After a month of fasting, it is time to slowly readjust the body to its regular routine. While most people who fast in a healthy manner tend to lose weight, some put on the pounds.
Whether you are trying to maintain the weight you lost during Ramadan or you are trying to shed pounds you gained, some simple steps can lead the way to improved health and well-being.
Nutritionist Sneha Ghosh at Max & Aegle, Meydan, Dubai says, “During Ramadan, some people tend to eat larger portions of food by the time iftar comes around, and many stay up snacking between iftar and suhour,” she says. “Traditional foods are often calorific. Eating big meals at iftar and constant snacking thereafter can lead to weight gain.”
Sleep deprivation hurts
Sounds familiar? There is your weight gain explained. Other factors include a lack of proper exercise, eating the wrong kinds of food which can leave you feeling tired and lethargic, and inadequate sleep, either because you’re sleeping less, or because sleep cycles are disrupted. “Sustained lack of sleep has a negative effect on our metabolism and leads to insulin resistance and problems with blood sugar regulation. Therefore, it is important to regulate your sleep patterns post fasting. In general, we need to be disciplined when it comes to our sleep patterns.” says Victoria Tipper, a Dubai-based health, wellness and life coach.
Generally, from my experience, people want to shed the extra kilos gained within a few weeks or months. However, weight loss or weight gain are not overnight transformations.
Now that you know what’s led to the extra kilos, what can you do about it? If you’re wondering whether you’ll ever be able to lose all that fat, take encouragement from Tipper’s experience with her clients: “Most people are able to lose their post-Ramadan weight and my experience is that many become more aware of ways to prevent that weight gain during their next Ramadan.”
Set yourself up for success
Attitude is everything, goes the old adage, and Tipper suggests starting with the correct mindset to improve your relationship with food. “It’s important to feel emotions and not numb them with food. A great first step in weight loss starts with acceptance for the self, improving your relationship with yourself.”
Tipper suggests keeping a journal, online or on paper, to help you understand your motivations — and track the consequences of your actions over even a short amount of time. “Take time out for self-reflection, take time to uncover what your compelling ‘why’ is. Ask yourself, what is behind my healing and wellness, what does it mean to me? Uncovering your why helps to tap into those intrinsic motivators and this helps us do the things we need to do to achieve long-lasting change.”
Ask yourself, what is behind my healing and wellness, what does it mean to me?
A positive outlook also involves some clever strategies. No matter how much weight you put on in Ramadan — and it’s only been a month, so it really can’t be more than a few kilos — it’s important to aim for a pragmatic, achievable target, such as 5 or 10 per cent of your body weight.
You may want to lose 20 kilos, perhaps because you were overweight to start with, but breaking that figure down into a set of smaller goals makes them more achievable: the sheer distance between where you are now and where you want to be won’t discourage you.
Good things take time
Nothing happens overnight, Ghosh says, and the sooner you realise that, the faster you’ll achieve your goal. “Generally, from my experience, people want to shed the extra kilos gained within a few weeks or months. However, weight loss or weight gain are not overnight transformations,” she says.
“Find an eating plan that works for you —and stick with it systematically every day.” Rather than follow a diet that worked for someone else, Ghosh suggests consulting a medical expert to figure out what your own limits are and what sort of plan is right for you — a complication such as prediabetes, for example, may impact the sort of foods you should be eating.
“A diet should be planned only after reviewing the body composition report, in-order to allocate the correct calories or macros to someone who is trying to reach their target goal,” Ghosh says.
“Follow a diet that suits your body type and not one that is trendy. Moreover, remember that weight loss will take time depending on your body type.” She offers some broad suggestions, however: “Focus on clean eating, try eating from all food groups, and stick to meal timings, exercise regularly and most importantly, stay positive and motivated. A healthy and positive mind can achieve anything!”