Weight gain could be seen as one of these diseases. However, to lose weight during Ramadan fasting must be done in a very careful manner. There are many ahadith that give us advice on how to eat healthy while fasting during Ramadan. However, people often forget these healthy eating habits during Ramadan. Ironically, as well, there are more “eating traps” during Ramadan than any other month. So, as we struggle to be good Muslims and fast, we may inadvertently be straying from the path of the Prophet by breaking all rules of good health. The most common “Ramadan pitfalls” are: Eating a large iftar (meal at breaking of fast) right after the Maghrib azhan (sunset call to prayer), eating unusual or new foods, too many salty foods, too many sweet foods, increasing consumption of tea or coffee, not sleeping enough, skipping meals, eating too much bread or other foods, changing lifestyle habits, and reducing exercise.
Weight Loss During Ramadan
Eat Balanced Meals
As always, fast or no fast – your meals should be balanced. This means complex carbs, protein, and healthy dietary fats in every meal. Ask yourself at every meal – where is my protein? Where is my complex carbs? And where are my healthy dietary fats? By all means, NEVER have a meal that is predominantly carbohydrates – a very common mistake we all make. This is also a good time to actually cook your own healthy meals, rather than to rely on buying outside food all the time – when you cook, you can control exactly what goes into it.
Drink more water during the non-fasting period – less of the sugary drinks (I’d cut them out altogether). Drink even when you aren’t feeling thirsty. Your body needs to rehydrate, so give it what it needs – MINUS the excess sugars (which equals to calories) tagging along. That means walking past the cendol, cincau, and multi-coloured drink stalls at the Ramadan bazaar. If you are diabetic, all the more you should be avoiding these. Your body will thank you for this.
Eat Healthy During The Periods you are Allowed to
This one’s quite obvious right? But surprisingly, it is the most difficult to follow. Why? Because when you are hungry, thirsty, and demotivated in the evenings, moments before you break your fast, it is so easy to make poor food choices and opt for the greasiest and most sugary options you can find. Moreover, it doesn’t help at all when the Ramadan bazaars make these foods very accessible and affordable.
Eat Multiple Smaller Meals – Spread Your Meals
Just like how I advise on eating smaller meals throughout the day during non-fasting times, the same applies even during the fasting month. Don’t settle for one or two ridiculously large meals because there is only so much your body can absorb at one-go. Instead, have smaller meals – you can easily have one when you break fast, another a few hours later, and one more before the fast starts again (at 4am) – so that’s 3 well spread out meals, so yes, you need to wake up to eat a meal (or perhaps a meal replacement or protein shake can be convenient).
Keep Your Exercise Routine Simple, Yet Effective.
This simply means ‘not overdoing it’. Don’t spend long hours at the gym. This is not the time for back-to-back group exercise classes, or high intensity exercise (especially if you are working out during the fasting hours of the day, which I don’t recommend – see below). This is also not the time to achieve a new personal best – save it for next month. So this means that you will be performing sufficiently challenging strength training exercises (working on all muscle groups), and moderately intense cardiovascular exercise.