The absence of food and drinks in your stomach will drive you to have very strong temptations by the time you’re preparing for iftar. I was once at a buffet dinner, getting ready to break my fast. My hungry stomach was doing all the decision-making, while my rational brain decided to shut down temporarily. Temptation really did get the better of me as I realized that my table was filled with plates of food which looked awfully enticing and was ready to try out every single one of them. I was ready to compensate for the ‘regular’ meals that I have missed earlier that day.
I was wrong and naïve.
As I broke my fast, I ate as much as I could, trying to stump the hunger earlier. I had thought my stomach would have been hungry enough to fit all the food that I hoarded. However, the truth was, my stomach couldn’t even handle the normal portion I would normally eat for dinner.
Therefore, this has always been, the number one common, mistake everyone makes during the fasting month: Overeating. Compensating.
This results in a handful of consequences we shouldn’t even be conditioning to begin with.
Despite the fact that feeling a little tired after a heavy meal is perfectly normal, it won’t be the ideal situation to be in if you feel super tired during your post-iftar prayers. This is especially true if you’re eating processed food containing high levels of sugar, as well as refined carbohydrates. Your blood sugar level will be taken on a journey where it will spike upwards, followed by a drop, resulting in low levels of energy in your body.
Whether it’s homemade food, or take outs, or buffets, you will find yourself buying and spending more than what you’re capable of eating. People tend to go overboard trying out new things during Ramadan. They go to the markets and exuberantly spend on culinary delights that they normally wouldn’t have done, if it wasn’t for fasting. When they realize that they aren’t able to finish the food in one night, they end up in the waste bin, along with the money they’ve spent for it.
As you overeat, you will also be susceptible to falling ill. Overeating can cause a certain amount of setbacks for your body. This includes bloating, indigestion and intestinal disorders that may worsen other health conditions. People are more likely to experience health problems during Ramadan due to eating beyond the quota of their fullness during iftar. There are cases of people admitted to the hospital for gastroenteritis which causes vomiting and diarrhea caused by eating much too quickly after they break their fast.
Due to the overeating, rather than losing weight, there are those that have found that they have been gaining weight instead of losing them. It’s easy to think that because you won’t be eating the whole day, it’s a surefire way to lose weight easily for that month. This isn’t always true. Especially, if you are compelled to overeat as a compensation of missing the usual first two meals of the day. At the same time, you also have a limited time to burn those calories in comparison to your pre-Ramadan routine.
Therefore, it’s all about moderation. The Qur’an states: “Eat and drink, but be not excessive. Indeed, He does not like those who commit excess.” (Surah Al-A’raf:31)
As a friendly reminder, Ramadan is a month not of extravagance, but of restraint, self-discipline and self-control.