Okay you guys, it’s here: The Ramadan Weight Loss Diet Plan.
Whattttt! *Makes various gangsta-style hand gestures*
Sorry, I’ll stop now.
So anyway, in my last post (Green Tea Metabolism Booster), I talked a bit about my weight loss journey. I told you guys about how I decided to take better care of my health and went to see a nutritionist. Just a week or so into my new routine, Ramadan began, and my nutritionist wrote a Ramadan weight loss diet plan for me to follow so that I could safely lose weight while fasting.
It was important to make sure that my body was receiving adequate nutrition and that I was feeling full and satisfied in my pre and post fast meals so that I could handle the 16-hour fasts. This Ramadan weight loss diet plan definitely worked for me in that regard: I found the portions to be so generous that, some days I had to decrease the portions because I couldn’t finish everything, Subhanallah!
Before I go into the details about the Ramadan weight loss diet plan, I want to give you a few important tips that are going to help you throughout your weight loss journey, and also some tips on how to adapt the plan if you’re having trouble with it.
Why Ramadan is the Best Time to Start Your Weight Loss Journey
I love food. Seriously. Just the fact that I have a blog talking a great deal about food and cooking should be proof enough for you. But I also think that our society today is dangerously over-fed. We’ve gotten to the point where we don’t even understand what being hungry actually means because we’re always eating. Sometimes we think we’re hungry when we’re actually thirsty, or bored, or our stomachs are simply demanding food because they’re used to being filled at a certain time.
Ghrelin is a hormone that our body secretes at specific times based on our normal eating patterns. When we fast during Ramadan, we often find that we feel hungriest around the times when we usually eat during the day. This is why the first few days or so of fasting are usually the toughest. After a few days, our bodies learn the new routine and produce less Ghrelin, so we don’t get as hungry any more.
Ramadan is the perfect time to start disciplining your body to eat what it NEEDS and not simply demand what it WANTS. The Prophet (PBUH) eloquently explained the true needs of the human body in this hadith:
“No human ever filled a vessel worse than the stomach. Sufficient for any son of Aadam are some morsels to keep his back straight. But if it must be, then one third for his food, one third for his drink and one third for his breath.” [Ahmad, At-Tirmidhee, An-Nasaa’ee, Ibn Maajah – hadeeth saheeh.]
Ibn Masaweh, a Muslim doctor, said after reading this hadeeth:
“If the people only used these words, they would avoid all diseases and maladies and the clinics and pharmacies would be idle.”
Fasting helps us realize our true needs, and helps us to realize that sometimes LESS food is better for our minds and bodies to perform at the optimal level. The Ramdan weight loss diet plan will help you to feed your body sufficient, healthy food, so that you will have more strength to do more ibadah. You should be able to fulfill the obligatory fasts, and still have energy left to observe voluntary actions such as Taraweeh prayers, Inshallah. Remember that fasting is, most importantly, a way for us to purify our bodies and souls so that we can seek a higher connection to Allah (SWT).
“I have not filled myself in sixteen years because filling oneself makes the body heavy, removes clear understanding, induces sleep and makes one weak for worship.” —Imam Shaafi’ee
Tips on How to Use the Ramadan Weight Loss Diet Plan
First and foremost, let me clearly state that I AM NOT A DOCTOR, so before you implement anything, please discuss it with your doctor. Also, please keep in mind that this Ramadan weight loss diet plan was personally tailored to my particular needs and routine. If you remember from the previous post (Green Tea Metabolism Booster), I mentioned that I was low on iron, so iron-rich foods were incorporated into my diet. I will try to point that out where they show up in the plan so that you can make your own adjustments, if need be.
While I personally found the food to be fulfilling and satisfying, you might not feel the same way. If the amount of food is not enough for you and you find yourself feeling faint, please adjust the portion size to one that suits you. Work with your doctor to set an appropriate portion size, or figure out any helpful add-ons. If you do need bigger portion sizes, don’t stress about it. Just making the shift to healthier eating will help your weight loss in a big way, even if the pounds aren’t coming off right away.
On that note, don’t try to lose too much weight too quickly. Weight loss of 1-2 pounds a week is normal, but anything more than that isn’t good for your health. Sometimes, you’ll lose weight very quickly the first couple weeks (I lost six pounds after the first two weeks of changing my diet), but this is due to losing water weight (excess water your body has retained due to unhealthy eating habits). Shedding actual fat is a long process, don’t try to rush it, or you might actually do more harm than good.
