Strong Girls, Superb Wives

08 strong girls

“Waah,” my baby’s screams woke me up with a jolt. “What? Who? Where? What happened?” I fumbled to the cot, groggy with sleep.

Life was chaotic. I had hardly slept. The baby was up all night crying for no apparent reason. The laundry was piled high. I had no time to cook, and my husband preferred take-outs to my cooking anyway. I hardly had time to shower, and he was tired of a home that had no semblance of order.

Life wasn’t meant to be like this. I had been an outstanding student, a star intern, and a brilliant MBA graduate. However, I was barely able to cope with real life now. No one warned me about this. No one prepared me for child-bearing or giving birth, or taking care of a tiny life that was entirely dependent on me. Such big shoes to fill and I had had no time or will to prepare for them all these years.

My grandmother’s words rang out in my ears now: “What will you do after marriage, Nadia? You can’t even take care of your own self!” I would always brush her off with an affectionate hug, saying: “We’ll see when the time comes, Nani – don’t worry.” I was always too busy studying for school and then college, too busy going out with friends, and then working nine to five. Even when I got engaged, all I was really preparing for was the grand wedding day. In retrospect, I wasted so much time, effort, and planning for a few hours of limelight. All of that didn’t do me any good today in this mess I had landed myself in.

Nadia’s story is not an uncommon one. Many girls find themselves in a similar situation when they step into practical life. Marital bliss turns into a nightmare all too quickly. This has many devastating outcomes that we see around us more and more frequently:

  • Quick and all-too-easy divorces soon after marriage.
  • Strained marital relations, where partners are deeply unhappy with the marriage.
  • Severed relations with extended family.
  • Poor family nutrition and other health issues.
  • Women completely consumed by household work to the point that their own physical and mental health, intellectual, and spiritual growth suffers.

The problem may seem insurmountable, but the solution is a simple one: inculcating good habits in girls from an early age to prepare them to excel in their vital role of nurturing future generations.

Charles Duhigg in his book “Power of Habit” says: “One paper published by a Duke University researcher in 2006 found that more than 40% of the actions people performed each day weren’t actual decisions, but habits.”

Habits are the key. If inculcated from an early age, habits will become second nature and leave a woman’s mind free to pursue other matters that require actual decision-making. However, if ‘what to cook daily’, and managing other daily chores takes up all of her time and decision-making skills, she will be left with little to contribute to her own or her family’s development.

You might argue: why do we need to prepare only girls for this role and not boys? This argument, I’m afraid, was biologically settled for us much earlier. Every mother is honoured with the task of bearing her child for nine months and then nursing him or her for around two years. She is physically and emotionally attached to the baby for an extended period of time in a way that a father simply cannot be.

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Eating Healthy

Vol 6 - Issue 3 Eating HealthyBy Madeeha Akhtar 

Today, obesity is a widespread problem that inflicts numerous people across the globe. After having struck the developed world, obesity is now making its way into the developing world.

People from middle and high income groups are steadily falling prey to this debilitating condition. The diets of adults and children have gradually changed to include more of fast, fatty and junk foods. Moreover, lives have become largely sedentary and that includes children. Islam lays great emphasis on moderation. Moderation in eating can keep an individual healthy and protect him from obesity, which can further lead to: high blood pressure, coronary heart disease, cholesterol and diabetes.

Overeating is strongly discouraged in both the Quran and the Sunnah. The Quran says: “…eat of the Tayyibat (good lawful things) wherewith We have provided you, and commit no transgression or oppression therein.” (Ta-Ha, 20:81)

In addition to the Quran, many Hadeeths also encourage moderation. The Prophet (sa) said: “Man should fill one third (of his stomach) with food, one third with drink and leave one third for easy breathing.” (Ahmad)

To deal with obesity, slimming clinics and health clubs are springing up in various areas. They provide intensive diet plans and exercise schedules that promise as much as 12-15 lbs of weight loss per week. To speed up the weight loss even further, they also offer drugs. Such diet plans that encourage rapid weight loss are not only futile but hazardous. They often lead to such diseases as anorexia nervosa and bulimia, and, to top it all, the weight lost through such programmes is often regained. Islam provides a solution to this problem.

Fasting in Ramadan leads to gradual weight loss of about 1-2 lbs per week. This steady and measured weight loss does not present any health risks. In addition to this, the Quran and Sunnah also recommend certain foods, such as honey, dates, figs, milk and olives, for their healing properties. Here are some tips that an individual can follow to build good eating habits, loose weight gradually and sustain it. 

Never Skip Breakfast 

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Our body is deprived of food the whole night and breakfast kick starts our metabolism. We might think that skipping breakfast means skipping calories, but missing breakfast puts our body into a slow mode for the entire day. 

Eat Slowly

Eating slowly enables us to enjoy every bite of our meal and also makes us feel fuller. You should try to take around fifteen to twenty minutes to finish your meal. Take the time to sit and eat, rather than wolf down everything and rush off from the table.

More Meals; Smaller Portions 

Instead of having three big meals, take six smaller portions. Following this tip, you will always feel full. The body will never starve and, hence, there will be no desire to binge on unhealthy foods. 

Eight Glasses of Water Per Day 

You should start your day with a glass of water. The water will keep you hydrated and you will feel less hungry. Water also flushes out toxins from your body, and hence, you will feel less tired. Additional water intake will also be reflected in shiny, glowing skin. 

Cut Down on Sugar 

Avoid soft drinks, chocolates and other sweets. 

Be Physically Active 

Incorporate into your daily routine such small activities as taking the stairs instead of the lift and carrying a basket in the supermarket instead of pushing the trolley. We are living in an age of technology and fast food. So, while on the one hand, we are moving lesser, on the other hand, we are eating more. Being healthy in this scenario is all about controlling your diet and increasing your physical exercise. 

Some foods that help in loosing weight are: 

  • yoghurt,
  • green tea,
  • limes and grapefruits,
  • bitter gourd,
  • watermelon.