How do I Stay Healthy During the Holy Month of Ramadan?
The Holy Month of Ramadan is just around the corner. It's a beautiful time where people are able to take a moment and truly appreciate their blessings, practice gratitude & patience as well as kickstart their system.
Fasting all day can be quite challenging, especially in the summer time. Many people feel the need to compensate the hunger & thirst by feasting at Iftar, which leaves them feeling sluggish & overwhelmed. This also often leads to weight gain, contrary to what most people believe, as well as indigestion & heartburn.
How can you avoid that and actually remain healthy or even lose weight during Ramadan? If you take a minute and think about it, the meaning & purpose of this holy month lies in moderation, reflection, mindfulness & patience. In other words, the point is to learn how to listen to your body and truly depict when you're actually feeling hungry versus when your cravings are kicking in. We often confuse the two, mainly due to the fact that mass production & consumption has taken over the markets.
It would be quite beneficial for you and your health to properly practice fasting during Ramadan & possibly lose weight, just follow these easy tips:
- Preparation is key: a few weeks before the start of Ramadan, start cutting back on your calories if you feel like you might be overdoing it. If you're a coffee drinker, also try cutting back on your daily dose as this will prevent headaches from withdrawal during fasting
- Suhoor time is crucial: firstly make sure to drink lots of water & avoid foods that are high in sodium (salty crackers, cheese high in sodium, chips, bakeries etc.) Instead, have a light and balanced meal: whole grains, low fat dairy, fruits or dried fruits, healthy fats (unsalted, raw almonds, cashews, avocado, olive oil etc.) This will allow you to have some energy for a good part of your day!
- During the day: take a break from your work or activity whenever you feel lightheaded, take deep breaths, reflect & resume once you feel ready. In the moments of reflection learn to listen to your body and notice the signs that you're truly hungry (mindfulness). Prayers are also a good way to disconnect as well as get some physical activity in the day!
- Iftar time: this is probably the most challenging part of the day and here's what we suggest you do! Start by drinking a full cup of water and enjoy a piece of date while reflecting on your day. After that, leave the dinner table, take a small walk around the house, practice your prayers and come back. This will avoid the cravings from taking over causing you to overeat. Next, take a quick scan around the dinner table and select the foods that you truly would enjoy. Pour yourself a plate comprised of: some greens or a cup of soup, a single piece of bakery, a little protein (size of your fist), a cup of grains (rice, pasta, quinoa), a small piece of bread or some baked potato & veggies. Take your time, look at your full plate, eat slowly and enjoy your meal!
- Dessert time: at this point you should be feeling quite full but surely there is always room for dessert! If you actually feel like you're satisfied, give yourself an hour, if you still feel like having dessert, select your favorite item and have one generous serving (no round 2!). If you can't choose, take small pieces of your favorite items and make sure they amount to one serving as well. Fruits are also a good alternative that will give you that sweet quick as well as vitamins and minerals!
- You can also make your lives easier and join the Ramadan Program at Diet Center! (click here for more information)
Have healthy, happy, blissful Ramadan!