Ramadan 2020 – 5 Reasons Why You Should Consider Fasting Yourself
Ramadan 2020 – no matter if you are actually a Muslim, there is a lot to be gained from fasting this month. It’s an opportunity to learn about yourself and start making a positive change in your life. In essence, you do not eat or drink anything between sunrise and sunset, not even water. It’s easier than you might think.
Disclaimer: I am not a Muslim myself so by no means do I intend to inform you on all the rules and expectations. Just be aware that for Muslims, there is much more to this month other than just not eating and drinking for a couple of weeks. To inform yourself, please start by taking a look at the Ramadan Wikipedia page, try a Google search or inform yourself at your local mosque.
TIP: try to talk to Muslim colleague, friend or neighbour. I bet they will be more than happy to inform and encourage you to fast along with them!
After a few years of just thinking about joining, last year (2019) was the first time that I actually gave it a go myself. What started with a spontaneous idea to join for the first few days, quickly changed into me wanting to complete the full month. I felt I needed it. In this article I will share from my own experience and what I think might help you.
Despite things being different this year for obvious reasons, I still do intend to fast along again and complete at least one of the missions down below. Keep reading further down below to learn my top reasons for you to consider.
Perhaps you too can give one of the following missions a try yourself?
MISSION: RAMADAN 2020
Fast One Day
Fast Three Days
Fast One Week
Fast Two Weeks
Fast Three Weeks
Complete Ramadan 2020
Learn About Your Mind
When we talk about not eating for weeks, it’s easy to think that weightloss would be a main motivator for fasting. Trust me, this more about the mind than it is about the body. For starters, it takes strong mind to not give in to all the urges and temptations.
If you want my advice, go into the month with excitement to learn more about your mind works.
Your mind will try and tell you that it is impossible for you not to eat or drink all day. That doesn’t make it true, and this is a great opportunity to experiment. Who knows what you will find out? And yes sure, perhaps you might also drop some weight in the process.
Ramadan Helps Interrupt Bad Habits
How often do you drink alcohol and/or eat unhealthy stuff like chocolate, candy, fastfood, icecream, cookies or chips?
If you’re already eating and drinking 100% healthy then I applaud you and you can probably skip this part. If you are somewhat like me however and you find yourself come home from the supermarket with chocolate, bags of candy and other unhealthy stuff more often that not, then you could probably benefit greatly from joining the month of fasting. Or at least, if you can get yourself not to feast in the evening hours.
Chocolate is awesome, I know.
Hear me out.
Just before last year’s Ramadan started, I would often finish my chocolate bar AND candy bag during the opening credits of my Netflix episode. In the half hour train ride home from work, I also had the habit to throw down two .5 liter cans of Heineken, sometimes followed by a third on my 10 minute walk home.
Let’s just say that I wasn’t taking good care of my body, and thus of myself.
Gladly, things are better now.
Ramadan helped me snap out of it and interrupt the string of bad habits that had me tied up and going down a negative spiral.
During the month of fasting, my groceries shopping was very different from how it was before. For one, I found myself walk by all the chocolate and candies without even thinking of bringing some home (and into my mouth). Same with alcohol; I did not even drink a single beer that month. Feeling connected with my Muslim colleagues and empowered by their respect possibly had something with that too, but more about that later.
Your bad habits might not be the same as my bad habits, but trust me this is a great opportunity to interrupt whatever bad habits you might have and replace them with more healthier ones.
If I can do it, then so can you.
Feel free to send me a message if you could use some encouragement.
Rediscover Your Willpower & Discipline
Let me ask you something;
Do you feel that you have what it takes to not only decide to quit a bad habit but actually stick to it?
Whether it be alcohol, smoking, eating or something else entirely, chances are that you have been thinking about needing a change and promised yourself to quit…
… only to then start again the next day.
What do you think this does for you?
With that you not only continue your bad habit; your dissapointment in yourself also decreases your belief in yourself that you can actually stick to a decision you made to change.
Repeat these steps a few times more and before you know it, you probably won’t take yourself so serious anymore when you hear that inner voice again. Trust me, this is not a good place to be.
Fast for one day and see a little willpower restored.
Fast for three days to restore even more willpower and see how you too still have what it takes to be a more disciplined person.
Keep going like that for the full month, and you will feel empowered to take on much bigger challenges as well.
The Ramadan just might be the invitation towards change that you need.
Think about it, maybe it is? If it is, do you grab this chance or let it slip?
Solidarity With Muslim Community
According to a study done back in 2015, around 25% of the world population is Muslim. With 1 out of 4 people being Muslim, there’s a good chance that you have one in your social circle or near you. It could be a friend, a colleague or a neighbour. Maybe you’re even one yourself, in which case I say “Ramadan Mubarak” to you and your family.
How well do you know the Muslims around you?
This time of the year is as great as time as any to get closer with the Muslim community and learn a bit about them and why they do the things that they do. You might not feel that you need to, but let me ask you this;
What is the worst that could happen if you show some interest?
Last year was my first time joining the month of fasting. And apart from interrupting my bad habits and regaining my willpower, it brought me closer to my Muslim colleagues at work and helped me understand them better. In return, they showed respect for me, complimented me and encouraged me to keep going. Their support definitely helped interrupt those habits. It also no longer felt right to drink alcohol. Not even in the nightly hours.
The mutual support and improved connection between me and my colleagues also helped us become better colleagues.
The work relationship between me and my Muslim colleagues improved not just during that month, but also beyond. Perhaps it can do the same for you. And if you don’t have any Muslim colleagues then maybe you have a neighbour you could get closer to?
The way I see it, to A) be curious in people and their culture, and B) feel connected to the people around us, is an important part of living a happy life.
Don’t you agree?
Ramadan As Gateway Into Intermittent Fasting
Here’s another question;
How healthy is the lifestyle that you are currently living?
My answer in early 2019 would have been simply terrible. Weighing in at 114kg I was badly overweight and well on my way into obesity. Honestly I needed Ramadan more than it needed me.
My current weight is around 98kg; still somewhat overweight but at least much healthier than I was a year ago. This is because I continued my newly found healthy habits going until after Ramadan as well. For one, I learned about intermittent fasting (IF) and kept experimenting some more.
One important difference between intermittent fasting and Ramadan fasting is that with the Ramadan, not even drinking water is allowed. In an intermittent fasting window, it’s even encouraged to still drink water. Black coffee (no sugar) is also allowed.
With its increasing popularity, there’s a good chance you have already heard something about intermittent fasting. If not, it’s basically a way of life in which you stick to not eating for the majority of the day (16 hours or longer) and then have a eating window for the remaining few hours (16 hours of fasting = eating window of 8 hours, 20 hours fasting = 4 eating hours, etc.). Some people even eat just one meal a day (OMAD).
Intermittent Fasting helped me make a lasting change. If you are interested in giving IF a go yourself, this guide here by Thomas DeLauer is a good starting point.
Even while I’m already doing intermittent fasting and feeling great about myself, I will move into the Ramadan rules and times for reason #3 from this blog article: solidarity with the Muslim community. I have quit drinking alcohol back in early December already, but otherwise I would definitely implement that change as well and not drink alcohol this month.
Whatever you do or do not do is entirely up to you.
Now you have a bit more information about the Ramadan and perhaps had a look at it from another perspective. Whether or not you will actually give it a go yourself is, of course, entirely up to you. My only goal for this blog article is that you at least consider it. If you do decide to fast along, please drop a comment and/or send me a message; it’s good to keep encourage each other.
Remember: small steps are still steps.