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Took Arjun Kapoor 14 months to lose weight, says Akshay Arora who helped the actor ‘taper down meals by 50 per cent’

"Shahid Kapoor is Shaolin-strict and disciplined with his diet and meal timings. He follows it very diligently..." the entrepreneur and nutrition aficionado told this outlet

healthy eating, healthy weight loss, healthy weight gain, celebrity weight loss, Arjun Kapoor weight loss, Arjun Kapoor transformation, fitness enthusiast Akshay Arora, celebrity diet, healthy eating, healthy diet, balanced meals, fitness enthusiast Akshay Arora interview, indian express newsArjun Kapoor recently made news for losing excess weight and looking leaner and fitter. Find out how he did it. (Photos: Instagram/@arjunkapoor)

Many of us are curious about what our favourite celebrities eat, how they manage to look healthy and in shape and what their meal charts comprise. Actors, particularly, have to undergo the crests and troughs of weight loss based on the kind of project they have signed and what they want to look like for the part they are playing — there may be some gains and losses in terms of body weight, and some of it may be drastic.

There is usually a team of professionals working alongside them, ensuring they reach their desired weight and fitness goals in a healthy manner. Akshay Arora is among them.

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The food entrepreneur and a fitness enthusiast, who has worked with Bollywood celebrities like Arjun Kapoor, Hrithik Roshan, Vicky Kaushal, Kiara Advani, Bhumi Pednekar, Kartik Aaryan, among others, tells indianexpress.com during a recent interaction what a healthy and wholesome diet should consist of, why weight loss is “aesthetically appealing” but not sustainable in the absence of balanced meals, what actor Arjun Kapoor’s diet comprised during his recent weight loss and fitness transformation, and why Shahid Kapoor is “Shaolin strict and disciplined” about his diet. Excerpts:

‘Healthy’ and ‘diet-conscious eating’ have become buzzwords, especially after the pandemic. Would you call them ‘fads’ or do you see a lasting trend of people eating clean?

The word ‘diet conscious’ overwhelms me, and diets could be a fad. I, however, believe in healthy and ‘wholesome’ eating. During the pandemic, there was a focus on immunity; human beings around the world were put into vulnerability, and the immunity to fight the virus had become every human’s challenge.

We realised and accepted that immunity is built and driven through healthy and wholesome eating. I believe clean eating is not a trend or a fad, people are going to be mindful about what they eat and explore the space of healthy eating a lot more than they used to in times to come.

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Should one completely give up on junk food? What, in your opinion, is the balance between healthy home-cooked food and cheat meals?

Junk food is nothing but imbalanced, and ‘bad-for-the-gut’ food, curated to have a high amount of bad-quality fat and carbs. Just how we don’t put bad quality fuel in our machines, because we know it could lead to machines breaking down or not performing at their optimum level, similarly not putting wholesome, balanced food into our system will lead the human body to under-perform, leading to a break-down in the future.

You have worked with many Bollywood celebrities. What has been the experience thus far, and do you have a favourite?

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I am a fitness enthusiast and entrepreneur. I have been a state-level basketball player for the majority of my days in school and college, and I learnt the science of eating right at a very early age. My passion for food and know-how of conscious eating led me to explore and educate myself a lot more on the relationship between food and the body.

We have three professional, passionate nutritionists who work in our central office and cater to our clients. My favourite clients are Vicky Kaushal and Kiara Advani.

Which celebrity, in your opinion, is most disciplined about their diet and also follows it diligently?

Shahid Kapoor is one client who is Shaolin-strict and disciplined with his diet and meal timings. He follows it very diligently and hardly indulges in anything outside his planned macros and diet.

Actors often have to change their look — increase or decrease their weight — based on the films they are doing. What kind of a challenge is it to then tweak their diet?

This is the most challenging part; changing your eating pattern means changing a large part of your day-to-day life. More than hard work, it is the psychological change that our clients have to accustom themselves to.

We have faced many challenges. When Vicky Kaushal was preparing for one of his projects to gain weight, it was difficult for him as he had to eat 6 meals a day every two hours. The quantity was also a lot more than usual. On the other hand, when Arjun Kapoor was kick-starting his transformation, his meals had to be tapered down by almost 50 per cent from what was before. He was in the midst of a very hectic shoot schedule and energy levels would drop quite often due to changes in his diet. All our clients, however, have had a very strong will to change.

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Arjun Kapoor was recently praised for shedding a few kilos and looking leaner and fitter — what did his diet comprise and how long was this transformation process?

It took almost 14 months to lose the excess. He was on a strict 1200-1500 kcal diet. His diet consisted of oats and egg porridge in the morning, chicken and rice with vegetables for lunch, a vegan protein source-based snack in the evening and chicken and vegetables for dinner.

Indians have a specific body type and are also more susceptible to certain health risks. Can you broadly explain what a general eating plan and pattern should feature?

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A wholesome diet with a balanced amount of protein, carbs, fibre and good fat is an ideal diet for any human body. We don’t have to eat boiled food to lose weight, instead, we need to design our recipes right.

As per body weight, height and daily workout, people need to first understand how much fuel they need to function; based on that they need to create a macro chart for themselves and implement those macros in their diet. They need to stay off processed sugar and consume raw natural alternatives like maple, agave, and raw honey instead.

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Many people follow certain diets only to lose weight. Should weight loss be the end goal?

No, weight loss is aesthetically appealing, and you could have lost a lot of weight, but internally you might not be as strong. People need to focus on wholesome eating and a balanced diet and look at longevity rather than short-term aesthetic goals.

Tell us about your nutrition-oriented endeavour ‘Neat Meals’. How does it bolster health and wellness?

Neat Meals was established in 2018. We have a team of 63 employees now. Our company is divided into three departments,

*Nutrition: To understand our clients’ body type and goals. They then apply that information to create a diet chart which is discussed with the culinary team.

* Culinary experts: Our chefs spend a lot of time doing research to come up with neat recipes for our clients. They are in constant touch with our nutritionists. Our expertise lies in making the food as delicious as possible, while also targeting the diet plan set by the nutritionist.

* Fitness monitors: Fitness monitors keep a track of the entire process and give our clients education on what kind of workout they must do to achieve the best results.

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First published on: 29-09-2022 at 12:30:01 pm
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