Punjab2000 catches up with Mumbai’s top celebrity nutritionist Rujuta Diwekar
Punjab2000 caught up with Rujuta whilst on her recent visit to England…
She has books published in which she reveals her techniques for the readers who wish to follow her ways in dealing with diet and health. 'Don't Loose Your Mind, Lose Your Weight' and 'Women & The Weight Loss Tamasha' are her successful pieces of work.
How did you come across and get involved within the fitness world? I am born into a family, which regards health as an heirloom that needs to be passed on from generation to generation. So in a way eating right, keeping fit and most importantly being worthy of your body (as in useful and not a burden on yourself or people around) is something I learnt very early in life. I guess my family’s way of life, their sound eating habits, yoga routines and even peaceful deaths for my grand parents got me interested in the field of fitness. Surely they were doing something right, to enjoy life and be on their own till their very last moments. While I was studying Industrial chemistry I took to part time instructing at an aerobics studio and loved it and started harbouring dreams of turning fitness into my rozi roti and not just pocket money. My parents were keen though on my having atleast a post grad and thankfully I found a course that offered PG Diploma in Sports science and Nutrition. The course is conducted partly by IIT Mumbai and SNDT and after I finished by PG in 1999, I started working.
You have well known clients such as Kareena Kapoor and Saif Ali Khan, when you started to establish yourself, did you ever think that you would be working with celebrities? My first client was Lally Dhawan, David Dhawan’s wife and then this is a line of work where word of mouth works. I discovered that celebs are a bunch of disciplined and dedicated people, passionate about their art. I must admit though that working with Kareena and Saif is an absolute privilege and honour, its much more than what I could have ever dreamt off.
How did the very first opportunity to work with a big celebrity come by to you?
Answered in the earlier question partly and in 2004 I had the opportunity to work with Mr. Anil Ambani, he really taught me how to take my work to the next level.
Who is your fitness inspirations and why? My grandparents, my family, my clients. I feel truly inspired that people make time to workout and discipline their bodies to stay active and choose to do a lot of work by themselves when in a country like India you can always get your wife or maid to do it for you.
What is your biggest frustration about the way people aim to handle their fitness and health? Thankfully, I have no frustrations yet. But yes, I am quite intrigued by the way some people go about pinching and squeezing various body parts for their supposed imperfections.
What would you like to change? I would like to see more respect for home grown wisdom about food instead of fleeting diet fads.
Do you believe in plastic surgery? A way to get better and quick results rather than work out? No, I am sure even a plastic surgeon wouldn’t advise surgery as an alternative to working out or eating right.
How do you deal with people who are against your efforts and hard work? I have been truly fortunate to find love and appreciation everywhere I go with my readers, clients, family and friends. Having said that it only helps one’s growth when you meet skeptics or have your belief’s questioned. So I respect both those for and against me.
Do you feel you have become an influential part of some people’s lives through what you do? I feel privileged to be a part of people’s dinner table and party conversation, flattered when people post their weight loss and life changing experiences on my face book and twitter pages and truly humbled when someone told me that an army unit on the Siachen border makes references to me like ‘Rujuta ke book wala apple hai’.
Your work is accessible for the readers, but do you intend to widen your presence to which you can meet people who struggle with their health? Maybe through appearances and workshops in England as a start? I conduct ‘Open days’ everywhere I travel. We are planning one in London too but the venue is getting tough to organise, since it’s a free event. I write fortnightly columns in Outlook, blog (not as often as I would like to), and am working on my DVD now which is based on Indian food wisdom and its age old weight loss secrets. Recently we have started with an initiative called ‘Pay as you like day’ where anyone can get a diet appointment with prior registration and pay any amout they feel like which goes towards feeding children of leprosy affected parents in rural Maharashtra .
For those who wish to do what you do as a career or a passion, what would be the best advice from you to them? Jump in, it’s the best time to be a fitness consultant and sky is the limit, truly!
Away from health related work, what other interests and hobbies do you have? Travelling in the Himalaya, brewing gourmet coffee, listening to stories, learning classical music and Bharatnatyam.
Is there something more that you still want to achieve? There’s loads, to begin with the next time I am in England I want to Ice skate better than I did today and go on a cycling trip in Northemburland.
Lastly, if health and fitness weren’t an issue in this world, what would be the next important issue you would consider dealing with? There wont be a time when health isn’t important so I guess I am in a good profession for the next few janams. If not fitness, I would be a travel consultant or an architect conserving indigenous ways of constructing homes.
I hope you have a wonderful time here in England enjoying your stay and look forward to hearing and reading more stuff about you and your work in the future. I so love England, it’s a beautiful country, vibrant and multi-cultural. Very happy to be here during Christmas. Thank you so much for the interview.
Interviewed by Jasmeet Singh Panesar and Aashna Singh