When you need to shape up fabulously and fast turn to the experts behind the sculpted bodies that walk the red carpet
Who: Macrobiotic counsellor and chef Shonali Sabherwal graduated from the Kushi Institute, America. Katrina Kaif credits her for her fit and healthy body. She's currently working on her first book.
The Method: The key for Sabherwal is to identify her clients' goals and concerns. For the uninitiated, a macrobiotic diet is free of dairy, sugar, table salt (substituted with sea salt or rock salt), artificial sweeteners (even honey), processed refined flour and gluten. The diet is primarily vegetarian, but fish is allowed. Sabherwal's emphasis is on cold-pressed oils or organic fruits and vegetables, as these assimilate quickly, leading to reduced toxicity and fat generation. A daily diet should include 50 per cent whole grains (brown rice, millet and bajra), 25 per cent vegetables, 15 per cent beans (pulses, kidney beans and chickpeas), five per cent soup and 10 per cent fruit. "The cooking method determines the food's energy. Sauteing, blanching and steaming release lighter energy and are recommended for evenings to relax the body. Pressure-cooking, boiling and baking are for the day, when you need to up your energy levels."
The Pros: With regular exercise, you can lose two to three kilos a month: and 1.5 kilos with moderate exercise.
The Cons: There is concern that this diet is low on vitamin B12, but Sabherwal's permented preparations try to fix this. It's a high-maintenance programme.
Crash Course: Here's a recipe for easily digestible beans: soak for eight hours, remove the foam and pressure-cook. Drain the liquid. Add tomatoes or vinegar and temper with natural digestives like cumin seeds, coriander or fenugreek.
Payal Gidwani Tiwari
Who: Most famous for Kareena Kapoor's size-zero figure and sculpted cheekbones, yoga expert Payal Gidwani Tiwari is regularly seen jet-setting with her celeb clients (a long list that includes Sridevi, Karisma Kapoor, Rani Mukerji, Farhan Akhtar, Malaika Arora Khan, Sonakshi Sinha and Vijay Mallya). Gidwani believes in not just losing weight but transforming the body. "I can't change bone structure," she says. "But I can give you the body structure you desire, as asanas and kriyas can tackle specific problem areas like a big butt and a wide waist and upper chest." Gidwani is quick to add that the change is internal as well: Pranayam techniques give her stressed-out clients a calmer state of mind. A session typically begins with a set of Surya Namaskars (excellent for warming up and toning) and includes inverted postures (Sarvangasana, Vipreet, Halasana). "These postures improve blood circulation and can give the face a kind of lift, knocking off six or seven years," explains Gidwani. To get the most out of the programme, she recommends one-hour sessions six times a week.
The Pros: Yoga works inside out. You stand to lose in inches and in kilos, and as a bonus, end up with a calmer mind, lustrous hair and glowing skin. Best of all, the results are long-lasting.
The Cons: No instant gratification. Initially, flexibility and stamina are built, and you might lose weight and inches, but the results start showing only after three to six months.
Crash Course: Drink at least four to five litres of water daily, and have a teaspoon of flaxseeds every morning rich in Omega 3 fatty acids, these improve skin and hair texture and delay telltale signs of ageing.
Who: She shot to fame as the nutritionist who taught Kareena Kapoor to uncomplicate her eating. Other celebrities who swear by her include Amrita Arora, Anil Ambani, Sameer Bhatia and Karisma Kapoor. After a powerful book debut with Don't Lose Your Mind, Lose Your Weight, she is back with an-other potential best-seller, Women And The Weight Loss Tamasha.
The Method: The emphasis is on eating simple, home-cooked meals. Based on Ayurvedic principles, it doesn't count calories but works on nourishing the body. Diwekar lifts the carbcurfew, as she says, "Carbohydrates are needed to maintain energy levels." She believes that if there is a gap of more than four or five hours between meals, then whether you eat salad or a samosa, the nutritients will get converted to fat. She advocates having several small meals a day to keep the metabolic rate high. Eat dinner before sunset and a light bedtime snack later.
The Pros: Minimal dietary restrictions and a regional-food focus make this a low-maintenance programme. Supplement with three to five hours of exercise a week, and you can lose two to three kilos a month.
The Cons: You have to plan your daily menu in advance and eat every two hours.
Crash Course: Concentrate on the 6pm meal: it's when your body craves food the most. Plan a wholesome meal that can include a paneer roll or cheese toast.
Who: She is on the speed dial of the who's who of Bollywood – Shah Rukh and Gauri Khan, Preity Zinta and John Abraham. Panday has helped both Bipasha Basu and Lara Dutta launch their successful fitness DVDs and has recently written a book, I Am Not Stressed, an indepth look at the connection between stress and weight.
The Method: For Panday, fitness is a fun way of life, not a mundane routine. Aware of the medical history of her clients, she decides on a fitness module according to their needs. "More than a fitness expert, I am a lifestyle coach to my clients," she says. "I guide their journey to a fitter body and mind through Pilates, yoga, weight training, kick boxing, or a combination of all these. Then I coordinate with a nutritionist to get their diet in sync with our training. I believe that healthy living should be a way of life and not an obsession."
The Pros: Combining diet and fitness, this is a holistic approach to health. Clients who stick to her fitness plans end up with fitter bodies (losing up to 3-4 kilo a month) and higher stamina levels.
The Cons: A hard taskmaster, Panday believes that there are no shortcuts in fitness. Clients are expected to be disciplined eating healthy, sleeping for seven hours and exercising early in the morning are priorities.
Crash Course: If you're stressed out, you won't have a healthy body. Keep a diary to prioritise your concerns so you don't sweat the small stuff.