I’m probably the last person you’d talk to about dieting, weight loss and staying healthy in general… also, even though some of my friends might disagree, I’m not a woman. Having said that, it was interesting to go through this book, because everything I hate about the term dieting and weight loss has been put into words here.
In Rujuta Diwekar’s “Weight Loss Tamasha” there’s no starving, there’s no canceling out your favourite foods, there are no half baked myths that lead you to lose weight but inevitably deters your health as a consequence – essentially it’s tips on better living and better understanding of your body!
It would be grossly unfair to say this is a diet book, in fact, one would argue it’s against dieting… here there is focus on the mind and soul’s connection with the body. It is filled with sassy commentary discussing various Indian perceptions (and stereotypes) and a great deal of focus on squashing the obsession with being thin. There are detailed discussions on how the female body develops through the ages, and also discusses the general perception women have of beauty.
The book helps you understand what it means to live life better and healthier, which makes it unique and definitely worth reading. Sure, it has been written with women in mind but there are a few pointers men can take from this as well, if not for their own health, at least to better understand the bodies of the women in their lives. Plus, who better to light the way than Bollywood’s favourite fitness trainer and nutritionist, Rujuta Diwekar? Without sounding crass, what the stars pay for in large sums, you can get by simply buying this book. *wink*
In an exclusive interview with Flipkart, Rujuta Diwekar discusses her profession as a nutritionist and trainer, her latest book and the message it conveys to women, her relationship with Bollywood siren Kareen Kapoor, dieting myths and much more!
Who is Rujuta Diwekar and what makes her tick?
Now I could give you a very philosophical answer for that… For now I will stick to my describing myself as a nutritionist and author of “Don’t Lose Your Mind, Lose Your Weight” and “Women & The Weight Loss Tamasha“.
My readers and their generosity when it comes to buying my books is what makes me tick.
A fitness trainer for many of the A-list Bollywood stars – what has the experience been like working in an industry, where looks and size mean everything?
As a fitness and nutrition expert you get complete insight into your client’s life, there’s almost nothing hidden or private. It’s a huge learning experience working with the best of the Hindi film industry. Contrary to the popular belief that film stars are obsessed or narcissists, they are rather simple and uncomplicated people, at least I can safely say that for all the ones I have worked with. They want to eat right and train regularly to get healthier, be more productive, look better and feel beautiful. I think it’s this clarity that motivates them. I have never had a film star tell me, “Make me lose weight for New Years!”, or ask me, “Can I lose 10 kgs in 1 month?” They seem to be far more intelligent with their bodies than the rest of us.
What has the response been like for your first book, “Don’t Lose Your Mind, Lose Your Weight”?
The readers have been generous with their praise and affection for the book. Almost everybody who emails/writes on my FB wall/meets me, seem to have bought more than one copy. Thanks to this, the book is still on the bestseller list 100 weeks after its release.
Who exactly are your target audience?
That’s too intelligent a question! I hope “I don’t know” doesn’t sound too dumb an answer. My music teacher taught me to sing only for myself, I apply that to writing to. When I am writing, I write what I would like to read, laugh and think about. I write what resonates with every cell in my body, I write dil khol ke. This time my editor, Deepthi Talwar, had to ask me to stop and promised they would offer me another book before I agreed to wrap up “Tamasha”.
What has been your inspiration to write a book dealing with the ‘Weight Loss Tamasha’?
Every morning I pick up my newspaper and at least three pamphlets drop out of it, one of them is asking me to pay 7000/- to lose 5 kgs, another one wants me to tuck my arms and tummy and the third one wants me to plant more hair on my scalp – when I stop at traffic signals, hoardings scream the same exact things! Haven’t we made a tamasha out of our body? We are plagued with the disease of feeling inadequate and are so insecure about our looks that there is a multi-million dollar weight loss industry out there thriving on our inadequacies and fears.
We have moved away from our native and intrinsic wisdom of eating seasonal, fresh foods and in quantities that can be easily digested, absorbed, assimilated and excreted. Kareena in her note in “Tamasha” says every woman is inherently beautiful, the book is an appeal to women to use their buddhi and start celebrating their bodies instead of contorting or hiding it. The body is the temple of the soul, it’s not an object of shame. If you don’t already feel beautiful no amount of weight loss, starvation, skin package, tummy tuck or anything at all is going to make you feel that.
The book has an introduction by Kareena Kapoor and is even dedicated to her… what role has she played in the publication of the book?
Her contribution to every aspect of the book is huge, be it the title, writing a foreword or a personal note, launching it or supporting it whole heartedly on every possible platform. She literally lives the book! To me she is much more than a client, actor, celebrity or friend; she is my sounding board, staunchest supporter and my biggest inspiration. Honestly, I don’t have words to express what I feel for her but it’s only natural for me to dedicate both my books to her. I am truly touched by her dedication to eat right… in my opinion she has urged the nation to take to eating and that too simple, fresh , local food as a means of losing weight. The least I could do is dedicate the book to her.
