Fasting during the month of Ramadan is as much a mental exercise as it is a physical one. Although we all prepare our minds and bodies differently, here are some pointers to assist Muslims adapt to the daily fast:
- Stay hydrated: Even if you don't feel thirsty, try drinking fluids multiple times during the night. Caffeinated beverages might dehydrate you, so choose fluids that don't contain caffeine. Remember that breaking your fast with water during Iftar (the evening meal after sunset) is not only traditional, but it also guarantees that you obtain the optimum source of hydration for your body before being tempted by food.
- Variety is the spice of life: During the evening, eat a variety of things. Your body requires proper nutrition now more than ever to compensate for the stress of fasting. Whole grains, vegetables, fruits, lean protein, healthy fat (fat derived from plants, such as olive oil and nuts)—all of these are essential for providing your body with all of the nutrients it requires.
- Portion size is important: It takes around 20 minutes for the body to recognize that it had enough to eat. As a result, don't overeat at Iftar. Eating deliberately puts less strain on your body and provides more energy than eating large amounts at once.
- Keep moving: Despite the fact that fasting might be physically tiring, try not to become fully inactive. If you usually work out in the morning, watch how your body reacts if you switch to exercising in the evening after you've broken your fast. Strenuous activity is not recommended throughout the day since it might quickly dehydrate you. Think short, simple walks (to classes or errands) or a few stretches to help you stay energized throughout the day.
- Find what works for you: Depending on your sleep cycle, you may want to experiment with how frequently and when you eat in order to maintain your energy levels.
That takes me to a (maybe apparent) point…
- Trust how your body feels: Every person is unique, and different ways of eating may make them feel better. If these ideas don't help you with fasting, speak with a nutritionist or other healthcare specialist for additional specific advice depending on your situation.
Finally, but not least...
- Celebrate! This is the most joyous month of the year! Enjoy meals with others, exercise goodwill, and be patient with your body and with others.