Losing weight is not easy, and keeping it off is even less so. If health clubs, gyms and yoga centres are doing their bit, what just got added to the list, and has become an instant rage, are the self-help books guiding people through various instant weight-loss programmes and techniques.
But it’s no longer about blindly following western authors giving gyan on weight-loss based on their diet-pattern; rather bookstores are now full of books tailor-made to suit the Indian lifestyle.
A huge market has emerged for these contemporary weight-loss books. As youngsters comprise a majority of this market share, the impatient generation look for faster and easier ways; weight loss programme being no different.
“Books by Indian authors providing fitness mantras through yoga and Ayurveda have had been quite popular among the elderly persons. But the current variety of books giving quick weight-loss tips are a rage among youngsters who are short on patience and look for instant results,” said Harpreet Singh, store manager at the bookstore, Full Circle in Delhi’s Greater Kailash-I .
The bookstore sells nearly 50 books on fitness and nutrition every month —their age group being 16 to 25. “Who does not want size zero, after all? And these books are smartly packaged and marketed with a chapter by some celebrity that adds to the attraction for young people,” added Singh.
It’s a hot topic in Mumbai bookstores also, with works by Indian experts in fitness, health, nutrition and diet outselling works by foreign authors. “Books in this category account for as much as 5% of our overall sales,” says Crossword Mumbai manager Neha Khanna.
“The best response comes to books written by celebrity trainers and fitness experts like Rujuta Diwekar whose clients include Bollywood star Kareena Kapoor. All of Diwekar’s books have been on the bestseller chart at our Mumbai stores.”
The Oxford Bookstore in south Mumbai, meanwhile, stocks about 30 titles on health, nutrition, fitness and diet. “These books are popular among women aged 30 to 40,” says the company’s Mumbai spokesperson.
The list of contemporary weight-loss books by Indian authors is endless, however experts warn against getting carried away. “I get all sorts of people; the number is higher of those who have done enough damage to their bodies by following mindlessly someone else’s diet pattern.” said Ishi Khosla, clinical nutritionist and founder of Whole Food.
Khosla’s latest book on the stands- ‘The Diet Doctor’, published by penguin, provides the scientifically proven way to lose weight for the Indian body.
Ask her why the diet books by Indian authors are suddenly a rage, she says, “There is a category that is willing to do anything to lose weight primarily to look good, and there is another that wants to lose flab the healthy way, usually the older generation,” she added.
Payal Gidwani, author of From XL to XS, says the expansion of food chains and the rise in consumption of junk food is causing health problems that are prodding people to turn to books for advice on how to return to a healthier lifestyle.
“I want people to know that working out and living healthily doesn’t have to be boring,” she says. “From XL to XS was written for the youth of today, to get them addicted to holistic living,” added Gidwani.
It’s not just about losing weight, but also about sustaining the weight loss, says Shubhra Krishna, writer of ‘Thinner Dinner’ published by Westland. “The western weight-loss diets don’t quite suit the Indian body, and are unrealistic. I had followed one of those diets wherein I was put on an all-protein diet. I did lose weight but it was difficult to sustain the diet and it all came back,” she said.
There is a section of people that feels “even if it is a fad, it is a happy fad,” she adds. And as they say, there is no short-cut to hard work, similarly, a good diet plan must be supplemented with an exercise regime to ensure the weight that has been lost does not come back with a rebound.
“If you exercise regularly along with following a healthy diet plan that suits your body type, you will not only get in shape sooner but will manage to keep it off too,” said Khosla.