Fitness in Ramadan
Ramadan is the holy month for the Muslims, but almost all of the world join in with an intention to share the fun & joy associated with this month. After 30 days of fasting religiously, Eid-ul-Fitr is gifted to us by Allah. We wait for that day with our greatest patient. We prepare for that day- we buy new dresses for ourselves, gift to relatives, donate money & dress to the underprivileged society and look forward to enjoy those mouth watering, delicious meals cooked in our and our friends’ houses.
But all these enjoyment can bring in one really harmful side-effect. Weight Gain! Nobody wants it for sure. Today’s main focus is on how we can loose weight during this month. Please read on to find out how easily we can stay fit, control and even, lose weight during the holy, festive month of Ramadan. Let’s start with, why we gain weight during this month.
Putting on Weight in Ramadan
- Our life has changed in more than thousand ways compared to our ancestors. We lead a hectic and stressful life. Stress is already a big reason to produce the hormone ‘cortisol’ which makes the body accumulate more fat. During Ramadan we spend about 15 hours without having any food, not even water. This deteriorates the stress level. Resulting in more production of cortisol and finally, weight gain.
- ‘Metabolism’ is the most important factor in not just maintain or losing weight, but also in maintaining a good health. It is the process of turning food into energy. Simply put, it is an indicator of a great digestive system- the higher the metabolic rate, the better the digestive system. But during Ramadan, it slows down. Why? Because during such a long time of an almost static state of emptiness, the body becomes lazy. The very moment we put food into it, it starts to work and since, most of us keep on putting in food without caring about the ability of the body to work on it, the body becomes tired and we fall asleep. Result- certainly, weight gain!
- The third reason is the type of food we eat during Iftar. Most of the food are fried, oily- full of saturated fats- more commonly known as ‘the bad fats’. Then is there is sugar in many of those foods. Already the metabolic rate was slow, the body was tired and we fill it with more hard to digest, toxic food. No wonder most of us find ourselves quite a few kilos heavier at the end of the month, whereas we expect to be lighter due to the fasting for a long time.
- Next come the activities during this month. We naturally feel tired- body doesn’t get enough food- in time- to produce energy. Clearly we are not willing to work much, in fact, we work way less during this month compared to other months. Moreover, right after breaking the fast we feel even more tired and go to sleep. Instead of helping the body to digest the food better and produce energy, we make it lazier. Result- again, weight gain!
- After reading so far, you must have understood the importance of eating in time and eating the right kind of food based on the body’s state. Breakfast seems to be our best friend all of a sudden- doesn’t it? Anyways, the meal that prepare us for the fasting of whole day is known as Sahri. The most important meal of the day during Ramadan. As breakfast prepares the body for the day ahead during normal days, sahri does the same during Ramadan. Therefore, it must be taken and taken with great care. The usual tendency is to put in as much food as possible since we won’t be eating for the next 15 hours or so. But please, for your body’s sake, think about it’s ability!
- Final reason, water intake. We don’t get to drink anything as we fast. So it’s even harder for the body to digest food. Therefore, put in more water and other liquid food items to both help the body in digesting food and keep it safe from drying out.
In short- not having proper diet and not working out the body as required, Ramadan makes us heavier than other times, instead of making us lighter.
Staying Fit in Ramadan
Now that we know the reasons behind putting on weight during this month, let’s see how we can keep the excess weight out and stay fit.
- First of all and most important- stay hydrated! It’s very very crucial. We starve throughout the day. We are thirsty- especially during this time of the year, we need more water than ever. So drink as much as you can. Usually, 8 glasses per day is recommended. If you wish to lose weight, drink 12-16 glasses. Clearly, this is not possible during Ramadan. We hardly have that much time. But yet we have to try for the maximum. Follow these tips and you will be in-taking more water before you know it:
- Start your day with plain water mixed with a bit of lemon juice in it. Do not add sugar, if you wish to lose weight. May try honey, if at all, but not too much.
- Avoid breaking your fast with any packed juice or powdered version.
