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Rujuta Diwekar probably knew that she was sitting on a bestseller when she began writing Don’t Lose Your Mind,Lose Your Weight.

Diet books are the latest bestsellers as readers queue up to shed flab

Rujuta Diwekar (inset) probably knew that she was sitting on a bestseller when she began writing Don’t Lose Your Mind,Lose Your Weight. A dietician and fitness expert,Diwekar was,for several years,the best-kept secret of Mumbai celebrities who depended on her for their fabulous bodies. Then one day,Kareena Kapoor,overweight at 60 kg,asked for an appointment. That was the beginning — as Kapoor’s waistline shrank to size zero,Diwekar became India’s new fitness sensation. Everybody wanted to know her secret formula. When she finally revealed it in Don’t Lose Your Mind… earlier this year,the book immediately rose to the bestseller list and threatened to overtake heavyweights like Booker winner The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga and Booker contender The Sea of Poppies by Amitav Ghosh. At prominent bookstores like Crossword,Oxford Bookstore and Landmark,Diwekar’s slim book,with its lime green spine and curly letters,has notched up sales in thousands.

It has also turned attention to other diet books on the shelves. The Mind and Body sections at bookstores now boast titles like Eat Right 4 Your Type by Peter D’Adamo,I Can Make You Thin by Paul McKenna and South Beach Diet by Arthur Agatston. Priyanka Malhotra of Full Circle bookstore says sales of these diet books have picked up ever since Diwekar’s book was published earlier this year. “Of these,South Beach Diet has the most impressive sales,largely because it documents the diet patterns of Hollywood bigwigs such as Nicole Kidman and Kim Cattrall,” she says. Obviously,when it comes to diet tips,it helps to have celebrity endorsements.

Most of the buyers,she adds,are “working women in their 30s and homemakers in their 40s.” S N Chowdhury,spokesperson,Oxford Bookstores says he’s noticed that many parents want diet books for their daughters. “What works,apart from the content,is the cover design. Diwekar’s book,however,has no picture on the cover,not even of Kareena,” he says.

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While self-help books have always been popular with Delhi’s reading public,these have usually been limited to meditation,tarot and personality building skills. This summer,diet books are the new buzz. Popular blogger Rashmi Bansal captures the mood in her blog called Youth Curry: Insight on Indian Youth. “This is a book grounded in a philosophy of life. A confluence,as it were,of all that Rujuta has learned (and is still learning) from her study of yoga,ayurveda,sports science and nutrition,” she writes.

The success of Don’t Lose your Mind has encouraged other publishing houses to cash in on the trend. HarperCollins India,which predicted the trend two years ago with Fat People Don’t Eat Breakfast by Lee Janogly,is planning other titles “Fat People… has been doing well since its release in India in 2007. Other titles on eating right are also very popular,” says Lipika Bhushan of HarperCollins India. Malhotra,however,says that despite the new popularity of diet books,she would like to add a word of warning: “While these books are very popular with people who want to lose weight quickly,they can often have negative effects on the body and mind in the long run,” she says. Right now,nobody’s listening.

First published on: 07-05-2009 at 01:14:51 am
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