Avoid losing weight in Ramadan
While some people gain weight during the holy month of Ramadan, others struggle to keep their weight from falling off the normal range. In fact, fasting could be quite a challenge for maintaining a healthy body weight. Especially, if your food intake is not enough to meet the minimum caloric requirements for the basic needs of the body.
Should you worry about weight loss during fasting?
You need not worry, unless your weight is at the borderline of the normal range or lower than the normal value. You can find out if you are underweight by calculating your BMI. To do this, divide your weight by the square of your height; if you get a number of 18.5 or less then you your weight is below normal and you should prevent any further weight loss.
Quite simply, if your height was 1.64m, the square of that would be 1.64x1.64, which is 2.69. Now divide your weight, 50kg for example by 2.6 and you get 18.5. This is your BMI. And going below that is not recommended.
Why do some people lose weight during Ramadan?
Sometimes fasting could last up to 13 hours or more. During this time the body needs glucose which serves as its energy source and is necessary for its proper functioning. Glucose from food could last up to a maximum of 5 hours, after that the body tends to use its fat stores in order to provide the necessary energy. And not restoring these reserves after fasting would result in weight loss
Ways to avoid losing weight:
- Have your Iftar in two stages: Some people can get full just by eating salad and soup, resulting in them having just a little bit of the main dish. This usually ends up with inadequate caloric intake and might lead to weight loss. You should instead try to have your Iftar meal in two sessions. First have dates, soup and salad. Then go for Maghreb Prayer and come back to have your main dish. In this way you would have given your stomach enough time to prepare for the main dish.
- Good to Remember: If you feel full quickly during Ramadan, then make sure you drink water between your meals and not with them. Have 1 glass at the beginning of Iftar, wait a couple of minutes then enjoy your meal. The rest (6-7 glasses of water or fluids) can be divided within your non-fasting hours but only 2 hours after food.
- Enrich your dishes with healthy calories: Sprinkle a generous amount of olive oil to your salad, or slice some olives on your baked, low fat cheese sambosa. You can also add some nuts over your salads and Ramadan desserts.
- Have an extra nutritious snack between your Iftar and Suhour: When you are out for the evening, have mankoushe with a glass of laban, a bowl of hummus (balila) with a glass of fruit cocktail juice or simply a cheese sandwich and a glass of milk. Remember to take your sweets after this snack so you fill up on nutritious foods first.
- Make sure to have your Suhour: It will be very difficult to meet your nutritional requirements with just one meal. This is why it is absolutely essential to have a proper Suhour to provide your body with the additional calories vital for your wellbeing, and to prevent any undesirable weight loss. For example, you can have a bowl of foul mudammas sprinkled with a generous quantity of olive oil, a small loaf of brown Arabic bread, some olives, a glass of milk and a bowl of fruit salad in fruit syrup.
In conclusion, there are many ways to boost your calories and avoid losing weight during this month. You can do that by adding healthy nutrient- and calorie-dense ingredients to the foods you are eating. These include healthy oils, nuts, avocados and olives. Also remember to remain physically active during this month since this will help stimulate your appetite.
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