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Dr. Shapiro's Picture Perfect Weight Loss 30 Day Plan

Book Review

Dr. Shapiro's Picture Perfect Weight Loss 30 Day Plan
By Howard Shapiro, DO
Rodale Books (2002)
Reviewed by Tara Gidus, MS, RD, LDN, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Spokesperson


"The visual program for permanent weight loss. Picture Perfect Weight Loss doesn't give orders about what you should or should not eat. Instead, it provides you with a way of eating a range of foods, including the foods you love - a way of eating, not a diet."

The book focuses on bringing about an awareness of calorie density of certain foods. The diet encourages that all foods can fit. There are three main principles:

  1. Calorie reduction is the key to weight loss.
  2. Choice is not deprivation.
  3. You can achieve "picture perfect weight loss" while living your life. Weight loss can be something that happens while you are still getting on with your life.

Diet Plan

The book does not really spell out a diet. Instead, it goes through each meal and makes comparisons of some high-calorie choices and lower-calorie options. He divides the 30 days into four weeks. The first week is devoted to making over breakfast, then lunch and snacks the second week, dinner the third week and eating out the fourth week.

The entire book has visual comparisons. For example, a bowl of granola is pictured for 480 calories compared to three bowls of lower-calorie cereals with fresh fruit for the same amount of calories. An entire chapter is devoted early in the book to children, focusing on reasons why we have an epidemic of childhood obesity and some comparisons of foods children eat.

Nutritional Pros and Cons

This is not a specific "diet" which is strict and confining. It encourages logging food, trying new foods, incorporating vegetarian and low-calorie foods into your daily routine. Fruit is highlighted often as a good option for a sweet tooth in place of desserts. The visual aspect of this book is very appealing for people to remember. The book goes into great detail about how to handle eating out and holidays. The book also makes comparisons throughout with exercise. If you eat that cookie it is equivalent to 65 minutes of swimming laps.

Bottom Line

I would recommend this book to consumers and professionals. The pictures are very professionally done and make a great visual learning tool for a registered dietitian to use with clients.

February 2006