Ramadan is the holy month when Muslims worldwide observe abstinence by going without food and drink; the idea is you fill your soul by emptying your body. However, it’s also an excellent opportunity to lighten your body permanently—by finally losing that unwanted weight you’ve been carrying around!
Fasting has turned out to be the most significant weight loss hack this decade, and by using the dry fasting method, backed by science, you can lose substantial weight this Ramadan.
Before we get into the top 10 hacks that will revolutionize your fat loss, let’s look at why you should lose weight during Ramadan and why you haven’t.
Can You Lose Weight During Ramadan?
Ramadan fasting is a form of dry or absolute fasting (no food, no water) and is often 3 times faster than regular (water) fasting for weight loss.
Here’s more. The average weight loss after 3 days of water fasting is 2 kgs. However, the average weight loss after 1 day of dry fasting is 2 kgs. So you’re losing the same amount of weight but in 1/3 the time!
Muslims dry fast between 11–22 hours during Ramadan, depending on the region, making this sacred month an incredible opportunity to lose unwanted fat.
Fasting during Ramadan can be a highly efficient method to lose weight. During a dry fast, the body burns fat to get energy, and in the absence of water, your body also burns fat to create water. This speeds up the rate of fat-burning, or autolysis, increasing fat loss.
Your body needs water to function correctly and must make its own. Research done in Malaysia shows that the body’s total urine output is almost the same even with reducing water intake during Ramadan. This is because your body is endogenously creating water through your fat cells. Your body makes over 400 ml of water daily by metabolizing its fat cells. Just 100 grams of fat produces 110 grams of water.
To find precisely how dry fasting increases weight loss, read my article We Need to Talk About Dry Fasting: It’s A Weight Loss Game Changer.
Why You Are Not Losing Weight During Ramadan
Several perpetrators sabotage your weight loss during Ramadan, including lack of exercise, over-eating, and poor food choices. However, none of these compare to the single most significant factor in your battle against the bulge during Ramadan.
The biggest reason for not losing weight during Ramadan is high sugar intake. Most people consume sweet, sugary foods during Ramadan, especially when breaking the fast. Sugar triggers your weight gain; sugar feeds harmful bacteria, makes you hungrier, spikes insulin, and quickly turns into fat.
However, if done correctly, fasting during Ramadan can be life-changing for weight loss. These little-known 10 hacks will let the numbers on your weighing scale go lower and lower and stay there.
Top 10 Hacks to Lose Weight During Ramadan Fasting
10. Clean Your Digestive Tract
9. Time Hydration
8. Plan Your Meals Ahead of Time
7. Minimise Eating Out
6. Avoid Eating Processed Foods
5. Have Suhoor Earlier
4. Be Conscious of Calories
3. Exercise Before Iftar
2. Avoid Sugary Foods
1. Eat Ketogenic (High-Fat-Low-Carb) Foods
10. Clean Your Digestive Tract
Your gut is the second brain of your body. After years of poor lifestyle choices, your gut has often been damaged, with torn intestinal lining. A torn gut can cause proteins to leak out of your gut and cause your white blood cells to attack, leading to inflammation – and weight gain.
Your gut’s microbiome, the ratio of good versus harmful bacteria, is often bad because of the sugar and unhealthy foods you’ve been eating. Eating processed foods can also cause the walls of your stomach lining to be stuck with foods that have still not been digested, even after years, meaning some food won’t properly be absorbed by your body, causing more weight gain.
One study shows how mice with a healthy microbiome managed to lose weight even though fed the same foods as mice without a bad microbiome – this study also cites a similar situation with obese humans and a unhealthy gut microbiome . Healing your gut through nutrition and a full-scale colonic cleanse will help you empty your bowels to have healthier weight loss.
9. Doing a colon cleanse
There are several ways to do a colon cleanse, including having full-scale colonic hydrotherapy, which may or may not suit you. Depending on how much time you have to prepare, you can start a month before Ramadan, a week, 3 days, or even the day before you start.
If you want to get straight into your weight-loss regimen, try eating 3 days of oat porridge or buckwheat porridge beforehand. Alternatively, for an overnight or 1-day cleanse, try a gentle natural laxative like senna. You can also combine these ‘purging’ methods with teas and massages.
Do consider whether these methods are proper for you before you attempt them; however, keep in mind that the more you can purge from your bowels, the better it will be for your colon, weight loss, and renewed health.
