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Why I am always ‘on a diet’

A diet is a pattern of eating, a routine that you follow with your food that is suited exactly to your needs. This is why fad diets don't work 

Who says a diet can't be delicious?
Who says a diet can't be delicious? (Heather Ford/Unsplash)

Why has the word ‘diet’ acquired so many different meanings? I hear people say, ‘I can never be on diet and that’s why I can’t lose weight’ or ‘I can’t do a diet and that’s why I have PCOD’. What they don’t realise is that the food that they are eating every day, and the way they are eating it, is itself their current diet. It also indicates that there is something wrong with their current pattern of eating/diet, and that’s why they have gained weight or are suffering from a certain disease.

When people ask me whether I am on a diet or if I follow my own diets, I tell them, ‘I am always on a diet’. Yes! That’s true. I have been on my own diet for over eight years now, and before that, it was my father who put me on a high protein diet since I was a national-level lawn tennis player. Over the last 8–10 years of being on my own diets, I have eaten healthy, taken care of all my nutrient levels and prevented deficiencies, gone out and partied, gone on vacations and tried different cuisines and come back and got on the healthy eating routine again. I have gained weight and tried losing that weight, have enjoyed all my favourite foods and learned to find my balance with them. And today I have found my balance. There is nothing that I deprive my soul of. I eat everything that I love without any guilt or fear of gaining weight. I can say that I am on a lifestyle diet for sure.

And that is exactly what a diet is. It’s a pattern of eating, a routine that you follow with your food. This pattern or routine cannot be the same for years together or even months together; it needs to change according to the weather, your health, nutritional deficiencies, health goals, body activity, stress levels, moods and mainly likes and dislikes.

That’s why fad diets don’t work. That’s why, when you follow certain diets, you stop losing weight after a point, remaining stuck. You are a different person altogether, and that’s why someone else’s diet might not suit you and your body. And that’s why we hear people say that diets don’t work. It is not the diet itself but the wrong pattern of eating that’s not going right with your body. So let’s get over the word ‘diet’ and realise that what you have been eating since childhood and what’s eaten traditionally in your house is a diet too. Let’s embrace this and make it our lifestyle. You will see more of lifestyle patterns of eating in this book.

Let’s talk a little more about diet. The word diet itself has become extremely popular for the wrong reasons in today’s world. Going on a diet is like punishment for people. It is perceived as a process where you starve yourself or deprive yourself of food over a period of time to lose weight and then go back to your old pattern of eating. Let me tell you one thing very honestly: this pattern does not work. Nothing works if you don’t pursue it consistently. If you follow a healthy routine for a while and then give it up, you are going to revert to the older version of you.

A diet will not work if you don’t enjoy it and make it a part of your lifestyle. It has to be your lifestyle. Your way of living. Something that you truly enjoy. Something that brings out your best version. Something that helps you become a better person. Something that gives you peace of mind. It has to include everything—your good days, bad days, cheat days, festivals, vacations, travel … each and every aspect of your life.

Most importantly, you need to become your own nutritionist.

Yes, I am going to make sure all this is doable and you will know how by the end of this book. And that’s precisely why this book is called The Lifestyle Diet.

Now let’s get into the details of this. Here is a checklist for you to know whether you are following a healthy lifestyle diet:

✓✓ You have good energy levels throughout the day.

✓✓ You are at peace with yourself.

✓✓ The lifestyle diet does not feel like a burden or punishment


✓✓ You can go out for parties, functions and vacations and

enjoy all the food without feeling guilty.

✓✓ You know your body and your relationship with food.

✓✓ You no longer check the weighing scale.

✓✓ Eating healthy is now your favourite thing and you keep

going back to it.

✓✓ You are consistently losing weight until you reach your

ideal weight.

✓✓ You have perfect glowing skin.

✓✓ You have perfectly thick and shiny hair.

✓✓ It doesn’t feel like you’re on a diet anymore!

✓✓ You have now figured out your ideal lifestyle.

What is the lifestyle diet and how does it work?

The lifestyle diet is a diet that can be a part of your daily life. It takes care of your physical, mental, emotional and also spiritual health. The best part is that each person’s lifestyle diet can be unique. You don’t need to follow the same thing that someone else does. You just need to figure out what works for you and what does not. As simple as that.

The Lifestyle Diet by Dr Rohini Patil; HarperCollins India; 280 pages;  <span class='webrupee'>₹</span>299
The Lifestyle Diet by Dr Rohini Patil; HarperCollins India; 280 pages; 299

Excerpted from ‘The Lifestyle Diet’ by Dr Rohini Patil with permission from HarperCollins India. Dr Rohini Patil, MBBS, is a well-known nutritionist and founder of Nutracy Lifestyle.

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