Weight, Weight!

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Women and The Weight Loss Tamasha by Rujuta Diwekar (9789380658339) , book reviewThis is a book which comes complete with a note of appreciation from Kareena Kapoor, handwritten and scanned – if you have never read Rujuta Diwekar before and are a little wary of a book that calls itself Women and the Weight Loss Tamasha be prepared for a surprise – the book is entertaining and, if you’re thinking about losing weight, useful. Diwekar has a breezy style peppered with Hindi and Marathi from time to time, making sitting down with the book sound like having a conversation with a woman friend.

For someone who is quite obviously the force behind that famous Size Zero figure, Diwekar’s theory seems a stopper. Say no to calories, she says and you cut down on energy. An obsession with fat free foods leads to fatness. For Diwekar food is not about calories but about feelings and romance and is central to the human existence. Anyone who feels good about herself regardless of whether she actively strives to lose weight is bound to look good. “Don’t think in terms of reducing weight – 5 kgs or 10 kgs or whatever.. . instead focus on getting fitter, stronger, healthier. When your body is healthy and mind is calm – body weight comes at an optimum level, not more, not less,” is what Diwekar writes in the book.

What Diwekar adds are snippets of advice and how to deal with figure and feeling good at every stage of a woman’s life, from puberty to marriage to pregnancy and finally to menopause, throwing in some common problems like dealing with thyroid for good measure. All these have real life case histories, examples of diet charts and advice on how to deal with the situations outlined – some of the women actually think that they are eating healthy by avoiding carbohydrates and sticking to salads.

Diwekar builds on the four principals of eating that she introduced in her first book Don’t lose your Mind, Lose your weight – nutrition, exercise, sleep and relationships. She applies these to each of the life stages that she discusses, pointing out that calorie requirements and relationship needs change at every step and suggesting solutions on how to tackle the differences. The advice is down to earth and practical. Most women Diwekar says, make the mistake of counting calories. “If age is not a number, then why is food a number?”

She also has some hearty homespun phrases like ‘weight loss is the new honour killing’ – flashed in the chapter on mothers advising their daughters to lose weight in the run up to the wedding. Diwekar points out that no one tells men to lose weight before they get married, so why should women have to? She also busts a number of food myths. For example she says, “Every time somebody dismisses peas as having high calories. I am heartbroken because peas are rich in potassium, vitamins, apart from calcium, selenium, zinc, iron, enzymes, natural fibres and sugars.” To lose weight, she insists, the best thing to do is eat.

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Women and the Weight Loss Tamasha
by Rujuta Diwekar

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Written by Anjana Basu
Anjana Basu

Anjana Basu works as an advertising consultant in Calcutta. In 2003, Harper Collins India brought out her novel Curses In Ivory. In 2004, she was awarded a Hawthornden Fellowship in Scotland where she worked on her second novel, Black Tongue, published by Roli in 2007. In February 2010. her children's novel Chinku and the Wolfboy was brought out by Roli. She writes features for travel magazines and reviews for Indian newspapers.

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