Types of Cleanses:
- Colonic hydrotherapy
- Coffee enema
- Enterosorbents – activated charcoal, Carbon
- Psyllium husk & bentonite clay mixture
- Celery juice cleanse
- Saltwater flush
- Buckwheat porridge fast
- Herbal teas
8. Eating foods that support colon health
Many food types support colon health. Some help heal your damaged intestine lining, others help to support purging by bulking up your stool so it can easily exit your body, and others promote a healthier gut microflora. These foods are best:
- Cruciferous vegetables – kale, broccoli, cauliflower
- Whole foods – oats, quinoa, bulgur wheat, brown rice
- Pulses – lentils, beans, peas
- Seeds – Chia seeds, flax seeds, hemp seeds
- Nuts – Walnuts, pecans, almonds, brazil nuts
- Prebiotic foods – artichokes, onions, garlic
- Probiotic foods – yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut , kimchi
For more on preparing for a dry fast, and improving your gut health, read my articles How To Prepare For A Dry Fast (in 10 steps) and What To Eat Before A Dry Fast? (Hint: Go With Your Gut!).
9. Time your hydration
Drink more water to hydrate throughout your feeding hours from Iftar so you’ll have enough energy and have a healthy working system for when you’re fasting. Before Suhoor, though, drink only a glass of water and perhaps one glass of tea or coffee, so you can maximize the fat-burning benefits of dry fasting by not entering the dry fast with so much water in your system.
8. Minimize eating out
Avoid eating out, not only because there could be hidden calories in your meals but also because there’s less pressure to indulge in meals when you’re out with friends and family. When you’re out socializing, it’s harder to taste your food as you’ll be too busy paying attention to a conversation; you’ve already eaten two plates before you know it.
7. Avoid processed foods
Processed foods usually have more calories and less nutrition. Most processed foods also contain loads of sugar. Foods like sausages, tinned food, and sauces are typically bad for your gut, feeding the harmful bacteria, causing inflammation, and slow weight loss. Make sure you read the label of everything you buy and get the items with the least ingredients before you put them in your grocery basket.
6. Plan Your Meals Ahead of Time
So you don’t get caught being ravenous when you break your fast, wildly eating anything you can get your hands on, it’s best to plan and cook what you will eat during Ramadan fasting month. If you cook at home and in batches, you can make healthy, satisfying foods that won’t be left to chance and spoil your weight loss efforts. You can also easily be aware of your food portions and calories when cooking food yourself.
Planning also means fewer ‘oops’ incidents where you accidentally eat foods that could sabotage your good diet—weight loss starts with your grocery list, so make sure you don’t have foods at home can you can binge on, just in case you’re famished and can’t think straight!
5. Have Suhoor Earlier
The benefits of dry fasting increase over the hours, increasing when you do over 16 hours of fasting. Of course, breaking fast after sunset is recommended, but you do have a choice when you have your Suhoor meal.
If you can, eat your last meal earlier, even an hour or two earlier—if in a region where the fast is shorter hours (11–12 hours) so that the total amount of time spent dry fasting is above 14-16 hours and can even go up to 18-20 hours. A longer duration is more beneficial as you’ll spend long hours in fat-burn mode, increasing your Ramadan weight loss results. Many people do OMAD – which means one meal a day, eaten within 4 hours.
4. Be Conscious of Your Calories
Consuming less energy than you are spending will naturally help you lose weight, so it’s good to be aware of the nutritional value of the foods you’re eating and keep an eye on portion sizes.
However, being conscious of calories is not necessarily about counting calories or calories out (CICO) principle. Most people think that counting your calories and cutting them down will result in weight loss when the reality is not so straightforward.
The idea goes like this—say your daily calorie intake is 2000 calories. You cut your calories down to 70% of your calorie intake, amounting to 1400 calories a day, and a loss of 600 calories a day which, after 7 days, equals 4200 calories in deficit, or just over half a kilogram of fat loss (0.5 kgs = 3500 calories). So the thinking is you will lose 0.5 .kgs of weight.
However, the concept of CICO is more complicated than that. Not all calories are created equal. For instance: proteins and high-fiber foods are processed differently in your body than fatty and sugary foods. The FDA also allows up to a 20% margin of error on calorie labels on foods. Research shows that many restaurants are up to 300 calories off on their estimates — so calorie counting can be highly inaccurate. Besides, most people don’t judge their food portions properly, so they probably count calories wrong!
This Healthline article, Does Calorie Counting Work? A Critical Look, discusses why just counting calories might not get you the weight loss you want.
Instead of counting and cutting your calories, just keep track of them so you don’t go over too much. For instance, if you’ve had a Big Breakfast at McDonald’s (estimated at 1350 calories) and then a Big Mac Meal (around 1000 calories) for lunch, probably not a good idea to have an entire Dominos pizza to yourself for dinner (2000 to 3000 calories). All of the above are terrible nutritional choices, obviously, but you catch my drift; with a daily calorie allowance of 2000 calories, eating 5000 calories means you’re putting on weight!
