the sweet side of Ramadan
There is a time, a place (and an amount) that is actually ok for indulgences. This rule applies even more during the Holy month of Ramadan when the cravings for sweets are running wild! What we have found helps our clients is using the term “Conscious Indulgence” which helps them strike the perfect balance in finding a place for the occasional decadence, in their otherwise healthy diets.
This concept we find works well in Ramadan mainly because with fasting the cravings are intense, and we are trying to stick to a healthy eating plan but we also want to indulge. And the way that many of us manage that, is by eating sweets that are “ fat-free” so that we can eat without guilt, or fear of derailing our healthy diets. But this is exactly what you DON’T want to do! When it comes to your nutrition, trying to trick your mind by thinking “these gummy bears are ok because they are fat free” can derail you from your goals. So don’t eat sweets for the wrong reasons. You may think the handful of jelly beans is a better diet choice than the small piece of Kunafa because after all, they’re just sugar, but the Kunafa has fat, well here’s the truth… ALL the extra calories you eat will get turned into fat — whether from sugar, fat or protein.
And let’s be honest for a second.. Most likely when you are eating a dessert you aren’t eating it for it’s nutritional value, you are eating it for the taste and the pleasure of indulging. So choose the indulgence you actually want, not the one you think you should want, and then manage the portions. This way you can control the cravings better and stay on track.
This Ramadan, give yourself rules that work for you, and stick to them. Think back to past years and remember what has NOT worked for you when you’ve tried to lose or maintain weight while staying healthy during Ramadan, and write them down. Then, write down what you will do differently this time.
So maybe in the past you’ve allowed yourself as many sweets as you wanted after Iftar (You have been fasting all day after all so you deserve it right?) but somehow you ended up 2kg heavier by Eid. This year, maybe allow yourself 1 dessert every day, or every other day after iftar until Eid.. Whatever it may be, different people need different rules, so there’s no right or wrong, you just need to listen to your body and be honest with yourself about your habits, strengths, and challenges.
Probably the most important thing that we do emphasize is for you to eat your Ramadan sweets in an mindful manner. Do not rush or blindly eat desserts after you break fast. Sit down, and enjoy your sweets so that it is mindful, conscious and satisfying, rather than when you’re distracted (which can actually lead you to eat much more!).
We hope these tips help you to be more conscious with your indulgences this Ramadan! If you try these ideas let us know how they worked! And remember that if you need support or additional help with your diet and wellness, our team is always ready to help!