Book Review: Does the 'Don't Diet' Diet Plan Work?
Kavita Devgan's new book The 'No Diet' Diet Plan suggests we don't have to diet to keep our food habits in check.
Book: The Don't-Diet Plan: A No-nonsense Guide to Weight Loss
Author: Kavita Devgan
Traditionally, dietary advice strictly remained in the grasp of trained and qualified nutritionists and healthcare professionals. The advent of the internet and more recently, social media has completely changed the landscape. The question is not whether the advent of social media and therefore information dissemination through this channel is good or bad. Because the answer is it's confusing.
The advent of reels and short format media has led to the rise of fitness influencers. And each one professes their methods to be the best. May it be quantified nutrition or the keto diet or Mediterranean. Each influencer will swear by their tactics. Moreover, the comment section of these posts seem like theological debates of Ancient civilization where followers of a particular diet will swear by their preferred tactics.
Google is no better. Especially because most journals or blogs will follow the recent trends. Till 7-8 years back, fats were the enemy. Now it's the turn of carbs to fall from grace. So, like me, if you have decided to move towards a fitter and healthier lifestyle but are completely confused by all the information bombardment, the best thing to do is to consult a nutritionist. Understandably, that may be a little beyond the means of some people, which is where Kavita Devgan’s new book, ‘The Don’t Diet Plan’ is absolutely revolutionary.
Here’s what I’ve noticed about the different influencers or fitness professionals who swear by a particular diet or lifestyle. All of them are fit.
So, at some level, fitness and good nutrition is more than about just following fad diets, it’s about incorporating healthy repeatable and sustainable habits. This is exactly why Kavita’s latest literary exploits should be at the top of everyone’s resources for kick starting a healthy journey.
Written in a very cheerful and non-preachy tone, reading Kavita’s book seems reassuring and calm. She sticks to facts and has an uncanny ability to connect it with day to day practicality. Beyond just providing a detailed diet chart, she accurately dissects some of the fad diet notions in an easy to follow, but strictly scientific manner. One of my favourite parts in the book is when she explains how skipping meals is not effective and can actually lead to you gaining weight, but later in the book she also handles the nuances of intermittent fasting.
Not only does she follow up every scientific principle with an easy to follow meal suggestion, she manages to sustain the narrative of how important meal planning and discipline really is. One of the major things she can achieve through this book is to take away the food paranoia that a lot of us suffer from. There is no point in being worried for days about your fitness regime if you had one gulab jamun. Kavita will tell you how you can plan to deal with that in a calm and more importantly, effective manner.
The problem with most dietary advice on the internet is that it tends to be extreme. Kavita’s book expertly addresses this problem.
For example, she explains our obsession with calories and how a single point focus on calories cannot be the corner stone of any sustainable fitness regime.
The fact that some calories are good and necessary while some are not but even the bad ones have a purpose, is unknown to most of us. Her book will enable you to understand these nuances and therefore allow you to make more informed choices. The point of a diet is not to starve, but make you feel fuller for longer without adding extra calories or diminishing nutritional value.
Without giving away spoilers, I’d urge everyone to take up the book just for the quizzes which will help you understand where you stand in terms of sustainable food habits. Kavita’s book clearly informs you about what good nutrition should look like and how you can achieve it consistently by planning better.
This review is just the tip of the iceberg. Her book is full of smart hacks that will foster long term habits. A must read book for everyone who’s about to start or people who have started but are not achieving results.
If I had to nitpick, the only thing I was ‘craving’ for when I read the book was for a more detailed discussion on why certain fads work. I was convinced by her analysis of the science behind why skipping meals don’t work for most people. I’d give her a 10/10 if she also told me why it works in certain cases and why that exception can never be the rule.
Verdict: For the analysis, simplicity and practical approach she seems to adopt effortlessly, this book gets a definite 9/10. However, it seems to just stop short of speed limit which a few nerds like me die for. But hey, that’s me being greedy and we don’t need a book to tell you that greed is the first thing to avoid for any healthy discourse.
(The author is a lawyer turned business intelligence consultant turned chef. He also designs weekly and monthly meal plans for clients and conducts baking and cooking workshops.)
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