7 Tips to Continue to Lose Weight in Ramadan
A: 7 Tips to lose weight in Ramadan
From Mubarakah Ibrahim Certified Personal Trainer and Weight Loss Expert
Although it may seem to many that we should lose weight during Ramadan because we are not eating for such a large portion of the day, unfortunately the opposite is not normally true. Due to the fact that we are going 17-20 hours with nothing to eat our metabolism slows down and begins to store fat. In addition eating very large calorie rich iftar meals makes matters worse. It’s like putting a ton of bricks on the back of a turtle. Our metabolism is already running very slowly and then we load it up with lots of calories that it can not burn. The straw that breaks the “scale’s” back is the reduction of physical activity during the month. For some people its just not physically possible to exercise while engaging in such long days of fast, so we reduce the amount we move around without reducing how much we are eating. I don’t recommend that you use Ramadan to start an exercise and diet program however if you were already on a weight loss regimen here is how you can continue to lose weight in Ramadan or at the very least prevent yourself from gaining weight.
#1: Ask Allah to purify your intentions so that your fast is for him and him alone then as HIM for his assistance in losing weight and becoming healthier and strong. Allah is “Akhbar” (Great) and there is no prayer too great or too small for him.
#2: Eat clean the way you would outside of Ramadan, lean meats, lots of fruits and vegetables and whole grains. We are tempted to eat any and everything because we are hungry. But if your goal is continued weight loss you must show self-control and discipline.
#3. Continue to exercise during Ramadan but decrease your intensity. If you normally run 3 days a week, walk 3 days a week. If you normally lift 12lb weights switch to 10 or 8lbs during Ramadan. Ramadan is not the time to try to bulk up or gain muscle but rather maintain what you have without going backwards. Short intense exercises circuits are the best type during this month. (Click here for my video of a quick “Ramadan Workout” circuit)
#4. Eat a Protein Rich Sahoor. Protein keeps you full longer and boost the metabolism. What was important during Ramadan is even more important now. Although we cannot avoid getting hungry especially in countries where we are fasting 17 (USA) to 20 (Sweden) hours a day we can stave off the hunger as long as possible.
#5. Watch what you eat. Of course it goes without saying that you must watch your portion sizes but in addition to watching how much you are eating the specific foods you eat are just as important. The type of protein in the morning should be high protein low-fat sources like egg whites and lean meats like turkey and casein protein.
#6. Drink a casein protein Shake every morning. Unlike any other protein, casein protein stays in our system for 8-12 hours. This is going to help you not only avoid getting hungry but also keep your metabolism raised during that time. Although there is no harm in substituting other proteins, Whey, Hemp, Soy or Pea proteins do not mimic the effect of casein protein.
Get protein shake recipes in the Ramadan Survival Guide
#7. Reverse your meal times. If you have been following a sensible diet plan then you know that eating every 3-4 hours is the best way to keep your metabolism burning fat throughout the day. We obviously can not eat during the day but our evening “iftar-salat-sahoor” schedule can be.
Here is an example of a schedule on east-coast United States.
•8:28 PM Iftar / Magrib
• 9:00 PM Dinner (3oz. Grilled Chicken, 1 cup Broccoli, ½ cup brown rice
• 10:00 PM Isha /Tawareh
•12:00 AM Snack before bed (1 apple & 1TB peanut butter
• 3:15 AM Sahoor (Casein Protein Shake, ½ cup oatmeal, ½ cup berries)
May Allah accept this (fast of Ramadan) from you and from us! Ameen Ameen Ameen