Please make sure you read through the ENTIRE post before starting the Ramadan weight loss diet plan, so that you’re using it correctly and safely. There are two options each for breakfast, iftar and dinner, so hopefully you will find something that you like. Try to mix it up so that you’re getting more of a nutritional variety.
Alright, you got all that? Now ladies and gents, buckle up, keep your arms and legs inside the Ramadan Weight Loss Diet plan vehicle at all times. Here we go!
Ramadan Weight Loss Diet Plan: Suhoor (Pre-Fast Meal)
Option 1: 1 cup of cooked oatmeal with 1/2 cup of milk and 2 tbsp flaxmeal, 1 peach
It’s super simple to make this, just boil one cup of water, add 1/2 cup of uncooked oatmeal to it and boil until the oats are cooked through, then add your 1/2 cup milk and dry it up to the desired consistency, then add in your flaxmeal. You guys, don’t get intimidated. Flaxmeal is ground up flaxseed which is actually better known here in Pakistan as Alsi. You can easily find it at your local dry fruit or pansari shop. Just put the flaxseeds in your grinder and pulse once or twice to make flaxmeal.
Flaxmeal itself lends an interesting flavor to this oatmeal, and I was fine eating it without any add-ons. But you can also try flavoring it with 1/4 tsp of cinnamon (no additional calories). If it’s really bothering you, you can add honey, but remember that each tsp of honey is 21 calories, so don’t be heavy handed with it.
Another option is to add a date to your oatmeal. One small date is 20 calories. I prefer this option because eating dates in Suhoor is a Sunnah of the Prophet (PBUH). Dates have slow releasing energy, which makes them excellent supplements when you’re fasting.
Option 2: 1 egg, 1 sandwich slice of Bran bread, 1 cup yogurt with 1 tsp honey and 1 tbsp flaxmeal or chia seeds
Eating yogurt for suhoor really helps to fight thirst throughout the day. (Speaking of thirst, I’ve been told that you should avoid meat in suhoor as it can make you thirsty, anyone have experience with this?)
Chia seeds (as well as flaxseeds) are great for helping you feel full and satisfied. They are also packed with omega-3s that are good for your heart. Chia seeds are also easily available at your local dry fruit or pansari shop. It is better known in Pakistan as tukhme balanga. Just stir the dry seeds into your yogurt. You don’t have to wait for them to swell up before eating.
Ramadan Weight Loss Diet Plan: Iftar (Breaking Fast Meal)
1 Date and 1 Glass of Plain Water
You’ve been fast asleep for 16 hours and then all of a sudden there’s a huge, loud party going on in your house. Talk about a rude awakening, huh? Imagine how your stomach feels! Your stomach hasn’t been seeing any action for the past 16 hours, and then all of a sudden you send down this avalanche of food into your gut. That sounds pretty crazy right?
Here’s how the Ramadan weight loss diet plan gently wakes your stomach up and gets it ready for action. First, open your fast with a date, then sip a glass of water. Yes, I said SIP, not gulp! You know how, as soon as fast opens, it’s like you’ve drunk five glasses of water, but you’re still not satisfied? The culprit is that you’re drinking your water too fast. Exercise self control, and drink this one glass of water SLOWLY, savoring every sip. You will find that this one glass will satisfy you. Now here comes something even more difficult:
15 minute gap
Ummm WHAT?! Yes. Let your stomach work on the date and the water and get back into the swing of things before you send something more complicated for it to do. Just get up and go pray Maghrib, and by the time you get back, you should be able to eat your iftar. This might be hard on day one, but you’ll definitely get used to it, and you’ll find that the gap made you realize that you’re not as hungry as you thought you were, Subhanallah!
Lemonade: 2 glasses of water, juice from 2 lemons, 1 tbsp honey, a few mint leaves, 2 tbsp chia seeds
Just mix everything in a small jug and that’s it. Also, do as I say, not as I did in the photo, use the juice of the lemon, don’t just slice the lemon and put it in your lemonade because that can get pretty bitter. This drink is less of a drink and more of a MEAL because all those chia seeds make this very thick. It’s not very pleasant to drink, I will admit that to you, but it will REALLY help the weight loss process.
