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'My size zero': Kareena Kapoor

March 2, 2009
In the last of a series of excerpts from celeb nutritionist Rujuta Diwekar's well-received book Don't Lose Your Mind, Lose Your Weight, we bring you the foreword, by none other than her biggest client, actress Kareena Kapoor.

Rujuta is fitness guru to many other stars and her book had sold 10,000 copies within 20 days of hitting bookshelves. In a two-part interview with rediff.com, she also discussed her career and mantras to stay fit.
Also see:
Part I: Do you need to relearn your eating habits?
Part II: Fat plays a big role in our body
Part III: Dieting? Self-awareness is crucial
Part IV: Don't just collect diet gyaan, make use of it!).

Presented here is Bebo's introduction to Don't Lose Your Mind, Lose Your Weight and the appendix, in which Rujuta talks about her famous client's fitness.

For a long time, I used to think that diets were all about starving and punishing yourself. And I wasn't alone. A lot of people thought the same way.

Then I met Rujuta. She totally changed my perception about diets and dieting. First, she told me it wasn't about starving but about eating well, eating right and eating regularly. I said, 'I'm a Kapoor, I love my parathas, paneer, cheese.' Rujuta replied, 'You can go right ahead and eat all of that and more.' I was like, cool, when can we start?

I started working with Rujuta around the time I started working on Tashan, and the results are there for all to see: my size zero became a subject of national interest. The media asked me if it was all diet, all exercise or both. My answer: it was seventy percent diet and thirty percent exercise (this through a combination of training and yoga).

Rujuta spent a lot of time understanding my work and my lifestyle, and gave me a diet totally customised to my needs. My diet on work days is different from my diet on shoot days, and even my shoot diets vary on days when I have a shoot or performance which requires dancing. Meals are planned according to level of activity.

When I am in Mumbai, breakfast is muesli and milk, or a chilla or paratha (no chai or coffee) -- when I was shooting in Ladakh, breakfast was fresh fruit and pudina chai without milk. In Ladakh, I also ate momos and thukpa (on the last day of the shoot I was even allowed a pizza!). I had appams and idlis in Kerala, and in Italy, it was risotto and pasta with gorgonzola (half portions though, not full).

I make sure I eat every two hours, and my meal or snack ranges from a sandwich to a glass of soy milk. For Rujuta focuses on nutrition and not just calories. Amazingly, she helps you keep the nutritional value of what you eat, as compared to how many calories you consume, high. And still enjoy what you're eating!

I have learnt what Rujuta means when she says, 'Be smart about food'. Now, thanks to her book, you can too. I'm certain you'll find it good enough to eat!

Kareena Kapoor
Mumbai, 2008

Kareena has made eating right fashionable.

More and more people are now waking up to the fact that if she has remained lean for more than a year and worked nonstop (she has one of the busiest schedules in the industry) there has to be something more solid and real to her weight loss than the whole orange juice and starvation theory. (Orange juice; nobody can stay on it for more than 3 days, and certainly no one can shoot having had only orange juice. And eating little or nothing in 3 days never leads to a fab body.)

Through the media furore, Bebo didn't give a damn about what the world was saying, whether they called her fat or thin, and followed her heart. She knows looking lean and staying healthy is a lifelong commitment. She has made it. She is the face of my 'Eat local, think global' philosophy.

PS: Recently, when Bebo shot for Kambakht Ishq in Venice, she ate pasta, cheese and olives, again considered 'fattenin'. Her stylist and the writer of her movie went on the diet after they saw her eating everything in Venice. According to me, dieting is fun. Eating is comforting, we really don't need to let go of it to get lean. Today, for all the girls on the sets of Kambakht Ishq it's fun time. They all take their 2 hour break and eat what they are supposed to; peanuts, sprouts, dal khichdi etc according to their individual plans. They are enjoying being on the diet. So can you.

2 It's non-negotiable: exercise as a part of your life

Is exercising a must? Yes, it's a must. Our body, this wonderful creation of God, was designed for activity. Walking, running, twisting, jumping, etc. Just like the way man created this wonderful machine called the car. Cars were designed for driving...

Is one form of exercise better than another?

