To lose weight in Ramadan is the biggest challenge for most of us. It’s quite contradictory, but the sad fact is that’s how it really is! No matter how hard we try we always end up gaining weight. At least I know I did. Who is with me in this?
Okay, so let me confess I never did try anything. I was always complaining my weight gain on sisters who make delicious food or parties or mom, etc. etc. It was only when I began taking responsibility of my body that I started seeing results. I lost 5 kgs in just the first week of Ramadan last year. The weight loss was slower after that, because our bodies adapt to changes, but it did not stop and I managed to lose around 10 kgs in a single month without losing my hair or getting weaker. 🙂
The way I see it there are three steps in losing weight in Ramadan:
- Psychological efforts
- Spiritual efforts
- Mindful efforts
I am sharing some bonus sneaky ways to lose weight even in dinners or parties, and also when you can’t resist samosas or your favorite oily dish. So make sure to read till the end. 🙂
The Psychological Efforts to Lose Weight in Ramadan
From the way I see it making a change in our lives is more of a psychological journey than a physical one, be it achieving a goal, losing weight or taking steps for self-improvement. We need to completely believe that why we need to begin this journey.
Write down 20-100 reasons why you wish to achieve a goal before starting. This will help you keep going.
The more reason you can come up with, the better! It will ensure long term results.
This article enlists 100 reasons to lose weight. I am sure you will love them all. 🙂
There are countless studies and success stories that suggest that fasting helps our bodies cleanse out the toxins. Please refer to this amazing article which suggest that we should give our bodies a rest to let them cleanse themselves. The example they have quoted is of a superstore. If the shopkeeper just don’t let customers to come in for a couple of days and start cleaning every bit of the store, imagine how tidy store’s walls, floor and pretty much every inch will look like? Similar is the case with our bodies. We should stop burdening it with extra food to let it cleanse itself. Now here is catch: if you wish your body to get rid of all toxins which can otherwise build certain illnesses and even cancer, give it a rest. Don’t overeat at the time of aftaar or suhor because if you do, it will take the fasting time to burn those calories and the toxins build over time in our system will not ever find their way out.
But please please please, remember too much of anything is not good. Do not deprive yourself of healthy food in an attempt to cleanse it. Moderation is the key to success. Our bodies still need to build its immune system in order to function well on day to day basis. So providing it with nutrition and not over indulging is the best way to go.
The Spiritual Efforts to Lose Weight in Ramadan
Remember the core reason of fasting we were taught in school? We Muslims are asked to fast in the whole month to understand the sufferings of the poor, who cannot afford to eat well.
The fact that we do fast the entire day, but eat more than our bodies actually need in sohur and aftar is the reason why we GAIN weight in the first place.
So, next time you are tempted to eat more during Ramadan, remind yourself the reason why you are fasting in the first place. It’s to obey Allah’s orders, right? So just do what will make Him happy with you. Ask yourself, if I am not obeying him why am I fasting in the first place?
Remember the Prophet S.A.W.W. asked to eat only one third of the appetite, fill the other one third with water and the rest we should leave for air. In the light of his S.A.W.W.’s teachings, stuffing ourselves in the divine month does not seem to be the perfect thing to do, does it?
Keep reminding yourself these two divine orders and I am sure it will help you lose weight as much as it helped me.
We are blessed that Allah S.W.T. bestowed us with this month; its like our creator has laid out a plan Himself to cleanse our bodies, should we put hurdles in the plan?
The Physical Efforts to Lose Weight in Ramadan
Trust me, if you just focus on psychological as well as spiritual steps, you are sure gonna get fantastic results. However, some people tend to cut down on eating without taking the daily nutrient intake into account. Trust me, this is the worst we can do for our bodies. If our bodies do not get the adequate amount of daily nutrition then they will start malfunctioning, this includes weakness, certain health issues, illnesses, weight gain (oh yes, nutrient deficiency is one of the biggest reasons of weight gain) and consequently, a burdened life. In order to keep enjoying a well-balanced, happy life, make sure that you each meal contains the proper amount of:
- Healthy fats
Here is an example of how I eat healthily every day in Ramadan (for losing weight, of course):
- Eating any curry with less oil and a whole wheat chapatti (you can take whole wheat bread, tortilla, etc.).
- Drinking two glasses of water before meal.
- Eating a cup (or less) of plain yogurt.
- A date.
- Two glasses of water.
- Fruit salad (no sugar added, if the sugar craving is too high, I tend to add 1 teaspoon of brown sugar, no artificial sweetener or white sugar with empty calories).
- For protein intake: beans, black chickpeas, chickpeas or peas without oil or any other high calorie ingredients.
While some people don’t eat anything after aftaar, there are still a majority of people who cannot avoid it. I think taking a low calorie intake for dinner is wise because our bodies go into starvation mode if there is too much gap between meals. Basically, the body thinks that there is a shortage of food so it starts to slow down the rate at which it burns fat and can eventually start STORING FOOD which is what we need to avoid. So, if you ask me, I would suggest not to skip dinner.