There are many health books on weight loss – how is “The Weight Loss Tamasha” unique compared to all the others?
For one it thrives on your inner wisdom, beauty and urges its readers to love, accept and acknowledge the selfless work our body does for us all through life. So it’s not a weight loss book, it’s a ‘get real’ book. It doesn’t tell you how to lose weight, it tells you to throw the weighing scales and measure success or results depending on whether you have learned to listen to your stomach and eat according to your innate wisdom, versus measuring food or consuming low calorie food.
This book is a much needed educational tool about our body, hormones, organs and food, it’s not a weight loss book at all! Also not too many books seem to value the fact that our culture, tradition, family values and sadly gender discrimination plays up in our relationship with food. As Indian women we take on and do much more and that too silently. Our contribution to family, society, community and the world at large is invisible, mostly to ourselves. Because we don’t really value ourselves much, our motivation to eat is rather low if not totally absent. The book makes an effort to cover all these aspects that affect our health and well being, instead of just doling out dos & don’ts about weight loss.
Can describe the format of the book?
The book covers the four stages of a woman’s life, starting from teenage and the time she gets her first period, to the whole ‘thin, fair, tall’ phenomenon surrounding marriage, to the draining pre and post pregnancy and finally the much misunderstood menopause. The book talks extensively about the lifestyle ‘curses’ of Hypothyroidism and PCOS/ PCOD. I feel the only curse associated with these conditions is the rampart misinformation and fear (about hormones).
The crux of the book are the four strategies of well being – nutrition, exercise, sleep and relationships. For women ‘weight loss/ body image’ go beyond food and hence these strategies. For each stage and lifestyle disorder there are specific strategies apart from the comprehensive chapters on them. I am also very excited about the appendices as they include some very interesting information, e.g Comparison of traditional Indian breakfasts with the cereal-milk option, effects of nutrition deficiencies on various parts of our body, foods considered healthy and why they are not…
“Please eat or you are not going to lose weight…” – essentially, this is the overall mantra of the book, what exactly is the message trying to convey?
To think of food beyond calories and for its nourishing, therapeutic and feel good value. A well nourished body burns fat and under-nourished body burns muscle and loses weight.
The book isn’t really just a health book, but a commentary on society and its affect on women… can you expand?
Food is the most intimate relationship we will ever have. The way society treats us, influences the relationship we have with our food and therefore our body. Our body is a straight outcome of what we eat, it’s known as the annamayakosha in the Yogic tradition, the food body. We feed people we love, respect, value – sadly as Indian women we don’t really love, respect or value ourselves enough and hence the whole tamasha with weight loss. That I must be of a certain shape, size, weight to be ‘beautiful’ is nothing but regressive mentality. We find matrimonial ads for ‘tall, thin, fair’ funny, but by desperately trying to become that formula or to fit that mold is not funny, not at all. I am yet to see an ad which says “Wanted! Tall, six pack, sporting, lean looking hunk’ for a groom…
You’ve shared four strategies for living healthy: Nutrition, Exercise, Sleep and Relationships. Can you elaborate on the Sleep and Relationships part?
My elaboration will be long enough to get converted into a book, so just read the “Tamasha” instead. Having said that I do believe that lack of recovery is the biggest contributor to gaining fat and losing muscle and bone tissue – eg. accelerated aging is the exact opposite of what you want. Also women who understand their body, hormones, organs are able to celebrate womanhood versus treating it with contempt. After all, shy and ashamed are two different things.
Three myths in dieting that really annoy you?
1. Avoid rice in the night to lose weight
2. Avoid eating bananas, mango , potato, chickoo, seetaphal, grapes to lose weight
3. Avoid ghee to lose weight
I could go on..
Share some of your crucial tips for better eating and better living.
1. Think of food as nourishment and not punishment
2. Exercise is not for those who are out of shape, it’s a way of life
3. Don’t sleep all you want (wisdom borrowed from H.H. Dalai Lama)
4. In relationships, forgive, forget and forward (wisdom borrowed from Muniji Parmarth ashram)
5. Know that the biggest diet guru is your stomach – not the latest no.1 diet book on the best seller list!
Professional advice for those who want to enter the ‘Sports Science and Nutrition’ field…
Jump in and do it right away, it makes for a very meaningful career. Keep yourself updated with the latest in nutrition and exercise science and don’t overlook the ancient Indian wisdom related to eating, our local tradition of seasonal food, our diverse cooking cultures and most importantly the vedantic teachings of keeping the body fit enough to be the temple of the soul.
Three books that changed your life and why?
Sorry Flipkart, I am not much of a reader. I thoroughly enjoy text books on exercise physiology, nutrition science, in fact I enjoy journals related to this topic and Swami Rama is one of my favourite authors, specially his Art of Joyful Living. The only books which changed my life are the books I’ve written. God! I’m not much of a reader, I’m a self obsessed author!
What are you currently reading?
Feedback for “Women & The Weight Loss Tamasha”!