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6 ways I Transformed “The Hardest Ramadan Ever” to The Best Ever!



6 ways I Transformed “The Hardest Ramadan Ever” to The Best Ever!

This has been the most unusual Ramadan for me! Since day 1, I have been hearing how difficult Ramadan is this year, what with the extra long hours and extreme Cairo heat. I have had numerous conversations with people struggling with sleep or thirst or hunger or spirituality. I have seen productivity around me go down to an all-time low. Yet for me this was farthest from the truth.

I certainly understand where everyone is coming from, but for the first time ever I didn’t jump on the bandwagon. As a result, I have energy, and I feel fit, healthy, positive, peaceful, and productive.

Here’s what I did DIFFERENTLY this year, compared to previous years:

The synopsis (if you’re in a hurry and just want the un-embellished bottom line):
1. Eat little, eat later and eat clean; 2. Drink WATER like your life depends on it (it does); 3. MOVE; 4. LOVE without judgment; 5. GIVE without thought; 6. WORK the hours away. And the icing on the cake: get spiritual in the process!

The story (if you have time for some of the details)



In previous “Ramadans” I would often practice what I now call thoughtless indulgence, i.e. I eat what’s there without thinking too much about what it is or how much there is of it on the plate. After all “I’ve been fasting all day, I can eat whatever I want.” “Do you expect me to deprive myself? Really?!”


True, I have been fasting all day and I CAN eat whatever I want. This year, my husband and I decided to have LIQUIDS for iftar. So I just drink a lot of water and then have a healthy soup or smoothie or fresh juice.

Then we have “dinner” at 9:30ish and by that time we aren’t food-obsessed so it ends up being a salad or other light meal that we actually enjoy rather than just ingest. (We might have a couple of dates and a handful of nuts at some point too.)

And of course there have been a few days where we ignored all that and just ate 🙂 but even then, we found ourselves incapable of eating as much as previous years and we naturally gravitated towards the healthier options or smaller portions of the non-so-healthy ones.




I most definitely have never been a water person. There are many days I would only drink one glass of water, if I drank at all (yes, I know that’s bad). And Ramadan was no exception.


Water is the theme of the month! Water for iftar, water for sohour, and water in between!

For sohour, I have discovered what works best for me: 3 glasses of water, full stop. Nothing else.

I can’t believe the transforming effect the simple act of drinking a minimum of 7-8 glasses of water in Ramadan has had on me. I have also discovered that I need to eat less in order to drink more water; when I eat a lot, I tend to never drink.

It took years to get the hang of it, but I am finally experiencing the benefits of true fasting; benefits that I believe we were all meant to experience, but somewhere along the line things changed so drastically that fasting stopped being fasting!

Top tip: Download the “Daily Water” app to keep track of your water intake and be constantly reminded!




In the past, I did move. I moved from one place in the house to another, from the chair to the couch, and even down to the car and to the office and back. And sometimes even to a meeting quite far away and back.


Moving has a whole new meaning. It’s like I’ve gone 25 years back in time; back to the time when I was an athlete, running and competing. Having not exercised at all in the past 25 years, it was strange to choose Ramadan to start! (Actually my husband chose and I tagged along.)

I had spent 20 of the 25 years claiming that “I don’t have time to exercise”. Then I spent the past 5 years realizing what nonsense that is because of course one has the time if one makes the time, and I certainly can exercise if I put my mind to it. But I never did (put my mind to it that is). So to actually be training daily during Ramadan has been mind-blowing. I mean I’ve been doing it but it has been more like watching a story unfold disbelievingly.

We downloaded the Nike running and Nike training and Nike+ Fuel apps and took it from there, building up the walks/runs from 1.2km – 6.8km with some strength training in between, and still working our way up.

Top 2 tips:

  • Stop calling it exercise! Just move. Simply stand up and move. Literally, just stand up and walk around the room. When you do that a bit, you realize that you can do that a lot! And it feels good. When I was calling it exercise, it seemed impossible to get around to doing it and so I never did.
  • Find someone to MOVE with! Or use an app to motivate you and track all your efforts. It sort of holds you accountable while keeping you motivated. (Or both!)




I have always believed that giving and receiving love is the secret to a happy life. And I have tried to focus on having meaningful relationships and being respectful, supportive and caring to those around me.


But this year, my definition of love has grown to encompass more and more of those around me, and humanity as a whole. There is a strangely quiet sort of calm inside oneself when love translates to being happy for others who are very different from you rather than “loving” them or “respecting” them but secretly (or not so secretly) wishing that they would just “change that one thing about them that would make them “better”.”




While for me giving has always been a year-round activity that would only increase slightly in Ramadan, this year I have been blessed with more opportunities to give, or assist giving, during Ramadan. And there really is no feeling more satisfying than that of helping another human being.




There is nothing like work to keep the mind going, get those brain cells exercising, and help the hours pass! The challenge is to get others around you to work too! Contrary to popular belief, I have found this Ramadan to offer more opportunity for focus than before (most likely because I’m not distracting myself with the ever-popular ads and shows).

One cannot end a Ramadan reflection without some mention of spirituality (well one can of course, but I guess I don’t want to). For me this year, spirituality has been built-in to ALL OF THE ABOVE; daily actions and reactions (along with gratitude), rather than boosted levels of ritual performance. And how wonderful that too has been. But that’s just me.


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Rania Badreldin

Rania Badreldin is a Happiness Consultant, seasoned social entrepreneur and motivational speaker who is passionate about helping people live happier lives. She is also the Founder and CEO of The Family Hub, the social enterprise behind Mother & Child and The Family Experts network, a technical consultancy arm. Rania is an NLP and Hypnosis Master practitioner, Time Line Therapy practitioner, Certified Parent Educator, and proud mother of three.




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