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SEPTA Joins Dr. Ian Smith's Shredder Nation

Kristin Geiger
Press Officer

Last month, Maxine Dobbins, a SEPTA employee asked her cousin to visit her at work. Fortunate for SEPTA, her cousin is well-known health and fitness expert Dr. Ian K. Smith who agreed to host two sessions at SEPTA headquarters to discuss his new weight loss and book, SHRED, The Revolutionary Diet.

"Any company who cares about their employees, cares about their health," Dr. Ian said to a crowd of SEPTA employees. "Healthier people are happier people and it's a great thing SEPTA cares about the health of its employees."

Dr. Ian served as the medical/diet expert for six seasons on VH1's highly-rated Celebrity Fit Club. He is the creator and founder of the 50 Million Pound Challenge and Makeover Mile, and a medical contributor on the nationally syndicated television show, "Rachel Ray." Dr. Smith is also the host of his own nationally syndicated radio show "HealthWatch" on American Urban Radio Networks.

Once each session began, it became evident that this was more than an overview of Dr. Ian's SHRED Diet program - this was a motivational call to action for SEPTA employees to make a serious life change. Through a realistic, down-to-earth approach, he explained that dieting shouldn't be complicated. He encouraged employees to envision their end result, make their well-being a priority and to focus on how to be better people.

"Sometimes it helps to see your direction ahead," Dr. Ian said. "When you really want something, you figure out how to get there - that's what weight loss is."

It didn't take long for the doctor to offer a sure-fire way to help SEPTA employees reach their personal health and fitness goals. He challenged all SEPTA employees to follow the program and join Shredder Nation.

What started out as a few helpful tips shared amongst his friends, evolved into an internet phenomenon and best selling book - SHRED, The Revolutionary Diet. Written and created by Dr. Ian, the SHRED diet program requires its followers to eat four meals of healthy protein and vegetables or meal replacements (soups, salads, smoothies, shakes) and three low-calorie snacks each day for six weeks. Upon completion, the average shredder looses 20 lbs, 4 inches or two clothing sizes.

Starting Monday, February 4th more than 100 SEPTA employees will accept the challenge to start following the SHRED program. At the end of March, employees who joined the Shredder Nation will be able to compare their "Before" photos to their "After" photos and share their success stories.

As Dr. Ian mentioned during the discussion, "It's important to reward yourself after you hit the milestones." And he has a big reward in store for SEPTA employees who complete the challenge - he's returning to SEPTA headquarters at the end of the six-week period to congratulate all of the program participants. Five employees from the group will be chosen at random to have lunch with Dr. Ian.

Rhonda Bell, a SEPTA bus operator couldn't wait for the challenge to begin. After attending one of Dr. Ian's sessions she began following the exercise and diet program. She lost five pounds within the first week and attributes her first week of success to taking the ten-minute walk to her bus instead of getting a ride, varying her workout routine and preparing her meals for the week on her day off.

"You've got to plan ahead," Bell said. "We all know what we should and shouldn't be doing - I love chocolate and found Special K bars that meet the calorie requirement, so I don't feel like I'm depriving myself."

Bell, represents one of more than 9,300 employees. Many like her, work in the field operating and maintaining the Authority's vast transit and commuter rail fleet while sustaining a 24/7 split shift work schedule.

In addition to the SHRED Diet, SEPTA also encourages employees to follow other healthy weight loss programs such as Weight Watchers and NutriSystem to support its wellness mission to empower employees and their family members to be active and responsible partners in achieving and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. After all, employees are the Authority's most valuable asset. And as SEPTA Senior Director of Human Resources, Jacob Aufschauer said, "We're excited to support whatever methods or programs our employees want to use to reach their health and fitness goals."

In January, Dr. Ian discussed weight loss and his new book, SHRED, The Revolutionary Diet with SEPTA employees.

After each session, SEPTA employees waited in line for their opporunity to chat one-on-one with Dr. Ian.

Dr. Ian poses for a picture with a SEPTA employee.

After attending one of Dr. Ian's sessions, SEPTA bus operator Rhonda Bell began following the SHRED program.