As someone who has had bariatric surgery and now fasts on occasion, I can share some of my best recommendations with you, but please keep in mind that this is not medical advice. That is solely my own experience, and although some of it was recommended by physicians, it was recommended for me and my body’s specific requirements. Here’s how I deal with Ramadan while wearing a gastric sleeve.
First and foremost, I was unable to fast throughout the first Ramadan after my operation. It is advisable to wait 12-18 months before starting fasting, so see your doctor to see whether you will be able to fast this year. I’m taking things day by day now that I can fast again. Some days I manage OK, while on others my body is unable to cope.
I am fully content with the current state of affairs. I prepare for Ramadan by checking in with myself and giving myself plenty of grace. Otherwise, I’ll become sick, suffer, my family will suffer, my company will suffer, and so on. Fasting is not designed to damage you, so quit if it is.
NOTE: This is not medical advice. Before fasting, ALWAYS speak with your doctor.
Dehydration is a big problem for gastric sleeve patients. Utilize every tool at your disposal to remain hydrated. The traditional sunnah of breaking fast with dates and water is appropriate since it provides an immediate sugar spike and begins hydrating. Then, ideally, you’ll be in a better mood to prepare your iftar. I have a variety of dates on hand so that I don’t grow tired of eating them every day.
Another rule of thumb is to avoid mixing solid meals with drinks. Choose hydrating meals like protein-rich soups and smoothies to break your fast with. Considering the requirement to wait 30 minutes before and after drinking water, I’ve heard some individuals set an alarm to remind themselves to drink. If you have to do it, do it. Water is difficult enough during Ramadan, but it is critical with a gastric sleeve.
Additionally, avoid being out in the sun, particularly if you are working or exercising since it can dehydrate you.
Working on exercise is another tricky problem for us since it raises our risk of dehydration. You shouldn’t expect to grow much muscle during Ramadan, so adopt a maintenance approach to your Ramadan workout regimen. I know it’s difficult to consider, but maybe gentle exercise like walking is the best option. It is vital that you pay attention to your body.
Many frequently start missing those afternoon calories on the third or fourth day of Ramadan, feeling lethargic and irritable. On these days, check in with yourself.
- Are you really thirsty?
- What about your bowel movements? How about the color of your urine?
- How are you feeling in terms of energy?
Continue to access these items throughout the month and change yourself as required. Keep in mind that this is just one month out of twelve. You may be forced to make more compromises than you like.
I know there will be more temptations whether we are invited to someone’s home for an iftar or dining out for the night. I avoid this issue by focusing on protein first. Plate protein-rich foods first, followed by vegetables and carbohydrates. This way, I’m generally full before I load up on stuff that won’t last long.
Return to the Beginning
This month, every meal you consume is essential. You know that eating too much, too quickly, and the wrong items will make you sick. Back to fundamentals implies the following to me:
- Chewing thoroughly to aid digestion.
- Accessing every option as soon as possible. Is the meal high in nutrients? Is it high in protein?
- Fried and greasy dishes should be reserved for special occasions only.
- I’m spacing out my meals like a fast runner.
Many people boast about “just eating one meal during Ramadan,” yet it would make me really ill. I take it slowly, drinking lots of water in between what amounts to three to four meals: breaking fast (dates and fruits), soup or smoothie, iftar with my family, and suhoor. Again, water might be the most difficult issue to overcome when fasting.
Vitamins are required.
Even if you consume nutrient-dense meals, it’s still a good idea to take multivitamins, particularly during Ramadan.
This month, your best bet is to pay careful attention to your body. If anything makes you feel sick, don’t do it again. If your hydration levels are dropping, drink additional water or even electrolytes. If attending to too many other people’s demands means ignoring your own, cut down or delegate. If you can fast this Ramadan, you deserve the month’s rewards but don’t need the added difficulty.
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