Picture Perfect Weight Loss

 By Mizpah Matus B.Hlth.Sc(Hons)

Background

Picture Perfect Weight Loss was written by Dr.Howard Shapiro, a well known medical doctor, who has advised several celebrities in addition to acting as a weight loss adviser to the New York police and fire departments.

He has written several weight loss books that utilize a visual system of learning about the nutritional content of food as a tool for permanent weight reduction.

Picture Perfect Diet Basics

picture-perfect-weight-lossDr. Shapiro has created a unique visual program for weight loss where dieters are presented with images of food and information is provided in regard to their caloric content. A large part of the program involves comparing higher calorie foods with servings of lower calorie foods in terms of photographs. This system allows dieters to increase their awareness of the calories in food without having to rigidly count calories.

Dr.Shapiro highlights the fact that his program is not about deprivation but about learning to select filling nutritious foods that will not provide an excess of calories. He maintains that you can actually eat more food and still lose weight so long as you have an awareness of which foods contain the most calories.

To illustrate his point he provides many visual comparisons. For example, a medium serve of French fries has the same calories as four ears of corn on the cob. A one-inch piece of cheese is equal to one and a half cups of pumpkin soup. One sausage is the same as 32 dill pickles.

Although the foundation of Dr.Shapiro’s program is the visual content, his program is actually a holistic approach to weight loss whereby each week the dieter will find substitutions for higher calorie foods for one meal (e.g. breakfast in the first week), while simultaneously dieters will gradually increase exercise and focus on specific psychological factors that may be hindering weight loss attempts.

An essential element of Picture Perfect Weight loss is for dieters to keep a food journal for at least seven days in order to increase awareness about food choices and the psychological factors involved in eating.

Early versions of the book lacked guidance in regard to meal planning but the more recent version contains a complete 30-day plan.

Recommended Foods

Low fat foods are generally recommended because they allow dieters to eat a higher volume of food for a lower calorie intake. This means that dieters can eat more food and still lose weight.

A small selection of the recommended foods includes fresh fruit and vegetables, vegetable and bean based soups, low fat pasta dishes, seafood, low fat baked goods and cereals, low fat yogurt, fruit sorbet, and pickles.

Sample Diet Plan

Breakfast

French toast stuffed with berries and light cream cheese
Coffee, tea or diet cocoa

Lunch

Creole style red bean soup with shrimp
Mixed greens with vinaigrette
Iced tea

Afternoon Snack

Fresh mango

Dinner

Cajun style snapper
1.5 cups zucchini with tomatoes
1 grilled acorn squash
10 French fries

Evening Snack

Baked apple

Find other great healthy meal ideas here.

Exercise Recommendations

Early versions of Picture Perfect Weight Loss give exercise recommendations however this guidance is lacking in the 30-day plan.

These exercises should will help with the success of Picture Perfect Weight Loss.

Costs and Expenses

Dr.Shapiro’s Picture Perfect Weight Loss retails for $15.99 and Dr. Shapiro’s Picture Perfect Weight Loss 30 Day Plan retails for $19.99.

Pros

  • No calorie counting.
  • Flexible and not restrictive. Dieters do not need to give up their favorite foods.
  • Allow dieters to make choices, which can be empowering and supportive of long-term lifestyle changes.
  • Gives dieters the tools necessary in order to create a self-sustaining weight loss diet.
  • Great for those who are visually orientated.
  • Includes a wide variety of meal examples and recipes.
  • Proven to be successful with New York police and fire fighters.
  • Provides guidance for parents to make healthier choices for their children’s meals.

Cons

  • Promises quick results, which is unrealistic for most dieters.
  • Encourages the use of fortified soy products.
  • Encourages many high sodium content foods.

Conclusions

The main point made by Dr.Shapriro is that dieters can choose to eat a small serving of a high calorie food or a larger amount of fruit, vegetables and other low fat foods. Picture Perfect Weight Loss is good for dieters who want to increase their awareness of the calorie contents of food but do not want to commit to a rigid calorie counting diet.

 By Mizpah Matus B.Hlth.Sc(Hons)
Last Reviewed: May 29, 2011. Disclaimer

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