During Ramadan, most Muslims fast from dawn to sunset as a part of the five pillars of Islam. This fasting period is deeply connected to spiritual health and is believed to strengthen believers’ connection with their Creator.
Since Ramadan involves daily fasting, people may believe that Ramadan automatically leads to weight loss. This may not necessarily be the case, so learning how to lose weight during Ramadan is helpful.
Find some Ramadan weight loss strategies below to stick to your goals during this time.
How To Lose Weight During Ramadan
If you want to know how to lose weight in Ramadan, follow the steps below:
- Be mindful of calorie intake.
- Increase your protein intake.
- Follow a nutritious diet.
- Prioritize fiber.
- Get enough sleep.
- Drink more water.
- Avoid sedentary time.
- Go for regular walks.
- Lift weights.
- Try yoga.
10 Best Ways To Lose Weight In Ramadan
Ramadan fasting means abstaining from eating from morning until evening. While this could lead to weight loss, overeating is still possible after the fasting period ends.
Ramadan doesn’t necessarily mean that a person is eating less. They are just moving their food intake to different times of the day. If you want to lose weight, you’ll need to make changes beyond just intermittent fasting.
Be Mindful Of Your Calorie Intake
Ultimately, you need to be on a calorie deficit to lose weight. This means eating fewer calories than you’re burning. You might be fasting during Ramadan, but you’re still consuming food in the evening and early morning.
This means you might unintentionally be consuming more calories than intended. You’re probably quite hungry after fasting all day, and you could go overboard with your evening meal to compensate.
If you want to lose weight, you will need to eat fewer calories than you burn each day. You can achieve this by using an online calorie calculator to determine your daily calorie needs for weight loss. Then, track your food intake to be sure you’re in a calorie deficit.
Increase Your Protein Intake
Protein intake has been identified as a critical component of weight loss. It increases feelings of fullness after eating, which makes it easier to stay in a calorie deficit.
Protein is also necessary for growing and maintaining muscle mass. When you have more muscle, your resting energy expenditure increases. This means you’ll burn more calories each day, which helps with fat loss.
Increasing your protein intake during Ramadan will help you burn calories for weight loss. It’s generally recommended to consume 1.2-1.5 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight daily.
You can add protein-rich foods to your pre-dawn meal to keep you full throughout the day. Be sure to also include protein in the iftar meal to meet your daily protein requirements. Read food labels to check for protein content.
Follow A Nutritious Diet
Fasting during the day doesn’t mean you can eat whatever you want and lose weight. It’s important to eat a healthy diet during Ramadan fasting to make weight loss easier.
You can still respect cultural eating practices while following a healthy diet. The Mediterranean diet, which emphasizes fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, and lean protein, is a good example. Follow the principles of this diet to choose healthy foods.
It’s also important to avoid processed, high-sugar foods during the month of Ramadan. Research shows that when people eat a diet high in processed foods, they consume hundreds of extra calories daily.
You can occasionally indulge in Ramadan desserts, but on the whole, you should focus on healthy, unprocessed foods. This is an important consideration when you’re trying to learn how to lose weight by fasting.
Interestingly, fiber leads to fat loss independently of calorie intake. It appears that fiber provides weight loss benefits above and beyond a caloric deficit.
One study found that people who consumed high-fiber barley twice per day lost fat. The researchers concluded that this effect was probably because fiber slows digestion.
If you’re prioritizing fruits, veggies, and whole grains in your diet, you’re probably getting plenty of fiber. Aim for 14 grams of fiber per 1,000 calories you consume. If you’re eating 2,000 calories a day, you need 28 grams of fiber.
There are also fiber supplements available if you’re struggling to get enough in your diet.
Get Enough Sleep
Intermittent fasting during Ramadan can interfere with your sleep, but it’s important to prioritize rest. One recent study found that people with consistent sleep schedules were more successful at losing weight. The study showed that people who got seven to nine hours of nightly sleep lost more weight.
Since the Ramadan fast starts after the predawn suhur meal, you’ll need to implement an early bedtime. Try to get to bed at the same time each day and allow for a full night of sleep.
Drink More Water
One of the challenges of Ramadan is that you may overindulge when you break your fast. After a day of not eating, you’re likely to be quite hungry. This could cause you to overcompensate by consuming too many calories during your iftar meal.
Keep calorie intake and weight gain at bay by starting your meal with a glass of water. One study found that people consumed fewer calories when they drank water before a meal. Study participants still felt full, despite consuming fewer calories when drinking water before eating.
In addition to keeping you full, water is also calorie-free. This makes it a better option than sugary drinks, which add calories and make it harder to follow a calorie deficit.
Avoid Sedentary Time
Sedentary time, including sitting at a desk or watching TV on the couch, isn’t great for weight loss. In fact, increased sedentary time is linked to higher body fat.
On the other hand, research has found that decreases in sedentary time are linked to weight loss. When you’re trying to change your body composition, it’s important not to spend too much time being inactive.
You don’t necessarily have to spend hours in the gym, but getting up and moving is important. If you’re working at a desk or watching TV, get up and walk around every hour.
