By Humairah Irfan

If we follow the Prophetic advice closely during Ramadan, then we will naturally lose excess fat because fasting long hours exactly does that: fasting aids weight loss, boosts immunity, detoxes our systems, improves our gut health and gives us mental clarity. But many of us do not experience these symptoms because we often get sidetracked by all the yummy food and indulging in overeating. Many women approach me before Ramadan because in the past despite eating less, they seem to gain weight. So let’s dig into this.

Our goal initially is always to prioritize ibadah, so we do spend a lot of time meal planning and preparing, but not enough time planning our health, nutrition & fitness. In this article, I’ll focus on nutrition and inshallah in a future article, I’ll share minimum exercise guidelines.

If we didn’t eat anything for days and only had access to water, we can very easily survive and actually be healthy! Plenty of studies have proven this. In fact, the longest water fast was Barbieri’s 382-day fast recorded in the 1971 edition of The Guinness Book of Records. So that’s why dear sisters, if you are in good health with no history of eating disorders, then you are able to follow my NutriCycle-5:2 healthy meal plan for having tonnes of energy and losing weight sustainably. As usual, this is not medical advice, so please contact me directly for your needs and consult your doctor about any changes you make.

Fasting has numerous physiological benefits and supports weight loss by giving you a chance to reassess your meals and improve your eating patterns. Here’s the timeless hadith of our Prophet regarding healthy eating habits:

“A human being fills no worse vessel than his stomach. It is sufficient for a human being to eat a few mouthfuls to keep his spine straight. But if he must (fill it), then one third of food, one third for drink and one third for air.” [Ibn Majah]

Portion control was suggested more than 1400 years ago by our beloved Prophet , long before the weight loss craze began. If we truly follow this golden advice from our Prophet we will not be eating mindlessly and filling our stomach until it is full, which will inevitably lead to weight gain, laziness and lethargy.

When we fast, we train our body to use the stored fat as fuel. Fasting gives the digestive system a rest, and this energizes your metabolism to burn through calories more efficiently when we eat according to our macros. Macros are macronutrients: proteins, fats and carbs. I have included some examples in the meal plan for you. If your digestion is poor, and your macro ratios are imbalanced, this can affect your ability to metabolize food and burn fat.

Here are my top Dos and Don’ts during fasting:

Do’s

  • Drink at least 2 glasses of water during suhoor or sehri before you eat or drink anything else. Add homemade electrolytes using my HI Energy Liquid.
  • Eat hydrating fruits – watermelon and grapes- with chia or basil seeds
  • Prioritize fiber, proteins and vegetables in your meals to maintain your macros for top metabolism.
  • Exercise daily. It’s your best defense to keeping the weight off and energy high.
  • Sleep at the same time and wake up at the same time daily. Set your wake up time to whatever you want to wake up to in the last 10 nights. Make up for lost sleep via a daytime nap.

Don’ts

  • Don’t overeat. That’s something we always regret. Remember that our bodies contain enough fat to utilize for energy and that’s how we build immunity as well.
  • Do not rely on junk food – maintain a 90/10 rule of eating, i.e. 90% of food with high nutrient content and 10% of desserts and fried foods.
    No sugary drinks (that includes rooh afza, lemonades, etc) Use a sweetener if you have to but save your calories for actual food.
  • Don’t waste time in the evenings cleaning and socializing if it’s cutting into your sleep time. You need the sleep for high quality worship and connection with Allah swt.
  • Don’t move less or cut down your exercise. This will slow down your metabolism.
  • Do not eat right before you sleep. Your body does not need the food at that time.

My daily beginner level 10 minute workouts in my Kinetic Ramadan program are an excellent way to get easy exercises in. Download my FREE Ramadan Meal Plan for weight loss here.

Stay fit and Ramadan Kareem to all!

About the Author

Humairah Irfan is a fitness & nutrition expert & educator. She is the Owner of HI Energy Fitness and coaches her clients online across the world through her Flagship program, Triple your Energy in 90 Days that helps busy Muslim women reduce pain, boost their energy and lose weight without limiting themselves.  She teaches Muslim women that strong is beautiful and sexy. Her daily beginner level 10 minute workouts in her Kinetic Ramadan program are an excellent way to get easy exercises in. Also these workouts will be dhikr focussed as well and themed on the Battles fought by the Prophet (pbuh). You will be supercharged in your eman inshallah! Find out more here: