Book Review #1 by Narendra Gupta
Don’t Lose your Mind, LOSE YOUR WEIGHT
Author: Rujuta Diwekar
A little about Rujuta and the Reason WHY?, I and you can TRUST her: She is one of the most qualified and sought after Sports Science and Nutrition experts in the Country and the only Nutritionist to have associate Membership from Sports Dietitians, Australia. She has done her Sports Nutrition Course from the Australia Institute of Sports, Canberra in 2010. She has also done her Post Graduation specialized in Sports Science and Nutrition, Mumbai in 1999. Amongst her high profile client includes Anil Ambani and Kareena Kapoor. She has been awarded the ‘Nutrition Award’ from the Asian Institute of Gastroenterology, Hyderabad. People Magazine has voted her amongst the 50 Most Powerful People in India.
Brief Background and Why I read this Book?: I recall of the old proverb, ‘When we are young we sacrifice our health for wealth. But when we become old and wise, we become willing to sacrifice every bit of our wealth for just a day of good health.’ (Source: Robin Sharma, The Leader who had no Title). In my pursuit of remaining fit and healthy and shed that extra flab from my body, I was looking for some insights and proper information on the healthy way to lose fat. Certainly, not the internet where information is scattered here and there losing in-depth. Books provide you that in-depth and peace of mind. I came across this beautiful book in a Book Fair at office last month. ‘LOOSE YOUR WEIGHT’ written in bold letters on the cover page called for my attention and I thought to give it a reading treat. Inspired with the content, so much so that thought of sharing with you all and here I am.
Book Review: This is my first ever book review and I am a complete rookie at this art (of writing Book Reviews). I have no intentions here to judge the author by any means, I cannot. I am sharing my learning and in a way drafting a quick reference guide to Healthy Living, for me and those of you who are committed to Fitness and remaining healthy but are not interested in Reading. So, please excuse me for making it longer than usual, in fact more than a Book Review, I call it a Book Summary. This would continue for my next readings as well.
People Magazine has referred to this Book as ‘The new Diet Bible’. Well! I won’t call it a Diet Bible and in my honest opinion, it is not. However, I would endorse it as ‘All that you need to remain healthy and fit, and in the process lose the unwanted fat.’ It is all about eating right (quality and quantity of food) and importantly on the right time depending on individual needs and daily life patterns. Don’t lose your mind, lose your weight, is written in the simplest English (referring to vocabulary) so that even a five class (English medium) school going kid can understand completely. Rujuta amuses the readers with her ‘Hinglish oneliners’ which she has used multiple times throughout the book. This reminds me to say one more fact here, that unlike many diet books, this has certainly a greater (in fact, whole lot) degree of ‘Indianness’ in it. I mean, she recommends the diets in Indian context and culture. This was one of the reasons I liked reading this book the most.
Rujuta, stresses on the need to eat sensibly. One MUST NOT go ‘on’ and ‘off-diets’ (terms people use when they take comparatively lesser food in order to lose weight). Eating has to be a lifelong commitment, and the diet should be a reflection of this. Diets, or what we eat should be planned as per our activity, lifestyle, fitness, levels, likes, dislikes, genetics etc and it has to be a part of our daily life just as brushing our teeth is (Para2, Page No 7). Dieting that has weight loss as its primary Goal is a FAILURE, even before you go on it, she confirms (P13). So Ladies and Gentlemen, reading me, please do not punish yourself by going on the so called dieting spree.
Those of you, who are desperate about losing weight, please hold on. There are many more things you need to know before switching to drastic and unhealthy ways to lose your weight, what many weight loss institutes imply. Okay. Let me tell you here, Weight Loss is a MISNOMER. It is actually Fat loss. Moreover, in author’s words “There is no bravery attached to weight loss. You can achieve it by just falling sick. What is most important is that you feel good about yourself, treat yourself well, be committed to eating properly and exercising and fat loss will just happen (Para2, Page 8)”. She reiterates on Page 25, “People with Diarrhoea lose weight. So do people with Jaundice, malaria, TB, not to mention Cancer and AIDS. In fact, the bigger the disease, the faster the weight loss”. All these arguments made me to think Weight loss from an altogether different paradigm.