Iftar option 1: 1 cup of Channa Chaat
This is a super simple channa chaat consisting of:
- 1 cup of boiled and drained chickpeas
- 2 tbsp of chopped onions
- 1/2 tsp green chili
- a few sprigs of coriander
- 1/2 tsp ground dry-roasted cumin
- 1/2 tsp salt
- pinch of black pepper
- 1/2 tsp Shan chat masala
- 1tsp Key Brand BBQ sauce diluted in 1 tbsp water
Some people need an imlee chutney in their channa chaat. If you make one, don’t add any sugar to it and only add about a tablespoon or so to your chaat. I’m usually in a rush, so I just take a tsp of Key Brand BBQ sauce (it has a lot of tamarind in it) and dilute it with a tablespoon of water and pour that into my chaat. It’s not fancy, but it’s quick and easy.
Iftar Option 2: Fruit Chaat
This fruit chaat consists of:
- 1 apple
- 1 banana
- 1 peach
- pinch of cinnamon (optional)
People who add sugar to their fruit chaat, I ask you, why? Even when I wasn’t concerned about eating healthy, I hated sugar in my fruit chaat. Fruit is already sweet, why mess with that?
No, that is NOT chaat masala on the fruit (because why, why would you do that to fruit?) it’s actually a pinch of cinnamon which I really think enhances the flavor of the fruit chaat. If you don’t like it, you can always add chaat masala…just keep it faaaaar away from me.
1 1/2 hour gap
You need to give yourself a longer gap before you eat dinner because again, you want to be nice to your stomach. I usually take this time to feed the kids dinner and finish cooking my dinner (if need be).
Ramadan Weight Loss Diet Plan: Dinner
Option 1: Small Chicken Steak with Vegetables
You can absolutely use fresh veggies, if you like. However, I’m usually preparing my meal in a rush while cooking a regular dinner for everyone else, so I’ve found it easier to use frozen vegetables and steam cook them. Not as fresh, but it gets the job done. I season my veggies with salt and pepper and don’t need much else for them.
For the chicken steak, I cut slits in a chicken breast, then marinate with
- 1 tsp ginger paste
- 1 tsp garlic paste
- 1 tsp chicken tikka masala
- 1 tsp lemon juice
You can vary the amounts to as much or as little as you like. There are plenty of healthy chicken steak recipes out there, but this is quick and easy to do (See a pattern emerging here? 😀 ).
To cook the chicken, I use a tbsp or so of coconut oil on a grill pan and grill my chicken on that. Coconut oil is definitely an acquired taste, and make sure your exhaust is on because my family is always complaining about the smell. Honestly, I don’t even feel a difference anymore, I’ve gotten so used to it. It works wonders for getting rid of belly fat and is loaded with other health benefits. However, if it’s too much for you to handle, you can also use olive oil, which is also very healthy.
I highly recommend using a grill pan because it helps drain the meat of excess fat and renders a very tasty (and beautiful) end product.
Alternatively, if you don’t want meat at all, you can make a veggie cutlet and eat that with a salad.
Option 2: 1/2 cup wheat pasta with vegetables and mutton minced meat/chicken pieces
So this is where the iron-rich food part comes in. The doctor had me eating this pasta with mutton mince meat, but you can always substitute it with grilled chicken pieces. You’re free to interpret the meal plan as you wish but here’s how I make mine.
This is how I make the wheat pasta with mutton mince and vegetables option for dinner in the Ramadan Weight Loss Diet Plan. It's tasty and healthy!
- 1/2 cup whole wheat pasta (boiled and drained)
- 85 g (3 oz) Mutton Mince
- 1 tsp ginger paste
- 1 tsp garlic paste
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp onions, chopped
- 1/2 cup mixed vegetables (fresh or frozen)
- 1/4 cup tomato puree
- 1/4 tsp salt (or to taste)
- 1/4 tsp black pepper (or to taste)
- 1/4 tsp thyme (or to taste)
- 1/4 tsp oregano (or to taste)
Boil the mutton mince with ginger and garlic paste until tender, then cook until the water dries up completely. Set aside. (I usually do this in bulk with 1 kg of meat, separate it into individual portions and freeze what I'm not using right away. This makes it faster to prepare the next time.)
