been aware of, what has been amazingly satisfying is how consistent the weight loss has been. Ninety-three percent of the people who have been on the program have lost weight each week of the cycle. Even better, many who had been using other diet plans and had hit a plateau found that just a week on SHRED got them losing weight again.
In general, those who are closer to their target weight will definitely lose weight but tend to lose weight a little more slowly. This is to be expected, so if you fall into this category, don’t be disappointed if you don’t see the numbers on the scale drop quickly or significantly at first. Look for any progress, whether it be increased energy or losing inches. However, those who have more than 30 pounds to lose will typically start seeing results right away. The average results on SHRED are 6-4-2. In six weeks most people who closely follow the program lose four inches and two sizes.
Once you have completed an initial six-week cycle, if you still have more weight to lose, the program is designed for you to cycle again. After the first cycle, you can reorder the weeks of a new cycle in any fashion that works best for you. This is only one way in which SHRED can be customized to fit your needs. I recognize that there’s no such thing as “one size fits all” when it comes to diet plans, but SHRED comes close.
Each week of SHRED is designed to stand on its own and to be different from the weeks before. Each of the six weeks has a name that reflects the theme for that week. The weeks are Prime, Challenge, Transformation, Ascend, Cleanse, and Explode. While each week represents a leg in your journey, it also builds on those that precede it. The program teaches you how to make smarter choices and has specific strategies embedded in the daily meal and exercise plans: sometimes you will recognize them and other times you will not. The overall effect, however, is that you will continuously SHRED fat. You will see the declining numbers on the scale and a reduction in inches wherever you need to lose them: whether it be in your waist, thighs, or hips.
It has been my experience that programs that start out asking followers to make extreme changes in their dietary and/or exercise habits are least effective over the long term. Users either can never fully engage the program, because it’s asking too much of them, or they are able to do some of the program but not all of it, leading them to become discouraged and drop out altogether. SHRED acknowledges some very basic facts. First, losing weight is not easy and quite often is extremely frustrating. Second, no one is a perfect eater or exerciser and expecting someone—anyone—to be perfect and not have bad days is completely unrealistic. Third, success comes from following a program that one can ease into, rather than a program that starts out too aggressively rigorous and restrictive. People don’t always want to feel like they’re on a diet!
Prime. These seven days prime you for the rest of the plan. This week is an induction into SHREDDER Nation. You’ll learn about the importance of meal spacing, proper snacking techniques, and suppressing hunger without consuming too many calories. The average weight loss this week will be 3.5 pounds. This could be less if you’re within 20 pounds of your goal weight. The further you are away from your target weight and the worse your habits have been prior to starting the program, the more weight you will lose. Many who fit this description have lost as much as 8 to 10 pounds during Prime. One hundred percent of the people who have been on the program—regardless of how much weight they needed to lose—answered in their survey that they had enough to eat, some going so far as to say that there was so much food they couldn’t manage to eat everything on the daily menus.
Challenge is a week that asks you to demand more of yourself. It asks you to release some of your bad habits and adopt some new behaviors that you will have for the rest of your life. This week says that you can do better: you’ll learn after a couple of days that despite early doubts you might have about yourself, you actually can rise to the challenge. This week is a confidence booster, because it shows many dieters that despite their failures in the past or what they have previously perceived to be difficult, they actually have what it takes to succeed. At the end of the Challenge you will be motivated more than ever to truly make a commitment to a healthier lifestyle and to reach the goals you have set forth prior to starting your SHRED.
Transformation week is a critical seven days where most SHREDDERs start truly noticing a difference. Not only will the scale reflect your hard work, but many realize for the first time at the end of this week that they have dropped a clothing size, their energy levels are much greater, and their outlook about their success on the program heightens dramatically. Transformation is designed to be the toughest week of the program. You will be challenged the most during this week, but it’s nothing you can’t handle. Knowing this week is the toughest is half the battle. The other half is putting your head down and getting through it. If you focus, this week will be your best friend. Every day visualize the fat being SHREDDED and your body’s appearance changing.
Ascend is an important turnaround week. Imagine that for the last three weeks you have been descending into a pit. Last week you finally reached the bottom and started to regain strength so that you can climb your way out. The seven days of Ascend have been specifically constructed so that you are now exiting the darkness and ascending toward the light. You have already completed the toughest week of the program, so Ascend will come as a relief. You will continue to work hard, but the work will not feel as strenuous as it did the week before. Reinvigorated after three weeks on the program, you are now energized to finish the rest of the cycle at full speed.
Cleanse is a week that pays special attention to enhancing your liver’s ability to detoxify your blood. All of us—even those who eat as healthfully as possible—accumulate some level of toxins in our bodies. We want to eliminate these toxins as efficiently as possible. Sometimes livers can be overwhelmed, so occasionally it’s beneficial to give them a little boost in carrying out their jobs. Certain foods can provide this boost by activating special enzymes in the liver that facilitate the cleansing process. There are also foods that work to increase the activity of the gastrointestinal tract. This creates a physical cleanse. This week you will do both. Not only will you improve your physical health this week, but you will continue your weight loss: some will lose their largest amounts during these seven days.
