Be happy, drop dress size

Chef and television show host Rakhee Vaswani burnt her calories the right way, by bringing fitness and sensible eating back to her list of priorities

Published - July 03, 2018 12:48 pm IST

Whether it is to learn how to roll the perfect sushi or how to whip up her famed boondi gulabjamun cheesecake, Rakhee Vaswani’ is the go-to person for Malaika Arora, Mini Mathur, Mandira Bedi, Shaheen Abbas, and many more from Bollywood. The desi Nigella Lawson has her telly show Rewind with Rakhee, the book Picky Eaters , and workshops and classes at suburban Mumbai’s Palate Culinary Studio, certified by Le Cordon Bleu.

She’s still curvaceous, having dropped a size over the past eight months, just in time for the release of her second book. Here's what went into the making of her fitness journey.


“I am a born foodie. That is where the primary issue of my snowballing weight finds its genesis,” she confesses. “My work involves teaching cooking, preparing signature dishes at events, on the telly, with my students at the academy, visiting new restaurants, and tasting. Even the fragrance of freshly baked bread rising in the oven, makes me want to take a bite,” she closes her eyes dreamily. “I relish my food, and owing to my manic work and travel schedules, am unable to eat my meals on time.”

That is how the big pile-on of kilos happened. Vaswani used to work out earlier with celebrity trainer Yasmin Karachiwala for six days a week. “I was in perfect shape. Then I started teaching. Since I was returning to the industry after a gap of 10 years, I had to put in my all. It was a mom-n-pop operation for me initially, as I was the menu creator, promoter, teacher, so naturally workouts slithered down to a zilch.” She consulted a nutritionist last year, got her Vitamin D and B 12 levels in place, brought in the multivitamins and got cracking on her health and fitness regime.


Today, she has put fitness and healthy habits back on her list of priorities. “I eat sensibly and exercise everyday. An hour-long brisk walk is a must, everyday. I walk down Carter Road in the evening. That is a rule I do not break. I have banned sugar from my daily intake. My day starts late, at 9:30 a.m. as we inevitably have late nights attending launches, food award nights, travel. I begin with lime juice and honey. Half an hour later, I have a cup of tea prepared using toned milk. Breakfast involves lowli (a Sindhi spin on the ghee parantha) and two egg whites, or vegetable upma, or even poha. I skip potatoes,” she shares.

For Vaswani, this is a sustainable plan as she has grown up eating this food and her body is accustomed to it. Her teaching begins at noon and ends around 3 p.m. “I cannot eat while teaching, or when I am on camera, or speaking at an event. To eliminate this problem, I eat a sugar-free health bar that I always carry in my bag.” When she is at home, it is khichri, yoghurt or methi roti for her. “I love curd-rice with a mustard-seed-curry-leaf tadka. I can eat it three times a day!” she confesses. “The biggest change that I have made is discontinuing tea intake immediately after lunch. That was slowing down the absorption of protein and undoing the good in my diet,” says Vaswani.


“At 4:00 p.m., I have a cup of tea. Two hours later I have a multigrain bread sandwich (without butter) with chutney, cucumber, tomato; or idli-sambhar or upma. “I need carbs and cannot function on an empty stomach,” she says. Between-meal snacks include roasted makhana with chat masala or dates or prunes.

There’s no alcohol, barring a glass of wine or so once in three months. “Everything at home is made in the air-frier. The grilled chicken, Sindhi tuk, kheecha papad, even on Sundays. Basically no fancy food at home on the table as I need to balance out my intake between eating out and eating at home,” she says with her signature smile.

She does cheat meals, not cheat days, when she’ll enjoy crispy prawns, fish in black bean sauce or nihari gravy with burhani raita, and gulabjamun and rasmalai. “I need to be in a happy space to be able to trim inches and lose weight. I cannot leap onto the weighing scale every day and psyche myself out. My advice is to be happy and be well. The weight loss follows. Look at me. I have dropped a dress size and believe me, that feels good!”

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