• 4 Weight Loss Secrets No One Talks About!

    When you think about weight loss, the two primary factors that come to mind are nutrition and exercise. Sure, they play a major role in weight loss, but there’s more to sustainable weight loss than just nutrition and exercise.

    Many people tend to oversimplify weight loss: “Eat less and workout more.” This is also what most crash diets promote.

    However, eating less and exercising more doesn’t necessarily lead to sustainable weight loss. With crash diets, you’ll lose some weight, but you’ll soon regain most of the lost weight within a couple of months or years.

    If you are serious about losing weight and keeping it off, then you need to tackle the issue holistically.

    With this post, I would like to present you with four less well-known strategies to losing weight and improving your overall health. These strategies are, perhaps, as crucial as nutrition and exercise.

    Secret 1: Reduce stress

    One of the easiest things you can do to lose weight is to be happy. Sweet, huh?

    This is because chronic stress and anxiety inhibit weight loss. When you are stressed out, your cortisol hormone levels spike. Research suggests that high cortisol level makes the loss of extra fat difficult and that this increase in cortisol can lead to weight gain too.

    Cortisol also messes up with your hunger hormones. This usually leads to overeating and cravings. Needless to say that this is definitely not an ideal scenario if you want to lose weight.

    So, aim to reduce stress in your life. Methods such as the remembrance of Allah, meditation and exercise can help you reduce stress in your life. However, one of the best things you can do to reduce stress is to send salawath to our beloved Prophet Muhammed (PBUH).

    “Whoever supplicates to Allah by exalting my mention (i.e., sending salawath), Allah will exalt his mention (i.e., send salawath) ten times and remove from him ten sins and raise him ten degrees.” (Sahih Muslim)

    I mean, just imagine, Allah, who is As-Salam (the source of Peace, Safety and Perfection) sends peace upon you! What would be the effect? Subhanallah!

    Secret 2: Sleep better

    I’ve discussed this in an earlier blog post, but if you aren’t sleeping well, then you are probably not doing enough for your health.

    A study published in the journal Nutrition & Diabetes found that those who slept circa 8 hours a night lost 56 percent more body fat compared to those who just got around 5 hours of sleep a night. What’s interesting is that in this study, both groups followed the same diet.

    So the simple truth you should know about sleep is this: less sleep leads to more body fat. If you really want to lose weight and want to know what might be preventing weight loss, then monitor your sleep patterns and remember to sleep well. Aim to get at least 7 hours of sleep daily!

    Secret 3: Eat mindfully

    What do I mean by eating mindfully? By this, I mean being engaged in what you eat. Savour, observe the texture of, and most importantly, thank Allah subuhanawuta’alafor each and every morsel of your food!

    So, mindfulness in eating means no TV, Internet or reading while you eat. Eating while watching TV is shown to increase one’s food intake by almost 30%! Therefore, how you eat is as important as what you eat.

    Mindfulness is an important Islamic concept. The success of this dunya and the Aakhira depends very much on it!

    Secret 4: Change your mindset

    “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t–you’re right.” ― Henry Ford

    This quote basically summarises the importance of our mindsets.

    If you believe that you can lose weight and you are confident about it, then these positive thoughts can lead to constructive behaviours, increased motivation and energy levels.

    On the other hand, negative thoughts such as, “I’ll never be able to lose weight”, will discourage you from taking any appropriate measures to improve your health and to become lean.

    Question: Which of these “secrets” will you implement today to achieve a lean and healthy body?

  • Three Steps to a Positive Mind-Set

    As you may have probably read in a previous blog post ‘you are what you think’, we talked about the importance of positive thinking. So today, I am to tackle developing positive thinking in ways that are more practical.

    A disclaimer: I won’t claim these three steps to be super easy to follow. But if you are committed and consistent with these three steps, you will see magical results soon enough, insha Allah.

    “Positive mind-set” is certainly not a one-time action, instead it is a lifestyle. And for any kind of positive changes in life needs commitment and consistency.

    First Step: Purify Your Thoughts

    What you think and what you feel have a huge impact on your actions and choices in life. There is a saying that ‘your outer world is a reflection of your inner world’. And it couldn’t be more true.

    Since your thoughts become words, and your words become actions, it is important to purify your thoughts first.

    So, how can you purify your thoughts?

    1. Increase your repentance. Ask Allah sincerely to forgive you and do it often. Our Beloved Prophet used to do at least 100 times a day.
    2. Moist your tongue with Allah’s remembrance. Increase your adhkar and send salawath on our beloved Prophet (SAW)
    3. Know that what ever happens to a mu’min is good for him/her. “Amazing is the affair of the believer, verily all of his affair is good and this is not for no one except the believer. If something of good/happiness befalls him he is grateful and that is good for him. If something of harm befalls him he is patient and that is good for him” (Saheeh Muslim)
    4. Think good about others. “If you come to know that a brother has harmed you with either a word or a deed, you should make an excuse for him; if you did not find one, you should say, ‘There may be an excuse that I do not know of.’” – Ibn Seereen

    Second Step: Always Speak Good and Positive Words

    Like anything in life, the more often you do something the easier it gets. So, the more you work on the first step, the easier it will become for you to use good and positive words, insha Allah.

