Making small adjustments to your lifestyle and being mindful of your food choices and eating habits 4-8 weeks before Ramadan begins will empower you to change unhealthy habits. Not only will that help reduce the risk of weight gain during and after Ramadan but also increase the spiritual benefits of the holy month.
If you have any chronic health conditions you MUST see your GP for more specific advice. Diabetics especially must consult their doctor on whether fasting is safe in their unique situation and discuss any adjustments that must be made to medication or diet.
Use these helpful tips as a source of ideas and create you own “plan of action”. Make it specific to your lifestyle and acheivable by making small changes gradually over the one or two months. Writing down your action plan will help you keep you focussed.
Start 4-8 weeks before Ramadan
See your GP a month before Ramadan for a medical assessment if you have any chronic health conditions
Put a few dates in your diary for some practice fasts (Mondays and Thursdays of course if possible) or try Intermittant Fasting.
can you take some holiday from work, or adjust your hours during the month. Check with employer.
If you are due for a dental check up,go! Dont delay.
Begin to reduce your portion sizes
Avoid mid-meal snacking – drink water instead
Swap any refined heavily processed foods with natural, wholesome foods
Incorporate more vegetable and unprocessed carbohydrates (veg) in the diet
Incorporate protein with each meal. Meat, fish, eggs, fullfat dairy, nuts, seeds, legumes etc.
Skip your afternoon tea/coffee/fizzy soda and opt for a galss of water or hrebal tea
Cut down cigarettes you have in a day, gradually Swap sugary refined foods with wholesome nuts, seeds, fruit, raw veg or even water.
Start a digital detox. Put your phone away at Xpm and do not bring it into bedroom.
Aim to move more and sit less on a daily basis
Begin a gentle walking program
Aim for 30 mins a day or aerobic activity ( walking , running, dancing, cycling, swimming)
Incorporate 2 days a week of resistance training
Stretch every day. Try easy beginners you-tube yoga!
Cut down on takeaways and get cooking!
Grill, steam, bake or shallow fry
Start to prepare and freeze some easy meals for you and the kids to make the month easier.
Use this time to start eliminating seed oils from your diet. Cook with ghee, butter, extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil.
Mums of toddlers
Ramadan is a challenge, its meant to be and as Muslims we embrace that. But for busy mums with young children at home ( or even at nursery!) its doubly challenging.
Your greatest aid is PREPARATION. Spend the prior months preparing for Ramadan
- Think of activities to keep the kids busy, arts,crafts, islamic downloadable colouring pages and projects. There are excellent resources on the internet. Make Ramadan folders with all the activites. Have a Ramadan Schedule and try and stick to it. Being in a routine gives you a good sense of control.Of course, this could also be used the rest of the year round.
- Browse charity shops for books, or buy Islamic story books to read to the kids
- Do a “spring clean” , spring or not, before the month begins. Tidy extra clutter away, or better, take it to charity shops, organise the house better, wash the bedding and do a super-clean around the house. Keep simple and favourite toys out though to keep the kids occupied when you pray and read Quran.
- Start to prepare foods that you can freeze to use throughout Ramadan. Curries, sauces, soups, marinated meat, fish, chopped raw veg. If possible store in the freezer in small ready to use packets just enpough for one or two uses. Use zip-seal bags or plastic containers, clearly labeled.
- Make up a batch of bone broth that you can freeze in portions to use for soups, stews, rice and pasta.
- Dont feel guilty about cutting corners. Ramadan is not the time to get everything perfect. Infact I would argue that at any time of life trying to be a perfect mum, wife, homemaker, woman is a recipie for misery and guilt! Just do things with love and happiness and everyone will survive! So what if you have to have fish-finger sandwiches one evening, or you’re not on top of all the washing and ironing, or the kids are scruffy pups!
- Don’t compare yourself to others.You are going through your own unique journey through life.Just focus on your spiritual experience and be assured next year and every year after will be different.
- DURING RAMADAN, keep your meals simple. A quick Iftaari of dates and water, maybe some fruit, a simple main meal and water. Thats how easy it can be. Use your previously made meal plan and shopping list to make cooking and shopping easier.
- Some nutritionally dense foods are Bone Broth, Full fat live Yoghurt, meat, fish, eggs, soups, green leafy veg and nuts/seeds. Try and incorporate some into your every day.
May your Ramadan be blessed and fulfilling and may you feel the benefits, spiritual, physical and emotional and reap those rewards the rest of the year.Ramadan Mubarak!
Enjoy making your “action plan” and implementing it and you will enjoy a healthier Ramadan and even a healthier year all round!