While losing 50 million pounds may seem impossible, Dr. Ian Smith regularly challenges Americans to reach that goal collaboratively. Creator and founder of The 50 Million Pound Challenge, Dr. Ian developed the challenge to provide people with a weight-loss support system. Upon joining at no charge, each member receives a personalized weight loss plan as well as the opportunity to join a weight loss team, with over one million members to choose from.
Now Dr. Ian has taken his personal challenge as well as The 50 Million Pound Challenge to a new level. On September 12, sixty cities nationwide will hold walking events as a “first step” towards losing weight and getting healthy. With 16 mayors supporting Dr. Ian and the walk, they are determined to get America on the right track.
Dr. Ian answered our burning questions about weight loss, getting healthy and his determination and goals for the challenge.
NSD: What is your inspiration behind the 50 Million Pound Challenge?
IS: I’ve spent so many years talking about the obesity epidemic and the need for us to do something about it. I realized that I was nothing more than a talking head like everyone else. I needed to get off the sidelines of reporting the news and start being part of the solution. I figured that if I could get America to collectively lose 50 Million Pounds, then others would be inspired to start programs that would also help us attack this critical obesity issue. I don’t believe there is one solution. There are many solutions and the 50 Million Pound Challenge is one of them. The obesity problem is so complicated and so layered that it’s going to require a concerted effort from multiple parties to start reversing this deadly tide.
NSD: What is your goal for this walk, and how does it encourage people to get healthy and fit?
IS: I have two major goals for this walk. The first is awareness. I want to increase the national dialogue not just about how much in trouble we are when it comes to obesity, but also around the need to discuss and implement plans of action. Too many people show up on the news and in newspapers talking about the problem and not enough people are offering and executing strategies at the grass roots level to make a difference. My second goal is to get people to understand that making changes in their life is as simple as getting up and moving. These are the first steps of what I hope will be many steps for people who know they need to make changes but haven’t followed through with doing something about it. Walking with lots of people and establishing support is a key way to get people on the road to weight loss and health success.
NSD: What do you hope for people after they complete the walk?
IS: I hope people will believe in themselves that they can actually make the necessary changes to turn their life around. I want people to believe that there’s hope. I want people to understand that this is a national problem that cuts across all ethnic, political, religious, and age lines. I hope this walk will constitute the first steps of many for those who are participating. I also believe that many will be encouraged to become advocates and go spread the word in their communities and inspire people to start living healthier. People should leave this walk knowing we CAN control our health destiny more than we think.
NSD: What are some of your greatest successes in this project?
IS: My latest book, The 4 Day Diet, along with the resources available on the website have helped hundreds of thousands of people lose considerable weight. We’ve had one person lose close to 200 pounds and many lose 100 pounds. But success isn’t just in the numbers on the scale. We have people who are no longer needing diabetes medications and are lowering their cholesterol levels. There are thousands of people who once saw no hope but are now feeling more active and motivated. They feel like they have a new lease on life.
NSD: Why do people love the 50 Million Pound Challenge?
IS: People love the 50 Million Pound Challenge because it’s real. It’s doable. It’s relatable. It’s well-informed. It’s accessible. It’s supportive. It’s friendly. It’s easy. It’s delivering great results— and it’s FREE!
NSD: If someone wants to start getting healthy but doesn't know where to start, what would you tell them?
IS: People need to make a commitment to themselves first. They have to seriously want to be healthy from the core of their being. A lot of people say they want to lose weight and/or be healthy, but they don’t do what it takes to fulfill the promise. You have to make yourself a priority and not let excuses impede progress. The first chapter of The 4 Day Diet is titled “A Sense of Where You Are.” You must acknowledge where you are and how you got to where you are. It must be an honest conversation that uncovers the causes as to why you find yourself overweight and needing to lose weight. Being honest with yourself means you can move on to the next step of executing the plan.
NSD: One of the trickiest parts about eating healthy is snacking. Do you have some tips?
- Only have snacks that are 150 calories or less.
- Choose crunchy foods such as celery, nuts, cucumbers, and carrots. For some reason the crunch appears to suppress our appetite.
- Snack between meals, but make sure the snack isn’t as big as a meal. Remember, the snack should be a bridge between meals, not a meal itself.
- Drink water with your snacks. Drink at least a cup (8 oz) or more if you can. This helps to make your stomach feel full.
- Alternate between types of snacks. While fruits and veggies are extremely healthy, mix it up. Sometimes it’s fine to have a couple of cookies or a brownie. Watch your portion control, but don’t be afraid to answer that sweet tooth unless you’re someone who can’t stop with smaller portions.
NSD: What's your mantra?
IS: Small changes yield big differences.