3 habits that lead to weight gain during the holy month, and how to avoid them
By Minhaz Remo
Ramadan is an important month for Muslims. It is when we practice abstinence of food, and activities that are considered harmful for our spiritual growth. Basically, it is like a month-long boot camp for your soul. Although there is a big restriction on food during the month, many people gain a substantial amount of weight during this time period.
The following are the causes you might be putting on a few pounds.
TREATING IFTAR AS AN ALL-YOU-CAN-EAT BUFFET
Iftar is the first meal of the day after you wake up right? So, it is more in line with breakfast rather than lunch or dinner. Ask yourself, do you generally eat this much during your breakfast? Highly unlikely.
When people after a long day see this much food and special drinks, they get quite busy stuffing their faces. This is what actually drives up your caloric intake. Why is that bad? Because after this, people also usually have their dinner and suhoor. Which adds further calories to their usuals. Now if we take in more than we burn, we gain weight.
To do: Be mindful, and plan out your meals. If you are having a heavy iftar, then control your dinner and be mindful of your suhoor. If the iftar is quite light, then load up during dinner and suhoor, keeping proper gaps in between meals of course. Remember to treat iftar as a breakfast, not as a buffet.
Be mindful, plan out your meals, and treat iftar as a breakfast not as a buffet
ORDERING IN OR EATING OUT
Now there are two schools of thoughts here. Some people who are so tired from fasting, they don’t want to do the extra work, and have the cash to order food from outside to save energy or work.
The other person is the social butterfly who has an equally high amount of cash to burn through, and has to keep up with the restaurant check ins on social media to keep up appearances and social circles.
Now the problem with these two types of people is, they do this quite often. I am from Old Town and the iftar bazaar here is quite festive. So, my parents will bring all the iftar food from outside, near Chawkbazar during Ramadan. Guess what happens after that? Oily, high caloric junk food for iftar every day for a month. That’s just an invitation for weight gain.
What’s even worse in eating outside is, these menus are pre-set, meaning we will have to eat what we are given, which causes us to generally overeat. And we do overeat, because we don’t want to waste the food which costs us money.
To do: Eating outside or ordering out is inevitable. We are humans, we get tired, and have social circles. Make a rule of ordering out no more than once a week to try new food, and pre-plan your meals. As for social hangouts, pick the healthiest option on the menu, the one which has more veggies, and a generous amount of protein in them. Remember: Trash in equals trash out. So control what goes into your system.
Trash in equals trash out. So, control what goes into your system
COUCH POTATO MODE ACTIVATED
Religious fasting is a test of self-control and a gateway of spiritual cleansing. The fasting was meant to practice self-control, and to keep up with our everyday lifestyle. The 30-day period is a way for us to drill in positive habits and lifestyle. This month is by no mean an excuse to only eat, sleep, pray, and repeat.
Most people in this month use fasting as a way to not do their usual work. Their physical work is quite diminished throughout the month. Many gyms and sports facilities are shut down too. People avoid any and all forms of laborious tasks. What it does is reduce our bodies’ energy demands, and burn less calories. So, whatever junk food or extra food we are usually eating is stored in our body as fat. Hence the weight gain.
To do: Keep up with your regular work, and sports/gym activities. Get in some low intensity exercises like walks, light weight lifting, cycling, etc. A good time for me to do this would be after iftar, but a good time for you will be when it’s convenient for you. Stay active and keep your energy input and output in balance to avoid gaining weight.
Stay active and keep your energy input and output in balance
In conclusion, gaining weight during Ramadan can be avoided by being mindful of our food intake, planning our meals, and staying active. By following these tips, we can ensure that we are not compromising our spiritual growth while also maintaining a healthy weight and lifestyle.