Since we are at the holy month of Ramadan at the moment, I want to highlight one of interesting phenomenon that affects many of my Muslim friends. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the concept of Ramadan, here’s a good link that will explain it. In short, it is a holy month where Muslims will practice fasting as well as putting much more emphasis on charity, good deeds and self accountability.
Since there’s fasting involved for the whole month, my Muslim friends always expect that they will end up with lower weight on the end of the month. On the contrary, many of them gained weight instead of losing it although they have always practiced fasting without any absence. Upon a close look at their menu and eating habit, I discovered several habits that can possibly contributed to their weight gain.
1. Not eating meal at dawn
During the Ramadan month, Muslims usually eat their meals twice in a day: one after the sunset and another one before the dawn. Many of my friends occasionally forget to eat something before the dawn. As a result, our body goes into starvation mode and figures out that it needs to store everything into extra fat in order to last until the next meal.
2. Eat a lot of food at once
Because our stomach is empty throughout the day, it’s not wise to consume a large quantity of food at once during the break. When you do that, your stomach will be ‘congested’ since a large quantity of food at once can ‘shock’ the stomach. This can result in digestive problem later on. Break your fast with something small like date (the fruit), or a small cake and water first before continuing with heavier food.
3. Consuming too much carbs
Many of my friends love to eat an excessive amount of carbs during the fasting break. While it’s true that carbs can satiate their hunger quickly, excessive consumption of carbohydrates can contribute to weight gain. Just eat your normal portion of carbs although you have been fasting for the whole day. Eat other types of food to help satiating your hunger. Don’t forget to consume protein too to support you throughout the fasting period. Beside meat, these are some vegetables and nuts that contain a good number of protein.
4. Becoming less active
Fasting is not a reason to become less active! Many of my friends use fasting as an excuse to be lazy yet when it’s times to break the fast, suddenly they become very energetic. Keep doing your activities as you would normally (if you are used to walk to your office, keep on doing so) and don’t use fasting as an excuse to be lazy.
5. Consuming too much sugar
In Ramadan, most family will usually serve traditional cookies and candies which are rich in sugar. While cutting out sugar completely is not a good idea, consuming too much sugar can also endanger your waist line. Don’t excessively consume food which is rich in sugar, spread out your consumption into various types of food. If possible try using sugar substitute such as Splenda instead of sugar.
6. Not having enough sleep
It's common for people to experience lack of sleep during Ramadan. But you should also quickly adjust your schedule so you can have enough rest. Lack of sleep can contribute to the weight gain. Lack of sleep can also trigger dizziness and lack of concentration on the next day.
Those habits are the habits that most of my Muslim friends are showing during the Ramadan month. I believe those habits contribute to their weight gain over a month. While Ramadan itself isn’t about losing weight, you should also eat the ‘right way’ during your fast in order to remain healthy while doing your fasting, prayer and your activities.
Labels: diet tips