Don't lose your mind, lose your weight - Book Summary, Takeaways & Review

Before jumping to the book review or rather a brief summary and takeaways from Rujuta Diwekar's first, path breaking book on diet and nutrition, Don't Lose Your Mind, Lose Your Weight, let me tell you how I came to read this book in the first place!

I had come across Rujuta Diwekar’s name many years ago when she made a name for herself as a celebrity nutritionist and dietician for several Bollywood stars and industrialists alike! She boasted of clientele  like Kareena Kapoor, Anupam Kher, Amrita Arora, Alia Bhatt, Mukesh Ambani amongst others!

Don’t lose your mind, lose your weight – Rujuta’s path breaking book

Also had heard quite a bit about her bestseller book Don’t lose your mind, Lose your weight which Kareena Kapoor had highly recommended. Somehow, I never got around to reading her book at that time even though I was desperately trying to lose a few kilos that I had put on.

Rujuta Diwekar all over Social Media

In the last few years, I found her her posts, short videos and reels splashed literally everywhere on social media. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube – you name it  – she was there everywhere with millions of followers, eager to lap up her diet and fitness advice as evident from the comments section.

Is Rujuta Diwekar's diet advice unscientific?

Somewhere in 2018, I came across an article on Rujuta Diwekar by Sandhya Ramesh, the science journalist of  ThePrint. The article didn’t have much good things to say about Rujuta; in fact, Sandhya had mildly slammed Rujuta for her unscientific advice on food and nutrition.

Especially Rujuta’s advice to diabetics to eat mangoes without the context of portion control had irked Sandhya and many health care professionals and doctors.

Also her persistence with outdated studies about artificial sweeteners causing cancers, food cooked in microwave not retaining nutrients and becoming toxic etc has earned the ire of many health care professionals. These old studies have been already debunked but Rujuta doesn’t bother updating herself, says Sandhya. You can read the full article here.

So after reading that article, I didn’t have a very good opinion about Rujuta and reading her book was the last thing on my mind. But somehow during the lockdown in 2019, I got into a book reading spree and on a whim got her famous book Don’t lose your mind, Lose your weight on my Kindle.

Don’t lose your mind, lose your weight - Review, Summary, takeaways

Don’t lose your mind, lose your weight - I actually liked Rujuta’s diet & lifestyle advice

And I must say, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the book was not at all that bad! Rujuta’s take on dieting is completely different; she in fact advocates to eat food to lose weight. According to her, eating correctly has to be a lifelong commitment, and the diet should be a reflection of this.

One need not torture oneself in the gym or cut down on carbs or give up on fats or start a all-fruit diet or a soup diet. You can eat all the food you want but in moderation, she says.

She asks us to stay true our roots and mostly eat foods that we have been eating from our childhood as that's what our body is used to! Mostly all the diet tips and advice that she doles are in Indian context only and is easily relatable to most Indians.

You should eat healthy food in the right amount everyday and exercise to keep your weight in check. Also the food that you eat should be planned according to the physical activities in your life, your fitness levels, your lifestyle, likes and dislikes, your genetics etc, she advises.

Only a diet which can be sustainable in the long run is suitable for you, she reiterates.

By the way,  the book in written in an easy, conversational style with no complicated jargons. Rujuta talks about carbs, proteins, fats, supplements, minerals and vitamins in such a way that it is easily decipherable to any layperson.

She makes the book more interesting by narrating personal anectodes,  providing occasional insights into her life, sharing diet advice given to her clients, a bit of politics and Bollywood news and similar stuff.

Don’t lose your mind, Lose your weight  - Summary, Takeaways, Tips & Review

Don’t lose your mind, lose your weight - Diet Tips, Summary, Takeaways, Review

Here are a few takeaways / weight loss tips / diet advice from her book and also a short review:

1. All food is good. Don’t go on diet plans which deprive you of food or make you eat only one type of food

Rujuta stresses that all food is good. There is no one “good food” or “bad food” as such. All foods contain different nutrients like carbs, proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals. There’s no point in eliminating only certain foods from your diet and gorging on only one so called “superfood”.

