How to lose weight and stay healthy during Ramadan

If the words “Diet in Ramadan” sound harsh to you, think again. This will be your perfect opportunity to kick start a new healthy lifestyle that your body has been craving.

The common perception in Ramadan is that we feel after a long day of fasting, we deserve to indulge in massive amounts of our favorite foods. And why not? Surely because we haven’t eaten anything all day, we will end up losing weight anyhow, right? No.

My journey for losing the baby weight started last Ramadan. I was so determined to use this chance of the limited non-fasting hours and limit my calorie intake and shed some kilos. And so I researched and studied and set a plan. After a few days, I was surprised at how the whole thing was so much easier than I thought and how fast the results were! 

So if you want to seize this golden chance to get in shape and become healthier, Follow the steps and tips here and get ready for a healthy new you by the end of the month!

The night before fasting

Rule no#1: never skip your Sohour. The pre-dawn meal before the fast is just as important as your iftar meal. Your body needs to generate energy to keep you going during the fasting hours.

Tip: Build a healthy plate containing Brown Carbs (Brown Bread/Toast preferably), and choose a good source of protein (eggs, cheese, beans). Make sure your meal is limited in salt to avoid getting thirsty the next day. This simple combination will ensure you have a stable level of glucose in your blood so you don’t get hungry the next day. Try to also have one small cup of yogurt. Its a great source of pro-biotics and will aid in digestion.

Stay active during the day

Don’t take the fasting as an excuse to lounge around/sleep all day, use this golden chance to burn as much stored fat as possible. However, you should limit any tough exercises (Such as weight lifting) during fasting hours.

Tip: Exercise for 30 minutes even at home (While watching TV!) and opt for some squats, burpees, lunges, and sit-ups. Or better yet, if you have access to it, go for a 30 minute walk/jog during the day.

At Iftar

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.

Tip: You need to bring up your glucose level gradually to stop your body from storing fat and increase your metabolism properly.

  • Break your fast with 1-2 dates (they are very high in sugar so you dont need more). They are a quick source of the sugar your body needs after a fast with a glass of water.
  • An additional trick here to avoid overeating (tried and tested!) is to not eat straight after this. Instead, wait for 5-10 minutes before starting to your meal.
  • Next, go for a small portion of soup, such as a vegetable or lentil soup, and avoid cream based soups as they are very high in calories.
  • Last, create a plate that has a good portion of carbohydrates (Again, focus more on wholegrain/whole wheat/brown carbs and avoid as much as possible white processed carbs), along with vegetables and protein.

After iftar

Hydration is key to weight loss in whichever diet you are following. During Ramadan, 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.

Tip: Aim for at least two liters or eight glasses of water a day, and it can be broken down like this:

  • Two glasses at iftar
  • Four glasses in between iftar and suhour - not more than one glass per hour
  • Two glasses at suhur

Keep in mind that caffeinated drinks such as coffee or black tea do not count as hydrating fluids and it would be best to limit your intake of these. Aim for a cup herbal tea instead as an alternative to water to also aid your digestion.

Exercising after Iftar

If you are serious about your shape during Ramadan and want to start a healthy exercise routine, then you can aim for a 30-45 minutes of Cardio training after Iftar with 1-2 hours.

Tip: Go for a jog/run either on a treadmill in your house, gym or outside if you tolerate the weather. You can also aim for Cardio classes like Zumba or similar. Or just aim for whichever cardio training you are mostly comfortable with. Just remember, you need to drink extra fluids if you will train, and increase your Carbs intake to 60% of your Iftar meal to maintain the good muscle mass.

Eating out

Not having control over what you will eat at Iftar/Sohour can be frustrating. But rest assured, you can pass this one successfully as well if you prepare well enough.

Tip: Follow the same steps (Dates and Water then wait for a few minutes before starting to eat). Focus on having a balanced plate with veggies and protein taking the lead with off course a portion of carbs

Don’t be too harsh on yourself

At the end of the day, you will end up having some slip ups during the month. You will be in situations where your mother bakes your favorite cake or your friends' took you out for your favorite restaurant. The key here is control.

Tip: Allow yourself a day a week where you can have your favorite meal but that’s it. Let it be one day a week only (preferably when you are eating out). Make sure to drink a lot of water on the day and aid it with a cup of green tea.

Do you have any tips to share for losing weight during Ramadan? Any success stories of yours? Please share in the comments below!