During one of my monthly book buying binges at Crossword around 4 months ago, I came across this book called “Don’t lose your mind, LOSE YOUR WEIGHT” by author Rujuta Diwekar who is well known for being Dietician & Nutritionist for “the-size-zero-Kareena-Kapoor”. Due to some books remaining unread, it took a little while for this book’s turn to come for a read. Around 2 months back, I took it for reading. I was totally blown over by the simplicity & easy manner in which this book is written. The best part is that the book does not bore you (diet is a boring subject & holding reader’s attention consistently is tough task, I feel) & keeps flowing like an interesting storybook.
First chapter talks about the various diet fads, the myths about so-called weight-loss programs and fattening foods. Author rather makes a bold statement that “There is really nothing like ‘safe food’ or ‘fattening food’. Everything that you eat judiciously, at the right time and in the right quantity is good for you”. She then gets you to the basics of How to eat. Now, that’s something we don’t think we need to learn. But then the simple rules that Rujuta tells you change your perspective towards eating. (How do you know you are eating fast… While you are chewing food in mouth, if you keep food ready in your hands or on your spoon means you are eating fast & then that will result in overeating.) Here she rightly says that when it comes to food, think nutrients & not calories.
She then takes you to rethinking about what to eat. Carbohydrates, Proteins, Fats, Vitamins, Minerals, supplements & water…… She explains all these important aspects of food in language that’s not technical at all. This helps reader understand them better and use the information in his/her day-to-day food intake. (This is one big important feature of this book, as it’s not technical at all, you can take the advice there & then and start implementing it immediately). Here too she helps you understand things like whether you are drinking enough water or not…If your urine is always crystal clear (& not light yellow, dark yellow or reddish), you are drinking right quantity of water. Simple tests & rules like that help you start using the book’s advice right away.
Then she unveils the soul of her diet regime. The four principles of eating right….
Principle #1: "Eat some real food within 10-15 minutes of waking up."
Not tea or coffee but some real food…When we sleep, our blood sugar levels are dropped & we must bring them up to optimum levels. A real food (I have started eating an apple) leads to slow & steady rise of blood sugar levels. Tea & coffee actually work against this requirement as they contain caffeine (or cigarette) which increases the blood pressure, heart rate & breathing rate and make body feel “kicked”. In reality, body feels stressed but we take this as feeling awake. Stress is the biggest enemy of an efficient digestive system, the fat burning process of the body and hence, keeping body stress-free help you burn the fats at better rate. She also talks about the right potty style, the Indian Pot way. (In fact, this book has many boxes of relevant information which are spread within the chapters and they help you understand a particular point, concept or food item in detail. Some of them are Honey Lime Water / How to drink alcohol if you must / Coffee post dinner / What about sex post dinner / Tea & antioxidants / Italians & Olive Oil to name a few)
Principle # 2 - "Eat every 2 hours."
She says that you can follow this principle 2 only if you follow principle 1 because eating first thing in the morning lays down the foundation for day long hunger. This principle is derived from psychological perspective of body. Our body, when we eat at longer intervals (no breakfast, lunch at 2.00 pm & dinner at 10.30 pm), feels that it’s a starvation mode & hence, stores food (in form of fat) as it doesn’t know when the next lot of food will come its way. Also, when we eat at prolonged gaps, we tend to overeat. Eating every two hours makes body feel cared & reassured. It doesn’t feel like storing fat as it’s getting its food intake regularly. Also, when we eat at short intervals, we tend to eat less which means calorie intake is small. This simple mantra cuts down your fat stores and reduces your dependence on stimulants like tea, coffee & cigarettes.
Principle #3: "Eat more when you are active & less when you are less active"
Again the author tells you that one cannot follow the principle no. 3 unless you follow principle no. 2. Only when you actually eat all the time can you actually decrease meal size when less active and increase when more active. High activity could be both physical and mental. Activities like intense thinking, gymnasium, attending important meets are the ones where you are actively involved & are demanding a lot of energy from you. Low activity is when you are passive & do not use much of mental energies too. Activities like watching movie or TV, small chat over phone, being driven in car are considered as low activities. Eating more food when you are more active will make your body an efficient calorie burner which will increase the metabolic rate of your body. This will help you stay energetic all day long & will help you lose your fats more effectively.
Principle #4: "Finish your last meal of the day at least 2 hours prior to sleeping."
Digesting food is a calorie burner and a type of work for the body. The digestive system gets relaxed post sunset & if you overload your stomach with food in the night, most of it will get wasted or will get converted in fat. When we sleep, it’s time for body to repair the wear & tear and rejuvenate. If the stomach is full of food then, the body either starts working for digestion & ignores the rejuvenation OR ignores the digestion and works of repairing wear & tear. Both these things harm body. Keeping 2 hours gap between last meal & sleeping will help most of your food get digested and that leads to making you feel hungry in the morning. The principle 4 again ties down to principle 1.
Real Life Examples: In last two chapters, author has provided various real life examples on actual diet habits of people & analysed what’s wrong with them. Then she goes ahead & shows with minimal changes in lifestyle, how these people can shift to healthy eating habits and experience better results. The idea is to make one aware about one’s eating habits and then bring in a conscious change for better. This is typically like time & motion studies that manufacturing or process oriented industries adopt where log of activities is observed for a week or two weeks and then modifications are suggested.
This book is MUST for any adult who wants to remain fit & healthy and does not want to get cheated by the extreme diet fads & weight loss programs. When you want to cut down on your fat, the food (at least some food) is looked upon as poison. But Rujuta Diwekar brings back the old wisdom of “Anna He Purna Brahma” (The food is God). Go guys & gals, buy this book, read & implement to make you feel happy & healthy from within.
P.S.: Feel, Crossword should also keep some copies of this book in philosophy section where I frequent more. Like I believe that Godfather is not a Fiction but a Management book, I think that this book is about the eating as ‘way of life’ & hence should find a space in philosophy section too. At least, I would have come across this book earlier & reaped the benefits long back