Such type of food deprivation will only create an imbalance in our system according to her!  She asks us to be develop a healthy relationship with food and not to fall prey to fad diets or crash diets.

In her words: there is really nothing like ‘safe food’ or ‘fattening food’. Everything that you eat judiciously, at the right time and in the right quantity, is good for you.

2. Exercise and dieting are not mutually exclusive.

Rujuta says that any diet program that doesn’t recommend exercise is worthless. Eating little or being on a low calorie diet might help you lose weight, but without exercise we lose our muscles and bone density. So 30 to 45 minutes of exercise for 3 days a week to keep or body in good shape and condition.

We also lose weight when we fall sick, especially when one suffers from diarrhea, TB,  jaundice etc but that’s not how we want to lose weight!

So an exercise regime is what works along with sensible diet.

3. If you must eat fried munchies like chaklis or chips make them at home.

If you feel like eating fried foods, prepare them at home. Not only will you be using a good cooking oil and quality ingredients, your goodies will also taste better and also be more nutritious, she advises. Since this is a long draswn, laborious process you will land up doing this maybe once in a fortnight or once in a month.

Baked goodies or low-fat, fat-free ones which you buy from outside will lull you into a false sense of security that they are not that unhealthy and you’ll consume more of it. Moreover they can be easily bought and stored so you have access to them almost daily and hence you'll binge on them. 

The choice is yours: get rid of repackaged junk food from your house, says Rujuta.

4. One size doesn’t fit all 

Each person is different with a different body constitution and lifestyle. So never follow someone else’s diet regime.

Diets needs to be personalised and customised to your needs, fitness levels, exercise frequency, profession, climate, and your tastes in food. Take your present day eating habits and improve them and create your own diet plan as per your preferences and needs.

5. Train your stomach. 

Rujuta says that it is possible to shrink your stomach and prevent yourself from overeating. The trick is to  learn is to stop eating before reaching the overeating threshold.

So the key to staying within your 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 train yourself to do, is to be attentive to your stomach.

6. Always eat freshly prepared food.

Eat freshly prepared food and consume it within 3 hours of cooking, advises Rujuta. Don’t deep freeze cooked food.

7. Preparing food for smaller number of people is better.

The smaller the number of people the food is prepared for, the better its nutrient level, explains Rujuta.  More the people, the earlier you start to prepare the food, and the greater the quantity of food cooked, the more oil and heat you use. That’s why restaurant food can never be compared to home food, she adds.

8. Don’t cut vegetables and fruits into small pieces.

Eat your vegetables and fruits whole instead of cutting them into pieces, because you lose vitamins from their surface. The larger the exposed area, the more the loss of nutrients. In the case of vegetables, don’t store them cut. Never ever buy the pre-packed cut vegetables and fruits in the supermarkets.

9. Remain loyal to your genes

Preferably eat what you have been eating since childhood, if it’s possible. Right from the time you’re in your mother’s womb, your body is used to eating, digesting and assimilating certain foods. 

10. Eat local produce and seasonal food.

As much as possible, eat local produce and seasonal food. Climate, altitude, humidity, wind, soil quality, etc influence our digestive system and foods that grow locally. Mangoes are great in the summer. Eat them just once a day as a mini meal in themselves, and they will give you a season’s supply of antioxidants.

11. Eat with a calm state of mind.

A calm state of mind actually helps us to absorb all nutrients from the food we eat. A calm state of mind actually prevents conversion of food to fat. When your state of mind is calm and composed, you can digest and assimilate it easily.

12. When  and how to eat fruits? 

We should eat fruits when we are in a fasting state or when our liver store is empty: so, first thing in the morning on an empty stomach, or immediately after physical exercise. Any time aside from this, the body converts the fructose from the fruits into triglycerides. 

Fruit juice is full of fructose and lacks the fruit’s fibre. So always have fruits as whole and not as juice.

13. Never wake up to tea or coffee

Don’t begin your  day with caffeinated drinks like tea and coffee. Instead eat real food within 10 to 15 minutes of waking up. When you wake up your blood sugar level is really low and the body struggles to keep our sugar from dropping to abnormally low levels.

