It’s not a diet, it’s a lifestyle: says Fareeha Jay

Early to bed and Early to rise

Makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise

My grandfather used to tell me this verse quite often during my childhood. As I grew up, I realized that it is not only our sleeping patterns that give us healthy notion. There are many other factors like our diet, portion control, timings of our meals, and undoubtedly physical activity that shapes our physical health. With the advent of the free flow of information, every person reads something on the internet and comes up with his own totkas and methods to be fit or lose weight. Remember everything is not meant for everybody. Everybody type is different and needs different action to bring it to best shape. Online content might be good in general but can’t be accustomed by all. And so, I think, consulting a dietician or nutritionist gives you the best possible customized solution which can really make a contribution to changing your bodies and lifestyles.

One such expert is Fareeha Jay who is a Registered Dietitian who has studied dietetics at the Plymouth University, UK. She started her Facebook page by the name of “Aap ki Dietician” with the intention to help out her family, friends and anyone who wanted to listen and need assistance. Her life goal is to spread awareness regarding health issues. She badly wants to bust myths that have been rooted for too long in people regarding the crash and unhealthy diet plans and promote a healthy independent lifestyle in people.

Following is our conversation with Fareeha:

Tell our readers about your background.

I belong to KPK but spent my entire life in Islamabad.   As a child, I was always very loud and naughty. I had lots of friends and was always quite popular among uncles, aunts and extended family as I used to be the only child talking to them and having discussions with them.

I did my masters in Anthropology from Quaid-e -Azam University and worked as a research officer for a couple of years before I got married and settled in the UK. After having worked for a couple of years and after having children, I decided to do a degree in Dietetics.

Fareeha Jay

How do you get an idea to study nutrition?

 After I got married and came to the UK, I started working as a Community Development Officer in a council-funded organization, The Healthy Living Centre. There I used to work with nutritionists and dietitians and started developing an interest in nutrition. I started admiring the knowledge the dietitians/ nutritionists had; and how it had an overall positive impact on their life. I realized how just by changing diets you can change lives. That was the time, I decided to go for dietitian field, regardless of what educational background I had. I was ready for all challenges and because of my humanities background, it took me five years to achieve my goal.

Fareeha Jay

What is your motive behind Aap ki Dietician?

You might be aware that Aap Ki Dietitian is a Facebook group with over 100,000 members and it’s growing every day. I started this group with my family and friends just to answer their everyday questions about diet and nutrition.  When I started it, I had no clear motive and the main purpose was to share some information with them. Slowly and gradually, the number started increasing. With the increase in the number of members and the questions, I started getting from them, I realized that there is a big gap in nutritional knowledge. People are not even aware of the basic nutritional information. Our society is tied up in myths imposed on them by media and quacks. Everyone is following them, without any understanding which is affecting their health badly without realizing them.

That was the point when I made it my mission to educate South Asian people, predominantly Pakistanis about basic nutritional knowledge. I made it my aim to educate people about diet and nutrition, thereby improving their health, life, and lifestyle. By the grace of Allah, the results are great; every day we have on average five success stories of people telling us how with just attaining nutritional knowledge and applying it to their lives, their lives have changed for the better. Success stories where people are not only losing weight but it is helping them with other health conditions like type 2 diabetes, gout, blood pressure, hypertension, stress, anxiety. Women report higher energy levels, with improved skin, hair, and health.

Read also Ten Deadly foods we love to eat

Any interesting or most memorable experience in your professional life you want to share with our readers.

 After getting my degree, I started working as a Diabetes Educator. The job entails educating people on Type 2 Diabetes and Diet, where you have to give sessions to people from groups ranging from 20-40 people.

On my first day on the job, I was very nervous and shaking. My biggest fear was talking in front of so many people. After my first session, a man from the group came up to me and said that he was a diabetic for the last 25 years and no one had ever explained it to him in such a way before. He said he had met many dietitians but never had anyone cleared his concepts.

I couldn’t believe it that the first day of my work could become the most memorable one for me.

You enjoy the most?

I love listening to music. I used to love Bollywood songs but recently with the boom in Pakistan film industry I have started enjoying Pakistani film songs as well. Housework, work in the kitchen, driving, I always listen to music.

I also enjoy spending quality time with my children, especially during the holidays. I love planning small day outs with them.

Recently Aap Ki Dietitian has taken over and I have dedicated all my time to it. I spend almost all day responding to the queries of group members.

Read more about A healthy talk with Adnan Farooq

Any other platform people can approach you besides your social media group?

Not as yet, though I am planning to make a website so that the dissemination of knowledge and information is done in a more uniform way. People will be able to approach me on the website but through a very innovative way, which you will find out once it’s launched.

What are your future plans?

 Plans change every day as life is very unpredictable. But for now, my only future plan is to spread as much nutritional awareness as possible. It’s just the beginning; my dream is that each and every person in Pakistan knows and understands the basics of nutrition, and its importance in their lives. It’s the beginning of my very long journey.

Any message for your loved ones.

My message to all of you is to learn to love your body. Embrace your body and nurture it. Stop comparing yourself to others and be comfortable with your body. Don’t go for short-term goals, where you will look slim at the cost of your health. Nourish your body with the aim thinking how you will feel in the next 10-20 years’ time. As long as you are healthy, doesn’t matter if you are not slim.

Your thoughts about

The best thing about is that its aim is to motivate people through inspirational stories. It is covering varied stories from all walks of life. And highlighting and covering issues which at present are not part of the mainstream media. I applaud them for this great initiative.