It's pretty well documented that weight gain during Ramadan is extremely common. Mix together binge eating, non-stop snacking from Iftar to Suhour, high caloric foods on the table every night and then sleeping for most of the day is a recipe for piling on the pounds. Not to mention the great social pressure during the Holy month to visit extended family every night and eat whatever is offered to you. Since the fasting brain craves sugary carbs, it's no surprise that desserts are a Ramadan staple and you will definitely find yourself surrounded by samosa's, kunafa, igaimat, vimto and more.
But consider this;
One entire month is a LONG time to gorge yourself silly every night. 30 days of lazing around and stuffing yourself full of food so loaded with transfat it could clog cause an immediate heart attack (that's a joke, guys!). And since many people stop going to the gym during Ramadan it means a complete disaster for your body, your fitness, your health and all the progress you've ever made.
So without further ado, here are GetFitChick's tips on NOT Gaining During Ramadan! Screenshot this and put it on your phone as a wallpaper if you have to!
MACROS : Macronutrients are what make up a food. The three types of macros are proteins, fats and carbs. A Ramadan filled with fats and carbs mean you are on the path to getting bigger, so try to eat your proteins, leafy greens (for fibre) and good quality fats (like avocado, nuts, coconut oil, etc) first, then allow yourself to eat your carb portion. You'll find you won't get 'food coma' and be more energetic.
PORTION SIZES: Be aware of exactly how much you are eating. You are not supposed to eat 3 plates at one meal. You are also not supposed to snack non-stop throughout the night. Don't kid yourself on this and try to tell yourself it's ok to eat LOADS of carbs but not enough protein, you'll only regret it.
WATER: Drink a LOT of water when you break your fast, and then throughout your non-fasting hours. It is very common to feel hungry when in fact you are actually just thirsty.
DON'T DRINK CALORIES: Don't ever drink sugar. EVER. No juices, no soft drinks, no adding sugar to anything. It's far too easy to drink a ridiculous amount of calories and not even be aware of it. Stick to water and unsweetened drinks like tea.
EXERCISE: don't allow yourself to become lethargic and unmotivated (fasting and only eating bad food can result in a 'brain fog'). Get up, get out of the house and go to the gym and make it your Ramadan routine. Some people like working out before Iftar, but some people benefit from working out after Iftar as it prevents you from staying in the house and eating constantly.
SLEEP: not sleeping puts your body under physiological stress, which in turn makes you release cortisol (known as the 'stress hormone'). This makes it very difficult for you to lose fat, particularly around the belly area. It can also mess with your metabolism and the hormones that make you feel hungry or full. Prioritise good quality sleep.
ASK FOR SUPPORT: Talk to your family and ask them for your support. The next time you go to cousin Maitha's house and are nagged to eat more igaimat, your family should come to your rescue and support your healthy food choices. Also if you're a GetFitChick client message your class group or coach for help!
MAINTAIN GUT HEALTH: don't forget all your supplements (should you need them) during Ramadan! This is not the time to stop taking your probiotics or apple cider vinegar!
I'm not a monster, I get that this is a celebratory month and you should embrace it with open arms. Just be AWARE of what you are putting in your body and how it is making you feel. Make sure you eat your protein, leafy green and fat portions before you allow yourself to eat a doughnut/camel cookie/ice cream, because chances are if you are eating properly you won't want to snack too much. And don't be eating that doughnut every day!
STAY STRONG. Be disciplined for just one week and you can turn your healthy behaviour into a habit you don't have to think about. And don't forget to have fun
(Registration for our Ramadan bootcamp is open! Don't get in a Ramadan rut and join us at www.getfitchick.ae/ramadan-registration)