My Ramadan Diary: 9-26-2007 (Health, Weight loss, and the Fast)

26 09 2007

 

I’ve been cooking and cleaning and cooking and cleaning and….well, you get the point. It is high season for iftar gatherings right now.  Plus, I have been cooking for some sisters in the community. So, I’ve been pretty flat out. 

For those unfamiliar with Iftar gatherings. It’s basically a large dinner (Americans think of Thanksgiving Dinner). Depending on where you live/the size of the Muslim community in your area, you can expect about 3 invites per week.  If you live in a smaller community of course it will be less. If you live in a Muslim country then you can pretty much expect and invite 7 days a week.

I love the unity and the gatherings for Iftar. I think it’s wonderful to earn the rewards and gather together to maintain love and  ties between the community. However, I can’t help but notice that the food seems to always be quite fattening. Few gatherings I have been to offer healthy alternatives. This is really disappointing to me. Yeah, it’s ok to indulge once in awhile but some people are eating like this everyday. After not eating all day to have a huge spread like that is just inviting weight gain.  In fact, my first Ramadan I gained 10 lbs. Who would think that you gain weight while fasting! It’s absurd. Right? Wrong. It’s common. Very common. Since that time, I have endevored to take a healthy dish or some fresh fruit to the host’s house.  It’s a small gesture but it is good all around. The host usually appreciates it. Plus, it serves the purpose of having at least something healthy there.  Another tip, eat smaller portions. Anyone, who has been to an iftar gathering knows that if you don’t eat at least a little bit of several items you will offend your host. So, eat just that….a little bit of a few items.  Remember to compliment the host heavily on the food too. That way, even if you don’t eat a whole lot she/he knows you enjoyed it.

Click this link for an article on how to fast healthy during Ramadan:

http://health.iafrica.com/dietonline/general/ramadan.htm

 Another thing that happens during Ramadan is no exercise. Obviously if you exercise during the day you are going to be miserable and probably get dehydrated.  So, I simply change the routine and go to the gym after I break my fast. If this isn’t an option (as it often is not during Iftar season as gatherings last into the night), then I exercise at home using videos and on demand programs offered by my cable network. I try to do at least thirty minutes a night.  The programs my cable provider offers are widely varied from hip hop dance exercises to tae bo to pilates and yoga.  They also offer simple walking programs. So, there’s something for everybody. Exercise DVDs are also really cheap these days.  It’s really a great asset.  Basically, as long as you can incorporate some exercise it’s good.

Shahrazad has a Qur’an reading blog circle going. If you want to check it out insh’Allah click this link:

http://shahrzaad.wordpress.com/circle-of-unity/

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My Ramadan Diary: Day 3

15 09 2007

It’s day three and my body is adjusting nicely to the new routine.  I’m not quite as hungry or thirsty as I have been the past two days. The nausea is gone and so is the light headedness. Alhamdullilah.  I feel like I should probably buy some gatorade or other sports drink since I simply can’t drink water all night and am beginning to feel a little dehydrated.

Today, I was reflecting on how blessed I am to have my husband, children, and soon insh’Allah my in laws to share Ramadan with. I have someone to encourage me, to wake me for suhoor, and to occasionally take over the kitchen duties for iftar.  This prompted me to post an article I found from sound vision (Ramdan Guide for Single Muslims) https://southernmuslimah.wordpress.com/2007/09/15/a-ramadan-guide-for-single-muslims/

I’m the type of person who probably wouldn’t wake for suhoor if I didn’t have someone to nag me until I get up. Which of course would result in me being even more hungry and grumpy throughout the day not to mention missing out on the blessing of suhoor.  There is just something about sitting there in the wee still hours of the morning when everything is peaceful and eating a small meal to prepare for the day’s fasting.  The anticipation of the potential reward and blessings of the day are fresh in the mind. Yes, this early morning is magical to me even though I have such a difficult time waking. Odd, isn’t it? 😉

As for my kids….My three year old keeps trying to feed me throughout the day. lol. I keep explaining to him that I’m fasting and trying to educate him some with Ramdan. I try to make my home a bright enviroment throughout Ramadan so he will not feel left out once his cousins talk to him about their holidays (Christmas, Easter). So, I let him make decorations and hang up alongside the one’s I purchase. I tell him stories and just try to make it as fun as possible for him. And YES, It is hard to cook the meals for the kids and feed the baby and not eat myself. hehe.





My Ramadan Diary: Days 1-2

14 09 2007

Well, it’s about three hours until time to break the fast here. I would be lying if I said I’m not feeling the effects (ie. hunger, thirst, sure to be followed by some light-headedness and maybe a little nausea).  However, today has been easier than yesterday.I find that the first three to five days are the most difficult. After that, the going without food and water part of fasting gets easier. The body adjusts.

The greater struggle, the one that does not wear off in three to five days, is the struggle to control the words we speak and the deeds we do.  Which is just as important as giving up the physical.  As the Prophet (saw) said: Narrarated by Abu Huraira:

Whoever does not give up false statements (ie.telling lies), and evil deeds, and speaking badly then Allah is not in need of his (fasting) leaving his food and drink. (Bukhari)

That is the real test. People can be annoying under the best circumstances but on and empty stomach it’s even easier to lose control of your tongue and say something out of anger. 

I have found the best remedy for both struggles is the rememberance of Allah. Keeping myself busy reading the Qur’an, doing dhikr, attending my online Islamic classes, and just generally using the time to reflect on my life and ways to improve myself.  Fasting seems to bring even more clarity to self evaluations.

It’s difficult to explain but knowing that over 1 billion people are fasting along with me is also quite uplifting. I love the unity of it. In some parts of the world now, people are just beginning their fast. Perhaps someone is reading this while partaking of suhoor.  Somewhere else others are breaking their fast, perhaps organizing an iftar for the local muslims or sitting down for a meal with their family. Then, there are people like me in the middle of fasting, closing in on time for iftar, trying to get as much benefit as possible and not think about the hunger. 😀 We are all in various stages of our fasting but all united in our goal. It’s truly beautiful. A mercy from Allah.