The Ramzan Challenge!
Yes, it is that time of the year when we tell ourselves that because we're fasting we have the right to do everything wrong: get angry because we're hungry, lose patience because we're hungry, sleep all day because we're hungry, not exercise because we're hungry, and eat all sorts of trashy food (that includes your beloved samosas and pakoras, sorry!) because we're hungry. While many of you might be completely at peace with yourselves for living like that, I want to invite you all to a journey with me.
I'll be honest with you, this post is really about me. By using all of you to join me, I'm making sure that I don't slip in my attempt to stay healthy. *Angel Emoticon* So what exactly is this journey? Trust me, it's not a lot. While I've listed more specific details below, I just want to explain the main motivation behind this challenge. I have PCOS (I've already mentioned this before), and that means I need to keep my diet clean and my exercise regular. I was able to completely control my condition like a boss a few years ago when I actually followed the diet and the exercise. However, the last year or so has been quite a challenge for me, managing many different priorities often at the behest of my exercise and healthy, clean eating. I've been trying to get back to that same old healthy routine but always tried to do it all together and ended up not being able to stay consistent.
This challenge is more like the first step that I want everyone who has ever been in a situation like me but is yearning to change their physical well being around like myself, to take with me. I want to embark on a journey that is full of collective support and inspiration because that helps you push through even when you're not feeling it. I also learned that in order to develop long lasting habits (in this case healthy eating and regular exercise), one must start with baby steps and do them with consistency. The human mind tends to develop a 'habit' by repeating an action over the course of 21 days consistently.
Are you right for this challenge?
You can gauge your eligibility for this challenge by answering the questions below:
- Are you a human? If you answered yes, move ahead, if not then this challenge is not for you.
- Are you someone who suffers from weight issues? If yes, DEFINITELY move ahead, if not then also move ahead.
- Are you someone whose weight is linked to health problems like obesity, PCOS, Diabetes, Cholestrol, etc.? If yes, DEFINITELY move ahead, if not then also move ahead.
- Are you someone who wants to lose weight to look like super models or because you just want to be an extra bit of skinny? If yes, then this challenge is not for you, if not then move ahead.
- Are you someone who has been wanting to lose weight but has been too lazy about it or would lose momentum whenever they'd start? If yes, DEFINITELY move ahead, if not then also move ahead.
- Are you someone who has been rigorously working out and following healthy diets already? This challenge is most likely not for you, but take a look anyway.
What is the Challenge?
The Challenge is on for only 30 days and plays out on two fronts. Since it's Ramzan, I don't want to make a plan that pushes us beyond our limits, but rather one that is manageable. I also wanted to ensure that I don't fall into a bottomless pit of samosas and pakoras and come out being more unhealthy than I started out. Since the month is already about starvation and spiritual cleansing, why not make the most of it by tweaking it just a little bit. So the challenge itself:
NO SUGAR unless it's brown sugar. That means you're free to have desserts as long as they contain brown sugar only and not white sugar. That holds true for all fizzy drinks, etc. and even includes artificial sweeteners as not allowed (See what I did there?). Natural sugars like that in fruits is allowed.
NO DEEP FRIED food items. Simple. No samosas unless they're baked. No pakoras unless you used an air fryer. No fries either. It's all deep fried. But you can have any stir fried. Sure.
Anddddd That's it. No crazy diet. No intense diet. No carb free diet. Easy peasy.
20 minutes for five days (workdays) each week of whatever form of exercise that you like. The idea is to create consistency here. Rather than trying to push yourself to do something that you just KNOW you wouldn't be doing after two days, start in a manner that is easy to follow through. The time required is literally so small that you can't make ANY excuse for missing it. You can hit a cardio machine at the gym, or go out for a 20 minute run with your parent/sibling/friend. You can also try a little intense cardio such as jumping rope at home for 20 minutes or if you have weights at home, use those for 20 minutes. The possibilities are endless. All you need to do is 20 minutes of ANY form of physical exercise that makes you sweat. That obviously DOES NOT include a leisurely walk in your street for 20 minutes. What will I be doing you ask? I plan to treadmill at a consistent 149 BPM (heart rate) which includes using incline as well as speed to maintain the heart rate and ensure a good sweat and burn. Either that or cycling for 20 mins.
- Extra Credit: If you're feeling pumped after the 20 minutes, feel free to extend your time and add additional exercises that you like, ONLY as long as you know you're not going to skip the next day and end up with fatigue because you got excited and overdid it.
- To Do Before You Start: Check your weight right after waking up from your long nap (whenever that is, since it's Ramzan all of us are functioning in different ways), and before you eat or drink anything. Put it down somewhere safe, like a journal or in your notes on your phone.
Also for extra credit take a picture of yourself from all angles wearing tight fitted clothes. You don't need to share it with anyone. This will help you see after the challenge ends if there was any improvement in your weight, or your overall appearance. I have my pictures down and am currently weighing 57.9 Kgs.
Make sure that all sweet related food shifts to brown sugar. Put it down in your own grocery list or tell whoever is responsible for cooking and groceries at your household. Be it your fruit chaat or rooh afza drink, it's not allowed unless it is made with brown sugar.
What happens after 30 days?
For starters, you'll be full of happy hormones and a positive energy because your body is feeling better than before. You will also have developed some very useful habits that you can continue to deploy in your daily life. You may have (hopefully if you were consistent) lost some weight as well. And lastly, you will be invited to the second step of this journey because you successfully passed the first step and are cool. The journey might take longer than most weight loss plans, but our aim is not to lose weight fast. Our goal is to get healthy, by changing our lifestyle and our habits in a long lasting manner.
How do you join the challenge?
Join the Instagram page (@sumayahasan) if you haven't already, or the Facebook Page where I would be giving a shoutout on a daily basis to ensure everyone is following through, and if not, we can all motivate each other to keep at it. Let's do this boys and girls. Let me know in the comments if you'll be joining the challenge or not!
Happy Ramzan to everyone! Stay hydrated (whether you do the challenge or not) and don't forget to connect with God and your inner self this blessed month. May the power of God be with you.