With the Ramadan this year leading to Eid, there’s a common worry among the followers of this holy month of abstinence; sudden and unexplained weight gain. As much as this festival calls for total abstinence from food and beverages right from the first rays of the dawn till sunset, most worshipers have reported a whopping 5-10 kg increase in body weight over just a month.
Is there any possible explanation that could fit in with the weight suddenly sneaking upon you?
Here’s the equation; fasting necessarily means abstaining from food and any beverage (including water) through the course of the entire day. What this does it that it leads to a gradual yet steady weakening of the system, until we make up for it (and way beyond) once the fast breaks post sunset. This pretty much explains the sudden weight gain that is determined by the total calorie intake in a day (a definite time frame) vs. calorie expended in a day (a definite time frame again). Here, one usually ends up eating way more than what the body actually requires because of intense hunger and the urge to gorge on the delicacies. Also, weight gain can be explained by the fact that both Seheri and Iftar (Seheri being the food served right before dawn and Iftar being the food served after sunset) consist of the most amazingly sinful foods and desserts.
Surely, any intense burst of exercise or suddenly going for an hour’s run isn’t recommended; as your body may be caught off-guard to handle such strenuous activities. You could go for a leisurely stroll spanning 30 minutes or so, but nothing excessively strict and intense. The key here is to watch what you eat and how you eat it once the sun goes down. Your body metabolism slows down as the day progresses and thus, the body gets programmed to absorb all the more calories (and hence the irrational weight gain).
While everybody is differently programmed (coupled with varying BMIs and BMRs), thus making the body respond differently to food intake, these 5 points could make sure that you eat healthy and enjoy Ramadan without piling up on those unwanted adipose tissues. Read on for help:
- Break the fast with freshly prepared lime juice
Squeeze a fresh lemon in water that is at room temperature. This helps your immune system while preventing build-up of toxins that always remains a possibility when you aren’t the most active. Try to postpone your meal a little bit more and instead, go for green tea (obviously without the sugar). If you think you need sugar to feel fine again, what do you think there’s Stevia for!
- Start with proteins
There’s nothing like pure lean protein such as chicken, fish (hummus, lentils and tofu) for the vegans. Both being white meat, they don’t add to your weight unnecessarily, yet satiating the demonic pangs of hunger. Why stack up on protein? Well physiologically, the body protects the two most important organs; the heart and the brain. While your heart needs protein, the brain needs healthy fats to function optimally. So when carbohydrates enter the system, a SOS about a possible lack of fats and protein is immediately sent to your digestive system that then starts storing fat for subsequent use. Hence, protein is the buzzword here if you’re trying to put off the excessive kilos while binging on delicacies. Foods with a low Glycemic Index are good fits as well.
3. After the healthy appetizers, enjoy the rest of your meal, but do it mindfully. Remember, no matter how hungry you feel, there’s nothing good about dramatic portion sizes. Take some time out between mouthfuls so as to allow your brain the room to truly gauge your appetite. Listen to your system, that’s the idea here.
4. Now probably the most difficult part to mitigate; the sinfully sweet desserts (read Shahi Tukda and Kheer and they promise you so much more!). Eat your heart out but try not to go overboard; remember that calories don’t distinguish between the holy month and any other day of the month. Pick your favorite and savor each bite.
5. And lastly, stay hydrated.
This holy month, while you’ll be praying for the good health and prosperity of everybody you hold close, don’t miss out on your body. After all, your body is truly the temple (or the mosque) from where it all starts.
NOTE: Healthy food habits are the stepping stone to a healthy you. To know more, call 1800 121 2323.