Those who remember her in Kabhie Kabhie, Deewar and Amar Akbar Anthony can see that the comfortably plump Neetu Singh of yore is a new person today: she’s lost weight, has a healthy glow on her face and looks genuinely happy (touch wood!).
Neetu may have given up films 28 years ago after she married Rishi Kapoor, but she chose not to give up on herself. She took charge of her family’s health and her own–with single minded, missionary zeal.
What’s best, the breakthrough came via the prevention route: cutting risks, eating healthy, exercising and having a bright outlook on life!
Neetu’s story is at once inspiring and practical. Her health routine is rooted in science, yet she has imbibed the best from every stream and created her own path.
As we get ready for our cover shoot, Neetu casually mentions turning 50 this year. She can see we’re incredulous. “OK,” she smiles, “I am 50, but a good 50.” Let’s find out how.
You’ve lost weight, look happy and your skin glows. What’s your story?
(Smiles) Prevention is actually the key for me. I believe that one should try and prevent ailments that overwhelm you in middle age (high BP, high cholesterol, diabetes, osteoporosis, heart problems) rather than treat them with medicines later. I have learnt from many things. For instance, I have seen my mother who’s overweight, has diabetes, high BP and a knee problem.
Neetu’s home cures
- Flaxseed and cinnamon are good for sugar control in diabetics.
- Green tea is excellent for cholesterol, have it 3–4 times in a day.
- For aches and pains take a raw potato and grate it along with the jacket. Put it in half a glass of water. It will turn reddish. Strain and drink it. It’s excellent for knee and joint pains.
- Take a jar of water, add some cucumber slices. Keep drinking this water whenever you are thirsty. It will make your skin glow.
I took my health–and my family’s–in my own hands. Here I am fighting my genes. And I believe (with the right approach) you can do it!
Of course, I first got into fitness in a big way to deal with my husband’s weight problem. A lot of people would say that he was beginning to look overweight on screen.
I was desperate to find ways to help him. I started reading up and then slowly, even before I realised it, I was on the path of health myself.
How did this transformation happen? Did you follow a weight–loss regime?
Actually I tried all kinds of fad diets and weight–loss programmes in the beginning but found that they didn’t work. You must make health a way of life. Keep track of what you put into your mouth and how much. Beyond the age of 30, I took the health route and it all fell into place. Five years ago I started training with Bharat Thakur for yoga. And I was under the supervision of nutritionist Dr Vijaya Venkat for two years. She was fabulous. A combination of different exercises and eating right did it for me. In fact, I used to get a healthy dabba from Dr Venkat every day for a while, but now my cook has learnt how to prepare healthy food. We no longer enjoy oily, overcooked food.
Today my mantra for good health is simple: eating healthy and exercising. I try my best to stick to my health routine. What’s more, I find stuff in my kitchen. I’ll give you an example: to cut the risk of diabetes, I take a pinch of cinnamon and tulsi leaves first thing in the morning every day.
And I find that my sugar level is a little lower than it should normally be. My doctor is very happy that my good cholesterol is up and I have managed to keep my bad cholesterol down. And this is no thanks to medicines!
Also now that I am going through menopause, I make sure I eat suran (elephant yam or jimikand) which has estrogen, veggies such as broccoli, mushroom, peas and fish for sure, in addition to exercising.
Actually, food is the key to good health: what you put into your mouth shows up on your skin. If you are healthy from within, it shines through. This is why five helpings of fruits and vegetables is a must for me every day. This ensures proper blood circulation and supplies the body with adequate water. Of course, there is yoga and meditation which add to the benefits.