Ramadan is the 9th month in Islamic Calendar. It’s a month for compulsory fasting for almost every Muslim.
It’s a significant source of worship and spiritual upliftment to Almighty Allah, the 4th pillars of Islam, out of 5. It composes of either 29 or 30 days.
Fasting in Islam is an absolute abstinence from eating, drinking and having sexual intercourse which is for legal marriage from dawn (Fajr) till sunset. In Nigeria, this is approximately between 5:00 am to 7:00 pm (almost 14 hours).
If you’re already on the journey to lose weight or about to start, how will you cope, so that you don’t compromise and continue to lose weight during Ramadan as well?
Well, I’ve got 9 tips that can help you lose weight during Ramadan.
Tip 1. Make Suhoor Compulsory
Suhoor is the food you eat before Fajr (early in the morning around 4:00 am). This is almost likened to your breakfast which is super compulsory to increase and stabilize your metabolism and beneficial for successful weight loss.
After night rest, about 6 hours of sleep or even more, you might probably feel hungry. It’s always right you listen and adhere to your body signals. Thus, you’ve to eat, feel energize and functional for the day.
If you don’t, you might not be able to perform your exercise, feel weak and not energize for worship. Also, you might end up eating a lot during Iftar (meal for breaking fast). So, suhoor is compulsory and helpful for your weight loss.
In addition, It’s the saying and Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) to eat suhoor.
He says “Eat suhoor, for in suhoor there is blessing.” Narrated by al-Bukhari, 1923; Muslim, 1095.
Which means, there are benefits, for your health and as an act of worship if don’t skip suhoor during this Ramadan.
Tip 2. Eat Healthy Balanced Meal as Suhoor
After affirming you won’t skip suhoor but make it compulsory, then, healthy meal that will help you lose weight is important. Like you know, nutrition is the most important factor that will determine if you’ll lose weight during Ramadan or not.
So, you’ve to eat healthy carbs, fat and oil and a good amount of protein.
Some of the healthy carbs are the wholesome organic carb such as vegetables, fruits, brown rice, whole wheat for bread or baking, oatmeal, unripe-plantain flour, sweet potatoes, yam, yam flour (amala lafu), cassava flour (elubo lafu), maize, millets, and sorghum.
For fat and oil: red palm oil, groundnut oil, and coconut oil are healthy for making soup or stew. Olive oil is alright for salad.
Watch out for fake, disguised, bad unhealthy processed palm oil. They quickly become solid at room temperature storage or even at the point of purchase. Always use fresh liquid red palm oil.
For protein: fish such as tuna, mackerel; lean meat (apakan eran), egg, greek low-fat yogurt, skimmed milk, chicken or turkey breast. If you can afford food supplement, get whey protein. It’ll help supplement for the deficiency in protein intake from food.
Sometimes, your diet might be lacking in the great amount of protein despite eating healthy, so you add whey protein.
Protein helps build and repair tissues, helps with muscle building especially during exercises for fat burning.
Tip 3. Exercise
Physical activities and exercises shouldn’t be stopped during Ramadan. After your suhoor and planning for the day, perform workout preferably within 4 hours after eating and do it before leaving home or engage in your daily activities.
You can perform a combination of simple workouts such as Jumping jack, Incline push-ups, Squats, High knees, Burpee and Russian twists.
1. Jumping jack – 20 times,
2. Incline push-ups – 10 times,
3. Squats – 10 times,
4. High knees – 40 times,
5. Burpee – 5 times and
6. Russian twists – 30 times.
Each exercise makes 1 set.
If you can perform 2 to 3 sets, that’ll be fine for Ramadan period and effective for weight loss. You can dedicate 45 minutes to 60 minutes which will worth it.
In addition, during the day, take advantage of any opportunity to be mobile and active rather than sedentary and still. For example, where you think is not far, instead of using your car or public transport, you can just walk. That’s fine and remember your safety first.
Likewise, after Iftar, perform your exercise again before sleep. It all helps with losing weight during Ramadan as well.
Tip 4. Meal Preparation
Find better and possible time to plan for your meal (both Suhoor and Iftar). It could either be in the morning or evening; it depends on the time you find easier for meal prepping.
After planning and shopping for weekly supplies, always plan the preparation for both meals as well. One might likely be partially ready.
For instance, Iftar could be ready while Suhoor will be partial. This saves you time for the final preparation.
Meal prepping makes your food handy and helps you to eat healthy for weight loss.
Any unhealthy food will disrupt and further increase your goal to lose weight. So, don’t get tempted.
If you take a cup of ice cream, be prepared to exercise and burn that quantity for 7 days (that’s 7 multiplied by 24 hours), which gives 168 hours of physical training and exercise.
Can you afford to do that?
That means the ice cream you ate will take you 30 days to burn-out. Which is why you’ve to remain committed to eating healthy meals.
Tip 5. Break with fruits
By the time you want to break your fast, you’ll be feeling hungry and perhaps, weak. So, it’s healthy to break with fruits such as wet dates, orange or watermelon. These fruits are rich in carbohydrates which gives you instant energy.
Thereafter, you can go and observe your Solat Maghrib.
Like you might know, it’s the practice (Sunnah) of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) to break his fast with wet dates and even early. The best of lifestyle and uprightness, you can find in lessons from Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him).
You can emulate him and will be rewarded with your intention.
Anas Bin Malik (may Allah be pleased with him) said: “The Prophet used to break his fast with fresh dates before he prayed. If he did not find fresh dates, then he would use dried dates. If he did not find that also he drank a few sips of water”. (Ahmad and Abu Dawood).