Being conscious of your calories during Ramadan means if you’ve eaten a lot of food when you broke your fast, then eat light later—and don’t eat if you’re still feeling full from your last meal.
Even though it can be tempting to eat everything you see, especially when breaking your fast. Eating smaller portions at any one sitting also decreases the likelihood of spiking your insulin which then triggers your body to turn any carbs you eat into fat.
One idea is to eat something light when breaking your fast at Iftar, so your body can digest and assimilate what you’ve put in, then you can come back after your prayers to continue eating. Eating slowly, consciously, tasting, and appreciating every flavor will also go a long way, as it takes 20 minutes for your stomach to even process that you’re full!
3. Exercise Before Iftar
Taking a nature walk daily during Ramadan will increase fat loss because your body takes water from your fat cells and oxygen, as explained in my article Intermittent Dry Fasting: The Ultimate Weight Loss Hack. The more clean air you breathe, the more fat is being metabolized. So definitely do 30 minutes to an hour every day (just not in the hot sun!). Simply walking. 1-2 hours or 5-7 miles a day will increase your fat burn tremendously.
However, another factor that helps you get fit fast during Ramadan is Human Growth Hormone. Although well known in fasting circles, not many realize how effective dry fasting can be for human growth hormone (HGH) secretion. HGH stops fat accumulation, reduces muscle loss, and increases muscle mass.
Studies show that even during 24-hour water fast, HGH can increase by up to 2000%. Dry fasting is thought to be 3 times more efficient than water fasting, so we’re talking about an immense increase in HGH while dry fasting—which you can use to build muscle and increase your metabolism.
Many athletes and weightlifters practice intermittent fasting and time their training just before breaking their fast when growth hormone levels are highest; weightlifting and resistance training also increases the secretion of HGH.
Doing resistance exercise puts tension on your muscles, making microscopic tears in your muscle fibers. When you eat right after, your muscles can quickly heal and recover through nutrition, which is why you should break your fast after exercise and give your muscles the best nutrients it needs to bulk up.
Increased muscle mass naturally increases your metabolism, increasing your calorie needs and energy expenditure and burning more fat to make up for your higher metabolism.
For more on how dry fasting helps with muscle building, read my article Fact or Fiction: Does Dry Fasting Cause Muscle Loss?.
2. Avoid Sugary Foods
Eating sugary drinks and sugary foods, as mentioned before, is the worst thing to do if weight loss is your fasting goal. Not only does excess food turn the sugar into fat, but during Ramadan fasting, your body is hypersensitive after not having any food or water.
Sugary drinks include any juices, fizzy or carbonated, sweet teas, fruit juices, and even hydrating beverages like coconut water. All of these contain high levels of glucose and fructose, which are sugars that spike your insulin levels, converting sugar into fat and undoing much of the weight loss gains you had during your fasting hours.
Sugary foods include simple carbs like white rice, white bread, pastries, sweets, desserts, and fruit and dried fruit like prunes, apricots, and even dates, which are 70% sugar. So if you must eat dates, just have one, or a bite even.
Of course, fasting during Ramadan has been traditionally broken with dates, as Prophet Mohammad did break his fast with dates; however, this is not a must.
It is Sunnah to break the fast with fresh dates; if none are available then with dry dates; if none are available then with water – because of the hadeeth of Anas (may Allaah be pleased with him) who said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to break his fast with fresh dates before praying; if there were no (fresh dates) then with dry dates, and if there were no (dried dates) then he would take a few sips of water.
(Narrated by Abu Dawood, no. 2356; al-Tirmidhi, 696; classed as Hasan in al-Irwa’, 4/45)
Naturally, the intention of eating dates was a practical and beneficial one in ancient times. Dried fruits like dates are a concentrated form of nutrients, so they were highly recommended to give those fasting a quick energy boost to break the fast. However, if you follow all the suggestions here, hydrate well when you eat, and eat meals with enough fat and protein, you’ll find yourself with enough energy almost immediately after drinking water and with no necessity to consume any sugary foods.
1. Eat Ketogenic (High-Fat) Foods
The number 1 way to lose weight during Ramadan is to get into ketosis and stay in ketosis as much as possible. What is ketosis? Ketosis is the fat-burning state when your body burns fat for energy, not carbohydrates or glucose. When you are in ketosis, your body becomes a fat-burning machine.
Dry fasting helps get you into ketosis fast—and combined with a high-fat, low-carb diet, also known as the ketogenic diet, you now have double strength for weight loss. For more on getting into ketosis, you can read my articles 9 Fast Ways To Get Into Ketosis Now! and Can Dry Fasting Hack Keto?
