Contrary to public opinion, most Muslims end up gaining weight during Ramadan. During the month of Ramadan, Muslims abstain from food and water from sunrise to sunset. Although, this sounds like a good diet, seldom does it turn out to be.
Traditionally, Muslims are supposed to eat two meals; after sunset and prior to sunrise. While in most Muslim majority countries this works out well, in the US it doesn't. In Muslim majority countries the entire country reverses their daily schedule. They don't do much all day, and stay awake at night so they have time to eat a morning meal.
Here in the US, most Muslims indulge after sunset and don't wake up to have an early meal. Busy work schedules and busy lifestyles promote this bad eating behavior. This is a major contributor to gaining weight.
The human body is very smart. The body figures out that it is only getting one meal a day and decides that it needs to store everything. So everything you eat gets stored as fat. The best practice would be to remember to wake up early and have a sensible meal, but that may not always work out.
You can easily use the occasion of Ramadan to lose some weight and shed some pounds. You don't have to stop eating or avoid going to dinner break-fast parties (Iftars). You just have to follow a few guidelines.
First of all, avoid eating too many carbohydrates. Muslims love carbohydrates. Most Iftar dinners are composed of a ton of carbohydrates. Pasta, rice, bread, sweets and sugars are the most common culprits. Try to avoid these. No your host will not be offended. Instead of eating a ton of rice with the red sauce, try to cut the rice out totally and just have the sauce. Load up on salad and drink diet pop. Carbs are the worse thing person can eat if they are trying to lose weight.
Secondly, eat lots of protein. If you avoid carbohydrates and eat tons of protein, you will stop feeling hungry and end up eating less. And even if you eat tons of proteins, you will still lose weight. Eat chicken, beef, lamb, turkey, veal, eggs, and seafood. Contrary to popular belief an all meat diet will decrease your cholesterol and blood sugar. Recent studies in the New England Journal of Medicine and other reputable medical journals have proven this time and time again.
Thirdly, eat some fiber. Green, leafy vegetables are great for getting your system flowing. Have all the salad you want. Don't use "fat free" dressing. Fat free usually means "tons of sugar". It's the sugar that is making us fatter. Also, avoid fruits, a piece or two a day is fine, but they usually contain a lot of sugar.
Avoid sugary drinks. Tea, coffee, pop, and juices all contain tons of sugar. Try to drink diet drinks and use Splenda as a sugar substitute. It is made of real sugar and tastes like real sugar, but does not make you gain weight nor does it have the side-effects of other sugar substitutes.
Following this high protein diet, your body will turn into a fat burning machine. Your body doesn't get the sugar from the diet, so it has to burn fat to make fuel. Even while you sleep the fat will burn right off.
Along with extra prayers and spirituality, this is a quick easy way to get the most out of your Ramadan.
Note: Always check with your doctor before beginning any diet and exercise plan. This article does not constitute medical advice.