- Never go for cold drinks or fizzy drinks. They simply make you more dried out.
- Take more watery fruits like melons, cucumber, pears, pineapple etc. They are light- so easier to digest and full of water so keep you full for longer and keep you hydrated as well.
- If possible, start breaking the fast with about 4 glasses of liquid combining water and other plain fruit juices.
- Next- avoid fired, oily foods. They are full of the bad fats & toxins that make the blood clogged and help absorb more fat. Instead, go for fruits, steamed or boiled or baked food items.
- Grilled vegetables, fruits, fish or meat are tastier and healthier than fried ones.
- Eat less spicy foods. This way your body will be light and you will feel fresher. Especially, in summer times Ramadan makes us exhausted more than ever. Therefore, the lighter you remain the better for your overall health.
- Take your bath regularly and a longer one. During this time of the year, we normally require to bath more than once.
- Do not try to take everything that is in front of you- not at least at once. The food are not going anywhere- but if you do so, your beautiful body or the chances of losing weight will. Therefore, be patient. Ramadan is intended to practice patience throughout the day as well as throughout your life. So be patient and take the food slowly. Try to understand your body’s demand only. Do not let your heart win here.
- We all already know the benefit of taking small portions of meals more frequently. Therefore, take your Iftar in small portions and come back for it every 2 hours. This way you will make your body keep working. It will not be lazy, will have enough amount of food to produce the required energy and will not be tired as well.
- Do not go to sleep right after you have your Iftar. Trust me, many of us do this. Keep yourself busy doing anything. I am not asking you to not take rest at all even if you are dying for it. Do sleep- but please, make sure there’s at least a gap of 90-120 minutes between your food intake and sleep. During sleep, the digestion process is slowed down. Therefore, you better not sleep with a heavy stomach.
- If you have gastric related problems, try to take your medicines right at the moment you drink the first sip of water. Usually, we are advised to take this medicine about half an hour before the meal. Take a walk after your meal- a light, slow or brisk walk after every meal is normally prescribed for better digestion. During Ramadan, it’s even more important.
- Work out! Never ever skip it- if you wish to stay fit or lose weight. Adjust your intensity. Do not push too hard. It will only make you injured. Read your body’s reaction- understand your body. Exercise to stay fit first and then, to lose weight. Light cardio- brisk walk, a little weight training, few sit-ups & crunches on one day and pure yoga on the other day. Follow this routine on 6 days of the week. On the seventh day- pay more attention to works like house cleaning, shopping, walking in the park etc.
- Usually, we shop a lot during this month and take our Iftar while shopping inside the mall. Don’t do this, you will pick all the wrong sort of food and won’t be able to eat comfortably. There will be rush to finish the food fast and you will be either less full or too full. You will be missing the body’s demand this way.
- Drink green tea. I am saying this as a separate point because it not only keeps you hydrated, but also helps you digest better. Keeps the toxin away making your body lighter, helping you lose weight. Great for you skin as well.
- Some people would say that preparing for Ramadan at least two weeks in prior would help losing weight. What I will suggest is, let the body itself adjust with the sudden change. Take advantage of this sudden change. Once our body is adjusted with something, it stops reacting to that properly, it slows down. Therefore, if you wish to lose weight during this month, no need to take any advanced preparation and just go with the flow.
The best way to stay fit in Ramadan is to do your prayers timely. You will wash yourself timely, do the simple workout, practice discipline i every other thing and have a happy mind. You will be close to Allah and feel great!
The more time we starve the more we get cravings for the wrong type of foods. Therefore, it’s your own will that will keep you healthy.Choosing the right type of food and combining it with proper activities- is the key to fitness during Ramadan.
Hope this piece of writing has been helpful for you. Eid Mubarak! 😀
- Have a healthy Ramadan! (striveforparadise.wordpress.com)
- Guide to Healthy Ramadan Weight Loss (musthaidekhna.com)
- How to Stay Healthy in Ramadan? (freespirits.me)