Living a healthy lifestyle in today’s times where obesity is high is so important. When talking about a nutritious way of life, I don’t mean everything has to be organic or raw, but rather that you live healthy by:
- Eating consciously
- Having more fruit and veggies
- Eating fewer carbs
- Allowing yourself a little treat now and again
- Everything in moderation
A lot of people use the word ‘diet.’ I prefer to use the word ‘lifestyle change,’ because essentially that’s what eating healthy is all about. It’s about changing your eating habits in everyday life, not just for a week or a month. Islam teaches us everything we need to know about healthy eating. From the prayer, we make before we start eating, to the way food should be chewed. One of the main principles of good health is a balanced diet. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) emphasized the habit of eating less as a method of preventing sickness and disease. He (SAW) said:
“Nothing is worse than a person who fills his stomach. It should be enough for the son of Adam to have a few bites to satisfy his hunger. If he wishes more, it should be: One-third for his food, one-third for his liquids, and one-third for his breath.” – Tirmidhi & Ibn Majah
Eating slowly is recommended for health. Slow eating reduces the consumption of food and postpones the meal to a time when the absorption of nutrients begins to produce physiological signals of satiety. Slow eating also helps us to chew our food well, which exercises our jaws and mixes saliva with our food. Hence, efficient digestion takes place because the food particles are cut into smaller pieces, not requiring as much churning in the stomach or intestine, i.e. less heartburn!
Islam teaches us not to become a slave to our desires or lose sight of our ultimate spiritual goal. It lays down the basis of dietary regulations as well as the limits. Islam teaches man to enjoy the pleasures of life, including food, in a moderate way by not becoming a slave to his desires and losing sight of his ultimate spiritual goal. Therefore, start now by setting a goal that you would like to achieve, whether it is to lose weight or to get fit and toned.
Making Smarter Lifestyle Choices
I’m not sure about you, but sometimes I find it very hard to find snacks and substitutes that are both healthy and satisfying. When having a sugar or carb craving, you feel so hungry you could eat any item of food in your kitchen! However, that craving is what makes us binge eat when we’ve been good and felt that we can reward ourselves, but sometimes we take it too far. I’m not saying deprive yourself of all yummy goodness, just try to control those cravings by replacing it with something healthier.
What I usually do, is have a cheat meal every week. I eat whatever I like or been feeling for, and not deprive myself. This can be a bit tricky in the beginning so start off slowly. Stock up on some dark chocolate, or if you’re not a fan because it is an acquired taste, a spoonful of Nutella helps too. Try having honey in your tea or change to brown sugar, and instead of having two teaspoons of sugar in your tea, have one teaspoon. Please be cautious of sweeteners, as they are known to be harmful. Not only do they have aspartame that’s known to cause cancer, but I find that it spikes sugar craving even more. I’ve started using xylitol, which is natural and is a white sugar substitute.
When trying to replace bread, let’s face it, nothing tastes as good as the real thing. Maybe start by switching to whole wheat and reserving it for only mornings or lunchtime, but don’t have any bread after 4 pm. If you love rice, why not change to brown rice. You could still make all your yummy rice dishes this way.
If you not into drinking gallons of water every day, get some flavored drops that have zero calories and put a few drops in your water. This helps to drink the eight glasses of water that’s recommended per day. Also, leave a few bottles around the house so you can always reach for one, this will encourage your kids to drink lots of water too!
It takes our bodies around 21 days to stop craving the things that it’s used to have, so start slowly and eventually; you’ll see those cravings disappear inshAllah. It’s difficult in the beginning and during the first few days, but once you pass the one-week mark, you’ll no longer have the cravings that make you want to eat an entire chocolate cake all by yourself!
These are lifestyle changes and not fad diet tips or quick fixes, so you’ll never feel as though you are deprived and fall off the so-called ‘diet bandwagon.’ There are 4 rules I live by and work for me, namely:
- Don’t deprive yourself
- Eat slowly
- Eat in moderation
- Listen to your body telling you it’s enough
If you incorporate these choices into your everyday eating, you’ll surely see an amazing change inshAllah. I sincerely hope my lifestyle tips help you always to eat healthy else all your hard work will be in vain.
Author: Fauzia E. (mom to an active 6-year-old and another on the way) – I have always been someone who tries to see the beauty in everything, and I try my best to live a healthy and active lifestyle. My love of helping others and bringing out the best in them is very rewarding. A mommy’s beauty and health is often neglected, though not intentionally, so we find it hard to take time for ourselves. When one feels good on the inside, it reflects outwardly. Islam teaches us to live healthy, to be active, and not to overindulge. Our beloved Prophet (SAW) taught us these lessons by his beautiful example. I hope my tips bring out a better, beautiful and more fit mommy in you Insha Allah.