This is a mini guide for people suffering from Eating Disorders, in recovery or those who have recovered from Eating Disorder. The aim of this guide is to help you have a safe and healthy Ramadan. The idea of creating this guide first came to mind last year, and it wouldn’t have taken shape if Diana Kalogridis from NEDA hadn’t thought it was a good idea. The writing of this guide is not a singular effort and it has only been made possible by all the literature on internet and in books:). I have tried to reference my work as fully as I can.
This guide has been developed to offer advice about what to eat for energy and wellbeing during the fasting period, how to manage your triggers, and staying healthy. The content on this blog is provided for your information only. Please consult your doctor on all matters regarding your health.
Ramadan: Muslim Holy Month of Fasting
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, when all healthy adult Muslims are required to fast. Muslims refrain from eating or drinking between dawn and sunset. They consume two meals: one before dawn and one at sunset. Since 2011, Muslims have been fasting during the summer months. This year a typical fast will last from 17-19 hours in most countries.
To read Imam’s Advice: Click Here.
Things to Consider- Responsible Fasting
Before You Decide to Fast – Ask Yourself this Question?
Who am I Fasting For?
Allah or my Eating Disorder? (To read about two types of fast Click Here).
When it comes to ill health, deciding whether or not to fast isn’t a spiritual issue. We fast for Allah only and Fasting for Allah is not intended to harm one’s health. Allah intends for your ease and not hardship.
Dr Ann Coxon, Consultant Physician at Harley Street said, “Fasting is incumbent on any healthy Person, but there are circumstances when a person cannot fast”.
Fasting is associated with Eating Disorder and Dieting is seen as a precursor to Eating Disorder. Many sufferers approach Ramadan with the thinking, ‘In Ramadan, I’ll be healthy, and healthy means going on a diet, cutting out food groups and feeding the needs of your Eating Disorder.’ As soon as the Ramadan fast opens, more of them fall into the vicious destructive cycle of Eating Disorder behaviours; many binge and then purge, and others try to restrain thereby causing more harm to their body.
Dr Coxon talks about conditions that make it impossible for you to fast during the month of Ramadan: “Obviously, any acute illness of a severity which requires you to take medication or which would make it harmful for you not to have water and food, and acute illnesses of whatever kind, means that you may not fast.” Illnesses that make it impossible for you to fast during the month of Ramadan will include Eating Disorders.
Our Short Video made by Alin Cretu from Romania on Ramadan Fasting
How Healthy Muslim Fasts?
Healthy Muslims will fast whilst continuing with their day-to-day routine; they will perform extra prayers, engage in good deeds, go to the mosque and spend time with family and friends.
Fasting Under the Guidance of Your Doctor
Those who suffer from Eating Disorder should consult their Doctor before Fasting, failing to do so is contrary to what Allah says in the Qur’an: Do not expose yourselves to ruin. (2: 195). Due to potential health complications, people with Eating Disorders may not be required to fast; though many still do. If you decide to fast, despite your illness, without consulting your doctor then this is a personal choice and not a religious one.
The Prophet (pbuh) said: “There shall be no inflicting of harm on oneself”. Similarly, it is not permissible for a Muslim to expose himself to the risk of illness or injury in any way or form. The Prophet (pbuh) said: “No believer may humiliate himself’. When he was asked how any person would humiliate himself, he said: “By exposing himself to risks with which he cannot cope”. Fasting does create a medical challenge. Those suffering from anorexia and bulimia may have blood glucose levels which are not well-controlled, which could place them at a very high risk of life-threatening complications. Fasting without the support of Your Doctor is exposing yourself to ruin and risk and this is very dangerous.
Those with anorexia nervosa and a low BMI shouldn’t fast since their bodies may not be able to withstand the stress of fasting.
Fasting Responsibly at a Healthy Recovered Weight
If you are Fasting this month of Ramadan, then please keep in mind you have to tread very very carefully. You should try to maintain your weight within your targeted band and this will mean tolerating weight changes and fluctuations without you drastically cutting back on your calories. You have to get the right balance between how much to eat and how much activity; if you don’t do that, you’ll become deficient in calories and energy, and there’s a risk of relapse.
Please watch this video on Ramadan Recovery by Kars Breanne. You can Email her at: email@example.com
Fasting with your Eating Disorder
Should only be done under your health care provider. As Ramadan Fasting is Fasting for Allah: You’ll have to be mindful and try to Take Care of Your Health, Body and Mind- there’s no other way. You’ll have to live in the Present. You’ll have to engage in a war against eating disorder and you’ll have to follow the advice of your health care provider.