    Our Beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAW) was a true optimist. He (SAW) was always encouraged the use of positive and inspiring words. In a beautiful hadith, he (SAW) said;

    “There is no ‘adwa (transmission of infectious disease without the permission of Allah) and no tiyarah (superstitious belief in bad omens), but I like optimism.” They (sahaba) said, “What is optimism?” He said, “A good word.”  (Sahih Bukhari & Muslim)

    So next time when you converse with someone, focus on using positive and encouraging words. And the words you choose to say have an impact on your state of mind. Try one of these replies, when someone asks you how you are doing:

    • “Alhamdulillah, I’m ok”
    • “Alhamaduillah, I’m great”

    The word “great” has greater effect on your mind. Thus, you’ll feel better using this word vs. just ‘ok’.

    Always remember to use positive and encouraging words. By repeating such words in all areas of your life, you will be able to consciously elbow out any negative and discouraging words.

    Third Step: Act Like a Positive Person

    Usually, you can’t really fake an action. We all know the difference between a genuine smile and fake one. So, when you work on the first two steps, the third step will automatically come as a direct result of  your positive thoughts and words.

    So, next time whenever you feel positive, use the moment to do something positive. Smile, give hope or speak a beautiful word. Do something to uplift someone else’s life through a positive action. This will have an incredible effect on your positive thinking, insha Allah.

    Know, that you are a collection of your thoughts, words and actions. That’s what really defines you. So next time when you have a bad thought be careful not to let it get to you.

  • You Are What You Think

    I can still precisely remember the time, place and event that truly changed the course of my life.

    It was a cold day in December. I slipped on the winter ice and broke my left hand – I was 17 at the time. Recovering, I spent three weeks in hospital.

    Being holed up in the hospital, those three weeks became a true blessing for me.With nothing to keep me company but some great books, my life literally changed forever. And, I am not exaggerating. It was during this time that I became acquainted with ‘You are what you think you are’.

    A couple of years after this, I happened to come across a beautiful explanation of the famous hadith: ‘deeds are based on intentions’ (Bukhari and Muslim). This newfound knowledge sealed by belief in the words: ‘You are what you think you are’. It is a bit of a mouthful but from that point onwards, I have always strived hard to practice positive thinking. After all, I know that I am, what I think I am.

    And I must say, Alhamdullilah, ever since I have started practicing this, my performance in everything I do has doubled. In fact, I have been positive about life, regardless of what happens around me and as a result, my confidence has gone up too.

    However, life, as we know it, is not all that perfect. So, on the occasion where negativity takes over, I have noticed how badly it affects my levels of energy and how bad I feel. I find it hard to move forward.

    But, those days of positive thinking are truly magical and I feel bad keeping this life-enhancing strategy all to myself. Especially as I have told you about the life-draining side effects of thinking negatively.

    So,these are some important lessons I have learned from positive thinking:

    1. Thinking positively is like charging your brain. You feel better and your energy level goes up rapidly. When you think negatively, your energy is sucked out and you aren’t capable of doing anything productively.
    2. Your confidence level is very high. Therefore your can-do attitude doesn’t set limits to what you can do. I’ve personally never put any limitations to what I can do. Alhamdulillah.
    3. Every failure is regarded as a testing ground. So, you learn why certain things don’t work out as you imagined it would. And next time you know how to make it better.
    4. Nothing is impossible. Don’t think of what you can do – think of what Allah can do for you! Have the deep conviction that your du’as will be answered. Positive thinking helps you to think bigger and thus you end up asking Allah for things that are mostly impossible for human minds to grasp!

    This is what I hope to convey in my post today, insha Allah. Quit thinking like a failure. As Muslims, we might be going through a super difficult position, but that is not really an excuse to think negatively.

    So, listen up! We all know the story of our Beloved (PBUH) and his visit to Ta’if. He (PBUH) was pelted with stones, to the extent that his entire body was covered in cuts that were bleeding and his shoes were clogged to his feet.

    When the Angel of Mountains offered to crush the people of Ta’if by bringing together the two mountains around Ta’if, our Prophet (PBUH) said:

    “Even if these people do not accept Islam, I do hope from Allah that there will be persons from among their progeny who would worship Allah and serve His cause.”

    SubuhanAllah, I am sure you would agree that this is the ultimatum of positive thinking. The Prophet (PBUH), as we are now, was at the most difficult time of his life and yet he was being super hopeful. He could not return to Makkah without any pledges of support, but he ultimately placed his trust in the One and Only.

    This kind of positive thinking is what we should aim for. If you are thinking it is easier said than done, I agree. It takes hard work but first you need vision. I sincerely hope that the example of our Beloved (PBUH) gives you perspective to work hard to achieve a positive outlook on life. Ameen.

