What is Ramadan?
The short version is, Ramadan is about fasting and spiritual growth. And it occurs in the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar.
What’s more, it lasts 29 or 30 days, depending on when the new crescent moon is visible. You can learn more about Ramadan at this link.
The #RamadanFast Team
Two Christian members of the GV Wire team, video producer Jamie Ouverson and social marketing strategist Charles Adkins, decided to join the fast. For them, it’s an experiment. But for GV Wire Publisher Darius Assemi, Ramadan is one of the five pillars of his Islam faith.
They are posting their thoughts and experiences in this space throughout Ramadan. In addition, Darius, Jamie and Charles would love to hear from you, too.
Two Days To Go
There are two left on the #RamadanFast and a lot has been discovered and learned during this month-long journey.
I have realized how strong my self-control is and that I am capable of doing anything I set my mind on. I believe fasting is good for your body and it becomes easier as the days go by.
But even though fasting is good for you, it is probably better to do it in a 16-hour fast instead of waiting almost 24 hours like I have been doing.
Fasting also is not the best weight-loss tool. This is probably due to my body working in starvation mode and holding on to every carb, fat or sugar that I consume.
Also, hangry is a real thing. I truly believe that many people should not fast if they can’t control their attitude or have extreme mood swings because no fast is worth causing pain to someone else. The fast is supposed to reflect positively to those who are not participating. The actions one commits during their fast may show their true intentions.
I think my favorite part of this journey is the humbling of oneself. To realize that people all over the world struggle with hunger and are less fortunate than me.
I am truly blessed with the life that I have been given. Please watch the video below of the Canadian Parliament member to understand the TRUTH behind Ramadan. Mark Holland gives a wonderful explanation.
Here’s a tweet from KOMO News assignment editor Kendra Gilbert in Seattle:
— Kendra Gilbert (@KLGnews) June 11, 2018
Canadian Politician Is a Non-Muslim Faster
Canadian Parliament Member Mark Holland, who is not a Muslin, is a veteran of the Ramadan fast. This marks the fourth straight year he has observed the fast. He takes the money he saves from not eating and gives it to food banks. The video below is from 2016.
Soccer Team Finds a Way To Refuel
Tunisian National team has played the last two friendlies while fasting. So, whenever the time comes to break Fast. The players have an agreement that the GK would go down so they can get a moment to drink some water and get something to eat 😂😂#Ramadan #tunisia pic.twitter.com/4Rgz380ukW
— Souhail Khmira (@SKhmira) June 2, 2018
Day 21: The fast is still moving along well. I have noticed that with the heat increasing here in the Valley, the not drinking liquids part is starting to become a bit of a task. With a combination of winds and 100+ degree heat, the cottonmouth can become an issue. I don’t get headaches or even feel hunger anymore, although the cravings are still there. My sense of smell being so strong is still probably the most annoying thing. I can smell fresh brewed coffee flowing throughout my neighborhood every morning and it is frustrating to know that I am not the one drinking it.
I still haven’t seen much weight loss, maybe 5l bs. or so, but I think that is because I pack all of my calories in at night and sleep on them. I could probably do a better job at watching that. At least we’re two-thirds of the way to the finish line. I am already thinking of how to celebrate. At this point, just having a nice lunch in the light of day would be a treat.
Day 5 — 7:53 a.m.: The changing of my sleep pattern is really starting to wear on my energy levels. I’m a person that generally eats dinner around 5:30 p.m. and is in bed by 9 p.m., then back up in the morning at 5 a.m. Now that I am having to wait until 8:05 p.m. to eat dinner. That keeps me awake until 1 a.m 2 a.m. and then I need to wake up again before 5 a.m. to be sure to eat before the sun rises.
This weekend was extremely difficult. I decided it best that I just stay inside my house all weekend and rest instead of trying to go out and be tempted by the world around me. I haven’t seen a huge amount of weight loss, about 2 pounds. I can assume from what I know about the human body that a lack of sleep makes it harder to shed weight. So so that could be a culprit as to why I am not losing as much as I assumed I would.
My sense of smell is definitely increasing and it seems as though I can smell food or freshly brewed coffee a full city block away at all times, which feels a bit like a superpower. On the downside, if I had to go on a flight right now I would be charged extra to check these bags under my eyes in as luggage.
If I could get to some kind of a regular sleep schedule I think it would make things quite a bit easier.
Day 1 – 7:30 a.m: I set my alarm for 4:45 a.m. just to get up and grab a quick breakfast. I figured I would go with oatmeal with some bananas to see if that will sustain me through the day. While eating I started searching for an app, because there’s an app for everything, that tracks the correct fasting times based on my location, and of course, I found one. It looks like today I won’t be eating again until 8:01 p.m. On the upside, I realized I woke up way too early to make the cutoff for morning time; the app said I had until 5:44 a.m.