Putting a STOP to Eating Disorder Behaviours in Ramadan
“Ramadan is not a Month to go on a Super Diet” – Dr Ann Coxon
“A fight with an eating disorder is a fight for the brain space: the more brain space you give to your ED, the stronger it becomes and the weaker you get. This works in reverse too: the less brain space the ED has, the weaker it becomes and the stronger you get.” – Dr Irina Webster.
In Ramadan there will be a strong temptation for you to decrease your diet, you will have a desire to purge your calories, either through vomiting or exercise. This is because your mind is telling you are inactive and you need to purge and exercise to justify eating. Change that thinking; nearly three quarters of everybody’s calorie intake is needed to keep them alive and not running around.
It’s compulsory that you DO NOT purge and vomit, and that you limit your exercise. While you’re in the midst of a fast, don’t try to work out at all – this will just cause your body to lose more muscle than necessary. For the month of Ramadan, do not involve yourself in any strenuous physical activities.
Please watch our short 1 Minute Video on Ramadan Fasting: Binging Purging Laxatives
In Anorexia Nervosa: The Wish to Change, it’s suggested: “We recommend you do not involve yourself in any regular, formal exercise or sport until you have had a considerable period of time learning to maintain your weight, for let’s say six months.”
If at all possible, find someone to supervise your fast – a family member, friend or colleague. Keeping a slow-paced and thoughtful environment will help you really get the most of the psychological and spiritual benefits of fasting.
“Allah does not impose upon any soul a duty but to the extent of its ability” [Qur’an 2:286]
The final messenger of God, Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) mounted the pulpit, then wept and said, “Ask Allah (swt) for forgiveness and health, for after being granted certainty, one is given nothing better than health.”
Related in Tirmidhi
Allah is not in need for us to stay hungry or to starve ourselves. What matters before Allah is us, our good character and our good deeds. You know you’re ill, you know you cannot stop your eating disorder at this stage, you know you need help. Don’t forget you are still engaging in the spirit of Ramadan and you will still receive the same reward. This is really a time for you to dive deep into who you are and learn about yourself. You will be performing a great deed. You will be taking care of your health, your spirit and your mind. Recovery from an eating disorder is indeed a journey and not a destination. Each day you commit to your recovery and fight your eating disorder, you are lessening the stronghold it has over you and empowering yourself to truly find freedom and lasting happiness.
Eating Disorder Fasting
This is a stark reality, and cannot be avoided. Some common side effects of Eating Disorder and Fasting are: mood swings, low energy, feelings of nausea, sickness, feeling unwell, constipation, and irritability. But there are other greater risks. Depending on your condition and how long you’ve lived with your Eating Disorder, for some sufferers, fasting carries multiple health risks:
Heart Failure: According to Carolyn Costin, “one third of deaths in anorexia are caused by cardiac complications. Severe weight loss causes atrophy of the heart muscle and diminished cardiac volume.” It will be much harder for patients with anorexia to fast.
Dehydration: is common during a fast. The body continues to lose water and salts through breathing, perspiring and urinating. If you don’t drink sufficiently before a fast, your risk of dehydration increases. This risk is higher in those using laxatives, taking diuretics and using purging behaviours.
Edema: swelling of any part of the body as a result of excess water accumulation, nutritional deficiency, purging/self-induced vomiting and misuse of laxatives and diuretics.
Headaches: This is due to dehydration, hunger, poor rest, or the absence of addictive substances, such as caffeine or nicotine.
Heartburn Acid Reflux- “People who induce vomiting, or have in the past, can have an increased risk of heartburn,” says Jacqueline L. Wolf, M.D., an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.
High Stress Levels: Lack of food and water, change of routine and shorter periods of sleep can cause stress. Fasting also raises the levels of the stress hormones called norepinephrine and cortisol. This is your body’s way of adapting to malnourishment and famine, to give you more energy for finding; this is not good for health.
Hypoglycaemia: decreased food intake is a well-known risk factor for the development of hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar). If you’re suffering from Diabulimia or you have diabetes, then fasting during Ramadan will increase the risk of severe hypoglycaemia. These sufferers are also at a greater risk of developing diabetic ketoacidosis, and the symptoms include: frequent urination and thirst, fatigue, nausea and rapid breathing.
