Lose weight without dieting

Ditch the diet and learn how to lose weight with Indian fitness guru and celebrity nutritionist Rujuta Diwekar

Consider Rujuta Diwekar India’s answer to Gillian McKeith. OK, she’s calmer, more reserved and doesn’t go in for scare tactics. But she does have the celebrity status (and clientele) to match the UK You Are What You Eat show host. And she does make weight-loss sound absurdly simple.

Diwekar is the author of the best-selling book Don’t Lose Your Mind, Lose Your Weight and has coached Bollywood stars Kareena Kapoor, Karisma Kapoor, Saif Ali Khan and Preity Zinta, to name just a few. This week, she will be discussing her specialty – diet – in an open lecture at Ductac. In a phone interview, she told us what to expect.

I hear you’re not a fan of diets.
That’s true. Diets are just fads. You go on them, lose weight quickly and it all it comes back with a bang.

So if you don’t diet, how on Earth do you lose weight?
The most important thing is to understand how your stomach works. You need to know what your hunger patterns are, and to devise a way to eat the foods you enjoy, but in a way that doesn’t deprive you.

You maintain that weight loss is simple. Why is it then that so many of us overweight?
A lot of us are getting fat today because we’re going away from who we are and what our bodies want. We feed it things that are supposed to be healthy, but that are not right for our bodies.

It seems you have a very individual approach to weight loss.
It is a very individualised thing. A lot of times people like to download diets from the net or try something that worked for their friends. But what works for someone else may not work for you. In fact, it may be toxic for you. You have to remember that a group of people don’t necessarily share your state of mind, your job or your physical status. It’s like going out to buy an outfit. You need to find what fits you.

Are there any weight loss rules that do apply to everyone?
I believe there are four basic principles to weight loss. Eat something the minute you wake up, don’t just have coffee or tea. Eat often – preferably every two hours. Eat the quantities demanded by your level of activity. And, finally, have dinner at least two hours prior to going to bed – no later.

You’ve worked a lot with Kareena Kapoor, and she looks amazing. What kind of advise have you given her to get in shape?
She’s always worked out, but she wasn’t getting the body she wanted to have, mainly because she was confused about what to eat. She pretty much needed an education about what to get out of food. We tweak her diet depending on what projects she’s working on or what she plans on wearing, or where she plans to be.

Would you say you tend to favour diet over exercise?
I think you need to start eating the right food before you can really even think about exercise. If you’re not well-nourished, your body feels slow and your mind feels dull. Even going to get a massage can feel like an ordeal.

Do you have clients in Dubai?
I do. I’m always shocked at the amount of processed food they consume in a day. My average client in the US eats less processed food than my Dubai clients.

What demons do Indian women face in their own diet?
The average women in India is like the average women everywhere else in the world. We’re prone to not taking care of ourselves too well in terms of food. We worry about our husbands, work and family much more than our own health. But it’s twice as important for a woman to take care of herself, because her eating habits influence everyone else in the family that much more.
Rujuta Diwekar is speaking at Ductac on Sept 30 at 7.30pm. Tickets are Dhs135. Available from timeouttickets.com

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