Being someone who is influenced by the power of the printed word, I started reading ‘Don’t lose your mind; lose your weight’ by Rujuta Diwekar when I had learnt a bit about smart eating. Though I aspire to be healthy and active, it took me some time to get away from the ‘number’ on the weight machine. I associated wellness so much with the weight that I labored to bring it down to a certain desired number and fretted when that number did not appear on the scale. Diwekar’s book smashed that belief with its clear reasoning.
The first look
A friend told me about the book and lent her copy too for me to read. I started reading the book without knowing what to expect. But the book’s non-preachy style of writing and the way facts are laid out for everyone to understand through client experiences soon hooked me.
Wellness, according to the book and its author & nutritionist Rujuta Diwekar is not achieved through deprivation of food but eating right, eating well and eating regularly. Losing weight, as the book points out, is an incident of accomplishment in the journey.
Avoid not; fret not
The doctrines of ‘Don’t lose…’ rang close to my thinking. I didn’t believe in avoidance or starving. One month you go on a sugar-free or fat-free or carb-free diet, lose weight and then get back to your routine wasn’t working for me.
Eating stressed my mind as much as not eating did. I believed in making permanent, lifestyle changes- moving away from binge-eating and eating without a plan to weaving a practical discipline into your day to day routine. But I needed to know why and how before so that there is never an aberration and the change is permanent. I wanted to know because I wanted to feel good about it, about myself.
While pointing out why we eat the way we do, the book sends us back to our roots, our traditional culinary practices. Those meals have been put together by our forerunners with so much thought and consideration to the place we live, the food we grow and the climates we experience. So to speak a traditional South Indian meal with its vegetable, starch and fat components is very well balanced. You feel full and energetic and light at the same time after such a meal. I was sold on the reasoning.
Don’t think, eat
Feeling good and having good thoughts while eating is a life-altering practice the book urges one to get used to. Diwekar presents the reasons too: to avoid wrong signals of satiation and overeating. Makes sense- right? As much as the book’s ideology is about having a common sense approach to eating, the book appeals to the readers’ common sense such as: have a spoon of ghee with lunch and dinner- it has antibacterial, antiviral and antioxidant properties. Have sweets or mangoes in the morning when you are active and your system is ready to process the sugar and calories. Eat natural; eat local so you don’t upset the body’s equilibrium is the book’s resounding mantra.
In the intense light of dieting Diwekar never loses the plot for exercising. She insists on 30-45 minutes module for a workout that includes strength training, running, and yoga.
Most importantly Diwekar’s principle revolves around eating mindfully while losing weight too, and not starving and losing. She gives us a handy-dandy solution to address the 4 o’clock hunger pang. This is mostly the time when our energy levels begin to drop down and we reach out for that bowl of fried stuff or cakes or biscuits. Diwekar recommends a good, starch-filled meal at 4 pm. It helps to pull up the plummeting energy levels and helps you bounce back to work. And when dinner time rolls in, you are ready for a light meal instead of loading up.
The importance of keeping yourself hydrated well is also insisted in the book. How to begin your day with what you need, how to work around issues such as acidity and bloating and bring them down using natural anti-oxidants and stomach soothers are also mentioned.
In its entirety, the book is all about the four principles of eating right. And Diwekar nails each one of them very well that there is no going away from it for life.
Vijayalakshmi Sridhar’s stories explore human relationships and their dynamics. She is enjoying her journey as a writer of fiction and features.