Karl Menninger’s quote, “What the teacher is, is more important than what he teaches”, instantly reminds me of my teacher, mentor and guide of so many years, Dr. Vinod Dhurandhar.
Founder Chairman & President of All India Association for Advancing Research in Obesity (AIAARO), Dr. Dhurandhar is well-known as the father of obesity management in India; and I feel immensely blessed and privileged to have studied and worked under his fine guidance.
Looking back, I am instantly reminded of my initial meeting with Dr. Vinod Dhurandhar at the 1st National Obesity Congress held at Santa Cruz, Mumbai in the year 2002-03. I was amazed by his humility, enthusiasm and zest for life, despite his years and high stature. I remember how much I wanted to train under him, but found it difficult to approach him as I was just a young Doctor then.
But as they say, if you desire something strongly, the whole universe works to give you what you want. My dream came true! I soon received the opportunity to train at Dr. Dhurandhar’s Obesity Clinic (first of its kind in India), where I learnt the basics of life, health and nutrition. The clinic was established in 1964, and in a span of 50+ years; Dr. Dhurandhar has successfully treated more than 150000 patients, enabling them to lead a healthier and happier life.
Dr. Dhurandhar, a born teacher taught from the heart and not from the book.
His teachings about –
Why fat loss and not weight loss?
Why say no to fad diets?
Why gymnasiums are not required for fat loss?
Why ‘once obese always obese’ and hence, weight maintenance becomes difficult, and many other concepts still hold true and stand the test of time.
Dr. Vinod Dhurandhar sir used to say,“It is easy to earn money and fame, but it is difficult to make a difference in peoples’ lives. As a physician, life has given us the opportunity – hence, do not think only of weight loss. Rather, focus on your patient’s holistic health”.
It is interesting to note that Dr. Dhurandhar’s career in obesity management began by treating himself first. Despite being a sports freak and playing eight games of badminton every day (college champion in badminton), Dr. Dhurandhar was overweight.
In 1960, when he was a young doctor and professor of Physiology at Bombay Homoeopathic Medical College, sir weighed almost 200 pounds! Even though Dr. Dhurandhar won many prizes at inter-college sports competitions, he severely lacked stamina. He realized then that fitness and obesity could not go together.
Further discussions with his professor, Dr. Murzban Motasha made him understand just how important it was to lose weight.
The next few months saw Dr. Vinod Dhurandhar tweaking his diet, taking controlled proportions of food; and his efforts showed encouraging results. Dr. Dhurandhar lost 60 pounds in just 6 months with no increase in weight for almost 3 years; a turning-point in his life.
Dr. Dhurandhar sir now decided to help others achieve the same goal of fat reduction, marking the beginning of his journey as India’s pioneer obesity consultant.
Dr. Dhurandharfirmly believed that balanced food intake and walking are the only two approaches required for fat reduction. He emphasized on changing people’s behaviour and their attitude towards weight and life, a concept that I practice every day as a Weight Loss and Weight Management Consultant at my specialty clinic for Weight loss, Lifestyle modification and Nutrition Therapy in Kolhapur.
Till date, Dr. Vinod Dhurandhar talks about his work in the field of obesity management with utmost humility. He says – “A smile on my patient’s face and the fact that I could help others is my greatest achievement.”