Ramadan is just around the corner! It isn’t just a time where millions of Muslims fast, it is also a time where they’re subjected to annoying questions;
What really? You can’t eat all day?
Yeah all day. Nothing at all. Zero. Just some sweet oxygen.
But you can drink water, can’t you?
You must be starving…
No Nancy, I’m actually very satisfied. Thank you so much for your very sensitive question.
That can’t be good for your health!? You will be so skinny…
Are you jealous that your religion hasn’t got a built-in weight-loss program?
Just kidding! Ramadan is the most blessed and rewarding month of the year. Fasting not only purifies your soul but also your body, only if done in the proper manner. Follow our tips to make a few lifestyle changes to get the best out of this Ramadan.
1. Fast, not feast
It’s amazing how we can practice so much control while we’re fasting, yet so many times we choose to overeat at iftar. We can go from an empty stomach to a food coma in just 5 minutes. You’ll find your stomach doesn’t share the same ravenous hunger as your eyes.
Iftar should be a well-balanced, nutritious meal and not a feast. Eating normal meal sizes will help you feel more comfortable, get better sleep and even lose weight.
This Ramadan, try to do things a little differently:
-Before digging in, take a minute and think about the consequences of overeating – indigestion, bloating, weight gain and low energy levels.
-Try to pay attention to what your body is telling you and make a conscious effort to not overeat.
-Slow down and enjoy each mouthful of your food.
2. Ditch the addictions
Ramadan is a time that many Muslims look forward to, but the prospect of fasting for a month can also be frightening for some – especially those with addictions. We always associate addiction with drugs, alcohol and cigarettes, however addictions come in all shapes and forms.
Because you will be fasting during the day, Ramadan provides a fantastic opportunity to ditch unhealthy addictions, whatever they are – coffee, candies, chocolate, sodas, gambling, shopping, plastic surgery, smartphones, social media, lying or gossiping.
As Ramadan teaches you self-restraint for most of the day, you get accustomed to forgoing what you crave. Your body will gradually acclimatize to its absence, helping you kick your addiction for good.
If you are serious about quitting a bad habit, you can try doing so in a group. Receiving encouragement and knowing that other people are going through the same struggles you are can help a lot.
3. Move often
With less time, energy, and motivation, working out in Ramadan is challenging. But one of the greatest ways to stay focused and energized during the day while fasting is by moving.
You don’t need to do a hardcore full-body workout, but a small movement is already sufficient. So make sure that every hour, you spend at least five minutes moving. This can be easily done by stretching at your desk or taking a small walk around the office. It will help you pump blood through your body, and you’ll get a small energy boost to help you through the day.
If you get super lazy, try to remember; Ramadan is a blessed month where we are given the opportunity to be mindful of our acts. Exercising is a way to take care of your body. And taking care of your health is a blessed act.
4. Stay hydrated
Drinking a decent amount of water in the evening is essential during Ramadan, especially as it falls during the warmer months, but eating fruits and vegetables help with hydration too. Certain fruits and vegetables have high water content, and make for a refreshing way to replenish your body after a long day of fasting.
Some fruits and veggies to eat during this Ramadan are watermelon, lettuce, pineapple, cucumbers, tomatoes, celery and berries. If you don’t want to eat the fruits as they are, try incorporating them into a salad as part of your meal.
5. Eat your veggies
It is not uncommon for Muslims to reward themselves with rich, greasy, fried and sugary dishes when breaking the fast. Ramadan shouldn’t be the season of fried dumplings, samosas and all-you-can-eat buffet iftars. While these foods make you feel good in the short run, they can make fasting the next day more difficult, because what you eat does not contain many nutritional values. Instead, try incorporating foods from all the major food groups including fruit and vegetables
Changing the way we eat in Ramadan takes small changes that have a huge impact;
-If you really can’t live without your fried dishes, limit them to a once-a-week treat rather than a daily indulgence.
-Try to keep your iftar meal as close to a usual evening meal as possible.
-Avoid heavily processed foods such as frozen pizzas, instant noodles or chicken nuggets.
– Use a different cooking method, instead of deep frying food, bake it in the oven.
Bonus: Don’t go grocery shopping when you’re hungry!
Grocery shopping when your stomach is rumbling is not a good idea. Most probably you will go to a grocery store just to pick up a bunch of broccoli and will walk out with a cart full of all sorts of junk food…
Researchers found that people who hadn’t eaten all afternoon make unhealthy food choices and chose more high-calorie foods, many of which are processed snacks and candy. The body is always trying to defend its state and it makes very logical sense that if you’re going for a period without food, and you’re wanting food, you’re more likely to go for the food that’s high-calorie. If we need energy, we’re not going to go out for lettuce or a carrot.
Satiated shoppers tended towards healthier and lower-calorie foods such as fruits and fresh vegetables. Don’t let hunger influence your food choices and do your shopping at hours when you’re less vulnerable, like after iftar.