During the fasting month, Muslims have to abstain from food and drink from dawn till dusk, which is usually 12 to 14 hours. Because of this, you will need to make some tweaks / changes to your workout routine and nutrition plan so that you are in line with the fasting month, while maintaining your fitness level.
For this weeks post, i am going to cover some tips on how to "buka puasa" healthily. Many people i know end up gaining weight during the fasting month, and i can safely say that 90% of it is due to bad habits during the fasting month. So here are some useful tips to remember when breaking fast the healthy way.
Eat slowlySo you are 5 minutes away from breaking fast, and you have already loaded up your plate with huge amounts of food and you are sitting there just looking at it. The second you hear the Azan Maghrib on the radio or TV, you dig in and start going through your food faster than the speed on light. Then when you are done, you loosen your belt and say "oh boy, i ate too much". Sound familiar? I know that when it comes time to break your fast, your hunger reaches an unimaginable stage and the temptation to over eat is at its peak. So its understandable that you would like to chow down food like a lion. But many people i know end up eating way too much food when they break fast. Sometimes you eat more than you would have during your normal daily intake. Meaning if you usually eat 2500 calories a day split into 3 meals, some people can end up eating 3000 calories just for their buka puasa feast. The reason for this overeating is because you are eating fast. Slow down and enjoy your food. It takes time for your brain to register that your stomach is full and tell you to stop eating. When you eat too fast, you surpass this signal and end up eating more than you need. So avoid the temptation to eat too much by slowing down your pace of eating. Yes, you are hungry, but remember that eating slow will not harm you. So slow down.
Avoid breaking fast with too much simple carb0hydrates.
When it comes time to break fast, i notice that most people end up eating way too much carbohydrates. Now unless you are going to instantly use up all that energy, i would advice against loading up on carbohydrates. The reason being, when it comes time to break fast, the sugar level in your blood will be extremely low. Any carbohydrate you take will instantly be turned to sugar. If there is no use for this sudden surge of sugar / energy, your body will instantly store it away as fat. Remember your body just came out of a highly catabolic state and thus it thinks your body is going through a femine. Now, you are going to want to take some amount of carbohydrates , but i would recommend against loading up on too much of it. Go for complex carbohydrates if you can, but as a general rule of thumb, i would keep it to a low amount.
Break fast with plain H2O instead of
Most people i know like to have a quick drink when they break as their throat is dry from fasting all day. One of the biggest mistakes you can make is, to break fast with a sweet and sugar filled drink like Sirap, Soda etc. As mentioned above, your body has just been in a highly catabolic state for so long and the last thing you need is a rush of humungous amounts of sugar into your blood. Its better to break fast with plain H2O and then later on you can enjoy your sweet drink. Not saying that sweet drinks should be totally banned during the fasting month. You can have them, but save them till much later, instead of when you just break fast.
Avoid those midnight snacks
During the fasting month, i notice that many people like to hit their favourite mamak joint or fastfood joint well after their Terawih prayers. Near my house, i notice many people hitting the A&W well after 10pm to get a snack like waffle and ice cream, root beer float etc. This is absolutely fine if you are going to bed at 2am or so. But if you are going to eat that and go off to bed straight away, i would advice against it. Remember, the same rules apply. Don't load up on huge amounts of food before bed.
So for this Puasa Month, do something different and try the tips above. I am sure it will make a huge impact helping you watch your waistline during the fasting month. I know many people who end up putting on weight during the fasting month, and i truly believe that you can avoid that by simply following the tips above. As usual, look forward to hearing your comments
PS: Next weeks post, we will cover tips on Sahur and what kinds of foods you should be eating. So look out for it.