My Opinion and Recommendation: Well! I am thankful to Rujuta for enriching me with insights on the habit of eating right. Its been over a week since I have been following the eating schedule as per Rujuta’s recommendation and believe me it has been a rewarding experience. I am feeling healthier and fit. I would certainly recommend this book which provides insights on the habit of eating right, which is so essential for keeping the temple in which we reside and take it wherever we go, yes our Body, healthier. However, for those who don’t like reading thick books (its not that thick though, only 280 Pages), here I present the summary of the book. I have tried to include everything that is important though I must say it’s in no way replacement to reading the book where you get real life examples with which you can relate to yourselves.
Type of People who would (may) like this book: Any person who is passionate about maintaining a fit and healthier body and want to grow their awareness on the eating right habit would like this book for sure.
What I didn’t Like to some extent: The author has addressed (mostly) the fair gender in the book which could have been rightly generalized even for men. Her hype and over-emphasis on celebrity client is uncalled for (wasting over 10 pages on ‘Kareena ka Tashan’)
Narendra’s Rating for ‘Don’t Lose your Mind, Lose Your Weight’ : On a scale of 10, I would rate this book at 7 for its rich content on the eating right habit. (7/10)
Some of the catchwords from the book, I noted in my journal were “Simplicity is profound” , “Use your brain, stop living in the bubble”, “Learn to be shanaa on your protein” Replying to Kedar’s statement “Itna khaunga to Patla kaise rahunga” Rujuta replies “Kedar, nahi khaoge to rahoge kya, pehle socho ”, “Eat Fat to lose Fat”.
Writing the summary was like my Master's (Degree) assignment for me. Yes, it took one full day to type what I present below, no copy paste stuff though I have referred the book for writing it.
Chapter 1: What Diet is Not
The author questions the belief of the masses that ‘Everything herbal is good’. In fact, NOT. She argues, even Nicotine and Marijuana are herbal but are they good for health? Certainly Not. Further, She says “Any (weight loss) programme which discourages you from exercising is worthless. The human body is designed for continuous activity. Both Exercising and Eating Right are equally important and contribute to Fat loss and a fit body. She makes a strong statement on Page 32, “I really think that we treat our cars with much more respect than we treat ourselves”. Yes. I find it true in real day to day life, we value things (property, etc.) more than our body and relations which we take for granted and do not realize its real value until we lose them.
Low Fat and sugar free alternative are not recommended product and better one should avoid them as Rujuta says on this “Low fat snacks like baked chaklis, fat free ice creams, fibre loaded biscuits, etc are nothing but junk food coated with misinformation and some sharp marketing brain trying to sell them to a gullible audience which will bite onto anything that’s fat free” She also confirms, that one or two teaspoons of sugar on a daily basis is not going to harm you as much as the sweetener.
Fruits and not the juices are recommended by her as fruits retain all the vitamins, minerals and fibres which is drained out in liquid form.
Chapter2: How to eat: relearn
We should be aware of the threshold of eating the right amount and overeating. The writer, says we must realize our threshold while eating, crossing the ‘laxman rekha’ might lead to eating up to 5-6 times more than the normal capacity as the senses go numb. Overeaters feel dull, tired, bloated and irritable upon getting up in the morning as a result and which is a confirmed way to gaining fat.
I quote from the book Page 57, “The key to staying within you threshold is to be attentive while you eat. Savour every bit of what you eat, slowly and mindfully, and you will naturally find your threshold, All you need to do, is to be attentive to your stomach”
Rujuta introduces the concept of ‘Mitahar’ or Sweet Food. She advocates employing all our senses, tongue, nose, eyes, ears and skin while eating; “Eyes watch the color of food, nose smells the aroma of food, skin feels the texture of food through your fingers, ears listens to the silence and the tongue opens up to the various tastes in the meal (Para 2, Page 59). Beautiful feeling, isn’t it.
