From Dermatologist To Best-Selling Author, Aparna Santhanam Straddles Multiple Roles

Posted: May 12, 2016

With her new book, Jelly Belly, leading dermatologist Dr. Aparna Santhanam, takes on the subject of women’s health, and their neglect of it.

Being a medical professional is hard enough on one’s time, so it is interesting to see someone like Dr. Aparna Santhanam who has managed to write and turn out a best-seller while being a medical practitioner.

Want to know more about a holistic approach to health? If you live in Bangalore, join Women’s Web and Dr. Aparna Santhanam at a fun, fitness event this Saturday, 14th May.

When I inquired if her choice of being a writer was a deliberate one, she says, “Yes, I have always been writing, since 10th grade. I have written for magazines and have been a columnist for a substantial period too.” She adds that since childhood, the dream of being a writer has always stayed with her.

When I ask her if it was tough to write her first book, Skin Deep, she agrees, saying, “It is always a tough job to write your first book.” She further adds that she suffered from writer’s block sometimes while at others, thoughts just flooded her mind and she penned down her ideas.

Every woman matters

When she decided to turn writer, Dr. Santhanam decided to write for the ordinary reader on beauty, health and fitness. The conversation went on to an interesting point where she says, “My contemporary medical practitioners were indeed astonished as my books were meant for the average woman rather than serving to add to the canon of medical stalwarts”.

Her latest book, Jelly Belly: Every Woman’s Guide To Good Health & Happiness has recently been launched, an accessible book again, meant for someone who is not a fitness expert but interested in being fit. On being asked who served as the inspiration for her new book, she replies, “Middle-aged woman habitually ignore the early symptoms of ageing and as a result their health deteriorates, which further shows in their appearance. While women are bothered about their outward appearance, they neglect the ongoing change in their bodies. My book serves to educate them towards leading and maintaining a particular lifestyle aiming at their optimum health.”

Don’t aim for beauty first

She is a firm believer in the fact that beauty lies within and if you feel healthy, you don’t have to make efforts to look good.

Further during the conversation, she strongly raised her voice against beauty ideals being synonymous with slimness and debunks the idea of following a particular diet plan to attain a perfect figure. She says, “Your goal should be to become healthy first and foremost and beauty falls on a comparably secondary pedestal”.

I further inquired about the challenges she faced during her journey. She responded, “My biggest challenge was to cater to the patient’s psyche and it served as my ultimate goal also. If you do not dwell on the psyche of the individual you are treating, you would not be able to aid him or her effectively. If they desire the use of modern intervention to enhance their appearance, it falls upon the doctor to understand the reasons for the patient’s demand. And the doctor needs to strictly demarcate the line on when to stop the usage of modern technology and help the patient realize that his/her looks are just a part of his whole personality”.

While dermatologists can do all kinds of wonders today, Dr. Aparna Santhanam points to the responsibility of the doctor to also not use such modern technologies that can adversely affect the patients in a few years to come. She also feels that individuals consulting dermatologist should understand that it is not possible for the doctor to completely transform the way you look, or cater to your whim to look like a celebrity!

The cornerstones of healthy living

Dr. Santhanam believes in re-educating ‘every woman’ via her writings and that is what makes her a writer with a cause. She further says that she has depicted four cornerstones in Jelly Belly towards healthier living.

She says, “The first advice to all women is to not neglect the early signs of change in their bodies, which when ignored can lead to hazardous effects for their physical well-being. The second advice is to eat light and at appropriate intervals. Whether you are addicted to paratha or sambar-dosa for breakfast, it does not matter but the central change you have to adopt is to device ways in which each of these dishes can be made healthier”.

She further stated, “Thirdly it is important for everybody to exercise for half an hour at least. The exercise is meant to channelize your energies, which would strongly improve your health. Lastly, spare at least 10 minutes from your hectic schedule to do the things you love and reduce your stress levels.”

Rather than focusing only on a strict diet, she would like to re-orient women’s overall way of life.

Want to know more about a holistic approach to health? If you live in Bangalore, join Women’s Web and Dr. Aparna Santhanam at a fun, fitness event this Saturday, 14th May.

We will start with a rousing round of Zumba and go on to have some fun conversation with Dr. Aparna where she tells us about better living and answers all your questions about getting fitter.

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A teacher by profession, an avid reader by passion and a writer by choice. Love

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