Review: Doctor Behind Aamir’s ‘Dangal’ Look Reveals Fat-Loss Tips
What is that one question that has plagued us for the longest time?
“What is the meaning of life?”
No, not that one.
“How to achieve global peace?”
Not that one either.
“Why did Katappa kill Baahubali?”
Alright, then. How about a question related to fitness, personal health and weight, or as Dr Nikhil Dhurandhar will put it, fat-loss?
If this too is your concern, read on. Dr Dhurandhar is a nutritional biochemist and physician, more popularly known as the doctor behind Aamir Khan’s transformation for Dangal. His new book Fat-Loss Diet is an attempt to give an insight into what led to that staggering transformation, along with being a manual for fat-loss.
Too caught up to read? Listen to the story:
However, be warned, dear reader, that the book is primarily about addressing and understanding obesity and not regular weight loss. With that out of the way, let’s proceed.
“Why Am I Fat?”
The book opens with a chapter that asks this very question. It also prepares the reader (and a potential obese person) to have their guard up against ineffective and possibly harmful diets with no scientific backing.
One interesting finding that Dr Dhurandhar puts forward, based on years of research, is that obesity in some cases can be due to a virus. You ARE capable of “catching” obesity, or Infectobesity, a termed coined by the doctor himself. Premising on this, among other things, the book concludes that obesity “is a disease and not simply a choice, or failure of will power.”
Perhaps in the future it might be possible to develop vaccines and medicines to at least treat some kinds of obesity?
Do We Have Our Ancestors to Blame For Being Overweight?
Your appetite is controlled by chemicals and hormones, all communicating within the body. Firstly, hunger is induced by a hormone called ghrelin. Similarly, another hormone (PYY - peptide tyrosine tyrosine) tells the brain when the stomach is full.
Add to this the fact that the primitive human lived in a time of scarcity and uncertainty. They did not know when they would get their next meal. They would survive the interim between two meals with the help of fat stored in their bodies.
Body fat produces a chemical called leptin. Depending on whether or not there is enough leptin in the body, it decides whether it wants more fat, and therefore, food. However, many of us don’t live in a time of scarcity anymore. Hence, our fat-storage often exceeds the fat-burning.
Some of us also have an imbalance within the body. As a result, the communication between the bodily chemicals gets disrupted. But don’t lose all hope just yet if you’re struggling with being over-weight for either of these reasons.
There are five effective steps in which the book offers weight-loss advice. It also emphasises that the aim is not simply reducing numbers on the weighing scale, but also the amount of fat in the body. Sometimes there might also mean slight weight gain (in case of muscle replacing the fat) in the process.
Key Takeaways From the Book
Irrespective of the weight you’re at, there is something to be found for everyone who is looking to get fitter.
i) Baby Steps: A very important message the book leaves the reader with is that there is always hope for everyone. You don’t have to start with a very intense regime, you can ease into it too. The book provides detailed eating charts with multiple options to choose from. It also outlines simpler ways of becoming slightly more physically active than you already are.
ii) Protein: Protein is one of the most important components of the diet and the book spends two entire chapters emphasising this. If you’re on a diet, make it protein rich, says the doctor.
A protein-rich diet would help you not only lose weight, but also build muscle, speed up your metabolism, keep you fuller and help you maintain or lose weight.
iii) Clean Eating ≠ Staying Hungry: Being on a diet does not mean being hungry. The first week of any diet is the hardest for most people. However, once past that, a diet becomes easier. There are also variations within the diet which the doctor offers for people to choose from.
iv) Work in Consultation With Your Doctor, Physician: Your doctor, physician must be in on any changes in your regime. If there are any pre-existing medical conditions, allergies, make sure to consult your doctor before making dietary modifications. It’s also important to not begin with an intense exercise routine.
This can cause more damage than benefit to your joints and limbs if you’re struggling with weight. Swimming is an activity which the book recommends; light walking for those who don’t have regular access to a swimming pool. The idea is to keep your schedule easy and manageable.
Also, throughout, there is an underlying suggestion of always keeping your doctor updated of all the dietary and exercise modifications.
v) Pull in Family, Friends: There will of course be well-meaning relatives and friends who will view your weight-loss as an assault on your health. India as a nation associates weight-loss with scarcity. Therefore it’s important to let loved ones know that it’s a scientific, well-balanced way of life you have adopted for your overall well-being. In fact, get them on board for encouragement.
The book offers an informed, scientific approach to weight-loss for obese people. It also emphasises that obesity should be looked at as a health problem, requiring proper treatment.
In the world of diet-books, the book does stand out for being more than just a piece of work produced by a famous actor’s nutritionist.
Price: Rs 299
Publisher: Harper Collins