Not only is a picture worth a thousand words--it's also the key to helping you lose weight through the Picture Perfect Weight Loss Diet. Created by Physician Howard Shapiro, this plan helps dieters obtain a better grasp of their eating habits.
The Picture Perfect Weight Loss Diet is all about making better food choices through visual learning. The book presents pictures illustrating different food choices you can make for a given calorie allotment. For instance, the book depicts a serving of french fries and four ears of corn on the cob. Both have the same calorie count. The idea is to get you to think about your food differently and start making better choices.
There really isn't a prescribed diet outlined in the Picture Perfect Weight Loss books. What Shapiro puts forward is a strategy called FAT: Food Awareness Training. The idea is to change your habits based upon knowledge of the kinds of foods you should be eating. You should find lower calorie substitutions for foods and meals most of the time (i.e. eating something like scrambled egg whites, a bowl of fruit and a piece of whole wheat toast instead of a donut for breakfast). A key component of the diet is to keep track of the foods you eat through a food diary for seven days.
No foods are really off limits. However, Dr. Shapiro shares his own food pyramid to use for guidance. Fruits and vegetables are key in this diet--consume as many as you want as often as you want. Refined flour products should be replaced with whole grains, and the suggested protein sources are seafood, legumes and soy. Fats in the form of avocados, nuts, seeds and healthy oils (like olive oil or grapeseed oil) are best. For dessert, he recommends eating hard candies and fat-free frozen desserts. Overall, the diet emphasizes eating lots of low-fat foods because you can eat more without taking on too many calories.
What to Get Excited Over
Dr. Shapiro is a respected physician who was tasked to help the NYPD and NYFD lose weight, so the ideas he outlines are safe and legitimate. The Picture Perfect Weight Loss Diet is an effective weight loss approach not only because it is gradual, but also because it helps you learn and make behavioral changes. Seeing is believing--being made aware just how caloric some of your favorite foods are makes it easier for you to make healthier choices. It's also not a restrictive diet.
Things to Consider
There is no exercise component outlined in this plan. If you need step by step instructions in order to be successful in your health plan, you'll want to look elsewhere. This book is less of a plan than it is an aid in making smarter food choices. It also encourages eating low calorie alternatives of desserts when eating a small portion of the real thing is more satisfying.
This approach is great if you're embarking on a healthier lifestyle and want to be more knowledgeable when it comes to food choices. For most people, though, it may not provide enough of an outline for success.