As the holy month of Ramadan approaches, it is a good time to think about how you can prepare yourself for it. Changed eating and sleeping habits for the month may cause disruption, but if you plan ahead and start adjusting your regular routine, you can have a healthy Ramadan.
Talk to Your Doctor
Before anything else, if you have decided to fast during Ramadan, the first thing to do is talk to your doctor. Visit the doctor 6-8 weeks before Ramadan. This will help you review your health and also give your doctor an idea about your physical fitness to determine if you should fast or not.
Since you will abstain from food and water for a long period of time, you may be at risk of developing such as hyperglycemia hypoglycemia and ketoacidosis1. Talking to your doctor will also help you figure out medicine and meal plans to avoid such complications. You may have been prescribed medicines to be had before or after meals, so it is prudent to check with your doctor if any changes need to be made.
Plan your Meals
Irregular eating hours, overeating and consumption of fried and starchy food can result in weight gain. Since the meal times are irregular they may also result in blood sugar fluctuations. You can plan your meals ahead and avoid this. Planning your meals will help you keep healthy foods on the menu, helping you manage your condition better. Stock your kitchen pantry with healthy food products and fresh fruits and vegetables. Avoid having fast foods, and plan a balanced meal2.
Keep these things in mind:
i) Eat low sugar, high fibre foods like beans, rice and oatmeal
ii) Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, and salads
iii) Avoid samosas, pakoras as they are high in saturated fats
iv) Have plenty of water before you fast to avoid dehydration.
Getting the urge to overeat is common when you fast for long hours. How can you avoid this? Try cutting down on snacks in the weeks leading up to Ramadan. This will help you control your food intake and keep yourself from overeating during the fast.
Prepare Your Routine
Practising your Ramadan routine beforehand will help your body prepare for the month. Consider it as a mock test before an exam. Start by waking up and having your breakfast earlier than usual. Try and adjust your sleep pattern and daily routine ahead of Ramadan.
Make Blood Glucose Monitoring a Habit
Also, make monitoring your blood glucose a part of your routine. If you do not have a blood glucose monitor, be sure to buy one. Test your blood glucose levels once before suhoor, and then two hours after iftar. If your blood sugar drops too low, you’re likely to experience shaking, sweating, hunger, palpitations2. If such a situation arises, keep 15 grams of sugar in an accessible location or carry it with you when you’re not at home.
Don’t Exert Yourself
You can keep exercising in Ramadan, although it needs to be light in nature. Manage the intensity of your workout, so that you do not tire yourself out during Ramadan. Carry a sweet drink like juice or some candies with you if you plan to exercise during the fast.
Plan your exercise routine in advance so that you can avoid dehydration and low blood sugar. Also remember that physical exertion involved in prayers, such as bowing, kneeling and rising, should be considered as a part of your daily exercise activities. Anything more taxing than these activities can affect your health.
- Can I fast with diabetes during Ramadan? – Diabetes Voice [Internet]. IDF. 2020 [cited 14 February 2020]. Available from: https://diabetesvoice.org/en/caring-for-diabetes/can-i-fast-with-diabetes-during-ramadan/
- Diabetes And Ramadan – Guidance For Fasting During The Holy Month | Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust [Internet]. Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust. 2020 [cited 14 February 2020]. Available from: https://www.hey.nhs.uk/patient-leaflet/diabetes-ramadan-guidance-fasting-holy-month/