Ramadan is almost here, and like most people I tend to indulge myself the fantasy that I will come out the other end, thinner and healthier. Sadly, each year after Eid, I find I have actually gained weight, my abs disappearing under what could only be a layer of pakora fat, my face teeming with teenage acne and I’m left wondering how did this happen?
This year I have decided to correct the mistakes of Ramadans’ gone past and so can you, here’s how:
During sehri, opt for a more protein rich meal combined with slow releasing carbohydrates. Have porridge made with almond milk, with a drizzle of honey, peanut butter, a banana and some crushed almonds. If you’re not a fan of oats, have some eggs! Scrambled with avocados, or your favourite omelette packed with vegetables will keep you going for longer. For those who need more sustenance to keep going in the day, why not make a protein shake, blitzed with banana, peanut butter.
Iftari is always tougher than sehri when it comes to self-control. I blame those torturous advertises which showcase all the latest tasty restaurants nearby, the smiling family sitting down contentedly in front of their deep fried feast, alongside curries swimming in orange ghee, whilst the serene looking mother ladles out those calorific dishes to her doting family. Now I’m not saying you can’t treat yourself at all. Instead of roti or those crispy parathas swap it for boiled rice. Have a higher portion of meat to the carbs.
Treat yourself to grilled tikkas or tandoori chicken with a tasty salad and raita. When making curry use a very small amount of olive or coconut oil, after all, food drowning in vegetable oil isn’t exactly adding to the taste! If meat becomes too much after a few days, why not have a bowl of daal drizzled with lemon juice and a bowl of salad. Lentils are packed with proteins and again they are slow releasing energy which will keep you full for longer. As Pakistanis we are so lucky to have food that’s packed with flavour so we never have to compromise on taste.
As for working out, now I don’t expect anyone to go out and do a full on HIIT workout just before iftar, but do try to move around. Even if it’s a half hour walk after iftar, or a quick ten minute workout. I love kettle bells, and do 100 swings and squats every morning before getting ready. These quick workouts will kick start your metabolism and stop your body from hoarding all the food into fat storage which is the main reason for weight gain.
Last but not least, Ramadan is a time for self-reflection, numbers on a scale don’t always matter, but changes in your attitude and mind far outweigh the numbers!