Here are some low calorie healthy foods you can take for dinner, which I did and they helped me stay in shape:
- Yogurt: It actually helps in losing weight by providing necessary bacteria that helps our digestive system burning more fats. Plus, it’s got bone building calcium and power boosting protein. Just make sure not to overeat. Add your favorite fruit for added nutrients and taste to lose some extra pounds.
- Popcorn: It’s high in fiber and low in calories. One cup of popcorn has only 20 calories according to LiveStrong.com, so that you can even have two or three cups. Just make sure not to add too much sodium.
- Tuna Sandwich: Lots of protein and omega 3 acid in tuna fish can help you keep off those pounds for good. Don’t use sugary dressings or white bread, it will ruin your effort.
I know it’s not wise to workout while fasting, but that does not mean we cannot workout in Ramadan at all. I have chosen the three best and easiest methods of workout to lose weight in Ramadan:
- Dedicate an hour or half to Yoga: There is an argument that goes on that Yoga cannot help you lose pounds. But for me, it helps me pump up my heart rate (more than my sitting or standing does), and the Yoga stretches really make my muscles sore. Souring muscles are always best for shedding pounds, you know why? Because our bodies utilize extra calories to repair them. So, as they say “something is better than nothing”, instead of sitting or standing all day move those muscles and burn some extra calories.
You may like: How to master Yoga in 100 days
- Walk, walk & walk: Try to incorporate as much walk into your day as possible. Take breaks from work or sitting and take a stroll whenever possible. Plus add a half hour to one hour walk after dinner.
- Offer your prayers well: If we only focus on saying all our prayers well and completely, we can ensure a bodily health and physical fitness. According to a Japanese study, Muslim’s prayer includes all the moves to work every muscle in the body. If we are just keeping those prayers regular then there is nothing stopping us from having a well-functioning body that digests everything well. So, having a better relationship with our Lord and keeping a healthy body is not that big of a problem for us. Say ‘Taraweeh’ (prayer after Isha) and say Sunah & Nawafil, too.
Here are the Promised Sneaky Ways:
Do you love samosas/rolls/nuggets and can’t resist them?
Okay, I do too 😉 What I suggest you do is don’t deep fry it, instead go for one of these alternatives:
a) shallow fry: take half a tablespoon full of oil, its way more healthy with less oil
b) oven bake: it’s too delicious when baked
c) steamed: I have tried it a million times, steaming produces very easy and tasty results
d) sandwich maker: oh yeah, it’s a life saver. 😀 There is nothing easier than just putting samosas/ nuggets in sandwich maker and getting crispy delicious results.
Craving French fries?
Trust me baked fries with just a tablespoon or two of olive oil spread over them are just as tempting as deep fried ones, with too less calories in comparison. Try that if you are serious about getting healthy or to lose weight in Ramadan.
There is a party or dinner?
I know how rude it seems to eat less in a party, especially when we are burdened with hospitality. The easiest ways to not overeat are:
a) Eat really slow ;), so that you are done eating when everyone is. So less people notice it.
b) Make an analysis of what’s healthy on the table before indulging: I know we can’t have specially prepared food items in a party, but we can always make healthier choices if not healthiest! (Take a look at the above section where I discussed healthy choices.)
c) It’s okay to eat only one unhealthy item.
You are too busy or sick to make special preparation?
a) Ask someone to prepare your special meal.
b) Prepare items in bulk and store in refrigerator.
c) Eat raw fruits or vegetable, we can always get them!
d) Let everyone in the house know about your plans so nobody offers you something you can’t resist.
e) If everything fails? Just eat less and satisfy your hunger with water. Our bodies are super dehydrated in Ramadan so they can be easily fooled.
You are too thirsty?
We all are EXTREMELY thirsty in Ramadan. This often leads to us drinking way more liquid than we usually do. While it’s really a good idea to satisfy thirst, its equally important not to take more calories with the drink. DO NOT DRINK CALORIES! Please, if you really wanna live a healthy life, don’t drink anything but water, everything we drink needs water to digest it, so just save some calories and eliminate all sugary drinks including packaged natural juices (look at their back, there is always added sugar in them.) Skimmed milk, all natural smoothies and freshly squeezed fruit juices with no added sugar can be your friends along with water.
Take Away to Lose Weight in Ramadan:
These are the changes that I made to my lifestyle to lose weight in Ramadan in a healthy fashion. And trust me, I did not gain even a single pound back. 🙂 What I want you do is to do exactly as your lifestyle is, just replace unhealthy items with healthy ones; replace white sugar with brown sugar, replace patent flour with oat flour, replace most drinks with water or juices of whichever fruit you like & enjoy, cooking oils with olive or coconut oil, etc. Search the internet for alternatives to anything unhealthy and I am sure you will find perfect answer.
I have taken the liberty of making an awesomely easy checklist to help you lose weight in Ramadan. All you really need to do is tell me where to send it (which you can do in the form below this paragraph.) Once you get your COMPLIMENTARY copy of it, just take a print out and start ticking away the days, time when you ate healthily or did some workout. And don’t worry if you have not seen this article on the first day of Ramadan, remember “it’s the journey that matters.” So, just start taking action NOW!
Good Luck 😀
Please let me know in the comments below what were the results you got from the ideas I shared to lose weight in Ramadan.
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