In her new book, out next month, bestselling nutritionist Rujuta Diwekar zeroes in on Indian women and their often vexed relationship with food and exercise, in her signature style: sharp, chatty, uninhibited, peppered with insights from her own work with women seeking salvation from obesity. Some edited excerpts:
Have you played Uno? If you have, you know the rules—when you have just one card left, you’re supposed to say ‘Uno’, or else you’ve missed your chance and are forced to pick another card from the pack, and that one card can turn your winning streak into a losing one. Guess you’re getting where this is leading. When there is still a bit of space left in your stomach, it says ‘Uno’. If you are alert enough to hear that, you put a full stop to your game of eating. If you didn’t hear your stomach say Uno, or you heard and chose to ignore it (or you were just ‘busy’), then you pick up another morsel and lose at the game of eating ‘right’, looking thin, staying fit, healthy, happy, calm. Congratulations. And no amount of ‘working out tomorrow’ or ‘slogging at the treadmill tomorrow’ is going to change that—you are doomed to stay trapped on the bridge that leads you from greed to fear. To escape the bridge, simply listen, listen to your stomach.
Now, the stomach will say ‘Uno’ at different times during different phases of our growth and menstrual cycle. When it says ‘Uno’ is also dependent on your stress levels (mental and physical), the time of day, season, geographical location, company during meals and a host of other factors. Women should never, ever (saying this at the cost of knowing never say never) ‘standardise’ their meal size.
We are hormonally vibrant, and it’s perfectly normal to feel like eating more on some days and less on other days.