Low Blood Pressure: Fasting lowers blood pressure, so you may feel weak, dizzy, or nauseous during the fast.
Refeeding Syndrome: According to Carolyn Costin, “All malnourished patients are at a risk of the ‘refeeding syndrome’ when nutrition repletion is initiated.” After 17-19 hours of fast, even an average healthy adult is not functioning properly. Introducing too much food too rapidly can lead to refeeding syndrome especially in the severely malnourished and emaciated person. (According to Carolyn Costin, in some cases patients who are deprived of nutrition for 7-10 days maybe in this category). A sudden shift to carbohydrate-based foods causes your body to release a flood of insulin to digest all those carbs, a process that requires large amounts of phosphate, potassium, magnesium, and several vitamins, especially thiamine (Vitamin B1). If you’ve been fasting or restricting or dieting for any length of time, though, these nutrients are severely depleted, suddenly needing a lot of them leads to serious acute deficiencies, causing heart failure, hypotension, and sudden death.
Food and Eating in Ramadan
People who choose to fast should work with their health care provider to develop a Balanced Eating plan for Ramadan, one that will be sufficient in nutrients/calories so your health is not compromised during long periods of fasting. You could make an appointment with a Registered Dietitian and receive tailored advice to help keep you safe during this Ramadan or follow the advice below by Dr Coxon.
“During a Fast you have an excellent opportunity to learn about your attitude to food, drink, your energy balance, sleep, your work, your time management and how you feel about yourself, people in your life, and how all of this feeds into spirituality.” Dr Coxon
Importance of Eating for Health and Energy in Ramadan
During the month of Ramadan, Muslims have two meals, one before sunrise and one after sunset. The common practice of eating large amounts of foods rich in carbohydrates and fats at one sitting should be avoided. Consumption of glucose drinks and sweets to suppress hunger should also be avoided. Most health problems that develop will stem from an unhealthy diet, under-eating, not taking enough fluid and not getting enough sleep.
According to Dr Webster: “The food you eat should be delicious, nutritious and most importantly, should not make you feel sick. Some people have done so much to their body that every time they eat or drink they get horribly bloated and feel sick and disgusted. Your calorie consumption depends on what age you are, what gender you are, your level of fitness and exercise, how much weight loss or gain you’ve had recently, your general health and what your goals are. So don’t obsess by counting calories, but be aware your body’s energy requirements.”
Please use following as Guideline
According to Dr Webster: “With the exception to Anorexia Nervosa, one you are in recovery from an eating disorder, your nutritional needs are similar to those of someone who has not has an eating disorder. If you have had anorexia, the number of calories your body needs to maintain your weight maybe higher for several years after weight restoration. A physician or a registered dietian familiar with Eating Disorder can help you determine your unique caloric needs.”
To find Out your daily intake of calories: Click Here NHS Guidelines
No Food Rules this Ramadan
By setting up ‘food rules’ you’ll simply be feeding your anxieties and setting yourself up for a fall, because the rules are likely to be unsustainable and unrealistic.
Balanced Eating is the Key
You must adhere to a healthy and balanced diet and increase your fluid intake during non-fasting hours. You must eat protein and complex carbohydrates at both meal times. You need to include foods from all food groups.
Foods for Ramadan
Protein: Chicken, Eggs, Fish, Milk, Lean beef.
Carbohydrates: Whole grains. Cereal. Potatoes. Rice. Bread. Pasta.
Fats: 1-2 teaspoon flaxseed oil. Olive oil. Canola or sunflower oil. Butter.
Any fruits or vegetables.
Ramadan Eating with Dr Coxon
Please bear in mind that this nutritional advice by Dr Coxon will keep your blood levels stable and will give you energy and stamina for the whole day. I have taken these tips from Healthy Muslims in Ramadan Video Series.
Protein is absolutely necessary in keeping the water within the circulatory system. Well hydrated body is MUST for Ramadan. Eating Disorder sufferers often reduce their protein intake to unhealthy levels which is dangerous because this creates a deficit in the raw materials that the body needs to function. If your protein is low in the blood, the fine blood vessels can’t hold onto the water they need, and it leaks out of the body into soft tissues; if you’re standing, then it will be on the soft tissues of your legs. Some people with malnutrition develop water in the bellies and water in the legs because they don’t have enough protein in their diet. So low protein will lead to a tiring Ramadan, a Ramadan with low stamina and dehydrated body.
