Nutritionist Pooja Makhija graced Women Writers’ Fest Lucknow, speaking about food, health and women’s bodies. Makhija is a renowned clinical dietician and a celebrity food guru. During her conversation with Kiran Manral, Ideas Editor for SheThePeople.TV, she talked about the importance of good eating, also stressing on the fact that you do not have to starve to get the figure or body that you’ve always wanted.

You Have To Eat Food To Lose Weight

In today’s time, food, body and nutrition are popular topics of conversation across genders and age groups. However, when Pooja Makhija started her career as a nutritionist, there was very little awareness about this. She was one of the pioneers of this space. On being asked what prejudices and assumptions she had to deal with to make her way, Makhija said, “I started about two decades ago. It was relatively new to be going to a nutritionist and investing your time and money to get a diet plan. Thankfully, I didn’t face resistance as such. Because what I told them was so organic and simple.”

The difficulty I faced and still face is in breaking the norm and telling people that they have to eat to lose weight. People feel that abstinence from food is the way to lose weight.

“That they didn’t need to stop eating to lose weight. They don’t have to make food their enemy to have perfect health or perfect figure. When I told them just how much they had to eat to lose weight, they were all very open and very warm. The difficulty I faced and still face is in breaking the norm and telling people that they have to eat to lose weight. People feel that abstinence from food is the way to lose weight.”

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Weight loss is all about the mindset

Talking about her book Eat, Delete which explains the mind-body approach to weight loss, she said, “It’s not rocket science to know what you have to do to lose weight. Everyone knows that they should eat healthier and exercise. But what people don’t address is their mindset. I wanted to talk about how people look at food, and how they should look at food.”

Food is more of a way to celebrate, or entertain. We eat when we’re sad, or cranky or PMSing. So the way we look at food needed to be addressed. I got a lot of inputs from psychiatrists and psychologists.

Talking about the book further, Pooja Makhija added, “And so the book essentially gives you a very simple way of looking at weight loss. In fact, my writer, Gayatri, told me that if I’m giving away all my secrets in this book, why would anyone come to see me? But the truth is: How many people can I see in my lifetime? If through the book, I can help a mass of people, that is worth it. The idea is not to come to me, but that you read my book and then it helped you.”

Eating Right For Kids

In Eat, Delete Junior, Pooja Makhija talks about kids’ nutrition. In a country that has among the highest rates of childhood obesity, this conversation feels timely. “The book came as a natural consequence of my children growing up. I was teaching them about nutrition and I wanted every parent to be able to teach their children about nutrition too. So the book talks about, from birth to the age of 15, what is the nutrition that your child needs.”

“With my girls, I realized that teaching nutrition to children is so much easier. Because with adults, I have to undo 30-40 years of bad eating habits. But children are like clay, they just need to be molded the right way. So I wrote Eat, Delete Junior in 2015. ”

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Prapti is an intern at SheThePeople.TV .

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