In a nonstick frying pan, heat 1 tbsp olive oil.
Add the onions and saute until transparent.
Add the 1/2 cup mixed vegetables. I use frozen to save time, but you can use fresh if you like. Lightly fry until cooked through.
Add the cooked minced meat and fry for about a minute.
Add the tomato puree and cook until the raw smell of the tomato goes away, usually about 2 minutes.
Season with salt, black pepper, thyme and oregano.
Toss together with whole wheat pasta.
Scheduling Exercise with the Ramadan Weight Loss Diet Plan
Exercising in Ramadan doesn’t have to be difficult. I try to squeeze in a very small workout (5-10 minutes MAX) before suhoor, but I don’t force myself to do it if I’m not feeling up to it. Ibadah is the priority, and you don’t want to be too tired to worship!
In Ramadan, I prefer strength training and pilates over cardio. This helps me feel energized and gets my blood moving, but doesn’t tire me out too much. I do very, VERY little in the last ten days so that I can focus on worship in those precious moments. Stretches are very helpful for fighting fatigue, so if you can make some time for that, I recommend it!
What the Ramadan Weight Loss Diet Plan Feels Like
I remember someone saying to me, “Eating healthy must be very easy for a short period of time, but it probably gets difficult to keep up for very long.”
Actually, thankfully, I have found it to be the opposite.
There are often similarities between people who have found God and have become more practicing in the religion and people who have discovered healthy eating. You will find that these people are more energetic, and happier, and they want very much to share that happiness with the people around them. The reason is because these two changes actually do bring MAJORLY positive results in people’s lives, and people, naturally, want to share that goodness with the people they care about.
I found the journey towards healthy eating to be a LOT like the journey towards Allah. For both, I had to give up unhealthy habits, and that was very difficult at first. Giving up junk food was a lot like giving up sinful entertainment. At first, the healthy alternatives tasted really bland to me, just like halal entertainment (Islamic lectures, nasheeds, etc.) didn’t feel like a sufficient replacement for what I was giving up. But spending enough time with good company and getting closer to Allah made me lose my taste for sin. Alhumdulillah, many of the things I used to do are no longer even a temptation for me anymore. The things I still struggle with get easier and easier with every day that I renew my faith.
In the same way, the body goes into withdrawal from giving up sugary, fatty foods, and the cravings are bad at first. Tap into the discipline you use to fast: just tell yourself that you’re not allowed to have the “bad” foods. I would even pack my diet plan foods with me if I had to leave the house so I wouldn’t be tempted to eat off the plan if I got hungry. It is hard at first, but if you stick it out, you’ll start developing a taste for the healthier food. And when your body feels all that extra energy, it knows what its like to be treated nicely for a change, and it will no longer put up with the trash you used to feed it. You will find that you can no longer stomach as much of the greasy foods you used to eat, and some foods you will downright start to hate.
Again, remember that weight loss is for the long haul. This Ramadan weight loss diet plan is not just something you will follow for Ramadan and then forget about as soon as Eid comes around. You want to make a LASTING lifestyle change. With that being said, set realistic goals for yourself. If you say that you’re never going to eat fried foods again, the second things get rough, you’re going to be eating those kachoris like there’s no tomorrow. Don’t be super strict, don’t be unrealistic. Stick to moderation. As I mentioned in the last post (Green Tea Metabolism Booster), my personal eating style now is 80% healthy and 20% not-so-healthy but with portion control. Your goal with the Ramadan weight loss diet plan is to develop a taste for healthier, cleaner foods and get a feel for making healthier choices so that the habit can stick long after the Eid prayers are over!
May Allah grant you success, both in this world, and the hereafter, Ameen!
Disclaimer: I am not a doctor. Nor do I have any medical experience whatsoever (zilch, nada, zip, you get the picture). The opinions and suggestions on this blog can NOT be taken as medical advice and are by no means a replacement for visiting your doctor. I strongly suggest going to see a properly licensed nutritionist if you are serious about losing weight or getting your health in control. Consult a doctor before you make any changes in your diet or exercise routine. If you follow the recipes and advice on this blog, you agree that you do so at your own risk, and agree to release and discharge Becky Keeps House from any and all claims or causes of action, known or unknown, arising out of Becky Keeps House’s negligence.