Go For Regular Walks
Going for a walk can help you remain in good spirits during your fasting period. It can also distract you from any hunger you’re feeling during the day.
Beyond these benefits, walking can help with fat loss. Research has shown that walking combined with a low-calorie diet is beneficial for fat loss. In fact, the combination of walking and calorie restriction is more effective than calorie restriction alone.
Take advantage of the benefits of walking by taking regular walks during Ramadan. You could take a walk after your evening meal or walk outside in the morning.
Weight lifting is good for burning fat. A meta-analysis of 45 different studies found that weight training reduces fat mass and builds muscle. The weight-lifting workouts in the analysis were performed in a circuit format.
Increased muscle mass is beneficial for fat loss because it boosts your metabolism. People who lift weights experience about a 5% increase in metabolic rate, according to one nine-month study.
With strength training, your resting energy expenditure will increase. This will make it easier to lose weight during your holy month.
Ramadan may not be the time for maximum effort exercise such as sprints. Instead of doing anything too intense, consider yoga. This lighter exercise will be easier on the body while still adding movement to your day.
One study evaluated the effects of a 12-week yoga intervention on women. Study participants completed 75 minutes of yoga, three times per week. At the end of the study, participants had a lower body mass index and smaller waist size.
It can be helpful to incorporate yoga for weight loss during Ramadan. Yoga will help you stay active without putting too much stress on the body.
The Reasons For Weight Gain During Ramadan
If you’ve asked, “Do you lose weight during Ramadan?” you might be surprised to learn the answer isn’t always yes. Some people may even gain weight during the holy month. The following reasons are often to blame.
Disrupted Sleep Patterns
Lower Metabolic Rate
There is limited research, but some studies indicate that Ramadan fasting could slow the metabolic rate. Ramadan fasting might cause adaptations that slow the metabolism. This could lead to weight gain.
Reduced Activity Levels
Research shows that activity levels are lower during the fasting period. During the month of Ramadan, you may be less active because you’re more tired when fasting. If you’re usually active, this can cause weight gain because you’re burning fewer calories.
Consumption Of Lower-Quality Food
During the non-fasting period of the day, you might convince yourself you can eat whatever you want. This can lead to excess calorie intake and in turn, weight gain.
One study found that people tended to consume more Arabic sweets, sugary beverages, pastries, and cakes during Ramadan. The calories from these sweet foods can add up, leading to weight gain.
Best Exercises To Try
Losing weight during Ramadan will be easier if you exercise. Regular physical activity boosts your calorie burn so it’s easier to be in a calorie deficit.
There is not one single exercise that is best for dropping body weight during Ramadan. It is ultimately up to personal preference. However, some beneficial exercises to try include:
- Weight lifting.
These exercises are beneficial during Ramadan because they are not particularly intense. It is generally recommended that people avoid high-intensity workouts when fasting. If you’re going to do more intense exercise, ensure that you are properly fueled for this type of workout.
Foods To Eat During Ramadan To Lose Weight
There are some general guidelines for what to eat during Ramadan for weight loss. Consider the following tips:
- Limit processed, high-sugar foods.
- Prioritize fruits and vegetables.
- Include lean protein sources and fish in your diet.
- Consume protein-rich foods like beans, nuts, eggs, and lean meats.
- Increase the fiber content in your diet with fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
In addition to focusing on the foods above, it’s important to consume reasonable portion sizes. Large portions can increase your calorie intake, so you’re no longer in a calorie deficit.
Things To Consider
It’s common for people to ask, “How long does it take to lose weight?” If you’re wondering this as you think about a balanced diet during Ramadan, it’s important to remain patient. You might be fasting for an entire month, but this may not be long enough for weight loss.
Experts generally recommend losing 5%-15% of your body weight over six months. Slow, steady fat loss is preferable to rapid weight loss. You can develop good habits during Ramadan but don’t be discouraged if you only lose a few pounds.
Finally, you should consider if you have any chronic diseases that might make Ramadan fasting dangerous. You may be exempt from fasting if you have a health problem or are pregnant or breastfeeding. If you have a chronic condition like diabetes, talk with your doctor to determine if fasting is safe for you.
So, do people lose weight during Ramadan? They can, but it requires intentional effort. Weight loss does not occur naturally, even if you’re fasting for a month.
If you’re not careful, you may even overindulge and gain weight during Ramadan. If weight loss is your goal, it’s important to be mindful of your diet and calorie intake. A regular exercise routine is also important.
Ramadan means changing your eating habits for a month, which comes with unique challenges for weight loss. However, if you follow a balanced diet and make time for exercise, you can improve your body composition.
Frequently Asked Questions
Experts generally recommend slow, steady weight loss. You may be able to lose a few pounds during Ramadan but don’t expect rapid weight loss.
You cannot spot or reduce belly fat. However, you can promote belly fat loss during Ramadan by reducing calorie intake. It’s also helpful to exercise to increase your calorie burn.
You can lose weight during Ramadan if you reduce your calorie intake and make time for exercise. Intermittent fasting can help with weight loss, but you still need to follow a balanced diet.