So, to keep our body’s fat burning tissue (muscle) alive, we must eat good food that will lead to a slow, steady increase in our blood sugar levels. The stimulants provided through tea and coffee increase blood sugar levels but provide zero nutrition to the cells that have been starving for the last 9 to 10 hours or more, post dinner.

14. Eat every 2 hours

This may sound odd but Rujuta actually advocates eating every 2 hours. Eating frequent meals every 2 hours is not just better for our digestive system, but it keeps us from overeating, says Rujuta.

When you eat every 2 hours a day, it’s a given that you will eat small. So the number of calories you consume at one time will be very small.

When our body gets fewer calories at a time, they are utilised better and not stored as fat. Also, because the body is feeling reassured with a regular intake of calories and nutrients, it sees no reason to store body fat. So you’ll lose excess weight, says she.

15. Eat more when you are more active and eat less when you are less active

Eating more food when you’re more active will make your body an efficient calorie burner which in turn increases the metabolic rate of your body and helps you lose fat more effectively.

Likewise, when you are not much physically active or relaxing, you should eat consume less food to prevent unnecessary fat storage in the body.

16. Finish your last meal at least 2 hours prior to sleeping.

By eating food at least 2 hours before going to sleep ensure that you give enough time to your body to digest the food that you have eaten.

eating early will lead to most of your food being digested before you go to bed which will help you sleep soundly and will make your body more effective in burning fat.

17. Don’t eliminate Carbohydrates from your diet

Carbs help you burn fat, keep your bowels clean, reduce bloating and aids metabolism (because they also provide the all important vitamin B responsible for converting food to energy.) Choose carbs that are low on /GI and high on fibre. examples are brown rice, jowar, bajra, finger millet/nachni/ragi etc.

18. Why no-carb, high protein is bad

When the body is given only protein and very little or no carbohydrate, the body first gets rid of its glycogen stores (glucose or sugar stored in liver and muscle) and loses water. After that, it actually attacks the muscle tissue itself, burning the amino acids for energy. The result is muscle catabolism and lean mass loss.

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 a process called deamination.

19. Why should we eat fats

Fat plays a big role in our body. Most importantly, it helps us survive during periods of prolonged mental and physical stresses, sickness, and prolonged starvation. Fat is stored as adipose tissue in the body from where energy can be used in these extreme cases.

20. Cookware and utensils to use

Rujuta suggests use of iron pans or tavas  and woks or kadhais to improve the iron content of your food. Also suggests the use of stainless steel and glass. She says that using aluminium cookware is dangerous as the Al leaches from the pot or pan, makes its way into your food, and finally into your body. Once inside the body, aluminium will neutralise digestive enzymes, increase risk of ulcers and if present in excessive amounts, even lead to Alzheimer’s disease.

Final Words

This book has quite a few such gems and hints for cooking as well as for consuming food. Though I don’t agree with everything Rujuta says, I found myself nodding to most of her tips and advice.

However Rujuta’s usage of Hinglish or English with Hindi and/or Marathi words can be a bit irritating for those who don’t know these languages well.  Although Rujuta puts forth her views in a convincing and easy-to-follow manner, the fact that a  book on health and diet book is written in such a non-serious manner and in a crass language can be off-putting for some.

Also Rujuta seems to be in awe of Bollywood celebrities. The number of times she mentions Kareena Kapoor in her book is mind boggling! Those who detest Bollywood and its movies may find this star-struck attitude of her's a bit annoying.

Other than that, the book is great! And it’s a book that everyone interested in keeping good health and maintaining optimum weight should read! And yes, the book should be read and re-read a number of times!

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You can buy this book at Amazon.

Amazon India (Paperback)

Amazon India (Kindle)

Amazon US (Paperback)

Amazon US (Kindle)

You can also buy the Hindi version.

Khaiye Aur Vajan Ghataiye  - Kindle

Over to you

Have you read Rujuta Diwekar’s Lose your mind, Lose your weight? How did you find it? Did you lose weight or improve your health by following her tips? What points in the book appealed to you? And what parts of the book you didn’t like? Do mention in the comments.

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