Ramadan aagaya! I just love how there’s like a buzz of excitement in the air during Ramadan. So infectious! Everyone just becomes so much happier (and kinder).
Most of the excitement revolves around reaping all the sawab you can get, but a lot of it has to do with food too.
Iftar parties and dhaba-hopping at suhoor is a common form of enjoyment during Ramadan. And why not? After a whole day of fasting we all deserve to stuff ourselves with all the pakoray and parathay we can find right? Bhei who can resist a hot, crisp jalebi after a long day hain?
However, I feel like it’s the perfect opportunity to press the reset button on our bodies and give them a bit of a break to flush out the toxins and lose the extra pounds you’ve gained stress-eating during exam season!
It’s also nice to not feel like you’ve eaten a whole cow after iftar and have a hard time getting up to pray magrib!
So here are my top ten tips (well-researched and picked up from experts) for losing weight and feeling good in Ramadan:
1. Don’t miss suhoor!
Not only is it sunnat to have something for sehri, it will also get your metabolism going. A slow metabolism causes weight gain and retention. You certainly don’t want that!
2. Eat foods that release energy slowly
Let’s face it; we’ve all had a frozen paratha for sehri because we just can’t be bothered to make something else. Sure that bit of refined flour will make you full and give you energy, but it’ll be only for a short little while. Foods like dates, whole wheat flour, and oats release energy over a period of time so you can feel full and strong for a longer time.
Remember to drink water between iftar and sehr to compensate for the rest of the day. It will keep you from being dehydrated and also decrease sugar cravings you might have.
4. Slow start
Always start with the lightest food on the table for iftar. Your body has been in resting mode for the entire day, so don’t surprise it with hard to digest and oily foods suddenly. Remember that the first thing you eat will be the first thing absorbed. Start with fruits like melons and apples that have a high water and low carb and fat content.
5. Take a break
After you’ve had your fruit, take a break and go pray. Let your body get accustomed to receiving food. This will help you understand how full you are and how much more you need to eat. This way you won’t feel lethargic after iftar and will avoid overeating.
6. Have fiber-rich foods
Fiber helps to keep things moving along in your gut. The slower your bowel movements are, the more time your body has to extract nutrients from food. This includes fats and carbs. Fiber also helps you get full quickly. So definitely monitor your fiber intake. Have fruits, whole grains or flax seeds. And if all else fails, have ispaghol!
7. Cut down on refined sugar
We all love our sharbat in Ramadan. It’s the best thing ever, especially in this hot weather. But we all also know, deep down, how unnecessary they are. Just a bunch of sugar you’re drinking. It will make you feel good for a little bit and then you’re going to crash, while your body will just take up all the bad stuff. Instead, try adding honey or have fruit juices. A nice cucumber-apple concoction will refresh you as much as your favourite red villain.
8. Bake instead of fry
Do you know it’s possible to bake your samosay and roll instead of deep frying them? Just brush on a thin layer of oil and pop them in the oven till golden brown and crispy. So easy! You can feed your craving and be relatively guilt-free as at the same time!
Now I know it’s hot and you want to stay in bed all day but come on. Aim to maintain your daily activity. You don’t have to work out during your fast if you can’t. Do it after iftar. It will help get rid of lethargy and it really is the best way to take advantage of the change in your routine to lose weight.
Many people think that reducing calories is equal to weight loss. Wrong. The minimum amount of calories you should have is 1200. Taking less than that puts your body into starvation mode which means it will hold on to anything you put into it.
Also don’t suffer. You can have that one piece of pakora to curb your craving. Making yourself miserable by constantly reminding yourself of things you can’t have is really not a good mind-set for a successful long-term weight loss journey.