Recovering from you Eid weekend? Planning how to maintain good eating & fitness habits? Get a headstart, as we conducted an exclusive interview with Amanah Fitness to bring you tips, tricks, and advice you need to read all about!
During Ramadan, many Muslims find their appetites shrink (in terms of how much they are able to consume). In turn, we eat little for suhoor and iftar, but as soon as Eid arrives, we fall into a habit of overindulging with Eid festivities throughout the entire month. How can we prevent over indulging but still enjoy delicacies?
Ramadan is a truly blessed time for both our souls and our bodies. As you mentioned, many people become surprised at Iftar when they realize that they need very little food to become full! As we know, the Prophet (SAW) said: “No human ever filled a vessel worse than the stomach. It is enough for the son of Adam to each some morsels to keep his back straight.”
Especially during Eid feasting, many of us reach the feeling of FULLNESS, while our plates are also still full of food. Because we want to eat everything on our plate, and also because we do not want to waste food, we stuff down all our food, far beyond the point of fullness, and into the point of overeating.
Although the desire not to waste food is admirable, the solution is NOT to stuff down every piece of food. The solution is to TAKE LESS FOOD on each plate to begin with. If you are still hungry, you can ALWAYS serve yourself more food. This way, you get to make the conscious CHOICE to continue eating, and are more likely to become attuned to the point when you start feeling full… and stop eating.
This is really the secret to ENJOY your food without losing control… you can call it portion control, or you can call it becoming more sensitive to your body’s wants and needs, and not exceed your limits. With moderation and balance, all foods can be enjoyed!
Many people might use the excuse, “I’ve given up food for 18+ hours, it’s okay to indulge today for a little while”. What is your advice for people who think this way?
I know many people feel that they have gone through all of Ramadan not eating anything, so
they “deserve” a day of indulgence. But, again, enjoying your food does NOT mean eating with abandon everything in sight! From an Islamic perspective, overeating is DISCOURAGED – and far too often, we IGNORE this recommendation in our Sunnah.
I find it ironic that many people use Eid, a holiday celebrating our obedience to Allah, to engage in actions which are frowned upon in the Sunnah and by our Scholars of Islam, such as overeating, laziness and gluttony.
It is important to remember the recommendations of our scholars of Islam, when it comes to consuming food:
Imam Shafi’ said,
“I have not filled myself in 16 years because filling oneself makes the body heavy, removes clear understanding, induces sleep and makes one weak for worshipping Allah.” [Jami’ Uloom wa-al-Hikam]
The scholar Al-Hasan al-Basri also said,
“The test of the Prophet Adam, peace be upon him, was food and it is your test until the Day of Judgment. It used to be said, ‘Whoever takes control of his stomach gets control of all good deeds.”
My advice to the “indulgence mentality” is that yes, enjoy yourself. But do not exceed your limits. Listen to your body, and stop when you are full.
Fasting is not only a means of eating less, but it shows us we may not necessarily need specific foods or drinks we believed we could never live without. I’m an avid coffee drinker but since Ramadan, I’ve had very little. I’ve seen an improvement in my body due to less caffeine. How can we maintain these habits in out lives after Ramadan?
Isn’t it beautiful how Ramadan allows us to give us habits we thought we couldn’t live without? Coffee drinkers find they can go without coffee… and even serious habits such as smoking; smokers somehow make it through the day despite their cravings.
As Ramadan concludes, it is so important on focusing on maintaining positive habits. My first tip would be to be really practical. Don’t try and do too much, or you end up doing nothing. Pick one or two or three habits that you will commit to maintaining in your post-Ramadan life. Maintaining consistency is made possible with ACCOUNTABILITY – make it a point to KEEP TRACK of your progress. On days in which you stick to your habits, give yourself a checkmark on your agenda or calendar. You will be motivated to keep up for positive streak!
Finally, be gentle with yourself. If you slip into old habits a few times, don’t give up! One of the biggest predictors of health success is the ability to recover quickly and keep trying, no matter how many times you slip! No one’s perfect, so don’t discourage yourself when you aren’t, either
What is your ideal tip in finding balance in your diet after Ramadan? (as the shift from fasting to not fasting can be difficult)
When Ramadan starts, we take the first week or two to adjust to our new Ramadan schedule. Similarly, realize that your eating and lifestyle timings and schedules are now going to shift once again. You have to be able to adapt quickly and come into a new schedule of eating healthy and even adding in exercise into your life as quickly as possible.
I would highly encourage everyone to take a few minutes on Eid or the day after Eid to block out a rough daily schedule. When will you make time for your healthy eating, and when will you eat your meals? When will you make some time to prepare healthier options? If you prepare for it, you can make the transition to regular eating post-Ramadan effortlessly. Or, you can wait until you get into a slump from the disruption to your schedule, the choice is yours.
Also, having a program to help guide your health choices after Ramadan can be helpful to keep you on track. You can jump start your journey to better health after Ramadan, with our premiere 7 Day Jumpstart program for weight loss success at http://amanah7.com. This program will teach you portion control to take the guesswork out of losing weight and staying healthy, so you DON’T have to count calories!
What is the most fundamental habit you have developed in Ramadan that you will implement even after this month?
During Ramadan, I spoke a lot about exercise timings. I even did a full video series educating on when and how to exercise while fasting!
One of the main take home points that I was teaching was to pick an exercise style and timing that fit you while fasting, and try to stay as consistent as possible, all throughout Ramadan.
Because of this, I was very consistent in terms of WHEN I would personally exercise, as well. Outside of Ramadan, I do exercise most every day, but I am a bit more flexible in terms of what time in the day I get it done. During Ramadan, I was very consistent in exercising to end 2 hours before iftar, so it was almost always the same time every day. This makes a huge difference! Exercising feels like less of a burden and more just a regular part of your daily schedule, when it’s like clockwork. You are also less likely to skip a workout, because working out becomes a fixed part of your day. This is an essential habit that I will be doing my best to implement after Ramadan – being very committed to not only working out, but being very intentional as to working out the same time every day, as often as possible. These small little changes often make the biggest practical differences in terms of sticking to a healthy lifestyle!
About the Author
Amina Khan is the founder of Amanah Fitness, an organization aimed at education towards a healthier Ummah. (http://www.amanahfitness.com)Amanah Fitness seeks to improve health and wellness through health, nutrition and exercise programs of the highest quality.
Be sure to like Amanah Fitness on at http://www.facebook.com/amanahfitness for more free health advice & check out Amina’s 7 Day Jumpstart program at http://www.amanah7.com!