Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Don't lose your mind, lose your weight

Eisha Sarkar
Posted On Times Wellness on Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Rujuta Diwekar
Publisher: Random House India
Price: Rs 199
Pages: 279

If Kareena Kapoor's Size Zero frame hadn't whipped the media into a frenzy, Rujuta Diwekar would have remained an acclaimed star dietician and nutritionist. But that wasn't meant to be. Tashan bombed, but Kareena's popularity increased and so did the number of calls her dietician got. So what did Diwekar do? She chose to write a book that will make every woman believe that she can turn into a size zero too. Any guesses why it's a bestseller?

She eats every two hours and sizzles in a bikini!
Well, to start with the obvious, the book is foreworded by Kapoor herself. She talks of how as a Kapoor she can't do without parathas, paneer and cheese and she liked Diwekar's diet formula was that she was allowed all of it. She says that she eats every two hours and still manages to fit into bikinis. Diwekar, in turn, gushes about her celebrity client's determination and dedication to good diet, exercise and a healthy living.

Diet is not starvation
Diwekar notes that we know much more about our car than our own bodies. That's we pride ourselves in taking good care of our car but not our bodies is the reason why most of us are overweight and lead a unhealthy lifestyle. Her formula is simple: Eat what you want to eat. "Diet has become a four-letter word that it isn't," she says.

She stresses that diet is not just about starvation and weight loss. "Where is the bravery in losing weight? People with diarrhoea lose weight. So do people with jaundice, malaria, TB, not to mention cancer and AIDS. In fact, the bigger the disease, the faster the weight loss. Because we think that weight loss will make us happy, but we feel only frustrated and older (not wiser) at the end of yet another extreme diet, it comes with a heightened sense of victimisation and betrayal. The minute we are 'off' the diet all our weight is back."

Diwekar's tips for a healthy living

While eating right is the best way to lose weight, it's important to get your act together to lead a healthier life. Here are her tips:

1. Wake up closer to sunrise or at least two hours earlier than your regular time.
2. Eat within 10 minutes of waking up and please don't drink tea, coffee or smoke a cigarette the first thing in the morning. Try fruits instead.
3. Eat nice, home-cooked breakfast. Idli, dosa, uttapam, upma, parathas (cooked on the tawa but not fried), porridge, eggs are good options. Organic muesli and cereal can work if you don't have the time to cook a meal.
4. Eat every two hours. That way, you won't have long gaps between the meals and your chances of overloading your stomach during the next main meal are less. Eating itself is an energy-consuming process and it can help you lose weight. Keep peanuts, roasted chana, dry fruits, cheese, fruits, sandwiches and soy milk with you for this purpose.
5. Eat your dinner within two hours of sunset and keep the meats and fish for this meal so that the stomach has enough time to break down all the proteins. Avoid carbohydrates with high glycemic index such as pasta, noodles, white rice, biscuits, pancakes, crepes, etc.
6. Sleep at a fixed time, for, that's the secret of a clear and ageless skin.

The verdict

The book makes for a good read, not only because of its content but because of the language. Diwekar's usage of Mumbai slang - 'dabaoing', 'enthu', 'ya', 'yeah', 'driving the car like makhan' - is sure to make any literature critic worth his name in salt cringe. But the colloquialism works here, for it makes her connect with readers who more or less are either too well-informed but uneducated about diets or too ignorant that they will try out everything that comes their way.

The best way to get the point across to them is by speaking in a language they know and can understand. Thankfully, she doesn't make it read like one of those step-by-step guides to make yourself thin that line up on the bookshelf. She makes you understand that your body is like a machine - like your car - and you need to maintain it well for it to make it work efficiently. She manages to steer away from diet tips by interspersing the narrative with her experiences during her treks to the Himalayas. She gives you a chance to learn more than just about how to keep yourself healthy and fit.

But what really make the book very interesting are not the diet formulae but the boxes that the author's used to describe anecdotes, bust myths, share information from the Internet and tabulate health tips. They make for easy and interesting reading.

If you aspire for a size zero like Kareena's you may want to ask Rujuta to chart out a diet for you. But if you are just content with shedding some flab and eating healthy, reading the book may be a good start.

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