We’re heading into the last week of Ramadan… With the end in sight, it’s easy to feel a bit exhausted and sluggish as we approach the finish line.
It’s hardly a surprise when you consider the long hours of the day combined with the sleep deprivation and the effects of all those heavy or fried foods we tend to indulge in at Iftar time.
There’s no doubt about it, fasting can be tough, quarantine or not!
The good news though is that it IS possible to feel more energized and focused while you’re fasting and allow you to maximize the many benefits of this blessed last few nights.
Here are 7 great tips you can follow to have your healthiest and most energized end to Ramadan ever:
- Stay hydrated – Make sure you’re getting in enough water whenever you can. That means not only drinking lots of water at iftaar and suhoor time, but also getting it in throughout the rest of the night.
Try to fill up a bottle of water and keep it with you in the evenings so you can take sips as the night goes on. For the record, taking lots of sips over the whole evening is better than chugging entire glasses of water once or twice.
You can also try to eat foods that are high in water content (e.g. cucumbers, watermelon, leafy greens, berries, soups and salads).
- Suhoor, done right – Some people simply choose not to wake up to eat suhoor (hey, everyone’s different!) but in my experience, a healthy and delicious suhoor helps set me up for the rest of the fast.
Try to eat foods that are jam-packed with nutrients, making sure to get a good mix of protein, some complex carbs and healthy fats as well as fibre. My “go to’s” are eggs, chia seed pudding, avocado toast and oats.
- Iftaar time – Hey I’ve been there, you’ve spent the daydreaming about all the yummy things you’re going to eat at iftaar… and those samosas are just calling out your name! Although we are blessed to be able to have a delicious spread of food in front of us, try your best to eat in moderation.
Break your fast first with a date and water and then something light like a salad, soup, or even some fruit. This will help your stomach gently begin the digestion process. You can then dig into the rest of your meal. Nobody’s saying not to eat those fried or rich foods, but just remember to try to control your portions and balance them out with an equal amount of veggies :)
- Sleep – I know it’s easier said than done, but try to maintain a healthy sleeping routine as much as possible, your body will thank you for it tomorrow!!
If you have the option, a short nap during the day can really make a difference, and if you’re still struggling, try to get to bed a little earlier for a day or two to catch up. Not only is sleep so important for our bodies, but it also affects our eating choices.
When we’re tired we automatically tend to reach for less healthy foods just to get a short term energy boost, so getting in that extra sleep will help you make better choices at your meals times :)
- Get Active – Yup, even while you’re fasting! Even a simple walk or a 15-20 minute yoga stretch will get your body moving and heart pumping and will leave you feeling more energized.
The more you sit the more lethargic you’ll feel. So simple getting up and moving will make you feel better and help you gain more energy during your fast. If you’re normally very active, you can definitely continue working out (with modifications) during Ramadan also!
- When to Workout – If you’re looking to get in a more intense workout, I’d suggest trying to do it at one of 3 times: (1) About an hour before iftaar – Although you may be tired and hungry, you’ll go through your workout knowing you can replenish your body soon afterwards. (2) After a light iftaar – Break your fast with a smaller iftaar (including water) and then hit that workout.
You can always eat a heavier meal once you’re done exercising. This is great for people who feel lightheaded when they workout on an empty stomach. (3) A few hours after iftaar – Have your iftaar and rest for a bit, allowing your food to digest for an hour or two before exercising. As always, make sure to stay hydrated before, during, and after.
- Make a Plan– All the above tips are great, but if you don’t take time to set out a simple strategy, you’re less likely to stick to any of them. So make a plan (it doesn’t have to be super detailed).
Try picking a couple of Suhoor ideas you can prepare in advance so they’ll be ready to grab first thing in the morning. Fill up your water bottle and plan to keep it near you to sip on during the evening.
Cut up some fruits and veggies for when you feel like snacking. When it comes to staying active, decide how much time you’d like to workout for, and how many times a week, and then schedule that into your calendar.
Ramadan provides such a blessed opportunity for us to reflect and focus on our spiritual health, especially these last 10 nights.
Taking care of our bodies will only allow us to reap the full rewards of this critical last few moments.
Yours In Faith,