My name is Nour Zibdeh. I’m a functional dietitian and nutritionist, and I’m a practicing Muslim, living in Northern Virginia.
We set the alarm — OK, maybe two or three alarms — for 3:45 a.m. This gives us 30 minutes to eat suhoor, the pre-dawn meal.
A few mornings a week, we get out the skillet and make eggs with mushrooms, peppers, spinach, or other veggies.
Sometimes we make our breakfast in advance so we don't have to deal with cooking something when we wake up.
The first hunger pang hits around 8 or 9 a.m.
Do I get hungry and get cravings while I talk about food all day? You bet!
The rest of the day is like any other work or weekend day, minus the meals, snacks, or water. There are two more prayers during the day, and keeping busy helps the hours go by fast! I try to make time for a nap in the late afternoon. Everyone struggles with getting enough sleep, and a nap helps make up for the interrupted sleep.
When it comes to exercise, I definitely lower the intensity for the 16-hour fasts.
The sun sets at 8:26 p.m., and a 16-ounce cup of water and dates are ready for me so I can break the fast.
We always have soup right away.
After the soup, we take a short break and pray Maghrib. Then we continue with the iftar meal.
The stomach shrinks after a 16-hour fast, and it’s normal to feel very satisfied from a date, a glass of water, and a bowl of soup. Because I need to nourish my body to carry on with the fast the next day, I make sure that every bite counts.