Explode is the last week of the cycle. It’s meant to help you end the cycle with a bang. For some, this week will be their last and they will have reached their goal. For others, Explode is a launching pad into the next cycle. At this point in the program SHREDDERs will have gone through the toughest as well as the easiest portions of the cycle and now are using all they have learned to explode into a new lifestyle that will serve them well for the rest of their lives. The purpose of SHRED is not only to get rid of excess weight and the bad habits that have contributed to the problem, but to position you so that you no longer have to be on a diet. No longer will you need to read the plan or follow the meal plans to the letter; you will now be eating, drinking, and exercising in a manner that you can do for the rest of your life.
A lot is made in every diet about what you eat, how much you eat, and how many calories you consume. These three factors, of course, have a tremendous impact on whether the body will gain weight, maintain weight, or lose weight. But a factor that is lost on many people is the spacing of meals. Research has continuously shown that spacing your meals and snacks in a regular manner can be extremely advantageous to weight loss. Hormones such as insulin and cortisol play a role in weight gain and, subsequently, weight loss. New research has shown that keeping hormone levels as consistent as possible and avoiding spikes in their release and, their concentration in blood levels can be an added benefit when dieting.
SHRED pays as much attention to when you’re eating as it does to what you’re eating. Throughout the six weeks, the plan guides you to strategically time your meals. Everyone understands the relationship between calorie counts and weight gain, but for many it might come as a new concept that the timing of your meals and snacks can be a reason why you are or aren’t losing weight. Many of us have extremely irregular and unhealthy eating schedules: 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.
We can learn a lot from the world of weight lifting. There’s a well-known principle when it comes to lifting weights called “muscle confusion.” Not everyone believes in this principle, but it has its ardent supporters and has been around for a long time. I find it to be an interesting principle. The basis of muscle confusion is that if one performs the same exercise—let’s say for two months your workout regimen involves lifting five-pound dumbbells every other day for ten repetitions per set for three sets. After a period of time, your muscles start to accommodate to the exercise. This means that the more often your muscles perform this routine, the more efficient they become at it. The more efficient they become at performing the exercise, the more likely you are to plateau and not burn as many calories. Basically, the muscles are no longer impressed or stressed enough by the exercise because they have seen it too often for too long, and so they know what to expect and how to best deal with it. They no longer need to expend the same relative effort that was required when you first started the exercise routine. The more you do the exercise the less of a return you get for your efforts.
The theory of muscle confusion says that it’s possible to confuse the muscles and prevent a plateau by varying the types of exercises, sets, repetitions, and weights. So instead of using the dumbbells in the same fashion every time you work out, try a different machine, a different amount of weight, or a different number of repetitions. The belief is that if you do this you will continue to challenge the muscles and optimize growth and caloric burn.
While this theory typically applies to muscle growth, SHRED adopts a similar theoretical approach when it comes to nutrition. The idea is that by eating the same food all of the time, a couple of things can happen. First, there’s an increased chance that you will reach diet boredom. At some point you will tire of eating the same thing and the temptation to eat something that’s not on the plan increases to the point where you start sampling off the menu. One small sampling leads to bigger sampling, until eventually you are barely following the plan and making up your own rules as you see fit. The second thing that could theoretically happen is that by eating the same food all of the time, the body becomes acclimated to eating those foods and more efficient at processing them. This increased efficiency means less energy needed for digestion. So varying your nutritional choices can keep the body guessing, and it’s this guessing that could keep up your metabolism and keep your body off kilter. SHRED introduces a variety of foods in the hopes of decreasing your chances of food boredom and possibly increasing your metabolism.
THE SHREDDER MENTALITY
Dieting is 80 percent mental and 20 percent physical. Why is it that two people who have the same plan to follow can have such different results or levels of engagement? Why can some people who do the work to lose weight keep off the pounds, but others who have also succeeded end up gaining them back? Why do some people give up after only a couple of weeks on a plan, even though they are experiencing success? In many cases, one’s mentality is a large part of these answers. The mental aspect of dieting can never be overstated. Willpower, discipline, motivation—these are universally mentioned by the vast majority of dieters who say they have tried to lose weight in the past, but have not been successful. Regardless of how good a plan might be, if one doesn’t believe in it and follow it, success will not be achieved. SHRED has built-in strategies that grow confidence and keep you inspired to stick with the plan and achieve success. In fact, many are so concentrated on the food and exercise as they are going through the cycle, they don’t even realize they are also developing the mental toughness critical for success.
Many programs penalize users if they stray from the plan or don’t give 100 percent. SHRED will never do this. SHRED is what I like to call a forgiving plan. SHRED understands that no one can eat or exercise perfectly, so it never requires or expects it. Many who have followed the plan have sent me e-mails expressing confidence that they will never return to the bad habits that put them in the difficult predicament from which they have finally emerged. They often speak about how for the first time, after many failed dieting attempts, they now have the willpower to do what they have always known is the right thing to do. SHREDDERs develop a new mental approach not just to food, beverages, and exercise, but also to the entirety of life.
Copyright © 2012 by Ian K. Smith, M.D.