No. Do what you enjoy doing. Not because some celebrity endorses it, or because it's a great calorie burner, or anything else as slight. Workouts are after all a way of overcoming our body's limitations. Just make sure that your trainer understands your strengths and limitations, and the strengths and limitations of the form of exercise that he or she preaches and practices. The essence of all forms of exercise is one, the differences are only superficial.

All forms of exercise should help you get closer to yourself, allow your body to communicate with you and help you overcome the limitations of your body. A good religious or spiritual leader helps you understand your religion better, shows you how to adapt the principles of the religion to your daily living depending on your surroundings, and knows that all religions lead to the same goal. A fundamentalist leader, though, has poor knowledge about his own religion and is therefore incapable of guiding you onto the right path. Similarly, a trainer who looks down on other forms of exercise other than those she preaches has limited understanding of her own form of exercise. All exercises lead to the same goal: that of health, fitness and peace.

Exercise myths

Weight training

Myth: The biggest myth about weight training is that you will develop muscles or become a body builder if you start. Have you ever picked up a cricket bat and played on a Sunday and feared that if you continue playing you may turn into Sachin Tendulkar? Sounds stupid? So does this.
Reality: Training in the gym will only make your bones denser, joints, tendons and ligaments stronger, and muscles bigger (men) or toned (women). As your body develops stronger bones and muscles, it learns to become an effective fat burning machine. Muscle and bone are active tissues, so they burn more fat for you.
Recommendation: Train at least twice a week for not more than 60 minutes. If you are suffering from joint pains or have arthritis or osteoporosis in the family, you should definitely invest time and money in a good trainer and gym. Always have your post workout meal of high GI and protein within 20 minutes.

Yoga

Myth: You have to give up on sex if you start yoga. This is one of the most popular myths fitness professionals have to hear. My God! Nothing could be further away from the truth. Lord Shiva, the first guru of yoga was a complete family man; 'Hum do hamare do.'
Reality: Yoga is about being in control of your body, mind and senses. It encourages having a balanced and disciplined approach towards life. Bramhacharya is not abstinence from sex but conduct (including sexual conduct) which will bring you closer to reality or your true self. So go ahead and do your suryanamaskars and asanas. If it does affect your sex life, trust me it's only going to be only for the better.
Recommendation: yoga is a restorative form of physical exercise which also works at calming your nerves and senses. You can do yoga daily. Keep your stomach relatively empty before you start with the postures and eat a healthy meal post your yoga class.

Walking

Myth: Walking is much safer than running. I think walking is the most overrated exercise. In India it is as much of a phenomenon as the big fat Indian wedding. Just like at the wedding, everybody who walks is fat, hairy, gaudy and loud. Men in large groups wearing shorts and protruding bellies, women mostly in pairs (they're mostly with another woman) in salwars and shoes; lastly, a Maruti van outside the park selling juices in all colours and if you are a regular some complimentary moong shots.
Reality: Walking in the same park, doing the same rounds, with the same people, conversing about the same topics -- share bazaar, the economy, recipes, daughter-in-laws, state of the city -- will not improve anybody's fitness levels (and that's why it is a dangerous waste of time and energy). Some people walk for years together and see no benefit at all. These obsessive walkers may occasionally use the gyms where they walk some more on the treadmill and instead of chatting with friends, change channels on the TV screen. Others indulge in some perverted forms of breathing and call it prananayam. Walking is great but only if it provides a challenge to your body. Try the talk test. If you can't talk at all, you're walking or running too fast. If you can sing, then you're too slow. If you are walking properly, you'll only be able to talk with difficulty and most certainly won't be able to gossip.
Recommendation: Try running for 30 minutes at a stretch. If you can't, try running a couple of rounds instead of just walking. You can start with as little as a 30 second run and build up slowly to 3 to 13 minutes over few months. Try interval training; run for a while, then walk, and keep repeating this cycle. Always invest in good shoes, and stretch before and after the run.

Excerpted from Don't Lose Your Mind, Lose Your Weight, with permission from the publishers, Random House India.

Photograph: Still from Tashan

Got a question? Ask Rujuta Diwekar

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Also see: Meet the lady behind Kareena's size zero
'It's a myth is that one needs to avoid calories'
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