Important Guidelines for Eating (Page 61):
1. Switch off Phone, TV, Computer (I know it’s tough, and extremely difficult ask from some of you)
2. Wash Your hands using a soap.
3. Serve yourself half of preferably what you eat on a nice, clean plate.
4. Preferably adopt cross-legged posture or sit at your usual dining place.
1. Drink a glass of water.
2. Start eating preferably with hands and eat slowly.
3. Chew your food slowly and deliberately.
4. Use your entire mouth and just don’t chew from one side of jaw.
5. Eat with all your senses and think about how the food is nourishing you from within.
1. Don’t be in a rush to get up and get going. Stay where are you for few minutes
2. If you are clearing up for yourself, pick up your plate and clean it with water before leaving it in the sink.
I know, some readers may consider it somewhat funny, but believe me if you really want to be healthy these basic things matter and the author has rightly pointed this out.
Further, the author mentions that when it comes to food, think Nutrients and NOT Calories. I have seen people avoiding food because of high calorie content and ignore it even if it has high nutrients. The Nutrients include Carbohydrates, Proteins, Fats, Vitamins, Minerals and Water. Carbs, Proteins and fats are required by the body in higher amounts (also called Macro-Nutrients) and Vitamins and Minerals are required in lesser amounts (also called micro-nutrients). Water is the most vital nutrient and is required all the time. Rujuta mentions the 6 rules to increase nutrient intake (Page 64-70). I will mention them briefly here:
Six Rules to increase Nutrients intake:
Rule1: Eat food that is prepared fresh. Consume within 3 hours of cooking. No freezing for the next day as the nutrient value is diminished highly.
Rule2: The smaller the number of people the food is prepared for, the better its nutrients level.
Rule 3: Eat your fruits and vegetables whole instead of cutting them into pieces, because you lose vitamins from their surfaces. (Rujuta, my qus here: Agreed for fruits. But Vegetables? How to prepare potato curry if we don’t cut it into pieces.)
Rule 4: Remain loyal to your genes and eat what you have been eating since childhood.
Rule 5: As much as possible eat local produce and seasonal food. Climate, altitude, humidity, wind and soil quality influences our digestive system and foods that grows locally.
Rule6: Eat with a calm state of mind. It helps preventing conversion of food into fat.
The author has successfully convinced the above points to me as a Reader.
Chapter 3: What to Eat: Rethink
Carbohydrates are responsible for providing our body with energy it needs for normal day to day functioning. They also help in the functioning of our brain cells and neurons apart from various other important functions like synthesizing and forming our DNA and RNA, synthesizing hormones and fatty acids such as cholesterol, generating powerful anti-oxidants and protecting our cells from damage and ageing, cleansing the body, helping in the hormones and immune functions and also regularizing bowel movement because of their fibre content. In the absence of Carbs, fats cannot be utilized for energy.
Source of Carbohydrates: All plant foods viz., Fruits, Vegetables, grains, legumes and in Milk and Milk Products.
High GI and Low GI: GI stands for Glycemic Index. The Glycemic Index ranks carbohydrates depending on how quickly they lead to an increase in our blood sugar and insulin levels. High GI foods or ‘Fast’ Carbs lead to a quick sharp rise in the blood glucose levels and low GI lead or ‘slow’ carbs lead to a slow steady rise in blood glucose levels. High GI foods (fast Carbs) get converted to fat quickly and low GI foods (slow carbs) have a much better chance of getting utilized for energy instead of getting stored as fats. (Para 3, Page 80)
Low GI Foods (Usually Recommended): Brown Rice, Jowar, Barley, Bajra, Legumes, Dal, Wholewheat. (They retain their fibre contents).
High GI Foods (Usually Avoidable): Sweets, Biscuits, Pizzas, Processed Juices, Sherbets, Jams and Jellies (They have no fibre)
Further, Rujuta recommends eating fruits first thing in the morning but before breakfast not with it.
The primary function of protein is to build and repair your body. In fact amino acids, which are the building block of Proteins, are what make up different parts of our body.
