How do you avoid gaining weight during the Holy Month of Ramadan?
Dehydration is common during Ramadan as people spend most of their alert hours not drinking any fluids. This thirst is also often misinterpreted as hunger. When we are dehydrated upon iftar, we have the hunger of the fast on top of the mistaken hunger of being dehydrated; therefore we end up eating more than necessary. The best way to eliminate the ‘thirst hunger’ is to break your fast with some dates followed by 2 large glasses of water. Eat slowly, and consciously, with in the intent to eat for nourishment, not to satisfy your cravings.
There is little that compares to having fasted all day then sitting in front of a spread of every dish you have been fantasizing about during the day; from your favorite roasted lamb to the knafeh and cake! There is also little that compares to the amount of self-control we must have when faced with such a feast! The Prophet himself said, ‘A Muslim should never loosen his waist wrapper due to over eating.’ Ramadan is a time in which we are trained in self-control. This self-control is not limited to the day; it extends to all parts of our lives, and there is no better time to show the benefit of this training than sitting down for an Iftar and not eating everything in sight!
Have a Protein Breakfast
During Ramadan, breakfast is still the most important meal of the day. When having Sohour, resist trying to make up for the food you will be missing during the day. We are not camels, so we do not have an extra place to store food for later! Do not eat a stack of pancakes thinking if you eat 5 instead of your normal 3 you will be satisfied longer. Calories from carbohydrates are burned much faster than protein. Even though hunger during some parts of the day is inevitable, you can delay when the hunger kicks in by having a healthy portion of protein with your Sohour. Having eggs or oatmeal will have more longevity in your system.
Sweets are the indulgence of just about every culture during Ramadan. We all have the tendency to justify the extra calories with the fact that we fasted most of the day, but the truth remains it does not matter whether you consume your daily intake throughout the day or all after Iftar. It is unrealistic to say to do not eat any sweets. But you can have a piece of cake after you have had a balanced meal, drunk a lot of water, and given time for your digestive system to communicate its fullness to your brain. Also, try not to make eating sweets a daily habit, as that may carry on with you after Ramadan is over!
Avoid Late Night Snacking
When we are up late at night, we tend to take detours through the kitchen to taste all the lovely things we can’t have during the day! Eating rich foods late at night increases the chances of those carbohydrates being stored as fat. If you must, grab a small portion of fruit or protein-rich food to leave you feeling fuller longer.
Yours in Health,