Fat-free fasting

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Don’t want to gain excessive weight this Ramazan? You! takes a look…         

The month of Ramazan brings with it prayers, good deeds and lots of pakoras and jalaibees to our dinner table. Yes, the mere thought of consuming these scrumptious dishes is so tempting but the fact is that all these yummy foods add extra pounds on our body.  If you are one of those who gain weight during Ramazan, the following tips will certainly be worth your while. Read on to find out more.

Why do you gain weight in Ramazan?

There are several reasons why one tends to gain weight in Ramazan. First and foremost being the fact that we end up consuming large portions of food. We may think not eating from morning to evening will help us lose weight, but the amount of goodies we stuff at iftar covers up for all those hours we didn’t eat. But, we couldn’t have been more wrong. For the skinny people out there, the thirty days of fasting causes them to lose weight. However, for the healthy and overweight people, not eating anything all day and then consuming a lot of sugary and fried food at once can cause serious weight gain.

Weight gain, no more!

Tired of looking at that bulging stomach of yours everyday after iftar? Well, follow these tips and you might just end up losing weight instead of gaining it.

Have a light, balanced iftar

In Ramazan, your metabolism slows down and your energy decreases as a result. The iftar meal isn’t supposed to make up those hours you spent without food. Forget that you haven’t eaten all day and imagine you have sat down for your dinner meal and eat accordingly.

Break your fast with dates as they are a quick source of the sugar your body needs after a fast. You don’t need to have more than one date as dates are quite high in sugar. Then, go for a small portion of soup, such as a vegetable or lentil soup, and avoid cream based soups. Follow it with a mixed vegetable salad and limit the amount of olive oil in the dressing to 1-2 teaspoons. Skip all other appetizers including the carbohydrate rich ones.

When you are done with your appetizers, it is important to take a break. You don’t want to overwhelm your digestive system. Offer your prayers, take a five-minute walk, or hold a conversation. This has many advantages; it allows your body the time to give you the right signals on exactly how hungry it really is. It will also give your stomach a heads-up to start digestion without overworking it. You will eat less and digest far better.

When you are ready to resume your meal, choose only one main dish, choose wisely and avoid fried dishes, make sure it is balanced in carbs and protein, and most importantly control your portions. Also, have fresh fruits and fresh juices, instead of the readymade ones, which may contain high amounts of sugar. Regulating your food intake in the evenings can help you control your weight. And consuming less food, will in turn decrease the calories consumed, allowing you to lose or maintain your weight during this holy month.

Don’t skip sehri

It’s true that your ‘eating hours’ are quite limited, but this doesn’t give you an excuse to forgo your saharmeal, the pre-dawn breakfast before the fast. Skipping it will get you hungrier and you will end up overeating for iftar.

When choosing your sahar however, make sure it is limited in salt to avoid getting thirsty. It should also be composed of complex carbs such as whole grain bread, instead of white refined bread, and it should contain a good source of protein such as cheese or eggs. This combination will ensure you have a stable level of glucose in your blood so you don’t get hungry the next day. Fried foods and simple carbs like those in white bread tend to leave you feeling heavy and then hungry later. Simple carbs will also cause your blood sugar level to rise and then drop shortly after, not only making you hungry, but also making you crave sugar. Don’t forget to take yoghurt as you don’t feel thirsty if you consume yoghurt at sehri.

Have a light meal after taraweeh

A few hours after iftar your body would have digested the meal and you will be left either hungry again or craving sweets. Don’t allow your body to get into that phase, instead, have a light meal at 10:30 pm to curb sugar and junk food cravings. Limit the meal to nutrient-high foods like fruits, veggies, yoghurt or nuts.

 

Healthy cooking

When cooking, make your favourite Ramazan recipes healthier by avoiding deep frying whenever possible. Instead, reduce the amount of fat in your meals by cooking your food with a little bit of vegetable oil. You can opt for baking, roasting, steaming or grilling. Keep in mind that reducing fat in your cooking does not necessarily mean reducing its flavour. You can enhance the seasoning of your dishes by using fresh vegetables, fresh herbs and spices, which add taste without adding calories.

Understand sugars

Foods loaded with sugars are your enemy in Ramazan. Your body will crave sweets after iftar, especially after an unbalanced meal, and the more you eat of them the more your body will crave it. This is just how your body works with sugar. We know it’s hard to cut out all the sweets, and if you want to lose weight, you need to trick your body instead of depriving it. If you crave sugar, have a piece of fruit before indulging in original delights. Simple tricks like these will allow you the occasional indulgence so you don’t feel deprived but you will limit that indulgence portions.

Stay active

Fasting is not an excuse for us to sleep all day or be lazy. Maintain your usual daily activity level to a certain extent, but avoid the sun and heat at its peak. Remember that you’ll be burning more fat than ever on an empty stomach. After breaking your fast, aim for 30 minutes of vigorous exercise a day that can be done from home. Experts advise you to work out after iftar so you’re not losing muscles or getting severely dehydrated.

Hydrate

Although it may seem like a mission impossible with the long fasting hours this year, hydration is key to weight loss during the month of fasting. Drinking enough fluids will not only keep you from becoming dehydrated while you fast, but it will also control your sugar cravings after you break your fast. Aim for a good two litres or eight glasses of fluids a day. Have two glasses at iftar, four glasses in between iftar and sahar, and two glasses at sahar. Keep in mind that caffeinated drinks such as coffee or black tea do not count and it would be best to avoid them all together. Instead, herbal teas make a great alternative to water and may aid in digestion.

 

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