With the advent of Ramadan, we all find ourselves promising to be super fit, super healthy, flaunting that super model look but just like New Year resolutions it turns out to be a doomed dream. When it comes to health, one of the biggest, yet most common mistake people make is only focusing on weight loss. That’s why diet pills exist in spite of their life threatening risks, why liposuction is even a thing and why fads like Atkins or ketogenic diet sky rocketed in popularity [who cares if you’re putting endless amounts of cholesterol and saturated fats into your body–you look lean!]. But almost without fail, people return to their normal eating habits and have nothing left to show for the torture their body go through except irreparable damage on their health and fitness.
Intermittent Fasting is a rage in fitness now days. Our bodies actually need to go without food from time to time. For this reason we have to give our body’s time to process and digest. This is one of the keys to great nutrition.
First things first, Ramadan is like 100% sale on blessings so reap rewards by playing intelligently. Don’t drain yourself by starving and excessive workout. As it is said 70-80% is your diet when it comes to weight loss so being very watchful of caloric intake. Aiming for 1200—1300 or even 1400 calories per day works well for a steady weight loss. Starting iftari with “Nabeez” a date Sunnah drink, a super food, and jam packed with all the healthy nutrients, antioxidants and fiber is a perfect start. After Sehri, soak around 7 Ajwa dates or 2 any kind of dates [50-100 grams] in 2-3 glass of water and let it soak overnight at room temperature or you can keep it in fridge. At Iftaari, you can drink the water and eat the soaked fruit or just blend water and soaked deseeded dates in a blender to enjoy a beautiful cloudy heartening Nabeez smoothie. Eat your fruits, don’t juice it. Light smoothies, lassi, minty lemonades, channa chats, parfait [made with yogurt, fresh fruits and nuts] with portion control will be your perfect choice for iftaaris. Don’t over stuff yourself with unhealthy fried snacks, rather opt for iftaari-cum-dinner. It’s best to have a portion controlled dinner. After Isha prayers and taraweeh [2-3 hours gap of not eating], one can go for half an hour walk or moderate intensity workout or just play any favorite sport. Don’t forget to hydrate yourself. Electrolyte imbalance can put you at the risk of body aches, cramps and weakness. Fried food, frizzy drinks and sugar are the main culprits of obesity, steer clear of it. Moderate intensity 150 minutes exercise per week is highly recommended to stay healthy and this can be easily achieved during Ramadan.
For late night snacking, always make healthy choices. I have heard of guys on “Eitakaaf”, ordering pizzas and midnight fast-food deals. Healthy snacks, preferably proteins like kebabs and fresh salad or with mint chutney is always a welcome choice.
For Sehri, I strongly recommend oatmeal porridge made with skim milk, nuts, chia seeds and a couple of dates for that sustainable energy and staying fuller for long fasting hours. My favorite recipe is to put oats in skim milk, nuts, chia seeds, dates 2 teaspoons of cocoa powder, overnight soaked and can be enjoyed at Sehri. It tastes great, beating any luscious dessert minus guilty pleasure.
Look at your body as one integrated system in which everything is connected. Keep praying, stay healthy. Happy Ramadan!