Rujuta Diwekar says her next book will focus on the science behind exercises
Of late, Rujuta Diwekar has been touring different cities, talking to school and college students and also conducting ‘open sessions’ where readers can interact with her. We caught up with the celebrity nutritionist and fitness trainer who was in Hyderabad to address students at Indian School of Business and conduct an open session at Landmark. “I want to go out and meet as many people as I can, especially students because they are the ones who will determine what India will eat in the next few years. Since ours is an oral tradition as far as food is concerned, if the younger generation doesn’t understand our food it’s going to change the way we’ve been living, eating and thinking,” says Rujuta.
The requirements of students in management institutes are similar to those of working professionals, says Rujuta. “Students are hard pressed for time and don’t have access to the right kind of food. Their nutrition has to equip them to cope with the hectic student lifestyle. I tell students to ‘apply thought’ and plan how and where they will eat and most importantly, take time out to eat. It doesn’t take more than three to seven minutes to have a small meal,” she says.
Her first two books — Don’t Lose Your Mind, Lose Your Weight (Random House) and Women And The Weight Loss Tamasha (Westland) — continue to be widely read and discussed. After urging people to nurture their appetite by eating small meals through the day, eat ghar ka khana at the right time and have a mix of good carbs, proteins and healthy fats, Rujuta is now working on her third book which will focus on exercise. This book will draw from her experience as a sports nutritionist and a fitness trainer. “The book will focus on the science behind exercises. Exercising is not as simple as waking up in the morning and going for a brisk walk. What you eat the previous night and at what time has a bearing on how well you sleep and in turn determines whether you can wake up to exercise,” she says.
Rujuta and her team have been training marathon runners in Mumbai since 2006. Since last year, the team’s focus has been on young mothers. “I realised that the group that needs maximum attention and help to come back to a normal lifestyle is that of young moms with children less than five years of age. These training sessions are held outdoors and we have professional babysitters to look after the children while mothers get time to exercise,” she says.
In between training sessions, open forums and managing celebrity clients like Kareena Kapoor, Rujuta manages to take time out for her favourite activities that include mountaineering and skiing. How does she manage her time? She laughs: “I plan at least a year in advance and work accordingly. I don’t take on too many clients to the extent that I won’t be able to remember their names, their lifestyle etc. Food is an integral part of our being. So it’s only right that I understand my clients’ lifestyles to guide them. And I find celebrity clients to be the most disciplined and easiest to manage.”
Before she leaves, she has a word of praise for Hyderabad’s cuisine: “The city has a beautiful blend of Turkish, Arabic, Marathwada and Telugu cuisine. Hyderabadi biryani with mirchi ka salan and dahi can be a nutritious meal, if made with the right protocol and not commercialised.”
Setting it right
In her first two books, Rujuta busted myths about weight loss being linked to portion control and calorie counting. Through social network forums, she dismisses ill-informed notions (for example she says eating white butter or homemade ghee helps to burn fat and gives a thumbs up to cashew nuts for good bone health). Will her third book bust myths about exercises? “There’s so much misconception that when I state certain facts, it seems like I am busting myths,” she says.