(Dr Chinasa Amadi, Medical Doctor, Certified weight loss coach and Nutritionist and Lifestyle Medicine Doctor)
To most people, Fasting and Fitness or even staying healthy should not be used in the same sentence. But there is no better time to maintain a healthy lifestyle like during fasting. It can be incredibly hard, but a little positive mental attitude goes a long way because most of the battle is in the mind. I am glad to be sharing these tips on behalf of TECNO Mobile Nigeria to help you through your period of fasting.
Let’s start this way:
- Go for a medical check-up. Yes, I said it! it is important that you visit your doctor during this time, especially if you want to exercise during your fasting period.
- The important meal before you start your fast! The pre-dawn meal helps your body stay hydrated and fuelled up on energy and nutrients until your next meal after you conclude your fast. It also helps you avoid overeating when you break your fast at sunset.
Your pre-fast meal should be a balanced diet. Focus on complex carbohydrates like Beans, Oats, Corn, sweet potatoes, wheat and Protein rich food like eggs, fish, meat, milk e.t.c.
- Add in Fruits and Vegetables at all your meals. Fruits and vegetables are a great snack and a healthy alternative to pastries and sweets usually consumed during fasting periods. Some fruits and vegetables naturally contain high water content, especially cucumbers, golden melon, watermelons, pawpaw and oranges. Eating these after fasting hours can help keep you hydrated.
- Plan your exercise routine. Keep your workouts short, best if you do total body exercises like skipping, running, or aerobic workout. As you get more comfortable, you may gradually increase your exercise time. You may exercise just before you break your fast to avoid dehydration and so it coincides as your post workout meal. But if you can’t work out after breaking your fast, allow at least 2-3 hours after eating to begin your exercise routine, to give your body enough time to digest food properly.
- Break your fast slowly! While it is tempting to overindulge once you break your fast after a day of food deprivation, remember that you should take it slow.
First, take some water and then wait before starting your main meal. You can add in 2 or 3 dates here. Dates are a great source of energy for the body, helping it to secrete digestive enzymes in preparation for the upcoming meal. Afterwards, You may eat the main meal. Remember as stated above…it should be a balanced meal.
- Water! Water! Water! Drink at least 2/3 litres of water a day. Beware of consuming a lot of popular sugary drinks such as Kunun, Tamarind, Fura and Zobo. It is best to avoid caffeinated drinks such as strong tea, coffee and colas, as they may make you dehydrated. Water is the best option!
- Rest! This is one overlooked part of fasting, but it is very important. Rest is part of the process. Be intentional with getting a good night sleep.
This is an example of a 4-day Fasting healthy Meal and Fitness plan:
|Before the fast||Breaking of fast||WORKOUT|
|DAY 1||Pap + Moimoi + Watermelon||Okro soup + Eba + 1 cucumber||20 mins jogging|
|DAY 2||A bowl of oats + mangoes||Beans porridge + fish with steamed greens||15 mins Interval training|
|DAY 3||Boiled sweet potatoes and vegetable sauce with fish||Moimoi and vegetable salad + watermelon||20 mins Aerobic exercises|
|DAY 4||Boiled plantain and vegetable egg sauce + 1 apple||Goat meat pepper soup and Eko + Golden Melon||Skipping (15 minutes)|
It is okay to struggle. It isn’t meant to be easy and as with most things in life, the harder the struggle, the greater the reward. But it is possible and you can achieve this. Take this one step at a time. Overall, we want you to enjoy the process to a healthier you. Look at it as a personal challenge and one that brings great reward.
Wishing you all a blessed month.