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Ramadan & Weight Loss

Auntie Shagufta's perspective



How do people do it?


Let me be clear on one thing.  And it's not just me.  The literature shows it.  Fasting, does NOT directly cause weight loss.  I'll explain why in a sec

Ramadan is a time where people tend to also focus on their weight.  As there is something about hunger and weight loss that attracts people - which I can see why.

But in reality, it's not so easy.

Weight gain or weight loss comes about when you either over-feed or eat less than your body requires daily.  Energy.  Calories. Kcals. Whatever the heck you want to call it!

That is all folks - if you over eat continuously, you gain weight

If you eat less than your body needs continuously, you lose weight

Starving and hearing your stomach rumble is NOT weight loss

When you fast, you restrict calories.  You also shorten the time you have to eat - Iftaar.  So when it's time to eat, eating a large volume of food in a short space of time just isn't easy - unless you eat the wrong types of foods

You may end up stuffing yourself for iftaar, which then leaves you unable to eat any more. 


Let's take an example here


Meet Auntie Shagufta


Auntie needs to eat approx 1800 calories per day to maintain her weight.  She wants to use Ramadan as a time to maintain and focus on quality of food

But Auntie is also a serial samosa lover

Week 1 of Ramadan passes by, and she eats well.  

She eats good quality food for iftar and gets in around 700-800 calories.

She has a snack after which takes in another 200 calories.

 For suhoor, she squeezes in around 300 calories. So she's at around 1300 kcals approx.

This is lower than her maintenance amount which is 1800

If she continues to do this, she will actually lose weight

Her body isn't used to doing this, so it needs that extra energy from somewhere because it's so used to getting in around 1800 kcals

If she keeps some protein in her diet, that extra energy will predominantly come from fat - thus, she's losing body fat, weight loss! 


But week 2 comes around - Trouble!


Baji Tasneem is on the phone and wants to do iftaari for everyone

Baji is a well-known oil-baron.  She's also famous for her spring rolls, samosay, and fish pakoray

If anyone knows anything about Baji, it's that calories don't matter to her. She just wants to make good food for everyone - bless her socks

So her biryani dishes, salans, rice name it, consists of a lot of butter and oil, because, well, it makes food taste good right?


Fun fact - oil and fats generally, even healthy fats, contain more calories than protein and carbs.  Which is why oily food is super high in kcals! 



Previously, in week 1,  auntie found it hard to hit her maintenance. But now, temptation gets the better of her

She throws back some samosay and other foods for iftar,  and as a result, her calories have now shot up.  Each samosa is approx 200-250 kcals. So now, she's easily hitting around 1000-1200 kcals for iftar - minus the dessert

Baji was feeling a bit adventurous, so she sent over Falooda and a whole load of Kheer - another 400-500 calories easily

So now, Auntie is fast approaching her maintenance and by the end of the day, without her realising, she's hit around 2000-2200 kcals 

So if she continues to do this, she will gain weight


Ok story time is over, but do you get the idea?


Timing of food does not matter.  The AMOUNT of calories is what matter

Moral of the story?

You can gain weight or lose weight just like any other time of the year - the only difference in Ramadan, is that your eating window is shortened

If you eat wisely, you'll feel fuller for longer, and you may end up eating less, weight loss

If you gorge and feast, you'll up gaining more. 

Hope this makes sense

Ramadan Mubarak!

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