Dr Coxon says:
Try eating whole grain sources of starchy carbohydrates, lentils and/or oats as these foods release energy slowly which can help to maintain your blood glucose levels and make you feel less hungry.
Plan Your Day for Your Body and Energy and Food
Dr Coxon emphasised the need to create your day mind fully. This is important because you need to know how much to eat and how much activity you’ll be doing for the day. According to Dr Coxon, “you have to know how to pace your body through the day for its demands, so as not to abuse yourself. You must have times of rest, times when you have reflections as well as times when you have enjoyments”.
You need to understand the importance of food in body. You wouldn’t put diesel in a friary. And similarly, you’ve got to put good petrol in yourself. Good Food choices are really important in Ramadan. Waiting until the last-minute to decide what you are going to eat and drink is a recipe for disaster.
So Ask yourself a Few Questions
What am I going to do today?
What am I going to do for the rest of the day? ( because you will need enough fuel to last you for the rest of the day.)
How much food do you need for your energy?
What do I Eat and When do I Eat?
Today might be different from tomorrow. So think and plan your Food intake accordingly. Plan your meals the day before or weekly so that you know what you are going to eat. Use your eating plan to do this and stick with your plan!
Download Weekly Meal Planner: Weekly Meal Planner
Things to Avoid: the following are implicated in lowering your mood.
Hydration for Ramadan
What to Have for Suhoor? (Early Morning)
Many people tend to skip this important meal of the day. According to Dr Coxon, you have to Eat Properly. “This is Essential. When you are making your niyah (intention), make it with the food. Don’t forget when planning and eating that food is to enable you to fast for Allah.”
Small Steps to a Healthy Suhoor Time
You need at least 30 minutes to feed and hydrate your body; so get up in plenty of time. You have to drink a lot of water but you need your water to attach to something. It’s a disaster to have your water attached to glucose early in the morning.
Don’t Forget You’ll need 20-30 grams of Protein in Your Breakfast.
Dr Coxon: “What you need is water connected with salt. If you start your day without salt, you’ll soon run out of energy. You need soup. Start with a decent soup, a soup with meat. Why? Because it takes a long time for the body to digest it, stays in the blood as it circulates and it keeps the water in the blood stream so your blood pressure remains stable. In order to get salt in the soup, put spices in the soup.”
Dr Coxon: “Vegetable soup, just plain Vegetable soup will not work in Ramadan. It will be over too quickly. You need a decent bowl of soup with other forms of liquid like yogurt; your yogurt could be plain. The protein in the yogurt is good for you.”
Dr Coxon recommends: “Have some porridge made with milk, Fouls, or an Egg with pita bread.”
Some Breakfast Ideas with 20-30g protein:
Cheesy Egg Muffin (25g)- boil an egg and toast a whole-wheat English muffin. Once the egg is cooked, layer 1/2 cup low-fat cottage cheese on top of the muffin and top with the egg, sliced.
Chia Crunch– (22g) combine 1/3 cup of cooked quinoa with 3/4 cup low-fat Greek yogurt and 2 teaspoons of chia seeds.
Closing Your Fast
Dr Coxon says: “when you think you have had enough, take a glass of water and close your fast. No Tea/Coffee Please. Caffeine stimulates faster water loss. Try to avoid all sugary drinks”.
You cannot purge this meal through vomiting, because vomiting invalidates the fast. Do not go for exercise either. You have to allow the food to stay in your body.
Breaking Your Fast
Breaking the fast correctly is one of the most important ways to prevent any health problems. People often forget their digestive system has slowed down and they make the mistake of introducing too much food too quickly. Your system needs time to readjust to normal digestion and assimilation. Not taking the proper measures can result in stomach cramps, nausea, and even vomiting.
Water and Three Dates
According to Dr Coxon: First thing you want is sugar. You don’t need much of it. A very little will do you good. This can be done with three dates very easily. When you have water with dates it immediately hydrates the brain. If you have too much sugar when you break your fast then what happens is you become very sleepy and that’s the brain’s protection from getting you to eat any more.
Drink your water slowly. The urge to drink rapidly will probably be strong. Resist it! Look at the clock and make it a point to drink it over the course of at least one minute.
You will be feeling great now and perhaps want to just eat and get it over with. You may be extremely hungry, and even feel a sense of desperation related to food and eating. Don’t react to it! Go and Pray. Pray in order to humble yourself and purify your worship.
