Well, I have to say I love challenges where I push myself to new limits and do stuff I haven’t done before.
So here I am, sitting on the couch of my living room being hungry and thirsty. It’s the first day of Ramadan in Norway. The reason why I wanted to join is that I heard so much about it and wanted to try it for myself and find out what it is all about.
Fasting is something we find in many cultures and is scientifically proven to be healthy. One example is the keto lifestyle where people fast for about 14 hours daily and it helps them losing weight. You can read more about Keto-lifestyle and how to turn your body into a fat burning machine on the blog from Jamie Hyatt.
Fasting is not unknown to me. I have lived the keto lifestyle for a while where I didn’t eat between 8:00 pm – 12:00 pm. But most of the time of the fast is while sleeping. With Ramadan it is from dawn to dusk you don’t eat and no drinking included. This is going to be a real challenge.
Me joining Ramadan is not something out of the blue. I was planning to join my friend last year but then she got pregnant and my plans fell in the water. I thought I couldn’t do it on my own. But how wrong I was thinking I would be alone without her. I do get support and respect from all my Muslim friends. Not only those that live around me, but also those I have contact with on the internet.
Ramadan is the holiest month for Muslims. Every year, Muslims around the world fast from dawn to dusk for about 30 days. This includes abstaining from drinking, eating, immoral acts and anger.
Fasting is one of the five pillars of Islam. There is also a verse in the Quran that prescribes fasting for all Muslims who are mature and healthy enough to do so for the full day.
Ramadan is the ninth month in the Muslim lunar calendar where every month begins at the start of a new moon. That explains also why Ramadan for us with the Gregorian calendar, starts every year 11 days earlier.
I was happy the first day would be my day off. They say it is the hardest day of all. But soon I realize it would have been easier if I had been at work.
What did I get myself into? I am watching the clock ticking like a crazy person. And counting down the hours. My last meal was the night before. I know I won’t get that hungry if I don’t eat breakfast in the morning but 21 hours without food is a very long time.
The day is almost done just a bit more than an hour to go. I am hungry and I am thirsty. My mind is playing games with me. Trying to give me 100 excuses why I should break the fast now and not wait until its time to break it.
Here are a few of them:
1. This is my favorite one for now: You are not a Muslim. Why did I even say yes to this? Start eating and drop out.
Well, a challenge is a challenge and it is only the first day. I am a very strong-minded person. It would be a big defeat dropping out the first day. So I man up (or girl up) and holding out.
2. Nobody will know. Nobody will know if I took a bite or not. I can say I did fast until the set time but who will know I didn’t.
I would know. I am a strong girl and this is a piece of cake. Just find something to do that puts my mind of food.. wait did I say food. Oh man, I shouldn’t. My stomach is making some strange noises.
3. I can drop out one hour earlier. I have a flute lesson I have to attend. Can’t show up all shaking, weak and with a rumbling stomach.
I take a shower with the plan to eat after but then I tell myself I can do this and wait an hour more. I come out refreshed determent to make it. My teacher tells me she is late. I am not allowed to swear but now I am thinking about some nice words. To my teacher: not your fault don’t worry won’t hold it against you. Now I have to wait 30 minutes longer before I can eat. I ask my friend if it is ok to break the fast 40 min earlier and hope he says no so I don’t get weak and break the fast too early. And he did. So am still sitting very hungry.
The clock is ticking so slow. Need to keep my mind off it or I will get weak. I went a bit earlier to the school and waited in the car. In my mind, I am planning what I am going to eat. It is easier being away from home and food. Thinking about what I am going to eat later it’s kind of happy and satisfying thing to do.
My conclusion of the first day:
It is tough doing daily things while fasting. I do get more respect for the Muslims that do this every year. But day one is over and I am proud I stayed strong. Food has never tasted any better.
I am not really a person that can eat in the morning. But I thought I could give it a try for this day. So today I went out of bed at 3 am and made myself some breakfast and a fresh ginger tea. But I do regret it already. My stomach doesn’t feel that well and now I am getting hungry earlier than yesterday. I tell myself that I won’t eat breakfast again.
Being at work seems to make it easier to hold out. I am starting to get hungry but I know that when I come home I can start making dinner. In my head, I am already planning what I am going to make.
I made a delicious cauliflower soup with spinach and a fish I found in the freezer. Not sure what kind of fish it was but it tasted good. Usually, I would top it with crispy bacon but Muslims don’t eat pork. I am not Muslim but I did join Ramadan. It just felt so wrong using the bacon. Even though I took it out of the fridge and almost let it tempt me. I didn’t give in and put it back. Eating after a fast is not that easy as I thought. The food tastes amazing but my stomach is protesting against all the food I put in it to overcome my hunger and it doesn’t feel good at all. I go to bed with a pain in my stomach.
I wake up very early and my stomach is hurting. 4 am I am going to the kitchen and make myself some fresh ginger tea. I need to get enough fluids in my body to get through the day is what I am thinking. But an hour later I am in and out of bed to go to the bathroom. My stomach is still upset from the food I ate yesterday so I decide not to eat at all this early morning. I need to figure this food-thing out.
I am obsessed with food. There is nothing else I think about than my next meal. I try to put my mind off it but my friends from Pakistan are 3 hours ahead of me and already eating. It is really hard talking about food when being so hungry and still have to wait some hours. Swearing is not allowed but I am throwing some nice names to them in my mind when they talk about eating fresh, delicious watermelons. I try to get my mind off it but they don’t really help.
I asked another friend what I should eat to avoid my stomach issues and he told me to eat light food and not to eat like a hungry pig when I finally can break the fast. So tonight I started the break with a salad and some crackers. Then a few hours later I ate the rest of my cauliflower soup I made the day before. This time my stomach doesn’t hurt that bad but still, it doesn’t feel good.
I wake up at 3:30 am and the only thing I can think about is FOOD. I am not even hungry but I am totally obsessed about it knowing I will be hungry most part of the day. A half hour later I decide I make myself some fresh ginger tea and some crackers. Usually, I will fall asleep again after an hour or so and sleep a few more hours until I have to go to work, but this morning I have a doctors appointment in the city and have to get up before 7 am. I try to sleep but it is really hard to fall asleep after I ate that early breakfast so I don’t sleep at all. I know this is going to haunt me. Now I will be hungry for the rest of the day.
8:00 I am so hungry I can eat a horse. In my mind I am hitting my head against a wall and telling myself how stupid I was eating that early. But I am determined not to give up. I love having this power, keeping strong and reach my goal. Especially the feeling of triumph when it finally is evening and I can eat. To be honest I do like Ramadan. It takes my mind off the daily things that stress me out and I am only thinking about my next meal. Even when I am feeling totally miserable in my body, I do feel strong and happy in my mind and feel really relaxed.
When I finally come home from work, I made a lasagna and ate some salad with beans and raisins before the lasagna was finished. And finally, my stomach is at ease. Small portions of food spread over the evening are doing the trick. Now I start to look forward to tomorrows fasting.
I slept through the whole night and woke up after the set time I could eat. I do feel great and am ready for a new day. Until I start to feel pain in my stomach and go to the bathroom. My period came and according to Islam law, I can’t fast while having my period. I feel disappointed I have to break the fasting for a few days. Was expecting I would be happy with a valid excuse not to fast but once I set a goal I am very determined to follow it through.
I am actually looking forward to continuing the fast.
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