A little-known fact is that fasting during Ramadan naturally helps you get into ketosis. Millions of health-conscious people worldwide are doing ketogenic diets to get into ketosis and lose weight. However, many don’t realize that incorporating intermittent dry fasting can induce ketosis faster. So if you plan your nutrition carefully during Ramadan, you’ll often find yourself in this fat-burning state.
Avoid sugar (or carbs) when you break your fast to stay in ketosis. Instead of consuming sweet foods or sugary drinks at Iftar, break your fast with ketogenic foods, high-fat, medium protein, and low carb food, and beverages like unsweetened tea.
If you can’t avoid sugar at Iftar (such as dates), then at least when you enter your fast at Suhoor, eat ketogenic foods, as it’s even more important to enter the fast with fewer carbs. At Suhoor, consume a morning meal that follows ketogenic macros (70%–80% fats, 20% protein, 5%–15% carbohydrates). This will make sure you stay primarily in ketosis throughout your fast, burning fat consistently.
Simply by committing to eating ketogenic foods, you could lose 4–10 pounds (2–5 kgs) a week, or lose 10-20 kgs during Ramadan, depending on your body type, lifestyle, and exercise.
Following a ketogenic diet can be challenging as it usually means keeping your carbohydrates strictly under 20–50 grams a day so here’s a free online calculator to help you find out your individual keto macros according to gender, weight, height, and age. This Healthline Article also explains ketogenic foods and what you can and cannot eat while on a keto diet. I prefer not to count my calories, but simply eat foods that are definitely ketogenic— it just makes life easier!
Remember, certain people should be more cautious of ketogenic diets (like those with diabetes or pancreatitis). If you have any major medical conditions, please check with your doctor before changing your diet.
For more information on intermittent dry fasting for weight loss, read my article Intermittent Dry Fasting: The Ultimate Weight Loss Hack.
Make dry fasting a lifestyle
If done correctly, Ramadan fasting for weight loss will lead to a permanent reduction of weight. The autophagy during dry fasting causes fat cells and cellular tissue to be fully consumed, so that fat is gone!
However, old habits die hard. This study on Ramadan fasting sees participants lose, on average, 1.2kgs. The average weight gained after 2 weeks, however, was 0.72kgs.
In other words, if you start overeating again and going back to your old habits, then your fat will come back, and you’ll likely put on weight again.
The solution is to make dry fasting a part of your lifestyle and practice dry fasting at least 2 times a week, as recommended by Islam (Sunnah). This will help to keep the weight off and, over time, you will also become a much healthier and fitter you.
(Check out my articles 17 Benefits of Intermittent Dry Fasting and 30 Mind-blowing Benefits of Dry Fasting, to find out why you should make dry fasting part of your post-Ramadan lifestyle not just for weight loss, but also for multiple anti-aging health benefits.)
However, you can practice dry fasting even more regularly for consistent weight loss; even dry fasting during the nighttime hours, which can be easier, and in some ways, more beneficial for your health and weight loss since most healing processes happen when you sleep!
You can incorporate 12–16 hours of daily dry fasting by simply not drinking water after your last meal and starting your dry fast a few hours before bedtime. You’ll notice that it’s a lot easier to stop drinking water after dinner because most of the time, you’re not thirsty after dinner, and you simply have to remind yourself to stop the habit of reaching for water.
I practice a dry fasting lifestyle for age-reversal, and weight maintenance. I dry fast every day for 12–16 hours; once a week, however, I do a 24-hour dry fast (start in the morning, then skip dinner), lose 4-5 pounds overnight, then break my fast the next day with specific foods to keep the weight off while healing my gut (a healthy gut means you can eat more without gaining weight!).
Even though I’m around my ideal weight now, I use this dry fasting lifestyle to drop a few pounds every week, so I can enjoy eating on weekends and at social events. (I do love food, after all!). If you want to keep losing weight or maintain your weight loss for life (while looking and feeling younger), check out my weekly dry fasting strategy in my eBook The Dry Fasting Formula.
And for how to keep the weight off after Ramadan, check out my new course below!
***Disclaimer: I am not a doctor/ physician, and although I have a bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Science, I cannot and do not hold myself to be a medical professional (“Medical Provider”). This article does not contain medical /health advice. The medical/ health information here is for general and educational purposes only. It is my opinion, based on my research and personal experience, and not a substitute for professional advice by your health care provider. Please consult with a professional before acting on the information here, and do not disregard medical advice or delay seeking medical attention because of anything you read in this article. THE USE OR RELIANCE OF ANY OF THE INFORMATION ON THIS WEBSITE IS SOLELY AT YOUR OWN RISK.***
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