Dr Coxon: “If you think you can live your Ramadan on Glucose and Sweets then you are going to become very sick and quickly begin to feel faint because your body will not be maintaining the water where it needs to be, which is in your circulation; thereby keeping your blood pressure high and keeping all of the tissues full of oxygen which is the purpose of the circulation of blood.”
Don’t forget you’ll need 20-30 grams of protein in your meal
According to Dr Coxon:
The next thing you’ll be eating in your food which is needed for healthy distribution in your body is salt. Without salt you could very quickly experience low blood pressure. Salt and protein together keep your blood pressure up. The other thing about salt is, it’s a mineral, and minerals help to maintain the health of the muscle fibre as well as strength.
Your first meal should contain Protein and water, because Protein stabilises energy.
If you eat sugar, like honey, then it goes fast into the body and fast out of it. At the end of the night it’s all gone. If you eat protein, it doesn’t even start working for an hour and then it starts working for 2-4 hours and more.
What you’re going to Eat, How Much and When?
Maintaining calories and nutritional balance is important. We all need maximum nutrition. If you are going to the Mosque to perform Night prayers then you’d need enough energy and fuel to get you through that night but not glucose, because glucose will make you feel sleepy.
Download Guide to Portion Sizes by Castlewood treatment Centre: Portion Sizes
Eating smaller meals is the best every 2 hours or so. Your body will function better through the night.
Dr Coxon Recommends
Barley Soup with Lamb
“Have some Barley Soup with Some Lamb in it. This is a soup of faith. It was eaten by the Prophet. It’s a clear medicine of the Prophet. It gives you your protein, your salt and your carbohydrates in the form of Barley in a slower form, which gets you through a decent period of prayer. If you’ll be doing more after the prayer, then you’ll need to eat a bit more for energy before you go to sleep.”
Jane Nodder Recoomends World Cancer Research Society’s Healthy Soups
Meals with 20-30 grams of protein:
Quinoa and lentils (18g) 1 cup quinoa, 1/2 cup lentils and 1/2 cup roasted tomatoes.
Grilled Salmon with Broccoli and brown rice (26.6g) Choose a piece of fish that’s the size and thickness of your palm, that’s your 20g. 3-4 oz. grilled Salmon, 1 cup broccoli 1 cup brown rice.
Pinto Beans, Roast Peppers & Kale Soup (18g) Sprinkle an ounce of grated Parmesan on this dish for a little extra protein.
After Night Prayers, Dr Coxon says: “now you can have something which will aid in your sleep and you can have some fast carbs.”
By Dr Coxon
Don’t eat the same thing every day. Look for a range of things that are available.
Don’t liquidise your soup.
Use lentils, chickpeas and fouls, in solid form because the body takes a long time to digest it and the lentil will still be working in the body 2 or 3 hours ahead.
Don’t liquidise your lentils. If you turn lentil into a lentil soup then it will be used up in an hour. Have them in solid form in your stews, soups, salads.
Add some Fat and Olive Oil to your Food.
Tips on Mindful Eating, Click Here
How to Eat When Not Fasting
“Your Lord has not forsaken you, nor has He become displeased. And surely what comes after is better for you than that which has gone before. And soon will your Lord give you so that you shall be well pleased.” [Qur’an 93:3-5]
You may be worried about eating while others are fasting. But please do keep in mind, you don’t have to draw unnecessary attention to yourself. You can select a time that’s appropriate and consume all your meals within that time frame. Stick to your meal times to ensure you know when you are going to eat and don’t make excuses about Ramadan and insufficient time to do so.
Please Eat three meals with three small snacks.
Please ensure each meal contains starch, protein and vegetables, with fruit and/or dessert.
For breakfast, lunch and dinner: Fill half of a 9-inch plate with vegetables and the other half with equal portions of carbohydrates and protein, along with a tea spoon of fat, If you feel that eating a whole plate will make you sick, don’t eat the whole plate at once; leave some for later.
There will be times, when you do not feel like eating. The reasons could be due to feelings of worry or anxiety, panic about eating too much or going out of control. It is for these reasons; you should stick to your meal plans.
“Constantly remind yourself that your feelings and urges to starve, binge-purge, over-exercise and take laxatives are not a real need. They are a symptoms of an eating disorder, a medical disease you have which is in your mind.”
