After a long day of fasting, it's definitely a challenge to not just flop into bed, order everything we've been craving, and vegetate until we have to get up for work the next day. Here's some tips to prevent that from happening, while also making the fasting experience much easier for you in the long run!
1. BREAKFAST BEFORE YOU FAST
Not only is Sahoor good for your body while it's fasting, it's also an important sunnah of the Prophet (S.A.W.). In a hadith narrated by Bukhari and Muslim he says :
تَسَحَّرُوا فَإِنَّ فِي السَّحُورِ بَرَكَةً
“Have Sahur, for there is a blessing in Sahur.”
So battle your blankets and make sure you get up for Sahoor every day! Even a light meal will help keep you going throughout the day.
2. HYDRATE, HYDRATE, HYDRATE
In Singapore's constant heat and humidity, it can be tempting to chug a whole glass of ice-cold thai milk tea or bandung the moment it's Iftar time. But these drinks may only make you feel even more dehydrated later on as they're high in sugar.
Remember to drink plenty of plain water both at Iftar and Sahoor to keep yourself hydrated before you weather the heat. Keep a large bottle (or several!) of water in the fridge so it's nice and cold when you need it.
3. AVOID THE TAKEOUT MENU
While hunger might try to convince you that its a good idea to eat a whole bucket of fried chicken, doing so would probably not end too well!
Firstly, you would definitely be struggling to do your taraweeh prayers later that night, since you're so full. Secondly, too much grease and salt will make you super sluggish and tired the next day, which will make fasting more difficult than it needs to be. Be kind to yourself and refrain from binging on unhealthy foods!
4. MODERATION IS KEY
Another thing that will sabotage you in the long run : overeating! And it's not just because you won't fit into your Eid clothes.
Eating too much at night can cause heartburn and bloating, which will affect your sleep, which will make it hard for you to wake up for Sahoor, which means you'll go hungry throughout the day, which means you'll be ready to eat a whole buffet at Iftar - it's a never-ending vicious cycle! Take control of your impulses and moderate your food intake.
5. BE LIKE A HERBIVORE
There's a reason why herbivores are so prevalent in nature - fruits and vegetables are a great source of nutrients, fiber, and vitamins.
It's always a good idea to have at least 2 servings of fruit and vegetables a day on top of your protein and carbs. Don't just stick to one type though, eat a variety of types and colors in order to give your body the mix of nutrients it needs.
Let your body stock up on healthy foods to get you through the fasting month.
6. CATCH LOTS OF ZZZS
A healthy diet isn't going to help much if you haven't been getting enough sleep! Sleep deprivation has been linked to increased risk of diseases, and even a compromised immune system, which is the last thing you need in this current pandemic.
On top of all that, it's also a lot harder to do ibadah when you're sleep deprived. So to prevent yourself from faceplanting your food at Sahoor, or falling asleep on the prayer mat during Taraweeh, make sure you always get at least 7-9 hours of sleep.
7. GET OFF YOUR BUTT
Even though nothing sounds better after a long day than your comfy bed and soft pillows, resist the temptation to hibernate in them for just a little while longer - at least long enough to do a quick 15-20 minute workout.
Studies have shown that consistent and regular exercise does wonders in helping your appetite, mood, and overall well-being, which will help make your Ramadhan even more smooth-sailing. A little goes a long way; there's no need to do a full body workout!
With Ramadhan just a little over two weeks away, it's good to start planning and preparing yourself both spiritually and mentally. All these tips are great for daily life as well, not just for Ramadhan. So start practicing with them now, and be ready to tackle Ramadhan when it comes!