How To Fast Safely During Ramadan As An Underweight Person

Fasting requires immense amounts of self-discipline to complete. The journey is worth the outcome: physiologically, fasting has a plethora of health benefits including reduced cholesterol, increased detoxification promotion, increased metabolism, reduced stress, and increased weight loss. However, for underweight people, weight loss may present itself as a risk rather than an advantage.

Especially during the Holy Month of Ramadan, fasting can be an extremely spiritually stimulating experience. The atmosphere associated with breaking a long days’ fast during Ramadan has painted some of my favorite memories: the smell of burning incense, the sound of clinking china, and the feeling of a warm blanket draped across my shoulders as I fall asleep watching Arab dramas.

For many that can’t afford to lose weight, striking the perfect balance between BMI measurements and faith can be a challenge.

This guide is intended to help you maintain weight during Ramadan so that religious consistency doesn’t have to come with a side dish of worry.

Before Ramadan:

  1. Ask a doctor if fasting would be safe for you. This is especially important if you have been diagnosed/are recovering from an eating disorder.
  2. Set up a schedule. How often do you want to fast? Make it realistic. Don’t be ashamed to skip a few days if you need a break – health comes first. If fasting all day every day is not an option, consider fasting every day except weekends, only fasting on weekends, or fasting half-days. Conversely, you can try fasting a few hours each day and increasing the number hours each day until you can fast from sunrise to sunset.

While Fasting:

  1. Take naps to conserve energy. Also avoid any strenuous exercise.
  2. Try to stay in cooler areas (shade or indoors) during hot afternoons. Heat will fatigue you.
  3. If you shower during your fast, use cold water.
  4. Move carefully – running or standing up too quickly after resting for prolonged periods of time may cause you to become dizzy or faint, especially if you have low blood pressure.
  5. Please remember to take your medication – even while fasting. This will not break your fast.
  6. If you feel sleepy, dip a cotton pad in cold tap water, rose water, or orange blossom water (zhar). Apply it to your face, concentrating around the eyes.

During Iftar:

  1. Break your fast with something light – milk, water, and dates are good option. Gorging yourself will cause a very sudden spike in blood sugar which is unhealthy.
  2. After breaking your fast, eat a light meal (nothing fried or spicy) to warm yourself up. I suggest soup.
  3. Be sure to eat plenty of energy-rich foods: proteins, unsaturated fats, and carbs.
  4. Its better to try and eat small meals throughout the night rather than try and have one big feast.
  5. Pace yourself – do not eat too fast.
  6. Try to avoid caffeinated beverages.
  7. Strategize your water intake. Don’t drink a lot of water with dinner or you will get full quickly and not be able to eat as much. Have a couple sips of water to break your fast, then eat dinner. After dinner, drink sips of water throughout the night until you go to bed.
  8. Snack on something light such as sunflower seeds or dried fruit until Suhoor.
  9. Eat Suhoor (midnight snack, or snack just before you go to bed). Suhoor should be heavier than a light snack and resemble breakfast – fruits, bagels, and yogurts are excellent options.  You should eat Suhoor whether or not you feel full.
  10. Drink at least 2 full glasses of water just after finishing Suhoor.

Good luck to you all!

Ramadan Kareem!



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