This blessed month is the one we so confidently use to exploit the damaging effects of dieting to maximize weight loss. The religious obligation of going without food or water for hours in the month of ramzan is often used for weight loss, keeping the intent of the one’s fasting aside.
We spoke to Adnan Farooq at CORE functional training systems to discuss Ramzan and Weight Loss. Here is what he had to say:
I’ve often heard people talk about losing all the weight and reaching their ideal weight goal in ramzan, because they’re convinced that no other month can give them the will power to fight hunger, cravings, sugar lows, better than this month. And so the starvation begins. Trying to kill 2 birds with on stone seldom succeeds as a strategy, especially when it comes to dealing with the human body.
You see, the thing is, the body is (unfortunately) smarter than you think. When the body senses a state of starvation induced by either eating very low quantity of food, or pairing it with exercising, the body takes action to prevent starvation from taking place, blame evolution, if you must. We call this metabolic compensation and it simply means this:
The body, in order to prevent starvation (through dieting or excessive exercise, or a combination of both) by forcing you to do the exact opposite of what you were trying to accomplish, which is eating less + move/exercise more. The body, more specifically, your metabolism, compensates by making you eat more and move less and here’s how it does it.
It increases hunger, increases cravings, lowers energy, disrupts your sleep patterns so you do what it wants you to (eat more, move less) which is exactly the opposite of what you have been trying to achieve. Makes sense so far? Well, if it does, then you ought to know that trying to lose weight in ramzan is not a good idea because you’ll end up not only hurting your metabolism, but also burn you muscle, invite more inflammation and make it weaker, prone to injury and disease if you continue the onslaught.
So, what should be goal in Ramzan? There are a few and here they are:
- Improve mood
- Minimize lean muscle loss
- Keep metabolism healthy
- Improve energy levels
- Improve blood circulation
- Stabilizing blood sugar
If these become your focus, you will eat, train drink and do everything that may not only give you fat loss (which is better than weight loss as a goal), but will also give you the feel good factor, which is usually overlooked in most weight loss programs. So here’s what you gotta do
- Increase protein at all the 3 meals-especially meat protein
- Don’t skip sehri-that is just wrong!
- Eat quality fats at sehri-quality fats include coconut oil, desi ghee, nuts and seeds.
- Keep iftaar and dinner separate
- Watch you starch intake-better sources of starch are lentils and brown beans.
- Exercise 3 to 4 days for 20 min
- Ensure hydration through water
- Focus on alkaline foods (green vegetables)
For more information, Adnan has created a ramazan fitness DVD containing detailed instructions and videos. Please contact Adnan Farooq (firstname.lastname@example.org or 0322 4164444) for more info.