This past month saw South Africa’s Muslim population, together with their counterparts across the globe, break their month-long fasting for the holy month of Ramadan.
The end of the fast was this week celebrated with Eid-Al-Fitr – one of the most auspicious Muslim festivals that not only comes with an occasion to dress to the nines but also the chance of feasting on a range of mouthwatering traditional meals and sweet and savoury treats.
While the eating part is always welcome, it’s often followed by the overindulgence guilt and bulge.
Here are a few tips to help you maintain your ideal weight after the celebration:
1. Don’t skip breakfast
There is the false illusion that skipping your most important meal of the day – breakfast – will help you lose weight.
However, studies show that missing out on the important nutrients your body gets from this meal leads to increased and usually unhealthy snacking throughout the day because you feel hungry. So, enjoy your breakfast and include as much dairy, oats and fresh fruits in your meal.
2. Drink plenty of water
Thirst is often easily confused with hunger and you can end up consuming extra calories when a glass of water is really what you need. Drinking just two glasses of water before you sit down to eat will reduce your food intake and cravings.
Additionally, when you are properly hydrated, your energy expenditure increases and you burn calories faster.
3. Take control of portions
After fasting for an entire month, it is possible that your body may have adapted to high-salt and fat-laden foods. For this reason and to get back to your healthy eating habits again, smaller portions are advised.
You can easily adjust by using smaller plates to gradually get used to eating smaller portions without going hungry. You should also eat slowly as it takes about 20 minutes for the stomach to tell the brain it is full.
4. Take a hike
Not all of us are easily motivated to do a full-blown workout or even have gym memberships. However, you can still get in a good workout by walking for just 30 minutes day.
Not only will this help keep your weight in check, it can reduce excess body fat, boost muscle power and endurance, and also reduce your risk of developing conditions such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and osteoporosis.
5. Sleep it off
Waking up early during the month of fasting may have thrown your sleep cycle completely off. Research shows that if you are not sleeping well and are sleep deprived throughout the day, it can increase your risk of obesity. This applies to children and adults.
So, try to get to bed at a set time each night and switch off your electronics an hour before you get into bed.