Read Thin

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

Rujuta Diwekar 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 kilos, 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, 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, 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 Bookstore 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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