Tips on how to avoid weight gain during Ramadan

 What it happens to weight during Ramadan?

Maintaining weight appears only in those who maintain their diet and do not exceed food on iftar and suhur; a small weight loss is a frequent, but not universal change during Ramadan. They lose on average about a kilogram of weight over 4 weeks, and the lost weight is quickly regained. However, the person is very likely to pack on a few more pounds during Ramadan for several reasons:

1-      Increased calories: People gain weight when their energy intake exceeds their energy output. In other words, this happens when a person consumes calories (eating) more than he/she burns (in physical activity).

2-      Reduced activity during Ramadan

3-      Lower metabolic rate as your body undergoes quite a drastic change from receiving food and water on a regular basis to not receiving anything for an extended amount of time; it understandably causes a shock to the system. Your body becomes unsure whether food will be readily available and as a result of this, tries to reserve as much energy as possible by slowing down your metabolism. In this context, your metabolism is the speed at which your body converts food into energy. A slow metabolism means that the food is converted into energy much slower. Your body will store fat rather than burn ità weight gain during Ramadan and particularly after Ramadan when normal eating habits are resumed

4-      Deprivation when skipping meals all day leads to overeating after 7 p.m. or so which is counterproductive as a weight-loss regimen. There’s nothing like a fast to make you very hungry after hours without food, you tend to absolutely binge out

What to do in order to boost our metabolism and burn more calories?

It is important that during Ramadan you undertake measures and help counteract the effects that fasting has on slowing down your metabolism by keeping it as normal as possible. One of the best ways to do this is

  • Don’t skip your suhur. Have your suhur to spread the energy intake on different meals and in order to limit the hours of fasting: you will feel less hungry and binge out less during iftar.
  • Divide your food into several meals. Suhur meal and divide iftar into an evening snack and dinner or dinner and snack/
  • Light exercise as this can speed up your metabolism. People should do some physical activity of any kind depending on their health status and preferences. Walking for thirty minutes after iftar, for example, is recommended. \
  • Another important point is getting adequate sleep and not exceeding the needed hours.

What to do in order not to gain weight

  • You don’t have to stop eating or avoid going to Iftars
  • You need to follow the guidelines that we will give during Ramadan.
  • Don’t break your fast with a feast or you may put on weight instead of losing it. If you are not careful, food eaten during the pre-dawn and dusk meals can cause some weight gain.
  • Normal quantities of food from the major food groups: bread and cereal, milk and dairy product, fish, meat and poultry, bean, vegetable and fruit should be consumed.
  • Our diet in Ramadan should not differ very much from our normal diet and should be as simple as possible.
  • Suhoor should be moderate meal that is filling and provides enough energy for many hours. It is therefore particularly important to include slowly-digesting foods in the suhoor like complex carbohydrates
  • Iftar is the meal which breaks the day’s fast. The meal should remain a meal and not become a feast! Try to minimize the rich, special dishes that traditionally celebrate the fast
  • Avoid eating too many carbohydrates. Most Iftar dinners are composed of a ton of carbohydrates. Pasta, rice, bread, sweets and sugars are the most common culprits. Try to avoid these. No, your host will not be offended.
  • Eat fiber-rich foods. Fiber-rich foods are also digested slowly and include bran, cereals, whole wheat, grains and seeds, potatoes with the skin, vegetables such as green beans and almost all fruit, including apricots, prunes, figs, etc.
  • Consuming enough protein during each of your Ramadan meals will keep you feeling full until the next meal, preventing you from eating too many sweets. Good sources of protein include fish, skinless chicken, lean meat cuts, and legumes (chickpeas and beans), nuts and seeds.
  • Fried foods and foods containing too much sugar such as sweets, the delight of many, can cause weight problems.
  • Drinking of sufficient water between Iftar and sleep will make you feel full

 What are the best desserts?

  • Fresh fruit and nuts are the best. There are lovely choices available in this season, and they are much healthier than chocolates and candy.
  • They provide energy, fibers, vitamins and mineralsàmuch better than sweets high in sugar and fried desserts
  • Milk based desserts like muhallabieh or custard are also a good choice

 How long the meal should take?

  • Understandably, people are hungry but don’t eat your whole meal in 30 minutes.
  • Eat slowly and chew food well.
  •  Because you have not eaten all day, there will be a tendency to want to eat a large quantity of food quickly.
  • Remember that it takes 20 minutes for your stomach to tell your brain that you are full, put small portions on your plate first.

Is it good to exercise after a meal?

  • Walking in the evening for at least 30 minutes is an ideal routine activity.
  • Walking will not only help your metabolism, but also help your mind stay clear
  • However, if you’ve eaten a big meal, blood needs to move to your digestive system rather than to your muscles, so a brisk walk straight after a heavy meal is not a good idea. Wait 1-2 hours after your meal before engaging in any strenuous activity
  • Best to keep your meals light.

Conclusion:

  • If you fail to plan, then you plan to fail!
  • resist the temptation and the social pressure of eating

Ramadan Kareem!

Love,

Helwi El Hayet

Follow us on Twitter: @HelwiElHayet

About helwielhayet

Helwi el-Hayet discusses your favorite topics every week day at 4:30 p.m. Beirut time. From fashion to psychology to books to art to nutrition to cooking and coaching (and much, much more), Helwi el-Hayet is here to shed light on the latest trends and to share with you reports, interviews and recipes from Lebanon and the region!
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