Ramadan is fast approaching with less than 2 months to go! However before you start preparing, it's important to ensure that you have tried to make up the fasts you’ve missed from the previous year. Many women have around 5-8 days to make up and as the year goes by and gets busy, the time flies by! It can be easily forgotten but it is an excellent habit to make up these missed fasts before starting a new Ramadan.
One of the main reasons why a lot of people wait a longer period of time before making up fasts is because fasting outside of Ramadan is a very different experience. That amazing sense of community and feeling of oneness with our fellow Muslims is lacking, and it can feel quite isolating and tiring fasting when it’s not Ramadan. On top of that, many people choose to take time off work/school (if possible) as much as they can during Ramadan in order to focus on worship and spending time with family.
As our lives remain busy and active, and as we feel alone in our fasts, it’s very easy to fall into poor eating habits. Whether it's not getting a good suhoor in because you're too busy and none of your friends/family members are up to share the experience with you, or getting into the habit of picking up fast food to break your fasts, it can be tough when you’re not in the Ramadan mindset. So if you still have some fasts to make up (or you are interested in the two day a week sunnah fasts), here are 5 tips that can help you stay healthy:
1. Do not neglect Suhoor and Iftar
As your two main meals when fasting, iftar and suhoor are just as important during Ramadan as they are when you fast outside of Ramadan. One of the great joys of Ramadan for many people is coming together as a family/community and having suhoor and iftar together. Food and eating have a social aspect, and if you are used to fasting with others, it can be hard to do it on your own. When fasting outside of Ramadan, if you find yourself not enjoying these meals or taking them seriously, a good way to work around this is to meal plan! You can check out The Muslimah's Meal Plan for ideas on how to meal prep.
2. Drink lots of water!
Make sure that you are drinking enough water! As with fasting during Ramadan, it’s really important to make sure that you’re drinking lots of water at night when you can't during the day. If you’re not getting enough water, you may find it hard to concentrate during the day, as well as feeling some digestive discomfort such as constipation.
3. Eat more whole grains and fibre
Making sure that you’re getting enough fibre during your suhoor and iftar can help ease any digestive discomforts as well as make you feel full longer throughout your fast. Some good fibre sources to try and incorporate in your diet are whole grains such as whole grain bread or good quality oats. Try out my Strawberry Chocolate Overnight Oats, as they are easy to prep the night before and are a delicious suhoor packet with all the nutrients you need!
4. Pay attention to your body
When making up fasts, some people may find it easier to fast many days in a row, while others prefer every other day, or even just 1-2 days a week. When you begin fasting in a way that’s different than what you normally do during Ramadan, it’s really important to pay attention to the cues of your body and learning what works for you and what doesn’t. Humans are creatures of habit, and when you fast inconsistently, it may take a toll on your body and overall health. Learning to listen to the cues of your body can drastically improve your experience fasting outside of Ramadan when you learn what works for you!
5. Reflect on your fasts and enjoy it
Remember, fasting is one of the five pillars of Islam, and for good reason. There is immense reward in it as Allah says about a fasting person: “He has left his food, drink and desires for My sake. The fast is for Me. So I will reward (the fasting person) for it and the reward of good deeds is multiplied ten times.” [Bukhari]. Take the time to enjoy your fasts by reflecting on yourself, and use it as an opportunity to be grateful and mindful in all aspects of your life.
May Allah accept all our fasts, and allow us to experience the joy of this upcoming Ramadan.