If Mumbai-based nutritionist Rujuta Diwekar had her way, everyone would eat all the foods they love and remain healthy and fit.
Her nutrition plan replaces three large meals with several smaller ones, and is complemented by a special exercise regimen of just 150 minutes per week.
In short, she has made every workaholic, time-deprived foodie’s fitness goals achievable, propelling her to India’s most loved nutritionist, with a large client base worldwide.
“I would love to take credit for them, but the principles of nutrition I follow, have existed in our culture since time immemorial,” says Diwekar ahead her weekend appearance at the Sharjah International Book Fair.
Her 16-year practice includes clients such as Indian stars Saif Ali Khan, Alia Bhatt, Varun Dhawan, Anupam Kher, and sisters Karisma and Kareena Kapoor. Kareena, who was her first Bollywood client, approached her in 2007 looking to lose weight for her role in the film Tashan.
A year later, Diwekar wrote her first book, Don't Lose Your Mind, Lose Your Weight, detailing her experience with Kapoor, and it went on to become a bestseller in India.
“Through the book I tried to strike a balance between traditional wisdom and science. What boosted an easier buyout was the backing of someone as popular as Kapoor who has really eaten her way to being skinny,” Diwekar says.
She followed up her debut with two more books on diet and exercise, 2010's Women And The Weight Loss Tamasha, and 2014's Don't Lose Out, Work Out. She is currently working on two other tomes, one addressing Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome and hypothyroidism (due out later this year) while the other is on the best way for kids to eat and exercise – which she says is likely to be out by the middle of 2016.
So, what is the key to staying healthy while eating all you love?
“It is in knowing when to stop,” says Diwekar simply. “Our brain communicates with the tongue to stop just before we have taken in an optimal amount of food,” she says. “The only way to know we have eaten enough is when the entire experience of having food starts dropping. The time to stop eating is just before that happens,” she adds. Just like when a person finds the first piece of red velvet cake yummy, but the second helping doesn’t taste equally good.
“It takes attention and daily practice to become mindful of when your body signals you to stop, but once you get it right, it can bring big changes your life,” she says.
“You can largely expect lead a disease free life thereafter.”
Diwekar asserts that mindful eating also leads to a shift from junk to healthy food. “You begin to take notice of your body’s response to what you eat,” she says.
Eating home-made food, local produce and seasonal fruits leads to regulated blood sugar, which further optimises the functioning of all organs, making a person feel energetic as opposed to dull and lethargic, an effect of eating too much.
Her principle of eating small meals every two-three hours also boosts metabolism, because once the body is sure of getting its next meal soon, it willingly burns fat.
That said, Diwekar cautions that choosing a diet should be a personal decision, and eating a certain kind of food, however healthy, cannot be forced upon anyone.
“Choosing a diet should be like selecting your life partner,” she says.
“You should be able to love it and stick to it the rest of your life, despite all ups and downs,” she signs off.
• Rujuta Diwekar appears at the Don’t Lose Out, Work Out session at the Intellectual Hall on Saturday at 8.30pm. The Sharjah International Book Fair is being held at Expo Centre Sharjah. For details visit www.sharjahbookfair.com