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Shikha Mahajan: Diet Guru that keeps you Hale & Hearty
Often, we wait till the time is perfect to start. The best time to start is now – Shikha Mahajan, Diet Podium Founder
In recent times, the fast paced lifestyle has taken a huge toll on our health which is primarily dependent upon diet. People don’t get enough time to eat food that can give them essential nutrients. This leads to a habit of consuming fast food frequently. It is right to say that fast food cannot fill the space of a proper diet.
But considering the fact that they have become a part of our daily lives, it becomes really difficult to ditch them in one go. So, what is the solution?
Well, this is where the role of dieticians come into play. They work with people who are looking to strike a chord with their eating habit without letting them compromiseon their taste buds. One such place is Diet Podium, a start-up which was founded in 2018 by Shikha Mahajan, with the sole purpose of providing knowledge regarding nutrition and dietetics regarding weight loss, diabetes, PCOS etc. The company works with a vision of dispelling myths that crop up by dozens every year in this field.
Shikha has had witnessed myths and misinformation rampant in the wellness industry, and how the young impressionable generationis being brain washed into believing them. This inspired her to break the misconceptions. Her USP is a holistic approach. Instead of banning every food from people’s diet, she provides them with right guidance of incorporating the things they like in their diet.
But the biggest change in her modus operandi came when she started acting like a health coach. “I see too many dietitians being people pleaser, trying to get as much clients and retain them and going way too far with making adjustments as per their demands. It is important to remember that in our field client is NOT always right. And it is our duty to guide them the right way even if it means we miff many”, says Shikha.
Keeping veracity above everything
There is one peculiar strategy that places her apart from the peers in the industry. She insistsprospective clientsto have a long-term goal before they join her program, which is proving to be one of the best strategies she has used. Whereas, everyone told her that it will be detrimental to her work.
It is seen that the wellness industry has been struggling with misleading information for a long time. To this end, she has been tryingher best to present the facts and dispel myths in an informative, fun manner through social media channels where most young people hangout.
We asked about her journey and the challenges she has faced. She says, “Not being from a medical or doctor’s family, and seeing how many get an edge from that can be disheartening. However, I presume this happens in most fields. Also, not only is there rampant politics in the field of dietetics, but also, many professionals charge below the fair charges undercutting the entire industry. Moreover, clients tend to act quite unprofessional with dietitians. All these seemingly small challenges can pile up to form a hostile environment especially for younger professionals.”
One of the traits that makes someone a true leader is the quality to remain honest to your work. As a wellness professional, she has seen a rampant growth around her for those who sell snake oil and it can be extremely lucrative to mislead people in our industry. There are times when it can be tempting to try the same, however, remaining true to the ideals of dispelling myths and providing the right guidance to clients is what has helped her grow.
Setting the right example
“I believe that young people need someone to set an example of right and wrong. They need a right person to guide them. In an industry where snake oil and detox drinks are rampant and growing, I do not have the opportunity to sit back and relax. It is imperative that the myths and misinformation keeps getting dispelled regularly since they come up with new non sense regularly. Knowing that I can guide at least a few if not all, is all the motivation I need”, Shikha asserts.
Becoming a dietician was never in her mind. “Choosing a right career was a tricky task. It kept changing like most kids, but I may never have thought of myself as a dietitian as I was myself extremely obese. However, the first time I lost weight as a young adult was when I really wanted to get into this field”, she says. Sherealised what it would mean to so many people just like her if they could get the right guidance. This was certainly the first true passionate career goal she had.
The industry has witnessed many positives lately. Many people have come out against the misinformation that is propagated by large brands and this is creating a great dimension shift in the world of dietetics. “I think helping people regain lost health is a noble cause and the field of dietetics deserves the same respect as the medical field”, she says.
Words of Wisdom
Shikha has some thoughtful advice to aspiring leaders. She says, “Success takes time and it will always take longer than you thought. Stay focused on your goal, start small, stay true to your values and growth will follow naturally. Take responsibility for your success. Set a realistic goal, and be clear about long-term and short-term goals and how you will achieve them”.