Safety/Spiritual/Emotional Well Being in Ramadan
First Three Days of Fast
During the first three days of Ramadan, one will notice some reactions in the body. Your body is used to consuming food and water many times a day. When there is sudden lack of food intake, one may feel weakness, dizziness, nausea, etc. There may be also a drop in blood pressure and slight headaches. You should just take rest or lie down whenever these symptoms become intense.
“Until you can understand that nothing can happen to you, nothing can ever come to you, or be kept from you, except in accord with your state of consciousness, you do not have the key to life”.
Ramadan triggers vary from individual to individual. But common triggers include: emotional issues, relatives, images- celebrities, pictures of food, recipes, Ramadan cooking programs on TV, eating with others, stress, exhaustion, temptation to overindulge, cut back on food and exercise to name a few. Slipping into a mood swing may be much more common than usual. Watching others discuss their weight loss goals, while one is on maintenance and receiving weight comments is also very triggering.
You only need to change your mind to beat your eating disorder and maintain this state for the rest of your life. Always look after your emotional state- this is a key to your success.
Please Click on the links below
You slipped up. What to do?
Continue Action- Do not Give Up, if you give up, you’ll never learn to defeat your Eating Disorder. It takes time, but you can work around the behaviours and self-realization is a key here.
Mindfully Create Your Day
Ramadan is to do with your overall well-being, cleansing your heart, mind, spirit and improving your emotional spiritual outlook.
Actively visualise the day you desire and the qualities you wish to bring to it, such as serenity, love or patience. Mindfully engaging with your thoughts in this way can produce long-term positive effects in well-being as you establish the neural networks that counter-balance negative thinking, while promoting the likelihood of engaging with the positive things that you have visualised and want to experience during the day.
Don’t be Passive this Ramadan
According to Dr Webster: “people who are not busy and have nothing else to do, spend more time on ED obsessive actions… binge-purge, tend to read food labels to the extreme, spend more time measuring their body parts and counting calories etc. Anorexia sufferers who are not busy tend to keep looking for any change that might look like they are getting fat. They live on the scales and if they put on 1 gram they freak out.”
We are free when we take responsibility for ourselves.
Fill your Ramadan with light activities, like reading, meditation, breathing exercises, working on your computer, walking in the woods, praying, volunteering, knitting, driving short distances, etc.
Use Positive Affirmations to Influence your Mind.
The capacity of the brain to change doesn’t diminish with age; Change your thoughts. Replace them with these positive affirmations. Perform this exercise in a relaxed emotional state because the affirmations you are going to use should reach your subconscious mind.
A Man was not created to develop unhealthy obsessions with food, weight and body. “Know, O beloved, that man was not created in jest or at random, but marvellously made and for some great end. Although he is not form everlasting, yet he lives for ever; and though his body is mean and earthly, yet his spirit is lofty and divine” ―Imam Ghazali
Let the beauty we love be what we do. Rumi
The only lasting beauty is the beauty of the heart. Rumi
When you gain power over your adversary pardon him by way of thanks for being able to overpower him. Imam Ali
You are love. You come from love. You are made by love. You cannot cease to love. Hazrat Inayat Khan
Do not enslave yourself to others when the Glorious God has created you free. Imam Ali
Dealing with Negative Thoughts on Food
Taken from Cure your Eating Disorder- 5 Steps program to Change your Brain
This happens because stressful thoughts, chemicals in the brain and their compulsions have become stuck in a loop. The loop works like this:
Bad thoughts make a person perform the compulsion s like binging/purging and or starving themselves.
Try looking at yourself from a third person perceptive.
And you may have a completely different opinion regarding your actions. (Below are few examples of of how you should take mental note of your own behaviour and look at yourself from third person perspective).
“Does she really need to starve? The scales show that she is already underweight and everyone would tell her that she is too skinny. She doesn’t need to starve herself anymore. She should start eating and not worry so much about her weight.”
“Does she really need to binge tonight? She binges and purges everyday. That’s beyond awful. No wonder she doesn’t have friends. Who can tolerate that? She really needs to do something else tonight instead.”
On Dealing with ED Voice
When your Eating Disorder talks to you.. Talk back to it. Call it by its real name: Anorexia, Bulimia or just ED.
For instance you can just say:
“Bulimia, you want me to binge and purge again, you want to take over my life and control me but this time I am not listening to you. I am not listening to you anymore. I want to be free. I want to take control away from you. Stop sending me your stupid messages. I will not respond anymore. You are my enemy.”
