This is a book that I would not have read if I had gone by the title. Not that I have anything against weight loss books but I read a few and they have all successfully managed to confuse me. Rujuta Diwekar's book is not so much about weight loss as it is about living life itself, of awareness and I am disappointed with her editor for making this the title of the book (I liked Rujuta's original idea for a title better). But if it manages to reach more people through this title, so be it, because Rujuta's gyan (as her blog is titled is not just limited to weight loss (http://rujutadiwekar.blogspot.com/). It is about healthy living.
Rujuta is a much accomplished woman, least of them all being the fitness and nutrition expert for a host of celebrities including Kareena Kapoor (who wrote the Foreword), Saif Ali Khan, Priety Zinta, Anil Ambani, Konkona Sharma, Amrita Arora etc. She travels in the Himalayas extensively, attends yoga camps at Rishikesh, conducts two gyms in Mumbai, conducts marathon training programs, conducts workshops, speaks and writes best selling books. Considered one of India's 50 most powerful women and an Under 35 achiever, Rujuta Diwekar has much to offer.
But it is her no-nonsense, conversational style backed with good common sense, scientific explanations and easy to digest writing that makes one want to adopt her advise. She makes that much sense.
The book is all about eating healthy, eating right and eating at the right time. No drastic diets, no perfect weights, no suffering. All food is good - idlis, dosas, parathas, non vegetarian, cheese, pizza - whatever. She sets some basic principles based on common sense and once you follow them, health should follow. She says that one cannot go on and off a diet, one has to maintain a healthy lifestyle without feeling hungry, feeling energetic and healthy.
Exercise is a must and she says that the human body is made for continuous activity. No escape from that. The stomach being only the size of two palms can only hold that much and digest that much, so eat only that much at a time. Anything more is counterproductive, in fact a waste. Eating mindfully, stopping before reaching the threshold of overeating,concentrating on eating (no reading, watching tv etc), drinking a glass of water while eating, staying at the table for a while after eating, all make sense. I liked her advise to sit cross legged for improved blood circulation while eating.
She gives 5 basic rules to increase nutrient intake - eating food that is prepared fresh, the smaller the number of people food is prepared for the better, eating vegetables and fruits whole instead of cutting them up, eating food that you have traditionally been eating at home and eating local and seasonal foods.
But the most important part of the book are her four principles. They are -
1) Never having chai or coffee first thing in the morning (in fact she advises hitting food in the first 15 minutes after waking up as the first meal)
2) Eating small meals every two hours
3) Eating more when you are more active and less when you are less active and (most big meals finished before noon)
4) Finishing your last meal at least two hours before sleeping
All in all I think this book can make a huge difference even if you follow some part of her gyan. The book has much more to offer and makes a lot more sense as it talks of a holistic way of living, of accepting oneself, of respecting one's body, of politics, of Himalayas. A nice read that gives everyone hope, frees one of guilt and I think its biggest plus, gets people to start acting on being more aware of their bodies and eating and living healthier. I think it has that quality - and for writing this wonderful book, well done Rujuta. Highly recommended, even if you don't want to lose weight.