When it comes to Ramadan, losing weight and staying healthy aren’t easy. Your whole routine changes, the way you eat and exercise, which is only normal. You just need to find the right balance without letting yourself go. I know, it’s not easy to resist all of these Arabic sweets and those delicious homemade dishes!
Many of us try to use this month as an advantage to lose weight. I personally always do! However, shredding a few kilos doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be able to sustain this weight loss after Ramadan is over. When we lose weight quickly we tend to gain them back just as fast, which is why you need to do it right from the start. So here are a few tips that would help you lose weight in a healthy and sustainable way this Ramadan:
Water is Key!
It’s always good to remember that water plays a HUGE role in weight loss. It helps you get rid of toxins and reduces the feeling of hunger. You should make it a habit of drinking water throughout the night. Make sure to drink around 2L of water if possible (every hour drink a bit of water), to replace the water you didn’t drink during the day. If you can go up to 3L it would be amazing, especially with the beginning of the summer heat, you need to make sure you are hydrated.
Avoiding foods that make you thirsty:
There are foods that play a role in controlling your thirst when you fast. Some food should be avoided or at least minimized from your daily Iftar, while other sources of food should be added to the menu.
- spicy food, they increase thirst
- salty food or even adding a lot of salt in your dishes
- Sweet drinks are common and traditional during Ramadan, we should try avoiding them. They make you thirsty since they contain a good amount of sugar.
- Coffee, tea (anything that contains caffeine) should be minimized.
- Sweets are also a factor, they trigger thirst, especially sweets served after breaking the fast.
Instead, Replace with:
- Fresh fruits (as desserts) and vegetables because they are rich in water and fiber. As a plus, they reduce thirst and stay in your system for a long time which reduces hunger. Foods like cucumbers, tomatoes, watermelon and apples help you stay hydrated given the amount of water each one contains. I tend to break my fast with a vegetable soup and I then have a huge salad. By the time I have to eat the main dish, I’m almost full so I concentrate on a big amount of proteins and less carbs. I always take my fruits about 2h after the iftar meal.
- Drink fresh fruit juices rather than sweetened juices, however stick to one cup since they’re also packed in sugar.
Begin with a small appetizer, 1-2 dates, soup (lentil or veggie soup, try to avoid cream based soups ), and salad ( with 1-2 teaspoons of dressing/olive oil ) then wait for around 15 -30 min to have the main dish.
Think about what you eat!
What you eat as the main dish, helps a lot in your weight loss.
Avoid fried and processed foods. You will be satisfied for a short period; however, you will get hungry fast.
You should also consider minimizing carbs such as pasta and white bread, they convert into sugar. Don’t get rid of it completely, just try eating more protein and vegetables. Find a balance between your carbs and your proteins.
Consider having more power foods like whole grain, wheat, oats, lentils, beans etc.. you will feel full and you won’t get hungry that quickly.
Protein rich food is highly advisable such as fish, eggs, milk, nuts or seeds, read meat. They help to stabilize blood sugar levels
Replace Sweets with natural sugar
We all have cravings and during Ramadan, there is no running away from sweets. It’s all over the place, which makes it really hard on us to avoid them.
If you feel like have something sweet make it natural, eat fruits, have a smoothie, this way you satisfy your sweet tooth in a healthy way. If you feel like having a sweet drink, have coconut water or fresh juice. Avoid sodas and sugary drinks.
Never skip Suhoor:
Skipping your suhoor will get you hungrier the next day and you will end up overeating for Iftar.
Eat complex carbs such as whole grain bread with light cheese, or eggs. You can also have fruits or even vegetables, a light sandwich or a tuna sandwich for example. Just nothing too heavy or fattening. I love going for a bit of oatmeals with strawberries, a while omelette with avocado or a couple of turkey slices with cucumber and a wholewheat toast.
Just because it’s Ramadan doesn’t mean you’re excused from your daily exercise. Your routine does change yes, however you shouldn’t stop. You should maintain your usual daily activity.
If you’re always very busy after iftar, try to always organize your workout around an hour before Iftar. You could go for a 30 min walk; it could be an outdoor walk ( the sun won’t be strong enough). However, you also must do a little weight training, some abs, basically anything you want but at a slower pace and for a shorter time. You can still burn fat even on an empty stomach, you just have to go easy on yourself.
That’s a wrap everyone, remember, balance is the key. These are truly the rules I live by during Ramadan and they’re ideal to shred a couple of kilos before Summer!