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Updated: June 19, 2011 17:39 IST

Think before you eat

SHONALI MUTHALALY
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WEIGHT WATCH: Namita Jain. Photo: S. Thanthoni
The Hindu WEIGHT WATCH: Namita Jain. Photo: S. Thanthoni

It's difficult to believe Namita Jain was once overweight. A respected lifestyle and weight-management specialist, Namita has guided hundreds of students and trainers though various fitness-related disciplines for about two decades. At Bombay Hospital in Mumbai, she structures training programmes for patients with special needs. Her two new books, The Four Week Countdown Diet: Now you choose how you lose! and Figure It Out: The Ultimate Guide to Teen Fitness, barely out a couple of weeks are already promising to be bestsellers.

So how can someone so disciplined have ever been overweight? “Well, I was fit,” she says and adds with a laugh, “fat and fit.” Namita explains how she made that elementary, and familiar, mistake of assuming that being active allowed her to eat all she wanted. “Right from the age of five, I loved swimming. Exercise gave me a great high. Though I was physically fit, I was overweight. I loved to eat and would consume a large amount of food… ice cream, fried chips. So I was fat… And no one wants to be fat.”

Her battle with being overweight taught her that it all comes down to will power and determination, a point she emphasises in her new books. “Everybody wants to be slimmer. But not everyone succeeds. Health and fitness is a mind game. You have to want to do it. Not ‘wish' to do it.”

Once you have made up your mind, the Four Week Countdown Diet handholds you through the process. “Through my interaction with patients at Bombay Hospital and clients, I've seen a lot of people make mistakes, go on fad diets, pump up protein, cut carbs, skip meals.”

Therefore she devised a programme for her clients, “It's a 1-2-3 balanced formula, including protein, cereal, fruits, vegetables and some amount of fat.” To ensure this diet's not intimidating or difficult, Namita suggests it's done in four stages. “You ease your way into this diet plan. Start with a healthy four-course dinner including liquids, a nutria-bowl, fibre filler and main course.” One week later she recommends you add a nourishing breakfast to your routine. On week three, insert healthy snacks between your main meals. And finally on week four, you change your lunch so you're now eating healthy all day.

“This way in four weeks you are easing your way into a diet plan. I guarantee weight loss right from week one — dinner is the most important part of the diet, and fixing that makes a huge difference.”

Namita says, “The Four Week Countdown Diet has made it into the top 50 India titles… It's because I believe in every word I have written. It's been a painstaking effort.” She's even developed a range of healthy oil-free recipes for readers — everything from chicken a la king to vegetable cutlets — to prove that diets don't have to be all boiled vegetables and tofu.

She states her book on teen fitness is the first in India. “Between 13 and 19, that's the stage when your body is growing, and you're undergoing hormonal changes, mental changes. You're going to college and more conscious about the way you look…” she says. “There's so much information out there, but teens don't know what to sieve out, which is why I wrote this book.”

The Four Week Countdown Diet and Figure it Out: The Ultimate Guide to Teen Fitness (both priced at Rs. 199) are now available in bookstores.

“I started working in 2007, the year the scheme for distributing books to women in the neighbourhood was introduced. I had done odd jobs earlier including the cleaning job at the Aikya Kerala Read... »

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