Tips to get over your love-hate relationship with food!

On the authority of Al-Miqdaam ibn Maadiy-Karib who said:
I heard the Messenger of Allah(SAW) saying: “No human ever filled a vessel worse than the stomach. Sufficient for any son of Adam are some morsels to keep his back straight. But if it must be, then one third for his food, one third for his drink and one third for his breath.” (Ahmad, At-Tirmidhi, An-Nasaa’i).

We’ve all heard the above hadith before at some point, and perhaps we’ve even heard it more than once. Why is it then, that when seeing it again guilt fills our hearts once more and we feel ashamed of the way we mistreat our bellies (me included!). Gluttony has become an overwhelmingly major part of our society; and it eludes us by posing as cultural heritage and identity. We are so proud of the flavourful foods we all bring to the table and love to taste those brought by others. We become so engrossed in food and eating that we have begun to spend endless hours thinking about what to eat, what we feel like eating at this moment, what’s for lunch, what’s for supper, is there milk in the fridge, will it last till breakfast, is there bread, and (my all-time favourite) is there something to snack on a bit later!

We spend so much of time thinking about food and eating it when we could be using this precious commodity much more productively. Just by thinking back to previous Ramadaans one is able to see how much more time you have when food is the last thing you want to think about! Think about those afternoons when Iftaar takes so long to come, or the hour or so you can spare for Taraweeh prayers at night. Where are those hours the rest of the year? In my opinion, they’re eaten away with leisurely lunch chats and supper banquets and there isn’t any way we would be able to find them the rest of the year until we stop focusing on our carnal desire of slurping down mouth-watering mouthfuls of food every second of the day!

So here are my top tips for Ramadaan-style time savers:

1. Make a solid intention – like you should before you start anything; you’re doing this because you want to follow a Sunnah, to please Allah, to increase your health and time, and to hopefully gain reward from it.

2. Fast on Mondays and Thursdays – following another Sunnah only means more rewards for you! And who is not short of rewards? Plus you’ll have more time in the day to get more important things done!

3. Plan a monthly menu – Spend an afternoon thinking about 30 breakfast, 30 lunch, 30 supper and 30 snack-time ideas for your whole family. Use recipe books, and the internet to help you with ideas – but keep it simple! (Use the book Tibbi-Nabawi (Medicines of the Prophet)) if you want to eat more foods like he (SAW) did. Write down meal ideas for every day, even if you plan fasting during the month. You can always carry the recipes you haven’t used on to the next month!

4. Do shopping once a month – Once you have your menu, make a list of all the ingredients, groceries you need for your monthly menu. If you have an ingredient that you’re only going to use once during the month, try to substitute it for something you would use more often. Have a budget and stick to it! Make a list and don’t get sidetracked by yummy goodies and specials in the store – a tough one, but remember your intention at the beginning!

5. Seek forgiveness – Talk to your Creator, and establish a relationship with Him. Keep reminding yourself that you’re doing this for His Pleasure! – And ask for baraqah in everything you do.

6. Rally support – Find all the hadith about looking after your body, eating less, and establishing a relationship with Allah – ask an aalim, or find them online. Get your husband and children involved and enjoying the new regime.

7. Plan your day and have productive things to do throughout it – Use Productive Muslim’s Daily Taskinator to manage your time better. Get the things you’ve always wanted to do done! Make some dreams come true; start a business, learn parts of the Quran off by heart, adopt a local charity and dedicate your time to it; you’ll find there’s so many things you can do with your newfound time! Download the Taskinator here:

Join me in my plan for a successful Ramadaan by following my top time-saving tips! If we do it together, we can keep ourselves motivated to carry on (even after Ramadaan!). Let’s all focus on gaining Akhirah right now, and leave the divine delicacies and luxuries for our eternity in Jannah!

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