Some of the major functions Protein plays in our body are (Page 93):
1. It makes antibodies, which are our primary defense system against infections.
2. It helps in movement and muscle contraction, which we get from contractile proteins.
3. Catalyzing metabolic and biochemical reactions through enzymes. Enzymes take part in all chemical reaction in the body. For e.g. Enzymes helps the digestive system in breaking down food.
4. Picking up signals form the body and sending them to a cell that needs it; hormonal proteins works as messenger proteins (like insulin).
5. Making up cells and tissues; structural proteins like Keratin, collagen and elastin do this important job for us, creating connective tissue, tendons, and ligaments (responsible for keeping hair, skin, and nails healthy.
6. Helps transport nutrients from one part of the body to another; the hemoglobin does this.
Proteins, like Carbohydrates are essential when it comes to getting a lean, toned body. The author confirms that Proteins helps us in burning fat. Proteins are absolutely vital for any one doing physical activity. During any form of exercise, the body and specifically our muscles go through microscopic wear and tear. Loss of muscle tissue or its breakdown is associated with ageing and the one thing that will turn exercise into anti-ageing activity is protein. Why? Because amino acids help us repair our tissues and recover from the stress that exercise places on our body. Post exercise the body is in need of some fast carbs (the only time that the body needs high GI Carbohydrate is post exercise.) and a quick supply of amino acids.
On Page 96, Rujuta, makes another strong statement “I would go to the extent of saying that if you can’t arrange for your post workout meal to have protein and high GI carb, you are better off not working” highlighting how crucial it is to take post workout nutrients intake.
She also brings up the negative side of high protein intake at one time saying “When too much of protein is consumed at one time, it doesn’t get stacked away for future use, instead it is converted to fat by process called deamination.” Our protein requirement stands roughly at 1 Gram per Kilo of body Weight. For e.g. I am 75 Kg and thus would need 75g of protein daily.
Protein Source: All meat products, Fish, Egg, Legumes, Milk, Milk Products and Soy.
Red meat (Beef, Pork) should be avoided as they contain both IAA (Indispensable Amino Acid) and DAA(Dispensable Amino Acid), they are also usually high in fat. Rujuta recommends choosing leanest of cuts while taking red meats and with all the fats and skin removed.
Fats are not all bad. Fats plays a big role in our body. Most importantly they help us survive during periods of prolonged mental and physical stresses, sickness and prolonged starvation. So, Fat is our body’s answer for bad times. It is the only nutrient that can help us survive through the toughest phases of our life. Fat is an energy dense substance which provides 9 Calories per gram of energy while Carbs and Proteins provide only 4 Cal/gram. (Page 113)
Some of the important functions fat perform in our body are (Page114):
1. Transports Vitamin A,E, K,D (also known as Fat soluble vitamins)
2. Protects vital organs like heart, liver, kidney, lungs, etc.
3. Acts as an insulator and prevents loss of body heat.
4. Is a part of the protective sheath and helps in the nerve transmission.
5. Stimulates flow of bile and emptying the gall bladder.
6. Required for milk production and the normal growth of a foetus in pregnant women.
7. Makes up much of the brain and helps it function properly.
8. Lubricates joints.
Broadly speaking FATS are of two types:
1. Saturated Fats: Fats which are solid at room temperature like Butter, Animal Fats (Red Meat) – Not recommended, Milk and Milk products – Recommended, Coconut and Palm oil.
2. Unsaturated Fat: Fats which are liquid at room temperature. E.g. All the oils except coconut oil.
These are further divided into 3 types:
a. Mono Unsaturated Fatty Acid (MUFA): Source – Peanuts, olives, avocados, almonds. They are crucial in maintaining the health of the heart.
b. Poly Unsaturated Fatty Acids (PUFA): 2 types – Omega 3 and Omega 6. Source: Sunflower oils, Soy bean oils. They also possess heart protecting values.
c. Trans Fats: New kind of fat created to preserve food and give it texture. It is mostly used by restaurants, large food chains and companies that produce food on large scale as for commercial purposes it is cheaper. Rightly called BAD Fat as it increases the levels of low-density lipo-protein and bad-cholesterol.
