Kavita Devgan has many avatars: she is an acclaimed nutritionist with 20 years of experience as a weight loss and holistic health consultant and several hundreds of successful weight loss patients. She is also a very popular journalist and health columnist and has been writing regularly for premier media groups for last 15 years. She is a prolific and feted speaker too and has been giving lectures and conducting workshops in hospitals, schools and colleges about the right way of eating and new health and research based trends for a long time now.
She is the author of the recently released book Don’t Diet! 50 Habits of Thin People, published by Jaico. While she excels as a counsellor, her heart lies in spreading correct information through her writing. She is crystal clear about the right eating rules, and her writing has a voice that resonates with everyone. That is why she has written this book to take her ideas across to a much larger lot of people – so that many more can benefit from her skill and experience. It is being feted by both critics and celebs alike.
Tell us about yourself, your background and what you do currently
I am a dietician, have been practicing for last 20 years, and am also a health columnist (writing for last 15 years for multiple media houses). I did my graduation in Nutrition, followed it up with a specialisation in Dietitics and Public health nutrition and then an internship at Safdurjung Hospital. After which I began practice, focussing on weight management. Writing came later. As I had subject matter expertise plus lots and lots of practical experience via the people I had counseled for health gain and weight loss, I began writing in the health genre and luckily found many takers in the media for it. Then on, for many years writing took front seat and practice was put on the back foot. Now I practice a healthy balance of both, and like it like this.
Tell us about any current projects or initiatives you wish to promote
Besides the speaking engagements (health and wellness talks), my most recently initiative is my just launched book Don’t Diet! 50 Habits of Thin People, published by Jaico. It is a happy amalgamation of the practical lessons I have learnt over last two decades of counseling and helping people lose weight and gain health as a nutritionist and weight management consultant, and the extensive reading of latest research on health that is a ‘much-enjoyed’ part of my other avatar as a health columnist for media. Inspired thus, I have put together a succinct, effective resource for those who are looking for the right way to stay fit and fight the battle against weight gain. this is basically more than just a self help book – it’s a complete package, where people can design their own program and pick and change the habits they want to with the help of suggestions in the book; because eventually I believe that lasting health (like happiness) comes only via habit changes. It is an easy yet informative read.
What has been your biggest challenge in achieving your success?
I thrive on challenges, so they actually help me. That said the multi tasking that I do (writing, practicing, brand consultations….) sometimes gets tough, after all there is only so much time… but then one learns to compartmentalize and prioritise. Also what helps is that all the facets of my work grew organically and all of them are connected, and they all satisfy me in different ways, and keep the excitement going. For me work is never boring. If it begins to get boring, I extend it.
What has been your greatest achievement personally?
I haven’t achieved anything exceptionalI feel, I am just doing what I see so many women around me doing all the time, and succeeding in their own little ways. I derive inspiration from them. If you ask me what i enjoy the most, then that has to be my writing… because even though as a counsellor I am able to bring a change in the lives of multiple people through one on one interactions (which are very effective) but through my writing I am able to take the same message across to a much larger lot of people. It gives me immense happiness. No doubt about that at all. And writing this book is simply an extension of this facet… the wish to share (what I believe is right) with as many people as possible.
If you weren’t doing what you do now, what would you be doing?
I am already doing a lot of what I always wanted to do… and raring to do more… more speaking assignments, maybe some TV, as that was if I remember correctly my very fist ambition as a child:) I also want to have a radio show of my own – a bona fide health base show done right. Lets see…
Who has been your biggest inspiration?
My parents. My book is dedicated to them too for letting me do what I wanted to with my life and not forcing me to follow their dream for me and for always nurturing and encouraging both me and my sister all the time. And to mom specially for teaching both me and my sister the basics of eating right in an informal way all through the growing up years. Not only did that make studying nutrition a breeze, those are the principles that I apply everyday in my life even today. In fact many of them appear in my book too.
What does the future hold for you?
For now my focus is on my book. There will be more books too soon, hopefully, and I am already open for looking at ways to extend myself and explore other related aspects. Plus I feel strongly that we ‘need’ to bring about a change (in people) at the basic level – the way the mind thinks and the body reacts, and begin to think beyond just calories and mental toughness (will power). I want that change to begin from childhood… children must learn the ‘Right Habits’ that will make them strong from within. But I realize that to reach them, we have to reach the parents first… so work has to happen on both the fronts.
What is the basic premise behind this book that is different from other diet books?
The simple fact that i am telling people not to diet makes it different. Instead i want them to go back to basics, do a habits audit first, figure out what they are doing right already, and where they are wrong and then pick and choose which wrong habits they are willing to put in order. I believe in a process that delivers long term health and weight loss, not a quick loss and then regain scheme, which actually messes up your body and metabolism big time. I am trying to give out a message about moderation, saying no to fad diets, making the journey enjoyable, focusing on the basics, focusing on nutrition and not just calories.