We Americans have gone nearly 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 count calories or point totals assigned to each and every morsel of food. 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.”
Here’s how it works: before you put even a speck 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 Web site designed especially for you.
According to common perceptions, Italians gorge from pasta bowls the size of Sicily; Frenchmen 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 1,000 calories.