    In order to win in life, positive thinking is important in all aspects of our life, including in becoming lean and healthy. The Prophet (PBUH) was positive in all aspects of his beautiful life– during the happy times as well as the harshest ones. That’s why I include this psychological aspect in our coaching.

    In part two, we shall discuss how to practice positive thinking to become a winner in all aspects of our life, insha Allah. 

  • Part 2: How Answering the ‘5-Whys’ Made my Weight-loss a Spiritual Journey!

    In part 1, I discussed how important the purpose of our goal is. In this part, you will discover how these ‘5-Whys’ will help you to find your purpose behind your goal, insha Allah.

    Case study

    Let me show you how this ‘5-Why’ strategy has helped me to find the real purpose behind my weight-loss and how it has helped me to lose weight efficiently, while becoming a better person.

    This strategy asks 5 repetitive ‘whys’ in a question and answer method.

    1. The first question I asked myself was:
      Why do I want to lose weight and become lean and healthy?
      My answer was: “Because I want to look good, be strong and keep healthy!”On the basis of your answer, you create the second question. My second question was this:
    1. Why do I want to look good, be strong and keep healthy? (Keep the format of the question consistent)
      Because when I look good and am strong and healthy, I am more confident about myself.
    1. Why do I need to feel confident about myself?
      Because when I am confident, I can empower others!
    1. Why do I want to empower others?
      Because empowering others is one of my ultimate purposes in life.
    1. Why is empowering others one of my ultimate purposes in life?
      Because empowering others enables me to leave an ever-lasting legacy.

    Losing weight and getting lean and healthy was important for me to have more confidence in my life, which helps me to empower others. And, it’s very true that empowering others is one of the most important purposes of my life. I believe this is the way towards leaving an ever-lasting legacy for the sake of Allah subuhanawuta’ala.

    So knowing that my weight-loss had such a profound purpose, I took it very seriously and the process of getting lean and healthy was relatively easy for me, Alhamdulillah.

    I’ve started eating healthier and have been regular with my exercise.

    Amongst tons of other amazing outcomes, these are some of the important ones from my healthy eating and regular exercise:

    • I’ve been super productive since my brain gets all the nutrients it needs
    • Losing weight and getting lean and healthy was a 20-year struggle. Achieving that gives me so much of confidence, Alhamdulillah.
    • I can wake up in the morning easily
    • I always feel energised and I can mostly control my emotions better.
    • I thank Allah more often for what He has bestowed upon my family and me.

    Finding out my real purpose behind losing weight was a significant moment for me to be continuously motivated in that journey.

    Now it’s your turn. Give some serious thought about the real purpose of your goals and be honest to yourself. This could be one of your very few “aha” moments in your life… mark my words!

  • How Answering the ‘5-Whys’ Made my Weight-loss a Spiritual Journey!

    A couple of years back I was weighing around 85 kg and felt quite uncomfortable with my body. I felt lethargic all the time, waking up, in particular, was horrendously difficult. If it were not for Fajr, I would have slept throughout the morning. The word Qiyamulllail was familiar to me only during Ramadan.

    The time after work and before bed was the most difficult.I was at home, but not necessarily productive and was too tired to do anything!

    Fast forwarding to now, I have lost more than 15 kg (around 30 pounds) and I am being super productive, Alhamdulillah. Now I am a better slave of Ar-Rahman, better father and a very loving husband. My spirituality has improved a lot, my anger has subsided and what I have achieved in the last three years is more than what I have achieved in the last decade combined. Alhamdulillah.

    It all started when I stumbled upon the ‘5-Why’ strategy of the Toyota Company. Yes, I am talking about the giant car company. You may wonder how a strategy of a car company helped my weight-loss to be a spiritual journey. Bear with me for a second…

    This strategy is usually used to find out the real reason of why you do, what you do. In other words, it helps you to find out the real purpose behind your actions.

    You could almost say that the ‘why’ of something is more important than the ‘how’, agreed? I mean there are thousands of possibilities to lose weight but none of them will bring you real, long-term results if the ‘why’ behind weight-loss is not clear.

    That’s why your purpose behind your goal is more important than the goal itself. If the purpose or intention is the vehicle that helps you reach your goal, then your burning desire is the fuel for that vehicle. And when the purpose is real, you’ll eventually have the burning desire, which ultimately helps you to achieve your goal with the thawfeeq of Allah subuhanawuta’ala!

    In the following hadith, Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) clearly states the importance of intention;

    “Actions are according to intentions, and everyone will get what was intended. Whoever migrates with an intention for Allah and His messenger, the migration will be for the sake of Allah and His Messenger. And whoever migrates for worldly gain or to marry a woman, then his migration will be for the sake of whatever he migrated for.” Related by Bukhari & Muslim

    And he (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said; Everyone will get what was intended”. The person’s hijra for the sake of marriage may not be rewarded in the Aakhira, but he does reach his goal in this world due to his strong intention.

    Insha Allah, in part 2 I’ll discuss what these ‘5-Whys’ are.