[Interview Series ]:How To Lose weight With Portion Control and stay Fit In Ramadan

Today in our Ramadan Interview Series we have Sana Afzal. Sana is a mama to one and a weight loss transformation success story. Today she is sharing what motivated her weight loss, how she dealt with criticism and her number one tip for weight loss.

You can read previous interviews from the Ramadan series here and here.

Assalamoalaikum Sana !!! How are you ? I am so excited to have you here on the blog.

Thank you SO much Sarah. It really is an honor! Never thought I’d inspire enough to be featured on a blog – total celeb moment lol!.

Hahaha!!!! Time flies so fast, doesn’t it??? We are almost half way through Ramadan SubhanAllah !! This year though , with the Quarantine things have been quite different . What are your feelings about it?

SubhanAllah, we ARE almost halfway through!I never thought I’d experience a Ramadan like this one – but I have to be honest it’s been oddly refreshing. We have to be nowhere, we arent running in all different directions and we are able to focus on the things that we weren’t able to before.Don’t get me wrong, I miss the hustle bustle of ramadan – the run to the masjid; coming together for iftaar and praying together in jamaat in the mosque with people from all walks of life. Right now though, I’m thankful for this pause.. its made me realize how important it is to count your blessings and its also helped shift gears when it comes to family and priorities.

I totally agree with you;this pause was much needed. Coming over to your Transformation journey. Tell us what actually motivated you towards it?

I think there comes a time in ones life where you just know that its now or never. I have to suck it up and do this!For me the motivation was firstly wanting to have kids, and secondly to be able to stay alive to raise those kids. I was 117kgs at my highest weight in April 2017 – and at that point in time I just knew that if change had to happen, it had to happen now or else I’d be stuck in this rut forever.

Mashallah you have come a long way Sana. What kept you going and how did you deal with criticism?

Honestly if I didn’t start seeing a difference, I wouldn’t have continued. Its a brutal process and I was miserable.So for me to keep going I had to figure out what was going to work for me. I knew I could live off liquids a few days a week (healing your gut after a really bad episode of food-poisoning will teach you a lot of things). So initially that’s what I did – I went on a liquid diet for 2 weeks. I would puree lentils and rice or add shredded chicken to the soups/stock. If I felt like I needed something more substantial but I’d mainly stick to broths and fresh juices.At the end of those two weeks I weighed myself and saw the scale drop 6.2 kgs. I’d not seen the scale move in months so for me this was HUGE. Something just went off in me and I just knew that this was doable and I could stick to this.

The sad reality of our society is that your weight and appearance determines the way people will judge you. So when I did start losing the weight, the same people who didn’t want to share space with me before when I was bigger were now wanting my diet plan and asking me all sorts of “health-related” questions.People said all sorts of things and they still do – you just learn to ignore them and do your own thing.

I agree!!! Such a sad reality!!! Sana I feel one of the hardest thing post weightloss is maintaining it and sticking with healthy eating habits. What are your tips regarding that?

For me portion control has been my life-saver. I still to this day do it and its the best thing I’ve done for myself. I eat every food group. I have my rice and my roti, heck I even have parathas and naans but I don’t eat all of it. I’ll eat half of it one meal and usually pack up the other half for another meal the same day or following day. Just depends on my mood. I dont think I’ve finished a whole burger in one sitting since summer 2017 – I always cut it in half and put the half away. If we eat out, I actually ask the restaurant to pack half my food to go even before it comes out.Always drink water before a meal and always drink water when you’re feeling hungry. Most likely you’re thirsty but your brain signals hunger because the stomach is growling.

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#saturdaytransformation – ⁣ ⁣ The image on the left is me at a wedding in 2016, and the right one is me 2 weeks ago. ⁣ ⁣ I remember the judgement my weight brought along. I was at a dinner once and an acquaintance saw me get up for seconds and made this face – dont think I'll ever forget how it made me feel. I felt judged and degraded.⁣ ⁣ So when in summer 2017 I started changing my eating habits, I went silent. I stayed off the radar for 4 months – it was easier because I was traveling initially and by the time I got back to Doha, most of my friends had left for their summer breaks. I didnt have any distractions and I totally stopped eating out. ⁣ ⁣ Come fall 2017, I noticed the dynamic of people around me flipped. The never ending comments and the judgement in peoples eyes for me, suddenly changed into praise, wonder and questions. You see people will always be people. No filters, no manners, always curious!! ⁣ You know what I did, I worked my ass off! That's what i did. ⁣ ⁣ I changed my narrative, my mindset and my direction. I wanted a baby and I came to terms with the fact that I HAD to make a change.. and if I didnt do it now, I'd always hate myself for not giving it my all. ⁣ ⁣ I portion controlled like hell. I still do. I dont eat more than what I can afford and I'm still stuck at the same weight I was post-delivery 176lbs. Today I had two burgers for lunch.. yes TWO. They were over a period of 3 hours, I ate half a burger and waited to see if I wanted more. i did, so I ate it because who can refuse good bbq. I know tomorrow I'll be eating my limited portion again because for me I CAN'T give up food, but I CAN give up how much I eat of it. ⁣ ⁣ Moderation is key. ⁣ Also ask yourself what your why is!! Discover yourself and figure out what's stopping you from making the change? Because trust me your 1001 excuses are all BS! ⁣ You have to learn to be your biggest support system and cheerleader. It's a gruesome process, this weightloss! Its exhausting and mentally challenging at the best of times. ⁣ ⁣ So let's make a pact – to stop self-sabotaging. To stop worrying about others and thinking of ourselves!! Be selfish!!

A post shared by Doha Mom Blogger | Sana (@chaiwithsana) on

Sana we all know how much over indulgence happens during Ramadan. What are your tips to manintaing a balance, staying healthy and fit during the month?

Ramadan is hard for me because I love my fried foods. I can eat a plateful of pakoray and not care. This ramadan though I have been using my airfryer alot as we wanted to cut down our unhealthy food consumption. We’ve also resorted to having dinner one day and doing the iftaar menu the other day. Its easier to manage for me too because then I don’t have to spend extra time in the kitchen prepping food .Some awesome options for iftaar are fresh fruits, soups loaded with veggies and some protein, baked goods. As far as suhoor options go, we love our proper desi spread but have now started incorporating lots of parfaits, overnight oats and eggs etc into our diet. We also love having dates and laban for suhoor too.I honestly haven’t found the time to workout because I’m literally running after a toddler all day. And I guess that counts as workout too.

Great tips and meal ideas Sana !! It was a pleasure to have you on the blog. We are definitely inspired. I would love for you to end this session with a message for our readers.

Weight loss is a very personal journey. While you’ll have extremely supportive friends and family some might not really care about your struggles and journey and thats ok. Find your motivation and what makes you move; and use that to fuel yourself. I hope and pray that you all have an amazing ramadan and a wonderful Eid ahead. Please stay safe!

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