Ramadhan has always meant to be a time for people to rest their body through daily fasting and to spiritually improve oneself by worship. However until recently, people have become preoccupied with what they will cook and prepare for Iftar and Suhoor.
Even non-Muslims are looking forward to the fasting month which is when one can find food bazaars everywhere. People also use this opportunity to kick start a healthy lifestyle the body has been craving for.
In this article, we will discuss about some tips that will makes weight loss more effective but before that lets take a look at how fasting can improve you, physiologically and psychologically.
Fasting boosts your health and fitness
“A human being fills no worse vessel than his stomach. It is sufficient for a human being to eat a few mouthfuls to keep his spine straight. But if he must (fill it), then one third of food, one third for drink and one third for air.” [Ibn Majah]
Fasting has numerous physiological benefits and supports weight loss by giving you a chance to reassess your meals and improve your eating patterns. Fasting enhances hormone function such as lowering insulin, improved growth hormone and norepinephrine to break down body fat to be used as energy.
Improved insulin sensitivity also aids in having less fat stored in the body and increases a higher rate of fat burning. As opposed to starvation, which is long term deficiency in calorie and nutrients, fasting enhances the burning of fats while preserving lean muscle mass, given that the meal is balanced and nutritious. Though only proven with long term fasting, it might aid in cellular repair and disease risk reduction which leads to longevity.
General Eating Tips
- Chew your food slowly to avoid indigestion. In addition to that, you will be able to taste the food better with more satiety.
- Have your soup and salad first; as these are low in calories and make you feel full.
- Choose low fat dairy products and lean meats as oily food makes you feel less energetic.
- Drink at least eight glasses of water during the non-fasting hours to ensure proper hydration. People who are dehydrated often tend to feel hungry.
- Have a balanced meal from all food groups with appropriate portions.
- Limit the intake of processed foods. Instead focus on natural foods for best results.
- Never skip Suhoor as it might lead to dehydration, exhaustion and gastric problem with a higher tendency towards overeating during Iftar. Regardless, eat in moderation.
- Limit salty and sugary food since they can make you thirsty in a short while. Avoid caffeinated drinks such as coffee, tea or cola as these are diuretics and can lead to fluid loss. Coconut water is known to aid in proper hydration during Suhoor.
- Choose carbohydrates from whole grain sources to ensure consistent blood glucose level throughout the day.
- Avoid overeating: Have a light Iftar that includes reasonable food portions to avoid indigestion and weight gain.
- Break your fast with dates and follow up with a light soup or fruit juices to rejuvenate the body water and glucose requirement.
- Have plenty of vegetables, lentils and whole grains along with lean proteins to ensure a sufficient intake of fiber and nutrients.
Do not go to bed immediately; give your body at least 2 hours to digest the food. Ideally sleep for 6-8 hours for