With Ramadan just around the corner, I’m hearing more and more people say, “I can’t wait until Ramadan so I can lose weight.”
But if you’ve ever fasted in Ramadan before, you know what a fantasy this is.
When a person fasts, their metabolism slows down, making it potentially more difficult to lose weight. So putting all your hopes on Ramadan to help you get fit and trim is only going to set you up for disappointment if you don’t prepare properly. Want to make this Ramadan a healthy one? Set goals and stick to them.
Here are five tips to a hearty Ramadan:
(1) Stick to healthy food choices at iftar time
Spent all day dreaming about that juicy cheeseburger and chocolate sundae you’re going to indulge in after sunset? Forget it. While you may think you deserve some high-calorie treats after almost a full day of fasting, you’re doing your body more harm than good. By the time iftar time comes around, you’re hungry, thirsty and probably ready to eat everything in sight. But sticking to healthier meal choices is one of the most effective ways to get fit in Ramadan.
(2) Portion control
Ramadan is all about learning self-control, right? Forcing yourself to accept a smaller portion size on your plate (rather than the mountain of food you may be used to piling on during Ramadan) goes a long way in establishing self-control and eating healthier. This will also help you avoid that horrible overly full feeling you get after stuffing yourself with three courses, and find yourself unable to move on the couch.
Fasting or not, you still need your recommended 8-10 glasses of water per day. And even while you’re fasting during the day, your body continues to lose water. So make sure to drink plenty of water before dawn and after sunset to stay hydrated. Dehydration can cause dizziness, headaches, lethargy, muscle cramps, and even fainting so remembering to stay hydrated is extremely important in Ramadan. This will also help you to avoid reaching for the not-so-healthy, high-calorie, sugary drinks, like sodas.
(4) Keep up your exercise routine
Or if you don’t have a routine, start one. While I don’t recommend committing to high-energy workouts while you’re fasting, try getting in some cardio and strength training during your non-fasting time of the day. Maybe, say, after Taraweeh prayer? Just remember to stay hydrated during this time!
(5) Don’t skip Suhoor
Yep, I’m going to have to insist on the “breakfast is the most important meal of the day” speech. Eating Suhoor will help minimize dizziness, the lack of energy, and cravings during the day. You just have to eat a balanced Suhoor—this means including sugar, carbohydrates, fat and protein into your early morning meal. All of these components will give your body energy to function during the day and curb your hunger.