How to lose weight on a full stomach in Ramadan: Seven tips

Ingy Deif, Wednesday 2 Jul 2014

An expert talks with Ahram Online on tips to trick the stomach into not feeling the urge to gorge on food after the daily Ramadan fast

Photo: Reuters

"When I am asked about the main reason people gain weight after a diet, I usually point to the fact that the feeling of an empty stomach is depressing and unbearable to many, so on the rebound after dieting, they simply over-indulge," says Dr Heba El-Atawy consultant nutritionist and expert in public health. She adds that during Ramadan, the same effect takes place, as the feeling of an empty stomach triggers the urge to eat more. Speaking to Ahram Online, she offers tips on eliminating that feeling.

Photo: Reuters

1. Indulge in a chewing habit

Chewing a sugar-free gum for an hour in the morning is proven to reduce daily calorie intake by 76 calories, as it stimulates the part of the brain responsible for sending signals that the stomach is full. So try indulging that habit between iftar (the breaking of the fast) and sohour (the early morning meal before sunrise).

Photo: Reuters

1. Odors that give you a helping hand

Some odors, like mint, vanilla and bananas, can trick your mind into feeling less hungry, provided that you try to inhale them every two hours.

Photo: Reuters

3. Eat protein and cut the crabs

A lot of diets, like the Atkins diet and others, depend on the principle of increasing the consumption of proteins at the expense of carbohydrates. The strategy works well, so try in your meals to eliminate completely refined carbohydrates — like bread and any kind of sugar — and structure your iftar and sohour to contain 30 percent proteins, 30 percent non-saturated fats, and 40 percent non-refined carbohydrates.

Photo: Reuters

4. Fill up on water

Water will not only hydrate you and make you look better, it will also counter the diuretic effect of the tea or coffee you drink during and after iftar, and will increase your feeling of fullness. So, you have a time span of around eight hours through which you can drink up your recommended minimum of eight glasses of water daily. A couple of glasses every couple of hours is the best tried method. Opting also for fizzy water could be good to increase your feeling of fullness.

Photo: Reuters

5. Take your reasonable share of non-saturated fats

It has been well established that non-saturated fats are essential for good health in any diet, but new research points out also that these fats send signals to the brain telling it that the stomach is full. Good sources include nuts and seeds — a staple in traditional Ramadan diet — avocadoes, vegetable oil, and oily fish like tuna and salmon. Nevertheless, portions should stay controlled in that regard.

Photo: Reuters

6. Ramadan soups

In Ramadan, different varieties of soups are an essential component on the table throughout the month. This is good news for your weight. A bowl of steaming hot soup will take more time to consume, and will give you a feeling of fullness more than if you consume the same mass in solid food — and the calorie count is much less.

Photo: Reuters

7. Opt for tummy-filling food

Biscuits, cereal, chocolates, oriental desserts and the like will just pile up your calorie count, raise your sugar level before crashing down to a feeling of irritability, lethargy, and hunger. In contrast, these are examples of the kinds of foods that will maintain a feeling of a full stomach for a longer time: apples, broccoli, veggies and leafy salads that are loaded with fibre, popcorn, boiled eggs, and roasted potatoes

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