It is possible to maintain or even lose weight during Ramadan by following a careful strategy and avoiding common pitfalls, says Healthpoint’s Head of Bariatric and Metabolic Surgery in Abu Dhabi.
Consultant bariatric surgeon Dr. Mohammed Al Hadad explains: “While people expect to lose weight during Ramadan, often the opposite is true. They tend to be less active, overeat after breaking their fast, and choose rich, high-calorie foods.”
He suggests, instead, that people prepare their own iftar and suhoor meals at home.
“Swap high-calorie meals with healthier home-made ones and cut down on carbohydrates. If you are medically fit, try moderate intensity exercise for at least 150 minutes per week.”
Dr. Mohammed’s tips to avoid overeating:
- Stay well hydrated to avoid headaches and lethargy
- Eat a well-balanced suhoor, for example, an egg, low-salt cheese or any other protein sandwich with fruits and water
- Break your fast with dates and water, or low-fat yogurt, and wait for 10 – 15 minutes before your main meal, to give your stomach time to prepare for more food
- Start your meal with protein and then vegetables – these are the two most important food groups
- Stop eating immediately when you feel about a half to three-quarters full
- Swap sweets for fruits, and make your own juices rather than the sweetened market variety.