By talking back to your ED in this manner you will learn to separate yourself from your anorexia-bulimia. You will identify anorexia-bulimia as something different, perhaps like your enemy.
So when the urge to comes to you, you can say “It’s my enemy trying to mislead me. I will not conform”.
Body Scan Meditation
This is excellent to control anxiety and stress-related disorders. Body-scan meditation guides you in systemically breathing into each part of your body, identifying the different sensations, experiences and thoughts you have as you cultivate your awareness.
Meditation is highly effective for people with Eating Disorders. Meditating twice a day 30-45 minutes will have a positive impact on a person’s mental health, particularly anxiety. The more you meditate the more you benefit. Dr Cecilia d’felice “what is important is that you approach the meditation with openness to the experience, observing the sensations that arise in you without judgement, just noting them and letting them go. 4 Tips on How to Do Dynamic Meditation for Eating Disorders
Two Islamic Relaxation Exercises: when you feel anxious, on edge.
Ramadan Healing through Prayers
What a better way to heal then Qur’an and Salah? I blogged about this last year. Please click on the links below for Ramadan prayer guide/supplications.
When Fast is not going Well
After consulting with your Doctor and Imam, write down your criteria for what will make you stop the fast, (“I will stop fasting if my blood pressure drops below _____________”, “I will stop fasting if I lose __________ pounds”, “I will stop fasting if I fail to follow my eating plan” or “I will stop fasting if I am vomiting and purging my food”) and stick to them during Ramadan.
During the long period of fasting, you may experience some complications or problems. If you experience palpitation, drop in body temperature, dizziness, fainting and nausea, then you must break your fast. You are allowed to do that. If you are unable to stand up due to dizziness, or you are disoriented, you should urgently drink regular, moderate quantities of water – ideally with sugar and salt – Dioralyte or Lucozade.
Action Plan for Relapse Prevention
If you are beginning to feel overwhelmed with ED behaviours, anxiety or hopelessness. Ask yourself these questions:
In time, the feelings will subside, particularly if you do not ruminate on them or let your internal judge get the better of you. Once they have subsided, reward yourself with something nurturing, like a deep, warm and fragranced bath. Repeat this process until crisis is over.
I urge the families to offer all the support they can do to the sufferer. Avoid behaviours that will trigger their disorder and be supportive and loving in Ramadan.
Ramadan Recovery Gift
Buy a Self Help Book. Research has proved self-help books can be enormously effective.
Jane Nodder’s recommendations: She suggested these books at a workshop in Richmond on 2nd June 2015
Join Online treatment Program:
Binge Eating Disorder/Compulsive Eating- Contact Catrina Bengree Nourish ‘N Nurture Ltd for Free Consultation. firstname.lastname@example.org
To Download Free Book: Click Here
My name is Malak Saddy, and I’m an eating disorder dietitian practicing in my Dallas, TX, office, and virtually. I was raised in a Lebanese Muslim American household, where culture, food, religion, and family are of course an integral part of our culture. I was always the little girl in the school cafeteria with a small tub of hummus, raw vegetables, and pita slices, or leftover shawarma and falafel sandwiches. Of course, my spread always intrigued my friends’ curiosity, and looks of antipathy, while they gobbled their hot dog sandwiches, and stale french fries. I always had to come up with creative excuses of why I wasn’t allowed to go to sleepovers, birthday parties, or the movie! I understand the challenges of adapting to two different cultures, and the impositions they take.
Mental health, and eating disorders are often difficult topics to discuss in many cultures. I recognize that, and am sensitive to these issues and would love to be of service to you, as your dietitian, on your road to recovery.
Malak Saddy RD, LD, CEDRD
9535 Forest Lane, Suite 258
Dallas, TX 75243
(972) 525-0893 – Fax
DFW IAEDP – Hospitality Co-Chair
Love Yourself × All Foods Fit × Body Positive
“When you have an eating disorder, a dietitian is the last person you want to talk to. I am that person now, but I am very lucky to have been able to work with Malak. It was so easy to talk to her, and not have to worry about explaining my culture, and background. She was able to relate and understand where I was coming from and how I felt. She has a genuine approach and an encouraging attitude. Malak truly helped me change my life”
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Thank you to Everyone for their Help from America, Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Caribbean, Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia, Mali, Turkey, UK, Pakistan, Middle East, Egypt, Romania, Croatia, India, Bangladesh. Thank you for help with the blog, social media and translation. My deepest gratitude for all your help.
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