5/19/2011

Healthy Book Club: Dr. Shapiro's Picture Perfect Weight Loss # 1 (Introduction)



Introduction: Yes, It's Okay to Eat!


When I first started reading the introduction, I didn't know exactly what to expect.  I have read a few weight loss books before and am familiar with a few diets as well.  However, Dr. Shapiro's approach in this book, as demonstrated by the title of the introduction, is revolutionary in a field where diets are defined by how much you can't eat and foods that you can't have.  

Although this book was published a decade ago, the background that Shapiro gives is evergreen.  Every day people start and stop diets, in search for the "magical" method that will help them lose weight.  Dr. Shapiro's prescription is simple- Food Awareness Training.

What exactly is Food Awareness Training?  Simply put, it is about realizing that there is no such thing as "bad foods."  Instead of restricting his patients to a strict program, Shapiro teaches his patients (and he will teach the readers of this book) how to make better choices.  There are five basic principles that Shapiro gives in the introduction.

1.  Any reason for eating is okay.
(I'm not sure how I feel about this point yet.)  Dr. Shapiro states that research shows (although he does not exactly indicate where this research comes from)  there really isn't a difference between physical and emotional hunger.  He feels that a person should eat when they want to eat whether or not they are "hungry" since depriving yourself could cause you to eat more eventually than what you would have originally.  For clarification, he also states that you should opt for healthier and lower calorie items instead.

2.  There are no bad foods.
Once again, Shapiro is advocating his patients (and the readers of this book) to become empowered when it comes to the items that they eat.  He feels that a person should eat any food they desire.  Similarly to the first principle, Shapiro wants us to opt for healthier items although he also understands that sometimes we only want to eat the "bad" stuff.

3.  There are no "correct" portions.  
Shapiro believes that the amount of food needed to satisfy each person varies.  As a result, we shouldn't feel bad when we eat half a pizza instead of just one slice.  The doctor wants us to realize that we made a choice.

4.  An eating plan needs to suit your tastes and lifestyle.
I actually love the point that Shapiro is making here.  Shapiro feels that our eating plan should be integrating into our lifestyle instead of vice-versa.  There are times when we may not have a lot of time to prepare a full meal or when we have personal obligations like a dinner meeting or family gathering.  Shapiro believes that we should try to make the best choices without having to deprive ourselves.

5.  You're never on a diet.
This is the same type of mindset that I have.  Dr. Shapiro believes that we should try to make the best nutritional choices every day instead of focusing on deprivation.  He literally illustrates his point by showing a fat free and sugar-free muffin that is equivalent to 720 calories, number of calories that a pineapple, cantaloupe half, kiwifruit half, papaya half, half a cup of grapes, two pears, and two whole wheat rolls have combined.

Food Awareness Training, according to Shapiro, is about realizing the alternatives and making the best choice personally for you.

My Feedback:  Overall, I'm unsure of how I feel about this book yet.  Personally, I believe that the time that Shapiro used to discuss how famous politicians and celebrities come to his center could have been used to give more concrete study information and research behind his approach.  I love the fact that Shapiro is emphasizing having control over the foods that we eat and don't eat.  The only problem is that this approach may not be completely realistic or work for individuals who are not disciplined.    

I plan on continuing to read the book and discussing the next two chapters next Thursday.

(You can read a brief overview and description of the book by clicking on the Healthy Book Club Tab.)

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