Separating mood from food, Pooja Makhija vehemently lobbies against starvation. In stark contrast, are those who step into Nourish, her Mumbai clinic, seeking prescriptions for weight loss. “I often encounter clients who are petrified of eating. They have a preconceived notion that starvation is their salvation, and not eating will make them shed weight,” shares Pooja about her 10-year journey as a nutritionist. Her agony at the thought of so many people fearing food, and the success she garnered by fending this fear, made Pooja pen a best-seller, Eat. Delete., which is based on her primary tenet – You can eat to delete and you can eat to be fit. “Eat. Delete. bears every secret that I disclose to a paying client,” she shares. “The Eat and Delete methodology of losing weight needs to reach a wider spectrum of people which I can’t single-handedly achieve consulting one on one,” says Pooja, who seeks to reinforce the faith of people in food.
Taking a leaf from the diary of Mumbai-based Clinical Nutritionist Pooja Makhija, DSSC gets candid with the woman behind Deepika Padukone and Ranbir Kapoor’s food diaries.
Friend, Enemy, Or Boss – Break Up With Food
With Dr. Anjali Chhabria (Psychiatrist) in tow, Makhija’s mantra is to make her clients break their toxic relationship with food. “We determine if you have a wrong relation with food and help you mentally disconnect with food. In desperate times, food is neither your enemy, nor your friend. It is not a fall back option when things go awry, and it is certainly not your boss,” she asserts. In the nutritionist’s diary, a birthday is not a reason to have cake, and travelling to London is not good enough reason to have ice-cream. “Food is what you thrive on. Food nourishes you. The body cells are changing every 29 to 35 days. What we eat is what we become. If unhealthy, sugar-laden, junk food, is what we consume, we get transformed into the same – mind and body. Hence, the phrase, ‘you are what you eat’,” she shares.
Quick to turn up her lighter side, Pooja laughs, “I am not preaching abstinence, but simply asking you to stop eating to please your tongue. Eat to nurture the body.” With her wellness strategy, she provides every weight watcher an attempt to get off the torturous weight loss cycle. Speaking about what it takes to follow diets, Pooja shares we need to ingrain changes to the diet plans as lifestyle habits, instead of going on a cleanse post any occasion. “We don’t fill our car with fuel when it is full, why tax the body with all the extra food in the name of an occasion,” she asks.
A Sneak Peek Into The Diets Of Deepika Padukone And Ranbir Kapoor
As the chief architect of making and maintaining the enviable waistlines of celebrities, Pooja believes weight loss doesn’t have to be the biggest battle of a person’s life. Her list of clients boasts of CEOs, sportspersons, Bollywood royalty like Sonam Kapoor, Karan Johar, Deepika Padukone, and Ranbir Kapoor, among others.
“While the common man is inspired by a celebrity’s lean looks, little do they think about the enormous hard work that goes into the making of that lean body,” she says. Narrating an incident about Deepika Padukone’s resolve to follow her diet, Pooja tells, “I had advised Deepika to eat quinoa and she couldn’t source it while shooting at a remote location. She went hungry for hours on end because she couldn’t reach me.” Ranbir Kapoor is another person who is a Makhija-convert. “His diet was built to be high on protein and fibre, hence he was advised vegetable juice. For weeks, he struggled to embrace this addition to his diet, but now swears by the its benefits. No matter which corner of the globe he’s in, the glass of veggie juice is a mainstay,” shares Makhija.
Food-ucation – Catch Them Young
Whilst successfully transforming minds & bodies of adults, this mum-of-two soon realised the importance of pivoting their eating habits at a young age. Sharing an anecdote from her children’s life, she says, “My elder daughter taught her friend to eat fruits by simply stating – if you don’t eat fruit you won’t have rosy cheeks, and you will have to wear spectacles as your eyes won’t be strong. The friend’s mom later called me up to thank me for this change.”
Eat. Delete. Junior, her second book was written in an attempt to food-ucate the parents. The book comes with simple solutions to avert complex health problems like child obesity, back pain, diabetes, anxiety and early puberty, that are skyrocketing. It helps parents inculcate good eating habits just like they teach the young ones good manners and polite language. “We don’t wait to teach them everyday basics till they turn 18. So why wait for them to grow up to introduce them to the art of eating well,” Makhija questions. “With Eat. Delete. Junior, our children won’t need to undo the many years of wrong eating habits. The book tells parents how to help their child build the right relationship with food, and how to balance their plate, in a way that it becomes part and parcel of their life. This eliminates the need to visit nutritionists, diabetologists, or cardiologists,” she tells.
A Sneak Peek Into The Nutritionist’s 2018 Calendar: On An Entrepreneurial Path
While Eat. Delete. Junior makes for a great read for every parent who’s looking to instill clean eating habits at home, Makhija is currently working on completing N for Nourish that can be read by 10-15 year olds. “The book will release in mid 2018. By this age, young adults are independent, and are exploring their relationship with food. N for Nourish discusses topical and relevant issues from skin to hair, body image to hormones, puberty etc.”
While the book is undergoing final touches, Makhija is all set to become an entrepreneur with Nourishables, her soon-to-be-launched brand of healthy & organic food items. “There are a lot of diet products in the market but we don’t know how genuine they are. With Nourishables, people can pick 15 varieties of chips, crackers, chaklis, and farsaan made without one drop of oil. These are low calorie and unprocessed snacks, that will be launched in Mumbai in the first phase,” she reveals.
Even as we we bid adieu to Pooja, she leaves us with five tips to eat wisely:
- NEVER SKIP BREAKFAST: Eat within the first hour of rising to jumpstart metabolism.
- NO COFFEE TO RISE: Line something in your tummy before you pour caffeine into it.
- WATER IS CRUCIAL: Make sure you’re drinking adequate water as the lack of water lowers stamina, slows down metabolism and weight loss, and accelerates ageing.
- NO LARGE MEALS: Eat small meals every two hours so that your body is continuously in a fat-burning mode.
- SLEEP IS YOUR BEST FRIEND: Sleep helps in strengthening your immunity. In today’s roller coaster life, an average of 6-8 hours of sleep is needed to recharge the body.
Featured Image Courtesy: gqindia.com