What made a rather plump; 60 Kg Kareena turn size zero, what’s the reason behind Anil Ambani’s fitness, Saif Ali Khan’s fab body and Karishma Kapoor’s new glam look? They all follow the magic mantra spelled by one single teacher, their diet and nutrition specialist Rujuta Diwekar.
The woman whose hard work made size zero the latest fashion fad in the country, has written a book “Don’t lose your mind, lose weight” on her journey as a nutrition expert with interesting anecdotes and invaluable tips for an entire generation which wants to lose weight. Smita Mishra of spicezee.com interviewed her on her rendezvous with her celebrity clients and her secret formula for weight loss.
Tell us something about your experience with your celeb clients?
The more I work with celeb clients, the more I realize how 'common and normal' they are. As human beings we all want the same things- love, peace and security. When I work I never think about my clients as celebs or non-celebs. Each one of us is a celebrity in our own right. It's just that some of us don't get mobbed!
With my celeb clients I share a relationship of mutual love and respect, the same that I share with my 'common or normal' clients
How easy or difficult are celebrities as clients?
Once people have made up their minds to lose the flab, it becomes very easy for me as a nutritionist to work with them. I have been blessed with dedicated and disciplined clients, you will read about some of them in the book too. So they do the difficult part of carrying and planning their meals, finding time to eat, working out regularly, maintaining a calm state of mind etc. I do the easy part, I tell them what to do and walk away with all the credit for their efforts!
Whom do you rate among the celebs as your best and most obedient client?
They are disciplined and obedient most of the times. When they are not, I simply pull them up and give them a hard time till they get back on track. That’s like asking a mother to name her favourite child. I love my clients unconditionally.
How does one of the richest men in India (You guessed it- Anil Ambani) keep fit?
ADA has a strong sense of responsibility towards himself and his health and fitness. No matter what, he finds time daily to train, run, stretch and eat right. His middle name could well be ‘discipline’…He should better be called ‘Anil Discipline Ambani’! I don't know if he is the richest or not but he is easily the most disciplined man on earth. Once he decides on something he will show the discipline to stick by it, no matter what! So the credit for his fitness should go to him.
You have been blamed by media for making Kareena anorexic. Is it true?
Kareena has written the foreword for my book. There is also one chapter in the appendix which talks entirely about the diet plan she is on. So now everybody including people in the media will know that anorexia and Kareena just don’t mix. My entire philosophy is 'eating centric' and not weight loss or starvation centric. So all the speculation about anorexia is baseless.
However I don’t blame the media at all as it is a bit hard to digest that somebody as hot, gorgeous and glamorous as Kareena could have adopted something as boring as eating right food at the right time and working out regularly! Eat right is boring, anorexia sounds much more happening and can also make breaking news!
Was it really difficult to make a 60 Kg Kareena, size zero? How did you manage it?
When I work I never bother with body weight. When you read my book – Don't lose your mind, lose your weight, you will understand why. So I never bothered with Kareena's weight either. I have no clue about how much she weighed when we started and how much she weighs now or her size. The physical body changes in size and weight when you change the way you are eating. As a nutritionist, my role is to educate clients about how to feed nutrients to their body at the right time with all time and occupation constraints.
So it’s not me but Kareena who managed superbly to meet her daily nutrient requirements and that too at the right time. It’s only her dedication and discipline towards eating right and at the right time which helped her achieve this enviable body. Not to forget she works out regularly.
Your father is an engineer, mother a professor and your sister an IIM product. How come you chose this as your career?
The 9-5 career options never appealed to me. And frankly I don't have the IQ or the patience for it. Both my sister and I have found a lot of support at home to follow our heart and pursue our passion, and thanks to that I could make the choice of pursuing sport science and nutrition. Also the focus in my family is to work towards excelling and finding fulfillment in our chosen fields, and not on making money or conforming to norms.
My sister, Ankita, too kicked a high paying job post IIM to start a school in Surat. Today Fountain Head is the first IB school in Surat.
I have heard that for three months in a year you go to the Himalayas. Is it an escape or a search for inspiration?
Its neither inspiration nor escapism it’s a way of life for me. I use this time to study and trek.
What is the diet chart of Rujuta Diwekar?
It’s the exact same as I prescribe for my clients. About 9 meals a day. If you spend a day with me you will see me eating all the time. A coffee at Costa is my indulgence.
Weight today seems to be the biggest problem after global warming! Please suggest 10 tips to lose those hateful Kgs?
Yes, it’s sad that it is turning out to be such an epidemic. Especially in a country like ours, where on one hand a sizeable population struggles for basic health care, education, food and sanitation, on the other a vast majority is obsessed over its weight on the scale.
My tip number one is –Stop calling them 'hateful'kgs. Know that we have been blessed with abundance and with enough food to eat. It’s just that we have abused this blessing. So let’s stop the abuse first.
Don't have tea/ coffee first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. Instead start the day with fruits/ dry fruits/ milk etc.
Eat every two hours.
Eat more when more active, less when less active.
Eat 2 hours prior to bedtime.
Eat full fat version instead of low fat substitute.
Sugar is a better option than sweetener.
Do not use tea/coffee/ cigarettes as a way to mask hunger.
Get consistent with working out. 45 min every alternate day is more than enough.
Eat healthy, wholesome and fresh food. Avoid packaged variety.
Say no to juices. Eat the whole fruit instead.
Tell us something about your book” Don’t lose your mind, lose weight.”
It’s a book which educates you about nutrition and uses stories to keep you interested. I have used an easy chatty style. It’s a book for Indians living in India or abroad. Anybody who reads the book will be able to relate to it totally. The stories and the logic are appealing and easy to understand.
How did you come up with the diet plan mentioned in your book?
The book doesn’t prescribe any particular diet plan. In fact it openly talks about the pitfalls of adopting a one size fits all policy of 'dieting and diet experts'. Instead the book educates you about what needs to change in your lifestyle, eating habits, food, exercise and forces you to rethink this whole obsession with size and weight loss.
The book attempts to empower you with crucial yet overlooked information about how your body works and why we need to feed it the right food at the right time. It puts the responsibility of eating right on the shoulders of the reader and encourages you to come with your own 'eating plan'.
The guidelines that I come up with are not new. These are facts that nutrition science has discovered and what we know through our ancient systems of Yoga & Ayurveda. Through the book I have attempted to make this information and knowledge shall I say 'user friendly'? It breaks out of the intellectual & elitist stratosphere and becomes accessible to all.
What are your plans for the future?
Well, as filmy as it sounds. I live for now. So all my plans are for now. Kya pata, Kal ho na ho?
You can get in touch with Rujuta Diwekar at www.rujutadiwekar.com
First Published: Thursday, September 24, 2009, 22:00