Vitamins and Minerals:
All Vitamins and Minerals play an extremely important role in our body as catalysts, co-enzymes (these help enzymes), and co-factors (these support chemical and metabolic reactions) of our metabolic reactions. They do not provide energy or calories but they are important so that we can use our energy or calories well.
Vitamin A: Source: Whole and low fat milk, Dark leafy vegetables, all the orange, yellow vegetables. Forms of Vitamin A in plant sources are called Carotenes.
Why Vitamin A?: We need it because it supports our immune functions, helps improve eyesight, is crucial for growth and development of our body, and is a potent antioxidant which protects cells against free radicals.
TIP: Take Vitamin A when you are stressed or Travelling.
Vitamin D: Source: Found in our body, which produces Vitamin D upon exposure to Sunlight. Also called Sunlight Vitamin.
Why Vitamin D?: We need it because it aids calcium absorption. Bowing of legs, curving of spine, loss of bone density, joint pain and discomfort has to do with vitamin D deficiency.
Vitamin E: Source: Polyunsaturated vegetable oils like corn, soy, sunflower, safflower oil and seeds, nuts, whole grains. Processing and overcooking food reduce vitamin E content drastically.
Why Vitamin E?: We need it because it protects the heart, keeps the skin young, prevents nerve and muscular weakness and is a powerful oxidant.
TIP: Take it when you have eaten a lot of fried food, bakery products and consumed high amount of fats.
Vitamin K: Source: Found in Green leafy vegetables, green peas, green tea, oats, whole grain. It is the most neglected vitamin because vitamin K deficiencies are very rare.
Why Vitamin K?: We need it because it plays a major role in blood clotting, which is why it’s a lifesaving vitamin.
TIP: Ladies may take it when they are suffering from excessive menstrual bleeding
Vitamin C: Source: Found in most fruits and vegetables. Vitamin C can be easily lost by something as simple as cutting fruits and vegetables. We lose it more when we keep it covered in refrigerator.
Why Vitamin C?: We need it because it is critical to our immunity, helps manufacture hormones, collagen, maintains our respiratory system and lung function and is a powerful antioxidant. Also helps in protecting against heart disease, protects sperms from damage in the body.
TIP: Take Vitamin C as a regular supplement. Vital if you are an active or passive smoker, have a hectic social life and are dealing with a lot of stress.
Vitamin B: Different Types: Vitamin B1 (Thiamin), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B5 (Pantothenic Acid), B6 (Pyridoxine), B7 (Biotin), B9 (Folic Acid), B12 (Cobalamin) all make up what we call Vitamin B or B complex.
Source: Found in fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, eggs, fish, and cheese. Vitamin B12 mostly found in non-veg sources. Curd and Cheese have good levels of Vitamin 12 for vegetarians.
Why Vitamin B?: We need it because it takes part in metabolic reactions, helps metabolize carbohydrates, aids digestion, improves nerve function and prevents depression.
TIP: Take it as a supplement at the start of the day with your breakfast so that you can utilize nutrients better throughout the day.
FIBRE: This is essential not just to prevent constipation or regularize digestion, but also to prevent us from overeating.
Calcium: Source: Green leafy vegetables, nuts, seeds and in fact almost all the wholesome food. It is the most abundant mineral in the body.
Why Calcium?: we need it because it maintains the health of bones, joints and teeth, is responsible for all muscular contraction, for clotting of blood, and to regulate blood pressure.
Tip: Take it as a supplement daily.
Iron: Source: Fish, meat, eggs (all non-veg sources), Veg source like garden cress seeds.
Why Iron? We need it because it is a part of haemoglobin which transports oxygen from lungs to different tissues of the body and carbon dioxide from different tissues to the lungs.
Other minerals: Selenium, Zinc, Chromium, Magnesium, Manganese, Copper:
Source: Fish, Egg, Whole Grains, fresh Veggies.
Why Needed?: They are essential to preventing diseases, they are antioxidants, and promote fat burning in our body.
