That anticipated cup of coffee every morning, that nourishing midday lunch and afternoon tea time, we would need to do without all these while fasting during the upcoming month of Ramadan. Planning and preparing your body for the month of fasting will make the transition easier and lessen any symptoms you might experience. Remember you are not only training your body to function comfortably on less food, you’re also signalling your mind and your appetite that the fast is approaching.
Here are 12 ways to prepare your body for fasting
1. Detoxify your body
Keep a healthy diet, get plenty of sleep, and exercise regularly. Start each day with a complex carbohydrate breakfast that breaks down slowly, allowing you to stay energized through the day. Avoid heavy, unhealthy-fried foods, meats, salt and sugar that trigger reactions in the body, which can make cravings even harder to fight. Have a light meal at the end of each day: focus on fruit, vegetables, live-culture yogurt, and salad.
2. Reduce coffee intake
To avoid getting a pounding headache during the first few days of Ramadan, start now by reducing your caffeine intake and reduce your cups of coffee or tea throughout the day to train your body to function regularly caffeine free during daylight hours.
3. Drink plenty of water
Stay hydrated throughout the day and avoid dehydrating substances, staying away from diuretics like coffee and tea.
4. Reduce your food intake
Over-eating pre-Ramadan will only increase your appetite and make it more difficult to fast. Stick to 3 meals a day and avoid snacks in between to make an easier transition to having less meals during the holy month.
5. Have an early breakfast
Start having an early breakfast from now to help your body get used to the earlier hours of waking up and having Suhoor, especially if you are not much of a breakfast eater.
6. Quit bad habits
Ramadan is an opportunity to quit bad habits such as smoking. Plan to wean off gradually to avoid various withdrawal symptoms such as irritability, anger, restlessness, impatience, and difficulty concentrating during fasting hours.
7. Practice fasting
Try doing a few fasts in the run up to Ramadan to help you adapt. This is also a great opportunity to make up for any missed fasts from last year.
8. Regulate sleep
Start to mimic your sleeping habits for Ramadan like sleeping earlier to wake up earlier for Suhoor and having an afternoon nap.
9. Start Meal-planning
Prepare your menu for Iftar and Suhoor for the first seven days, list the ingredients needed, and go grocery shopping now when you are still full of energy.
10. Visit your doctor
Check with your doctor if it is safe for you to fast if you have any health issues like diabetes, high blood pressure or reflux, now is the time to schedule an appointment with your doctor.
11. Modify your exercise routine
Regular gentle exercise is recommended during Ramadan which will help keep your energy levels up. Fasting slows the metabolism, making it harder to keep fit and burn calories at your usual level. Start planning your exercise routine during the holy month. Great options include moderate walking shortly before breaking the fast, swimming, yoga and stretching regularly, particularly in the morning to keep the body limber.
Last but not least…
12. Set an intention for the month to come
Think about what you’d like to change in your life: perhaps you need to cut out poor habits and live a healthier lifestyle. Consider what you can do to become a happier and more effective human being. Ramadan is a prime opportunity to your reflect on your life and reset your routines – so plan ahead to make the best use of your time.