Fasting for the first time this Ramadan? Here are some tips
Things to follow if you are planning to fast for the first time
If you are a new-Muslim or planning to fast for the first time this Ramadan, it is quite natural to feel anxious and wonder if you can pull off the month-long fast.
Fasting in Dubai can be particularly stressful considering the rising mercury.
Common questions are would you be able to exercise during the fasting month, health effects of the fast on your energy levels, should I slow down my life during Ramadan?
Talking to somebody who has already fasted during previous Ramadan can help as they can guide you on what to expect on your first fast.
If you are still in doubt, remember that millions of people fast every year globally, including small children. So, you could take your first step.
Dubai-based nutritionist Chaitra Arya is of the opinion that the first thing to do is to start getting rid of your bad habits. "If you typically waste many hours in front of the television, start gradually replacing this with more beneficial activities like reading or light walking. Before Ramadan, start having an early breakfast and reduce your caffeine intake. Also, as you have to wake up for Suhoor before starting your daily fast."
Keeping away from the sun and staying indoors if possible would help you from getting drained during summers. Also, rescheduling your urgent activities of the day to before or after the fast would be a better idea, she says.
Award-winning nutrition science writer Christopher Clark from Dubai says it is best to prepare yourself, both physically and mentally before the fast begins. "The first 2 or 3 days will be the toughest. It will get easier and easier as you get deeper and deeper into the fast. Be very careful and cognizant when you are breaking your fast. The idea is certainly not to make up for all the food you missed by gorging. This will put unnecessary stress and strain on your digestive system. Break your fast slowly and stop eating once you've had a "normal size" meal. Don't keep eating as if you're a bear going into hibernation."
We spoke to Feroz Khan, an Indian expat and financial professional, who will be keeping the fast for the first time this year. A fitness freak himself, he plans to go slow on heavy experience from tomorrow.
"I realised the importance of fasting in Islam and its values during a discussion with my colleagues. For dietary changes, I will just avoid oily food when breaking the fast, especially during the initial days. Our family is also planning to eat early dinner and avoid overeating to avoid any health issues."
Points to remember:
1. You might find the first few days difficult to fast and feel hungry during the day. It is normal and over time your body will adjust to the new clock.
2. Consult the doctor if you are on any medication or suffering from health issues.
3. Do not overeat after breaking your fast as you might end up piling on your weight. Read our detailed story on fasting the healthy way.
4. Try to walk every day for at least an hour to settle food after long hours of fasting.
5. Follow our instructions mentioned here if your kids are going to be fasting for the first time.
Ease your child's Ramadan fasting with these tips