Dates is a good source of energy. It contains minerals such as phosphorus, sodium, potassium, fiber, iron, calcium, zinc and magnesium and vitamins such as vitamin A, vitamin K, thiamin, niacin, folate, and riboflavin. These are essentials nutrients that will further help you lose weight.
In addition, the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) used to break his fast with cereal or ordinary water.
The cereal composes of wheat, barley, and water which can be likened to a smoothie.
Abdullah Bin Awfa narrated: “We were in the company of the Prophet on a journey and he was fasting, and when the sun set, he addressed somebody, “O so-and-so, get up and mix Sawiq (a coarse mixture of ground wheat and barley) with water for us.” He replied, “O Allah’s Apostle! (Will you wait) till it is evening?” The Prophet said, “Get down and mix Sawiq with water for us.” He replied, “O Allah’s Apostle! (If you wait) till it is evening.” The Prophet said again, “Get down and mix Sawiq with water for us.” [Sahih al-Bukhari Book:30, Hadith: 1955]
You can use this as well, or ordinary water. Water helps supply energy to the liver which process and break down fat. In fact, you can eat dates along with water to break your fast and 3 to 5 dates is alright.
Bonus Smoothie Recipe for Breaking Fast.
Prepare it and always make it handy or froze it.
Apple Cider Fruit Smoothie
Orange, grapefruit or pineapple
1. Juice 1 cup (250ml) of Orange, grapefruit or pineapple
2. Add 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar
3. finally, 1 teaspoon of pure original hone
4. Stir together and drink for breaking your fast.
It’s a must you take this smoothie few minutes before your proper Iftar meal.
Tip 6. Eat lightly for Iftar.
Like I explained in tip 2, eat a healthy meal as well for your Iftar and don’t consume too much but be moderate.
The Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) encourages Muslim to eat moderately during this period (both Suhoor and Iftar).
How about you working to lose weight during Ramadan. You should eat lightly and slowly while feeling the spiritual upliftment of fasting as well.
The Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) says “Nothing is worse than a person who fills his stomach. It should be enough for the son of Adam to have a few bites to satisfy his hunger. If he wishes more, it should be: One-third for his food, one-third for his liquids, and one-third for his breath.” – Tirmidhi & Ibn Majah
With that, food will be easily digested and blood sugar remains stable and balance.
Tip 7. Be Hydrated
Always drink enough water after each meal and between eating period. Aim for at least 2 to 3 liters or even 4 as a male. Like I hinted, your liver needs water for energy and to break down fat cells.
It makes your urine clearer, lowers your appetite for food and makes you feel full, energizes and healthy for long.
So, fueling your body with good amount of water will always make you feel hydrated, makes your system and organs perform better and functional.
Tip 8. Get Good Amount of Sleep
Sleep is important for your weight loss. Plan and aim for 6 to 8 hours of sleep a day. You can split it between 1 to 2 hours during the day and 4 hours or more at night.
1. Sleep change your fat cells by removing fatty-acids.
2. It helps regulate your hormones such as serotonin and leptin. Serotonin makes you feel relax and fine, thereby making you feel happy and functional for the day, like feeling energized to prepare a delicious healthy suhoor.
Leptin helps regulate and reduce your appetite, which lower hungry feeling to start eating junks, any available food or even overeating on healthy food.
Read this article on how good sleep can help you lose weight.
Tip 9: Social environment
Your environment can influence your decision to eat healthily and keep fit for an effective weight loss. You must’ve greater control over your environment.
Move and associate with positive-minded people, that will always encourage and support you to lose weight and feel better. Don’t fill your home or office with junks and if you’ve Ramadan event to attend, make sure they provide options for healthy foods for weight loss or better, have something you’ll eat handy to break your fast while you get home to eat proper Iftar.
Remember this rule, if you take one soda drink, sweet, or any unhealthy food or drinks, it’ll take you 168 hours of exercises to burn it off and reverse back on your weight loss journey.
So, don’t try to cheat for a second. Never allowed it, don’t get tempted.
I believe when you follow these well-laid out tips to lose weight during Ramadan, you’ll find it effective as an act to continue the practice to lose weight till you achieve your goal.
In summary, losing weight during Ramadan is a great act of worship as many things recommended are what the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) already admonish Muslim to practice during Ramadan and even as a lifestyle.
1. Always have your suhoor, it helps you gain physical strength and energy to perform other acts of worship and worldly daily duties.
2. Always prepare and eat a wholesome and healthy meal for weight loss.
3. Don’t overeat but eat moderately, which is an act of worship. To lose weight, you’ve to eat lightly to be alright for the day.
4. Exercise your body. It helps to build beneficial muscle for fat burning, distribute blood across your system and make you functional and healthy. That’s part of the essence of eating protein which helps burn fat.
5. Always plan and organize your meal. It helps you eat healthy always and avoid junks.
6. Always break your fast with a few dates and if it’s unavailable, drink water. It’s healthy.
7. Stay hydrated, drink a good amount of water during the eating period, sleep and rest adequately for 6 to 7 hours and have absolute control over your social circles.
I want you to tell me what you think about this article, your views, and thought.
Could it be meal prepping? How do you find it easier?
How about exercising during Ramadan? Hope you can perform some sets?
How do you manage your social friends and environment without affecting the relationship? Do you’ve control?
Let me know.
Thanks for reading till the end.