WATER: Water is the most crucial nutrients of all. WATER IS LIFE. Most of us are aware of the extremely high importance of water, so I am not putting it in details here. (you can refer for more details on my blog: http://mainarendra.blogspot.in/2013/01/day101-let-there-be-work-bread-water.html)
Chapter 4: The 4 principles of eating right
This is the most powerful chapter of all where Rujuta brings in the 4 basic principles of eating right. I personally have followed it for last one week and have felt the difference, would recommend it.
Principle 1: Never Wake up to Tea or Coffee: Instead act real food within 10-15 minutes of waking up. Tea or Coffee may act as a deterrent in your way to lose fat, as the author mentions, if at all you need tea have it after taking some food. Tea, Coffee, or Cigarettes which has caffeine, jolts the system out of slumber. It increases the blood pressure, heart rate; breathing rate and makes the body feel stressed or kicked. Sadly we make this for feeling awake.
Eating first thing in the morning will lead to an increase in blood sugar and energy levels, which will lead to an increase in metabolic rate and fat burning, and a decrease in acidity and bloating, and will reduce chances of overeating later in the day, and stabilize blood sugar levels throughout the day which means less chance of getting fat.
Principle 2: Eat every 2 hours
Eating after every 2 hours will lead a conducive environment in the body to burn fat , fewer calories converted to fat, less dependence on stimulants, smarter thinking, because the brain gets a regular flow of sugar, flatter stomach, no need to hold on to fat stores.
Principle 3: Eat more when you are more active and less when you are less active
Rujuta goes onto the extent saying that no food is fattening. You have to just be smart enough to choose the right time to eat it. We need to up our eating during high demand periods and cut down when relaxing.
Eating more food when you are more active will make your body an efficient calorie burner which will increase the metabolic rate of your body, which will help you stay energetic through the day, and will help you lose fat more effectively. (Page 172)
Principle 4: Finish your last meal at least 2 hours before sleeping.
Most of your foods being digested before you go to bed; this will lead to sound sleep, which will leave your body free to do its repair work, which will make our body more effectively in burning fat. (Page 180).
Chapter 5: Inculcating Awareness
Information without awareness is useless. The author recommends writing diet recall for 3 days (Sunday, Monday and Tuesday) as the first step for get aware on one’s diet intake and then tweaking it to apply the four principles of eating right. It may differ from one individual to another as their daily life patterns may differ.
Chapter 6: Crossing the Bridge from Knowing to Doing
In the concluding chapter Rujuta stresses on the need of practicing the right eating habit now that you are aware of it along with other health benefiting activities. Here she recommends some real action items towards adopting a healthier lifestyle.
Step 1: While ideally one should get up closer to sunrise, she suggest getting up at least an hour before the actual awakening time which will save some time for exercising.
Step 2: While ideally she asks to eat within 10 minutes of getting up, in real time she says to have some food at least 30 minutes before getting up.
Step 3: Ideally, she recommends eating within an hour of meal 1, a nice, home cooked breakfast. She asks to eat something healthy and not deep fired in real scenario.
Step 4: Eat every 2 hour after meal 2. (Real: not more than 3 hour)
Step 5: Eat your dinner within 2 hour of sunset (Real situation: Eat some healthy nutritious food between 6-7pm and then go for a token dinner (light dinner) no later than 9 pm.
Step 6: Sleep at fixed time (Real scenario: Sleep between 10:30 and 11:30pm)
She inspires the reader to start it NOW and ends leaving a very important message ‘Fat is Fit’ citing the example of Harish Kapadia, the famous mountaineer. Losing weight should not be made a ‘Life and Death’ kind deal. The point is to not just eat a wholesome diet, but also to lead a wholesome life.
Now is the Best time to start this habit of eating right (and any other good habit) instead of waiting for the right time.
To conclude with, I quote from my friend, Soumyadeep’s blog
“Because your body is your biggest asset....everything else comes and goes, but your body stays with you till the day you die, and houses everything that is YOU. Protect it, nourish it, take care of it....
Wishing you the very best in keeping a fit and healthy body..