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Losing Weight is a Snap -- of a Camera

O-K, that's it. We Americans have gone certifiably insane over our weight.

It wasn't enough that the government completely re-designed its "food pyramid" nutrition guide into colored bands -- wide ones for recommended good stuff like grains and green veggies, skinny bands for naughty sugars and fats. Or that it tries, with little success, to teach us the difference between "good fats" and "bad fats."

We did the grapefruit diet. Then the low-fat, low-carbohydrate, high-carbohydrate, South Beach, Detox, Protein Power, Atkins and Zone diets. We grunt through treadmill ordeals, jazzy exercises, and contorted workouts on machines straight out of the Inquisition. But in the mirror, we're still a long way from Adonis and Aphrodite.

So someone has combined three American obsessions -- with weight, with technology, and with convenience and comfort -- into something called a "dieting service." Reporter Rob Pegoraro tried it out for his Washington Post readers. Before you put even a morsel of food in your mouth -- a potato chip, a stick of gum, a beefsteak dinner -- you flip open your camera phone, snap a picture of the item, and e-mail it to a dietician. No need to count calories: the picture tells the tale.

Some time after you've dined, back comes the dietician's analysis -- and perhaps a scolding -- on an Internet website designed especially for you.

Italians can gorge from pasta bowls the size of Sicily; Frenchmen can drink jeroboams of red wine; and Greeks can seemingly drip vats of olive oil directly into their veins. They all look like supermodels and live to 125. Weight-obsessed Americans have been reduced to photographing our every crust of bread, in the hope that a picture can save 1000 calories.