Ramadan has ended, and Eid has come and gone. Now we are all settling back into our regular routines – getting used to eating at reasonable times, and the sudden influx of energy we’ve been lacking. It’s a shame that skipping meals hasn’t resulted in a kickstart to our summer bodies though.
Gaining weight during Ramadan is expected – it’s inevitable. Ramadan not only changes our diet, but it also does so abruptly. One day you have a proper breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and the next day, you’re fasting and drastically changing your eating habits. At dinner, where you may have been careful about what you’re eating, you gravitate to the fatty, salty and sugary items.
During Ramadan, your metabolism shifts and the body acclimates to the new bingeing-fasting-bingeing routine. The result is usually excess weight.
Now that the month is over, we face the challenge of getting life back to normal. While a return to routine seems simple in itself, getting back in the swing of things can be difficult.
There are some guidelines you can follow to make a smooth transition from fasting to your regular eating habits.
People generally tend to gain weight and end up with a lower metabolism during Ramadan, so getting the metabolism back up to its regular rate should be a priority.
Eating once a day is terrible for your metabolism, and so dieticians advise that you divide your meals up during the day. It’s much healthier to eat smaller meals, more often. Experts recommend eating six small meals a day, rather than three large ones.
Another rule is to eat most of your daily calories in the morning and keep it light at night.
Ramadan makes us break these two rules because we don’t eat all day and then at night we eat a couple of large meals. The most significant aspect of the transformation from Ramadan into regular life is making sure you let your metabolism recover by establishing regular meal times and ensuring that your meals are the right size.
Eat large breakfasts with a lot of fruit and protein, and try to restrict eating in the evening. You consume all your meals in the evenings during Ramadan, and getting your body off its new routine is crucial for returning to full health.
You should also increase your consumption of nutritious foods, such as vegetables and salads. Fruits and vegetables are excellent options for losing weight, and they are excellent for detoxing as well.
Working out is a necessity. A little bit of regular exercise can help you regain your healthy body. Experts recommend working out for about 30-45 minutes each morning.
For those who dislike working out, you don’t have to run a marathon. It could be a pleasant long walk around. Some people prefer to go to the gym, where all the equipment is laid out. Others prefer to train in the privacy of their own homes, perhaps with some yoga, floor activities or dumbells.
Whatever you do, the aim is to get the body out of its dormancy, without hurting it too much, so the key here is to take it lightly. If you’re not in the habit of training or have been on the couch for the past year, it might be smart to talk with a doctor or trainer before you begin.
Exercise not only burns calories but also helps to remove toxins from the body, gets the heart and lungs working correctly and strengthens muscles that have deteriorated.
There is also proof that consistent exercise decreases the craving for food, which can be a useful thing if you’re trying to get your food consumption down to normal, pre-Ramadan levels.
Get your sleep back on schedule. Ramadan also messes with your sleeping schedule. You need to wake up in the middle of your sleep schedule to have suhoor, or else you will skip the first meal of the day. Without that meal, your energy and metabolism may end up suffering throughout the month.
A shortage of proper sleep increases both the appetite and anxiety the following day, making the fast all the more difficult. Studies show it can also seriously affect your metabolism, which is one reason why people put on weight over Ramadan.
So, as we drift into the “normal” life beyond Ramadan, it might be smart to start establishing a regular bedtime, allowing lots of time to catch up on all that missed sleep. Many people will have a sleep shortfall by the end of Ramadan, and there may be some real catching up to do!
With sleep, as with food and exercise, the important thing is to have a healthy lifestyle based on balance, routine and sensible portions. Within a few weeks, you’ll be back in shape and ready for action.