As I’m writing this it is a little strange not to have my customary Trenta black iced coffee sitting on my desk and the magical powers it possesses to bring me to life in the morning. I think this Ramadan fast may work as a great springboard to help me kick the caffeine habit, which is something I have been wanting to do for a while now. If I can handle 30 days without it, I don’t see a reason to go back.
Will There Be Weight Loss?
On a side note, I did weigh myself this morning, and although I don’t plan on announcing that atrocious number to the world, I will let everyone know if there is any significant weight loss that comes from this experiment. My fear on that front is that I am going to be sitting in front of a restaurant waiting for the clock to hit 8:01 p.m. and immediately ruining my good works of the day. So again, this will be a test of my overall discipline, and I’m going to try my best not to make it about gaming the system and canceling out the health benefits that should be expected.
I already know this is going to be 90% mental for me, maybe closer to 99% mental. In fact, I can’t even remember the last time I ate because I was actually hungry. It always seems to come from boredom or to have “something to do” while I work, or just because I will see the time on the clock and think to myself, “well, I guess it’s an appropriate time to eat.” To assuage the annoyance of my brain based cravings, I plan on reading some books when I take a lunch break or when I find myself getting fidgety about food. Maybe this way I can knock out some of my “to read” list as a side effect of keeping myself occupied.
Until my next check-in, happy fasting!
Day 7 — 4:49 p.m.: I’m DYING of thirst! This whole fasting thing is crazy. That’s what I’m thinking about 90% of the time. Every morning I get up and stand on the scale and every morning I weigh exactly the same. I don’t get it. I mean, I get it biologically but all I’m asking for is a miracle, people. I don’t feel like it’s asking for too much!
Darius has informed me that I will lose weight in the last 10 days and that the first 20 days nothing will change. I’m an instant-gratification type of person, meaning no results really kills my motivation. The only thing keeping me going is my competitive nature. It makes me push even harder for results and prevents me from quitting my fast because other people in the office are doing it.
What I’ve discovered over the first 6 days of my fast is:
- Staying busy is the best way to avoid eating or getting hungry.
- Weekends are the hardest time to fast.
The weekends are usually my time to relax, let loose, and forget about all my problems. To take a breather and do the things I really want to do after a full work week.
I wanted to go boating. I thought, “what a grand idea.” The sky was blue with no clouds in sight. The cooler was full of beers and sandwiches for the other people attending this escapade. What I wasn’t thinking about is how hot it would be in 90-degree weather. With very little shade available, I fried like a lobster.
When you’re sitting in the hot sun and sweating, dehydration can occur a lot faster than it normally would. I held off from any water till about 5 p.m. and then I caved. I was dying and I rationalized with myself that you aren’t supposed to be unhealthy and do yourself bodily harm during your fast. I didn’t want to pass out from dehydration so I did what any rational thinking person would do… and grabbed an ice-cold bottle of water and chugged it. I discovered that it’s not breaking your fast if you are doing something that requires you to hydrate, I think? Well, whatever, I’m avoiding water when necessary and avoidable but in that case … I had to get my H2O on.
Day 1 — 4:56 p.m.: I wake up with a dry throat, that has that itch in the back of it that you can’t get to go away even when you try to hack up a lung… I think “a glass of water could really help my problem” but decide against it because I would be breaking my #ramadanfast within the first 5 minutes it started. Weird thoughts go through your mind when you’re thirsty. Thoughts like “When I’m taking a shower, if some water slips into my mouth does that mean I broke my fast?”
Probably only if I did it intentionally. How do you unintentionally get water into your mouth without premeditating the strategy and outcome? I figured out the answer, it would have to be a natural occurrence like rain, and as I ran to my car from my office’s front door, my mouth would open to breathe and then a drop of water would accidentally fly into my mouth and cure all my water deprivation problems. But I live in Fresno and the chances of rain during MAY is basically 1 in a million. I will have to settle with being thirsty all day. I hate settling.
Big Day and I’m Low on Fuel
The first day of my #RamadanFast happened to be a field shoot day meaning I had to lug 2 tons of equipment to another location other than my studio (my job is video productions). As I was preparing for my shoot at the CHSU College of Pharmacy to interview students of the first graduating class EVER, 30 boxes of pizza were delivered and the smell of crispy pepperoni, greasy cheese, and Italian spices filled the entire building.
The aroma was so strong that it was able to seep through the walls of my secluded space. My stomach started to growl. This is when the unspeakable happened (hence why I’m writing it). I was focused on pizza and trying to go over the interview questions with one of the CHSU staff members, my video camera sitting on a perfectly stable tripod behind us, toppled over like a ghost had pushed it and slammed to the ground. My heart stopped and I turned to see my camera laying their like roadkill. In that moment, I forgot entirely about my hunger because adrenaline kicked in. Adrenaline can do wonders for one’s waistline. When I picked up my camera, it was broken along with my heart. Can’t a girl get a break on her first day of FASTING!!
There are still 29 days left. We will see how the days will follow.