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Cut out the meetha

Kalli Purie. Photo: K . Bhagya Prakash

Kalli Purie. Photo: K . Bhagya Prakash   | Photo Credit: Bhagya Prakash K

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Kalli Purie's Confessions of a Serial Dieter is honest and searing for her continued scuffle with the body

“This is a self-help book, a book to help me,” says Kalli Purie, author of “Confessions of a Serial Dieter” (Harper Collins). The book is a bestseller, and it is not because she has anything different to say about the battle with weight. It is the same old fight, with the same old players — but this time we are reading about our personal diet nightmares. The honesty of her words sear through your brain, and you find comfort in knowing that losing weight is never glamorous for anyone, it is an ugly brawl.

“Most books talk down at you and preach about the should and the should not. If one does not crave chocolate, it is easy for them to say don't eat chocolate. When I lost a lot of weight people started haranguing me and that's when the book started, so what started out as a joke became cathartic for me. I stated dealing with problems that I had not dealt with. It was an organic process and I was just being honest,” says Kalli, who was in Bangalore for the launch of her book.

Obesity is an eating disorder, but there is never any sympathy for the overweight, she feels. “Once I started writing I could not stop. I started dealing with the complexes, and instead of going to the dinner table at eight, I would go to the writing table,” she says. Suddenly, it was a vortex of realisation and awareness, where she questioned how she became mindless about her weight.

“When you come out, you bring it all out with you. Once I had dealt with the fact that I was 103 kilos and something had to be done it was not hard to talk about it. And now I am not emotional about having been fat, I am emotional about maintaining my happy weight,” Kalli says.

My grandmother used to say bones are for dogs, men like meat. Except most women have carved a body image from what they are told by the cleavage of the air brushed cover girl. Kalli feels the media has affected the self-images of all women. “My-five-year-old's awareness of her body is unbelievable, not because of me, but the media. The concept of ‘thin is beautiful' begins with the Disney princess. The problem for us is that we don't have an Indian princess. Our bodies are not designed for a ballroom dress.”

Children need to be taught the difference between fat and fit, good food and bad food, says Kalli. “It is much better to grow up being obsessed about your weight and being a little Nazi about what you eat. There is so much lazy entertainment; you need to be strict about it before it spirals out of control.”

The goal is always simple, to find your happy weight, where there is no imbalance in your body. She breaks it down. “You cannot ask a race-horse to pull a tonga, it can pull the tonga, but it is capable of so much more. So, you may lose a few kilos and think it is fine, but keep at it till the number on the scale is balanced by your height and build.”

The book is to motivate people, let them know that they are not on their own and, once they've shed the extra weight, to help them keep themselves there. “I was stressed and found that everything was a struggle for me. It turned out that my body could not keep up with my mind and that stressed me out. So I ate and the vicious cycle continued.”

It all boils down to finding your perfect diet. “It's like finding a soul mate. Everybody has a diet that helps them stay at their best shape. Fad diets work, but as a fad. They are a great way to kick-start a diet or for that extra boost. But you need to shift to a healthier plan to make sure the weight stays off, your body needs at least six months to get used to a new weight.”

Kalli stresses that she is not a writer and the book has been written the way she speaks. “I'm surprised when people talk about how hilarious it is, I did not find it funny, it's my life.

Nothing about this book is deliberate and I know people want me to say it, but there never was a plan.”

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Printable version | Dec 7, 2019 4:18:05 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/cut-out-the-meetha/article2987892.ece

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