A06 ‘All the guilt just disappeared’

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Tarek Kareem Harris

Channel: Tarek Kareem Harris

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Chapter Six, an easier lifestyle taken on gently,

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we can start being tube at whatever level we like, as discussed before, one can fast just once or twice a week, and make no other changes. And that is fine if that's what one wants to do. Or one can make the other changes, none of which is big in itself. But each of which requires a little bit of trial and error, and a period of bedding in getting used to the new habit. A change to shopping routines, learning what to say to refuse food, politely, adjusting work eating habits or schedules to fasting in a way that doesn't put undue demands or stresses on others, say Bismillah and take it in your stride. After that, life takes on a state of Assam, excellence in ease and smoothness. Just

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like any other virtuous habit, such as making dua, or praying Salah, we no longer have to concentrate on the steps so much. We just get on and enjoy them as part of everyday life, freeing the mind to experience and enjoy life at a deeper level.

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In a few of my YouTube videos, I talk about the 10 days of amazing Salah.

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It's one thing to learn the physical and recitation steps of Salah. But so many people don't know about Salas rich effect on the mind. If one were to also pray it with the kind of serenity and mindfulness and grace that the Prophet peace be upon him and his companions prayed.

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The solution is simply a question of learning about why Salah is beneficial in this way, and learning how to pray it in a way that brings this mental benefit.

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Like fasting, praying Salah in the right way, does have clearly evidenced effect on the minds and bodies, as evidenced by medical studies where brain and body activity was measured. And tests of mental ability and well being were carried out. Salah and fasting can prolong your life and enhance its quality. Science has caught up with what Islam has always promised.

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Each Salah can be a mental health boost a gift from the Lord of creation himself, because that is exactly as Salah was intended to be. And the same thing can happen with fasting and eating. It's all integrated into the holistic Islamic way.

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When we think about changes, you can expect some unusual things. They're not unpleasant, but they're certainly new. I personally found they took some getting used to when I started fasting and eating in a new way. For example, on days when I was eating Normally, I still felt like I needed to cut down on the calories and avoid fats in my meals. I guess it was a relic from years gone by when I was in diet mode. I looked nervously butter meat, my old instincts told me to go for cereals and such it took conscious reminding to tell myself that it was not only okay, but actually a better strategy to eat the more wholesome foods. Truth be told, once I did this, I felt very fool for the

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first time in years. As a result of this change Subhanallah

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I still felt the urge to eat sweet treats, and had to remind myself that this was okay too. Because denying myself those would only make me crave the more. It took some months for this craving wish to die down. We are addicted to hits of insulin, which are very similar to the hits when people were not gambling, chemically. And those things don't go away quietly, the brain takes time to readjust. It's a process called synaptic plasticity in a fancy way, what I'm saying is the brain takes time to form new connections, you might know what to do, but you need to keep repeating it for around six months to a year before that change becomes part of the natural behavior of your brain.

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I still like sweet things. But the difference is I enjoy them now with a slow and careful recognition and gratitude. Without the guilt. It's much more satisfying, and I seldom get those urgent cravings that I used to. Occasionally I still have a lot of sweet food, but I no longer feel bad about it. And as a result, I actually eat less of it.

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You and others may have similar or entirely different experience.

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says, and Alhamdulillah for that we are all different. Whatever changes come accept them without reacting defensively. Just let them come, let them pass and stick to your plans as best you can calm, gentle commitment, beats needy and urgent motivation.

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It all feels strange at first, but it's important to just try to stick to it. Remember, calorie restriction doesn't work. And neither does a low fat diet. So no matter how much your old habits are telling you, you don't have to count calories or avoid fats. Eat naturally eat more

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and more guidance on this and putting it into action is in part two of this book.

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Whatever you experience, one thing should start to emerge. Your whole relationship with food becomes a lot more friendly and wholesome. Food is a fuel a gift from Allah to be enjoyed as such. no more and no less. As you go on, food should lose that power of being an emotional crutch, or a source of shame. It becomes a pleasant sensory experience, as well as a means of fueling your day.

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It becomes a means to contemplate the wider bounty of the earth and how to be kind to our world and the creatures we share it with. But all this can take some unlearning first to undo years of habits, many of which we thought were for our own good, but turned out to be burdensome and unsuccessful. I guess that after many years spent losing a battle. It feels both new and strange to start winning.

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End of Chapter